Today we look at the crucifixion of Jesus in Mark 15:21-32:
21 They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. 22 Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.
25 It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. 29 Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.
There are so, so many things that we could look at in this passage, so many different things of great import here, things that changed the course of human history.
We see here Simon of Cyrene, being forced to carry the cross. He was just standing there, when this was thrust upon him. We never know when life may come to us in ways that we don’t understand and that we are not ready for.
We see them dividing Jesus’ clothes, taking what would have been considered His only real possession of value and picking over it.
We see Jesus being mocked, one last insult.
But to me, and this is something I learned from my trips to the Holy Land, the thing that speaks so much to be me, is the place where Jesus is crucified. Golgotha, which means the place of the skull.
Why was it called “the place of the skull?” I always thought it must have looked like a skull. I may have been taught that some point in my life. But I always believed that it was a reference to the appearance of the place.
That’s not true. I wanted to share with you a picture of from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This is the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. This mural shows Jesus on the cross, but look what you see beneath the cross. You see a skull.
Golgotha, in Jewish tradition and legend, was the burial place for Adam. So, within tradition, when the earthquake came and the earth was split open, the blood of the second Adam (Jesus) washed over the skull of the first Adam.
Now, this is just legend, there’s no proof that any of this happened. But here’s the deal. That’s exactly what happened. Paul writes about it in his letters. Through Adam, all died. Through Jesus, all live (1 Corinthians 15:22). Through Adam, all of us are fallen. His sin, his betryal of God, it is passed down to all of us.
You, me, all of us. We are all broken. We all choose wrong. We all rebel. We all push against God, we all blow it. Each of us. We all stand in need.
Through Adam, all die.
And through Jesus, all can live. Jesus died for the world. His blood washes away the affects of fall. As we sing in “O For a Thousand Tounges” – He breaks the power of canceled sin!
Just as through Adam, all suffer and die, through Jesus, all live. Through Jesus, all are forgiven.
All are forgiven.
You are forgiven.
The blood of Christ washes away the effects of the Fall. Through Jesus Christ you are forgiven.
Tomorrow we’ll look at Mark 15:33-41.
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