Summary: Tenth in a 12 part series examining THE most important week in all of history: The Passion Week, when Jesus fulfilled Mark 10:45. The Servant Finishes - His Death. We see the Misery Of His Death, The Miracles At His Death, and The Ministry Of His Death.
The Passion Week of Christ: A Study from the Book of Mark
Week 10: The Servant Finishes - His Death
A. Everything in the universe, every plant and animal, every rock, every particle of matter or light wave is bound by laws which it has no choice but to obey. Take the following for instance: Law of Biogenesis = life always comes from life (unless you're an evolutionist and then it comes from primordial soup); Laws of Chemistry = Na+ always has certain properties (discuss); Laws of Planetary Motion = Kepler - planets orbit in ellipses; Laws of Physics = E=mc2, F=ma. So, where did these laws come from? GOD! Gen. 1:1, Jer. 33:25 (NLT) - "But this is what the Lord says: I would no more reject my people than I would change my laws that govern night and day, earth and sky."
B. Let's use the Law of Logic - if God created all things, physical & spiritual and He put physical laws in motion to govern the physical universe, doesn't it follow that He put spiritual laws in motion to govern the spiritual universe? In fact, we see four spiritual laws true of mankind. Last week when we traveled to Golgotha and examined the first 3 hours of our Lord on the Cross, we saw the first two laws fulfilled - Law #1 = God loves you...Golgotha was a place of limitless love! Anyone who wasn't convinced of that truth last week? Law #2 = Man is sinful, no not one is good; God is holy & just; a great gulf separates the two, no amount of which good works, religion, etc can bridge! Anyone who wasn't convinced of that truth last week?
C. And so now, we come to our Lord's last 3 hours on the cross. During those first three hours, He has suffered all the physical pain the cross can mete out. Up to this point, Jesus has suffered greatly at the hands of man. Now, it's time for Him to suffer at the hands of His Heavenly Father. The cross was not about man having his chance to attack God. The cross was about God judging His Son for sin in the place of sinners...it was where God brought to completion His spiritual laws for the spiritual universe. Having decided to save man in eternity past, He would now bring to fruition His plan to do so that was formulated from the foundation of the world - "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Cor. 5:21) This AM, as we once again travel to that Hill called Calvary, we will witness the Servant's Death. As we do, we will see The Misery Of His Death, The Miracles At His Death, and The Ministry Of His Death.
II. Scripture Reading & Prayer
A. Stand with me to honor the reading of God's Word. Read Mark 15:33-41.
B. Pray - Father, we come with great reverence to the darkest hour in the history of man, when the perfect, sinless Lamb of God, fully bore your wrath against our sins. That upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, we could never thank you enough. Break us anew over & teach us from that hour.
III. The Misery of His Death (15:33-37) - Notice 4 things
A. The Father's Turning (v. 33):
- Mark tells us that when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land. Sixth hour (Jewish time) = Noon. All three synoptic evangelists (Matt., Mark, Luke) not only recorded that this supernatural darkness occurred but also that it lasted until the ninth hour, that is until 3pm. Three hours! Many an explanation has been offered for this - Thallus, a 1st century secular historian, and Phlegon of Tralles, a 2nd century historian, both tried to dismiss it as a solar eclipse. Yet, it would not be possible to have an eclipse during full moon at Passover. The geographical extent is not known, although the writings of the church Fathers hint it extended beyond Palestine. Both are immaterial: it is the symbolism which is important.
- Darkness is a sign of divine judgment, both in a covenantal and an apocalyptic sense. Most important is the covenantal. The ninth plague in Egypt was a plague of darkness - read Exodus 10:21-23. It was followed by the tenth plague - death of the firstborn (cf. Exodus 11:1, 4-5). Darkness at noon was a fitting sign for God the Creator to give to those who had rejected the Light of the World. More importantly, the darkness at Calvary (3 hours compared to 3 days of 9th plague) was an announcement that God's Firstborn and Beloved Son, the Lamb of God, our Passover Lamb, was giving His life for the sins of the world. Thus, the darkness is a symbol of God the Father turning His back on His own Son as He became a sin offering and bore God's full wrath against the sin of the world.