May 9, 2015.
Daily Reading: Mark 15-16.
Background: Mark 13-14.
Concepts and Connections.
1. Jesus before Pilate: After Jesus was betrayed in the garden, He is brought before Pilate here, with His disciples all scattered, facing a mob that has been stirred by the chief priests and elders. The only answer He gives to Pilate, however, is an affirmation that He was king. Besides this, He answered not a word, fulfilling that which was written in Isaiah 53:7. This silence amazed Pilate. As was the costume of the time, Pilate usually released one prisoner to the people. Wanting to let Jesus go, he asked if they would have him release Jesus, but the chief priests and elders stirred up the crowd to cause them to cry out for a murderer over Jesus. With insistent shouts of “Crucify Him!,” Pilate sent Him to the cross, though he found no guilt in the man. The purple robe and crown of thorns was then placed on Jesus mockingly by the soldiers, and then He was sent to the cross.
2. The crucifixion and burial: On the road that would lead to the cross, Simon of Cyrene was compelled to carry the cross of Jesus. This account of the last moments of Christ is not as detailed as others, perhaps because it was a sore spot for HIs disciples. We read of a few things that happened while He was on the cross, how He was brought wine mixed with myrrh and later sour wine. How He cried “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” which is a quote from Psalm 22. We read of the women that were there even when His disciples had been scattered. Then we read of His death and Joseph of Arimathea who came to take the body of Christ to the tomb. When we read all this, we can remember that He went through all this pain and agony for us, for our sins, that we might be made whole. He shed His blood on the cross that we might be washed clean in it. He did all this for us. This is the gospel. This is good news.
The resurrection and great commission: If the story ended with the death of Jesus, however, it would not hold the power to save. Yes, He became sin on the cross to nail it there, but when He arose again on that third day, He defeated both sin and death, and set us free. We can be sure of the hope of resurrection, because our Lord was resurrected. We can be sure of the blessing of salvation through the washing of His blood. We can be sure that He is returning again. All this, because the tomb was empty on that day. “He is not here. He is risen.” Let the words ever ring loud. Jesus would go on to make several different appearances to different people after His resurrection, and finally to the eleven as a whole, rebuking them for their unbelief. Then He gave them the great commission, to go into the world an proclaim the gospel. Those who believed and were baptized would be saved (see Acts 22:16 and Romans 6:1-11). Then various signs were listed that would follow those who believed, many of which can be seen throughout the pages of the New Testament in the apostolic age of the church. These signs were to confirm the church and the word of the disciples, who went out and preached everywhere. May we have their drive to proclaim the good news to the world. For the tomb was empty.
Tomorrow’s Reading: II Corinthians 11-13.
All praise to the King.