Summary: In best-selling scripts, the hero beats the villain and rides off into the sunset. Our text today reveals a different scene - the hero dies. however, this is not the final chapter or the closing scene. He will live again!
The Death of the Savior
Mark 15: 33-41
The text we have read today is contrary to the narrative most popular scripts of our day follow. In best selling books and block-buster movies, the hero always beats the villain and rides off into the sunset. Rarely, if ever, does the hero die in the script.
This passage is not on the New York Times’ best seller list, nor is it a block-buster movie script. It is the eternal record of the death of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. No doubt, the script had not gone as the disciples and those who followed Jesus had imagined. However, this was in accordance with the sovereign will of God. While the hero dies in our text verses, this is not the final chapter or the closing scene. This Hero will rise again from the dead, and the villain will suffer eternal defeat.
As we continue in Mark’s account of Jesus’ life, we come to the day Jesus was crucified on the cross. Jesus had spent His life heading toward the cross. This was not a tragic turn in events; Jesus knew all along that this day would come. This is the reason He came to earth, robed in flesh. Jesus came to offer Himself the atonement for our sin. As we examine the observations within the text, I want to consider: The Death of the Savior.
I. The Agony in His Death (33-37) – Mark gives insight to the enormous suffering and agony Jesus endured upon the cross. He recorded:
A. The Timing (33) – And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. Mark revealed that darkness covered the land from the sixth hour until the ninth hour. We know that Jesus was placed upon the cross at the third hour, V.25. Jesus was crucified at 9:00 am. At noon, the brightness of the day was shrouded, enveloping the land in an eerie darkness. This unusual and miraculous darkness lasted until 3:00 pm. In the brightest hours of the day, the sun’s light was hidden, covering the land in darkness. I am sure this created quite a stir as it began to happen, but likely it quickly became still and silent around the cross.
The darkness is quite significant when we pause to consider it. Sin is often represented by darkness. The Light of Christ can deliver from the darkness. This revealed the great need for sin to be atoned. Also, Jesus hung in an open shame upon the cross. I believe the Father turned the lights out to prevent humanity from gawking at the Lord as He hung on the cross. Finally, we know the Father judged our sin in the body of His Son. While this holy judgment was being carried out, God prevented men from looking in on such a sovereign event.
B. The Tragedy (34) – And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Here we discover the most agonizing moment for Jesus as He bore our sin on the cross. As God judged our sin in the body of His Son, Jesus felt the separation sin had caused. The Father had to turn away, being unable to gaze upon the sin that was placed upon Jesus, His Son. This moment was completely foreign to Jesus. There had never been a moment in His eternal existence when fellowship with the Father had been broken. As Jesus bore our sin, literally becoming sin for us, He endured a time of separation in fellowship with the Father. 2 Cor.5:21 – For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
C. The Travesty (35-36) – And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias.  And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. As Jesus bore our sin on the cross, enduring the wrath of God in our place, there were those present who still failed to see Him as the Christ. There was an old Jewish legend that taught Elijah would come to the aid of Jews in desperate need. As Jesus cried out from the cross, sensing the separation from the Father, these assumed He was calling for Elijah to come and take Him down from the cross. The crucifixion became a spectacle, as men watched to see if Elijah would in fact come to the aid of this condemned man, who claimed to be the Christ.