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The death of Jesus

15:33-41

v33 At noon, there was darkness over the whole country. It lasted until three o’clock. v34 At three o’clock, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ This means, ‘My God, my God, why have you left me alone?’ v35 Some people were standing near. And they heard what Jesus said. They said, ‘Look, he is calling for Elijah!’ v36 Someone ran and filled a *sponge with sour wine. He put it on a stick. And he gave it to Jesus to drink. He said, ‘Wait! Let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.’ v37 Jesus gave a loud cry and he took his last breath. v38 The *Temple curtain tore in two, from top to bottom. v39 The *Roman officer was standing in front of Jesus. He heard Jesus’ cry. And he saw how he died. He said, ‘This man really was the Son of God.’ v40 There were some women there who were watching from a distance. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome were among them. v41 In Galilee, they had followed Jesus and they had taken care of his needs. There were many other women there who had come up to Jerusalem with him. Verse 33. God may have used a natural cause to make the darkness. It may have been a dust storm that God caused. It could not have been because the moon stopped the light from the sun at the time of the *Passover. *Passover is always when the whole of the moon is shining. But, in the *Old Testament, darkness is a sign of God’s judgement (Amos 5:20; 8:9). Jesus had said, ‘I am the light of the world’ (John 8:12). The darkness was a sign that God’s punishment was coming on human *sin. And Jesus had linked himself with human *sin. ‘For us, God caused him to be *sin who knew no *sin’ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Verse 34 Jesus’ words in *Aramaic came from Psalm 22:1. For the first time ever, Jesus felt that something separated him from God. God had left him because of our *sin. This was a terrible time. As a man, he knew the feeling of despair that people sometimes suffer. There is therefore no human feeling that Jesus does not understand. But Jesus was suffering so that God could forgive people. He was like the servant in Isaiah’s poem who suffered on behalf of other people (Isaiah chapter 53). Jesus felt the darkness of being cut off from God. That is what *sin causes. Those who ask God to forgive them in Jesus’ name will not stay in the darkness. They will live ‘in the light’ with him (1 John 1:7). Jesus may have remembered the rest of Psalm 22. ‘God has not hidden his face. He has heard when he cried out to him’ (Psalm 22:24). Verses 35-36 Someone thought that Jesus was asking Elijah to rescue him. There was a tradition that Elijah would come to the help of good people in trouble. The man who offered Jesus the drink of the soldiers’ cheap wine was curious. He wanted to know whether Elijah would come. Verse 37 The loud cry was probably the cry of ‘It is finished’ that John recorded (19:30). That meant that Jesus had completed God’s work. Verse 38 The curtain in the *Temple separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. Only the priest could go into the Most Holy Place. He went in once every year in order to pray. He prayed that God would forgive him and all the *Jews. The curtain tore as a sign that people could now approach God themselves, because of Jesus. Jesus is the Chief Priest. The *sacrifice that he offered was himself. The death of Jesus was a *sacrifice that nobody needed to repeat every year. He opened the way to God by his death, which he offered once for all time (Hebrews 10:11-12). Verse 39 The *Roman army officer had probably seen many men die. But he realised that the death of Jesus was different. He said that Jesus was ‘the Son of God’. The officer was a *Gentile. His words were a sign that *Gentiles would be part of the Christian church. ‘Son of God’ were the words with which Mark began his *Gospel (1:1).

Verses 40-41 Mary, the mother of Jesus, and John were at the *cross (John 19:25). Mark writes about Mary Magdalene. She came from Magdala, on the west coast of Lake Galilee. Mary, who was the mother of James the younger and Joses, was there too. Salome was the mother of James and John. She was probably the sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus. They were all witnesses at the death of Jesus.

Joseph from Arimathea buries Jesus 15:42-47
v42 Evening came. It was the day of Preparation, the day before the *Sabbath. v43 Joseph from Arimathea was a respected *Jewish leader. He was waiting for the *kingdom of God. He had the courage to go to Pilate and to ask for the body of Jesus. v44 Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus was already dead. He sent for the *Roman officer. And he asked him if Jesus had died. v45 He heard from the officer that Jesus was dead. Then he allowed Joseph to have the body. v46 Joseph bought some good cloth for the body. He took the body down from the *cross and he wrapped it in the good cloth. He laid Jesus in a cave that his men had dug out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the grave. v47 Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Joses, saw where Joseph had laid Jesus. Verse 42 The day when *Jews prepared for the *Sabbath was Friday. The *Sabbath began at sunset on Friday, about six o’clock. Then it was against the *Jewish law to do physical work. Verse 43 Joseph came from a town that was 20 miles north west of Jerusalem. He was a member of the *Sanhedrin. He had remained silent. Or he had no opportunity to change the decision to kill Jesus. The *Romans left bodies on crosses to warn other people. But God’s rules meant that a man’s body should not stay on a *cross after sunset (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). Joseph was being fairly brave. People would know now that he was a friend to Jesus. That might have been dangerous for Joseph. Joseph also risked the possibility that Pilate might refuse his request. Verses 44-45 Pilate was surprised that Jesus had died so quickly. But the *Roman officer was able to support Joseph’s request. Mark shows clearly that Jesus died. Some people want to deny the *resurrection. So they say that Jesus did not really die. But Pilate, the *Roman officer, Joseph and the women all knew that Jesus did suffer actual death. Verse 46 Joseph had little time between Jesus’ death at three o’clock and the beginning of the *Sabbath at six o’clock. John says that Nicodemus helped him (John 19:38-40). The grave was a large cave that men had dug out of the rock. It belonged to Joseph and it had never had a body in it before (Matthew 27:60). He used a heavy stone to roll across the entrance. Verse 47 The women knew which cave Joseph had put Jesus in. They intended to return after the *Sabbath in order to *anoint Jesus’ body.