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Today's scripture focus is Mark 15:22-32 22 And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means 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 garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take.25 And it was the third hour[a] when they crucified him.26 And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.”27 And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left.[b]29 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!”31 So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself.32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.
And they crucified him (verse 24) When they crucified him (verse 25) And with him they crucified two robbers (verse 27) The reality of what happened to Jesus echoes in this passage. Jesus was crucified.
Jesus was crucified. He was put to death by being nailed to a cross. He was persecuted and tormented by the people who wanted him dead AND by the people who were dying with Him. He was bound and subdued by his position and ridiculed for it. He bore the punishment that he did nothing to deserve. And they crucified Him.
Theirs is the epitome of blasphemy. It is the treatment of Jesus by the Jews, inaugurated by the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court, a religious court, made up of the high priest and an equal number of scribes, the religious experts, elders, the wisest of the wise and chief priests, the very ones who were to intervene between men and God, it is that Sanhedrin that started the entire mocking abuse. It was they who first punched Him, slapped Him and spit in His face and mocked the idea that He could be the Son of God or the Messiah, or the King. Theirs is the severest apostasy, for they have defected from Holy Scripture. They have defected from the revelation of the Old Testament in which the details of Christ are prophesied so as to make the Christ who did appear recognizable to them for He, in fact, fulfilled all that the prophets anticipated. They have therefore rejected their own holy scriptures which they purport to uphold and to know. Theirs is a defection from God, theirs is a defection from Scripture, theirs is an apostasy from righteousness, theirs is an unparalleled, unequalled blasphemy. Here you see sin at its apex. They are mocking the Son of God, sneering at God Himself, spitting scorn is blasted on the face of their Creator and their Redeemer and their Savior. Blasphemy cannot exceed this.
And one might ask the question at this point, “How does God hold back? How does God restrain Himself for this is His beloved Son, the Son of His love in whom He is well pleased?” Shouldn’t such blasphemy be instantly responded to by God? Wouldn’t we expect that these people carrying out this sneering scorn at the expense of the blessed Son of God would be instantly annihilated and catapulted into hell? Shouldn’t fire fall from heaven and burn them up? Shouldn’t the ground open and swallow them whole into Sheol? Shouldn’t they be hit by God out of heaven and eaten by worms and died? You would expect our God, true and holy, to do that to these merciless, compassionless, wicked, sarcastic blasphemers of His beloved adored, magnificent, perfect Son. What is God doing? It appears as if He’s doing nothing.
Why does God do nothing? Probably the same reason he appears to do nothing today. We experience inexplicable hardship. Bad things. Sad things. Things that just do not make sense and it appears that God is silent. However, we know that everything is revealed in His time.
Verse 25 says, “It was the third hour when they crucified Him.” Nine in the morning. Now remember, this has happened so fast, hasn’t it? It was Thursday night, they were still in the upper room and they sang a hymn and they went out. And they went to the familiar Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane owned by a believer in the city where they frequently went and they were there praying, or at least Jesus was praying while the disciples were sleeping. Judas shows up with a huge entourage that could have been as large as a thousand people, because they feared reprisals if the Jews knew they were going to arrest the one that they had been hailing all week. They arrest Jesus. Judas discloses himself. And that’s all sometime in the early hours of Friday morning. He’s arrested. He’s taken before Annas for an indictment. They couldn’t find one. He’s taken before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin for a trial. There is still no crime. But they decide they’re going to kill Him anyway. They…they send Him to Pilate. Pilate sends Him to Herod. He comes back, there’s a mock trial in the daylight to give some legitimacy to it for the Jews. Six different phases of His trial, three with the Jews, three with the Gentiles, all that has happened and they have Him on the cross by nine in the morning. What’s the hurry?
From their viewpoint, I’ll tell you what the hurry is. They don’t want the crowd to turn. What’s the Romans’ hurry? Well they’re ready. This is what they do. Bring it on. But God is really in charge of all of this because it is in the plan of God that Jesus will die at three, or around three in the afternoon at the very moment when they’re slaughtering all the Passover lambs. He will be the one true Lamb.
Jesus is the One. True. Lamb. The sacrifice for our sin. The one who endured unimaginable suffering for us. He was crucified for our sin and for our redemption for that sin. We are part of the "they". We are the reason Jesus had to die.
And here, dear friends, is the answer to the questions that I posed at the beginning. The question that I posed at the beginning is why doesn’t God come down and kill these sinners? Answer: because God was pleased to kill His Son for those sinners. That’s Isaiah 53, “It pleased God to crush Him.” It pleased God.
You mean it pleased God to crush the Son in whom He was well-pleased? Yes. God was pleased to crush Him, this is Isaiah 53:10, putting Him to grief. Why? Because He would render Himself a guilt offering and He would live to see His offspring.
In other words, the whole purpose of redemption was for God to give to Christ a redeemed humanity, an offspring. People saved out of every generation of history, that was to be God’s gift of love to His Son, a redeemed people who would spend forever with Him, loving Him, serving Him, praising Him, honoring Him, reflecting His glory throughout all eternity. That’s the Father’s love gift to the Son. In order for the Father to be able to give that gift to the Son, the Son had to bear the punishment for those who make up that gift on the cross. So, it pleased the Father to crush the one who pleased Him so that He could forgive the ones who displeased Him. Not just for their sake, but for the Son’s sake, so that He could give them to the son as His eternal inheritance. And the evidence of the meaning of the cross is there. He became sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him, Paul says. Peter says, “He bore in His own body our sins on the tree.” Paul says, “He took the curse for us.”