"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" The Crucifixion Of Jesus (15:21-32) INTRODUCTION 1. Thus far in Mark’s account of the passion of Christ, we have seen... a. The agonizing prayer in the garden of Gethsemane - Mk 14:32-42 b. The betrayal of Judas and arrest in the garden - Mk 14:43-50 c. The beating and mocking at Caiaphas’ house - Mk 14:65 d. The denial by Peter - Mk 14:66-72 e. The scourging, beating, and mocking by Roman soldiers - Mk 15:15-20 2. By this time Jesus would have been physically exhausted... a. Awake for more than 24 hours b. Suffering from the beatings and scourging already inflicted [But the worse was yet to come; condemned to death by crucifixion, the Roman soldiers led him to the place where He would be crucified (Mk 15:20). With the aid of Mark’s text, let us follow Him...] I. LEADING TO THE CRUCIFIXION A. SIMON COMPELLED TO BEAR HIS CROSS... 1. Jesus started out bearing His cross - cf. Jn 19:17 a. Likely the wooden crosspiece (patibulum), weighing 30-40 pounds b. But it proved too much for Him 2. Simon of Cyrene compelled to bear it for Him - Mk 15:21 a. Mark identifies him as the father of Alexander and Rufus b. The latter possibly known to the church in Rome - cf. Ro 16:13 B. BROUGHT TO GOLGOTHA... 1. A place near (outside) the city - cf. Jn 19:20 2. Golgotha a modified transliteration of the Aramaic word for "skull" - Mk 15:22 3. Calvary comes from the Latin word for "skull" - cf. Lk 23:33 C. WINE AND MYRRH OFFERED BUT REFUSED... 1. A narcotic drink was sometimes offered to criminals to deaden the pain of crucifixion 2. Jesus was offered such a drink, but refused - Mk 15:23 3. Perhaps choosing to experience the ordeal of crucifixion with His full senses [Next we read of...] II. THE CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS A. AS DESCRIBED BY MARK... 1. "They crucified Him" - Mk 15:24,25 2. Amazingly restrained, as are the other gospel writers!
- Mt 27:35; Lk 23:33; Jn 19:18 3. Especially when it was "the cruelest and most hideous punishment possible" - Cicero B. AS DESCRIBED BY A DOCTOR... 1. Simon is ordered to place the cross beam on the ground, and Jesus is quickly thrown backwards with His shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives the heavy, square, wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The cross beam is then lifted in place at the top of the vertical beam The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed. The Victim is now crucified. As He slowly sags down with more weight on the nails and the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain--the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. 2. As he pushes Himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there is searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet. At this point, another phenomenon occurs. As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one small breath. Finally carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen. 3. Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins. A deep crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. It is now almost over--the loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level-- the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues--the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The body of Jesus is now in extremis, and He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues His mission of atonement has been completed. Finally He can allow His body to die. - C. Truman Davis, "The Crucifixion of Jesus. The Passion of Christ from a Medical Point of View," Arizona Medicine 22, no. 3 March 1965: 186-87, as quoted in The Expositor's Bible Commentary Vol. 8, ed. by Frank Gaebelein ( pp. 779-80. [Even the doctor’s description cannot adequately express what suffering Jesus endured on the cross for our sins. Before we close, let’s summarize what else is revealed surrounding the crucifixion...] III. SUMMARY OF OTHER DETAILS A. THE GARMENTS... 1. When they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots - Mk 15:24 2. As foretold by David - Ps 22:18 B. THE TIME... 1. Mark says it was the "third hour" - Mk 15:25 2. This would be 9am in the morning C. THE INSCRIPTION... 1. Pilate had the charge or accusation made against Jesus posted on the cross 2. It was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin - Jn 19:20 3. Each of the gospel writers record the inscription slightly different a. Mark: "The King of the Jews" - Mk 15:26 b. Matthew: "This is Jesus the King of the Jews" - Mt 27:37 c. Luke: "This is the King of the Jews" - Lk 23:38 d. John: "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews" - Jn 19:20 4. Reconciling the apparent discrepancy a. The full inscription may have been "This is Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews" b. Written in three languages, it may have been abbreviated, and each gospel writer simply chose that which reflected his purpose in his gospel D. THE TWO THIEVES... 1. Two robbers were crucified with Jesus - Mk 15:27-28 2. Possibly co-insurrectionists with Barabbas who had been released E. THE BLASPHEMY AND MOCKERY... 1. Those who passed by, with the false charge made against him - Mk 15:29; 14:57-58 2. The chief priests and scribes, taunting Jesus to make them believe - Mk 15:31-32 3. Even the two thieves, though one later recanted - Mk 15:32; cf. Lk 23:39-43 CONCLUSION 1. Thus begins the six hours that will result in the death of Jesus... a. An excruciating death in of itself b. Made worse by the beatings and scourging, the mocking before and during 2. What can we learn from this terrible event...? a. The terribleness of the guilt of sin - Ro 3:23; 6:23 b. The greatness of God's love for man - Ro 5:6-9; 1Jn 4:9-10 c. The inspiration of Jesus' sacrifice - 1Pe 2:21-25 In our next lesson, we shall consider Jesus’ death and burial that followed this terrible crucifixion. But as you reflect on what Jesus’ endured, have you considered what you should do...? - cf. Ac 2:36-41