Chapter 50

At the cross (Part C)
Mark 15:33-39 (NKJV)


33  Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34  And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 35  Some of those who stood by, when they heard that, said, “Look, He is calling for Elijah!” 36  Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink, saying, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down.” 37  And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. 38  Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

39  So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!”


Mark 15:33-34

There was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. After three hours on the cross, from 9.00 a.m. until 12 noon, Jesus now suffers His last three hours in darkness, from the brightness of midday, until 3.00 p.m. (the Jewish ‘ninth hour’.) That darkness veils from human view Christ’s worst suffering—separation and punishment from His Father God as He bears our sins and judgement. His Aramaic cry, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? means, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Just why is the incarnate God the Son now forsaken by His Father?  The Bible answers, Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.[1]

One hymn says,

‘Because the sinless Saviour died, my sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me.’

Jesus, the eternal Son, is uniquely and once only separated from God the Father so He can save us now and eternally from our sin and from God’s wrath on it.

Mark 15:35-36

The use of Eloi, Eloi, causes some to think wrongly that Jesus calls for Elijah. They misunderstand the meaning of Christ’s death.

Many still misunderstand the cross today. Some think Jesus died only as an example to follow. Others consider Him just a brave martyr, or an unhappy accident of history the victim of man’s cruelty. Often His physical sufferings are over-emphasised with too much focus on His flogging and injuries. But the reason the spotless Saviour died was to bear our sins and take the wrath of God’s judgement for them in His body on the cross. By raising Him from the dead, God the Father demonstrated His acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice for lost and condemned sinners. He will pardon any who will come to Him on that basis.

Mark 15:37-38

The four Gospels together contain Jesus’ words from the cross.[2] Luke reports that, before breathing His last, Jesus cries with a loud voice the words Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.[3] Jesus will not die until he has fully paid the punishment for our sins. He then surrenders to death. Remember Jesus said, No one takes [my life] from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.[4] He now lays it down, to take it again soon through His resurrection. God now tears the temple veil from top to bottom, opening the way into the ‘Most Holy Place’[5] through the death of His Son. The way is now open for any repentant sinner to come to Him!

Mark 15:39

In the darkness, the duty Roman centurion is enlightened by God.  He says, Truly this Man was the Son of God! and, as Luke records, he also says, Certainly this was a righteous Man![6] He is right in both statements. Jesus, is our Emmanuel, or God with us,[7] dying as a totally righteous and completely spotless sacrifice for sinners, even for Roman centurions

!  Even for you and even for me! Do you know Him as your perfect Saviour God?



[1]   .  1 Peter 3:18.
[2]   .  Luke 23:34, 23:43, John 19:26-27; Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34, John 19:28, 19:30, Luke 23:41.
[3]   .  Luke 23:46.
[4]   .  John 10:18.
[5]   .  Mark 15:38.
[6]   .  Luke 23:47.
[7]   .  Matthew 1:23.


Questions on Chapter 50
Mark 15:33-39 At the cross (Part C).

A.  As Christ bears our sin, darkness falls over the land. Jesus, God the Son, is forsaken for the first and only occasion in time or eternity by God the Father. Why?   Mark 15: 33-34   1 Peter 2:24   1 Peter 3:18   Isaiah 53: 10-11   John 14:6

B. What mistake is made about Jesus’ cry on the cross? What mistakes do people make about the cross today?  Mark 15:34-35

C. Consider how the Roman centurion responds at the cross to the death of Jesus. How does he also respond in Luke 23:47? Why do his two responses blend so well together?   Mark 15:39  Romans 1:3-4 1 Timothy 3:16 John 1:14

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