Summary: This sermon discusses the powerful statements made while Jesus hung on the cross.
Mark 15:25-39 – The Power of Words
And it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left.
And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.”
Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.
And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.”
And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last.
And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
Words are powerful. In "The Whisper Test," Mary Ann Byrd shared her personal story of the POWER of words. She said,
“I grew up knowing I was different, and I hated it. I was born with a cleft palate, and when I started school, my classmates made it clear to me how I looked to others: a little girl with a misshapen lip, crooked nose, lopsided teeth, and garbled speech.
When schoolmates asked, "What happened to your lip?" I'd tell them I'd fallen and cut it on a piece of glass. Somehow it seemed more acceptable to have suffered an accident than to have been born different.
I was convinced that no one outside my family could ever love me.
There was, however, a teacher in the second grade whom we all adored -- Mrs. Leonard by name. She was short and round -- a sparkling lady.
We had an annual hearing test... Mrs. Leonard gave the test to everyone in the class, and finally it was my turn.
I knew from previous years that as we stood against the door and covered one ear, the teacher sitting at her desk would whisper something, and we would have to repeat it back -- things like "The sky is blue" or "Do you have new shoes?"
I waited there for those words that God must have put into her mouth, those seven words that changed my life. Mrs. Leonard said, in her whisper,
"I wish you were my little girl."
Words are powerful.
The old nursery rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will NEVER hurt me…” might make us feel better temporarily - but isn't true!
Proverbs 12:18 reminds us...
“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
To prove my point about the power of words, think back to your childhood. Maybe you were the victim of someone’s cruelty
… a bully at school
… a teacher who was harsh and unfair
… a parent whose loveless words cut like a knife
You still remember it, don’t you? And you've carried those words … like wounds... for years.
WHY?? Because words are powerful.
For evidence of the power of words we need look no further than our text.
Mark’s Gospel progresses quickly from Judas’ betrayal, to our Lord’s mock trial, and NOW to this gruesome scene at the cross.
From this text We could talk about the physical torment endured by our Lord… the cruelty of the Romans… the callousness of the Jews. We could spend a great deal of time considering the HORRIFIC practice of crucifixion. These are very powerful things.
But I am particularly moved by the WORDS spoken while Jesus hung on the cross.
There are three sets of powerful words we should notice here:
1. First, hear the words of Animosity in vv. 29-32, “And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let ‘the Christ, the King of Israel,’ come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.”