Irvin Wasswa- Tylertown Campus Pastor LHBC

Mark 15:33-39
33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.”36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

Friday. 99% of the time Friday is considered one of the best days of the work/school week. The day signifies the end of the workweek/school week for most. Usually Friday evenings are designated as “family night” in most communities with families gathering around over pizza and fellowshipping with one another. Though most Fridays are great, this particular Friday here in Mark 15 we consider as a terrible one. Jesus Christ, Son of the living God is hanging on a cross dying. Just a week prior, people in the town were singing His praises and now they wished for Him to be crucified. To add to that, just about all of His twelve disciples had abandoned Him. Though the day of Christ’s death on the cross is considered Good Friday, there was nothing good about what He went through that day EXCEPT for what His death on the cross accomplished. 

What was the reason for the cross? Why did Jesus have to go there? For some of us, we perhaps have become so familiar with the message of the Gospel and the story of the cross that you have forgotten the relevance and importance of why Jesus had to go to the cross in the first place. Jesus died so that mankind could truly live. This passage highlights a few reasons why we ought to be thankful for the Cross today:

1) Christ Took the Punishment for Our Sins- The first reason to be thankful is because Christ going to the cross took the punishment for your sins and mine (V.34).  The Bible talks about how we were sinners far from God. We rebelled and because of that we have been separated from God. The punishment due for our sin was eternal separation from God in a place called Hell. However, God in His love sent His Son Jesus, fully God and fully man to live the life we couldn’t live and to pay the punishment we deserved by going to the cross. Jesus Christ took the punishment for sins for the whole world 1 John 2:2 says. What love! His shed blood was the payment for your sins and mine (Hebrews 9:22). In Christ we are no longer guilty because our sin debt has been paid in full (Romans 8:1)! Hallelujah! 

2) Christ Provided a Way Back to God- In verse 38 it speaks to the huge curtain in the temple tearing in two from top to bottom when Jesus breathed His last breath. The curtain in the temple represented the divide between man and God. The good news is that with Christ’s death, through Him there no longer is a divide! We have a chance to be restored to a right relationship with the God of the Universe again! Isn’t that awesome? In Christ we can walk in a real relationship with God again by repentance and faith in Jesus.

What is often overlooked is verse 39 of this passage. We see a pagan Roman officer (Centurion) witnessing Jesus’ slow death in awe. This man who most likely scoffed at religion and even more so scoffed at the fact that Jesus was the son of God, believed in Him that day. The cross made a way for all of mankind, from the person that has been in church forever, to the person who is far from God to be saved by placing faith and trust in Him. By the way, what is glorious is that Jesus’ blood still can make even the foulest of people clean.

I am thankful for the cross today. As we know though, the cross would be no good if Jesus stayed in the tomb. The story of Jesus does not end in Mark 15 with the crucifixion. In Mark 16 we see that He rose from the grave on the third day, destroying the power of sin, death and the grave. I’ve got good news for you friend: Jesus is not in the grave anymore so no need to look for Him there. He is alive and well and because of that our faith in Him is not futile, it is real because He lives (1 Corinthians 15). During this Easter season, may we remember the crucifixion and choose to thank the Lord for His love, for sending His Son to die so that we could have life in His name. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your love for me! I am thankful for the cross! Help for me to meditate on the implications of Jesus going to the cross and may that lead to a deeper love for You in this season. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

SONG OF WORSHIP FOR TODAY: Hallelujah for the Cross- Chris McClarney

1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead