Focal Passages: Mark 15:16-20, 33-34, 37-39; 16:1-8
While all the Gospel writers recorded the crucifixion, none of them spoke of its gruesome details. They knew that countless men suffered many of the same physical sufferings as Jesus, but none of them suffered as the sinless Son of God. When Mark described the humiliation of Jesus at the hands of Roman soldiers (15:16-20), he showed how the soldiers’ mockery actually pointed to the true identity of Christ which they were too blind to see. While the crown of thorns certainly brought pain, the Gospel writers did not mention the pain because the crown was meant to accessorize the purple robe and fake scepter as part of the kingly costume the soldiers created to ridicule Jesus. In the midst of their buffoonery, the soldiers tortured Jesus as though He were an ordinary man who thought He was a king. However, the day will come when Jesus will return and be unmistakably identified as “King of kings, and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16).
Jesus’ words, “My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) reveal one of the most unique aspects of His crucifixion. Although Jesus never ceased to be God the Son, He experienced during the crucifixion an unprecedented break in His perfect fellowship with God the Father because He was bearing the wrath of God toward our sins. As Peter wrote, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; you have been healed by His wounds” (1 Peter 2:24).
The tearing of the veil in the temple revealed that we no longer need an earthly priest, because Jesus, our Great High Priest, has forever opened the way to the presence of God and permanently placed the Holy Spirit within every true believer. As we share the gospel and display the fruits of the indwelling Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), we invite modern day unbelievers to come to the foot of the cross and the door of the empty tomb and declare, “This man really was God’s Son!” (Mark 15:39b).