The Crucifixion — Part 1 — Mark 15:22-32

We have arrived at the climactic point in Mark’s gospel where Jesus is now fulfilling His ultimate mission of Redemption.

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Mark 2:20  “But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.”

Mark 8:31

Mark 9:12  “And yet how is it written of the Son of Man that He will suffer many things and be treated with contempt?”

Mark 9:31

Mark 10:33-34, 38

Mark 12 – Parable of the Vineyard Owner

Mark 14:8  “she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial.”

Mark 14:41the hour has come

Focused in on the key events of the Gospel:

Mark 1:1   “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God

1 Cor. 15:1-4  Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

So on the importance scale we are off the charts when we come to this historical record of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Second Adam.

Alan Carr: The Message of the Cross

The cross is offensive to some people. In 1 Cor. 1:23, Paul calls it a “stumblingblock”.  This word comes from the Greek word “skandalon” which meant a trap or a snare.  It came to mean something that trips a person up and causes them to fall.  We get the English word “scandal” from this word.  To the Jews, the cross was a scandal!  They could not conceive of the Messiah being nailed to a cross!  They literally stumbled over the cross!

The cross is foolishness to some people.  In 1 Cor. 1:23, Paul uses tells us that the Greeks considered the cross to be “foolishness”.  This word comes from the Greek word “moria”, which gives us the English word “moron”.  The sophisticated Greeks looked at a Savior dying on a cross and they declared it to be “moronic foolishness”.

But, for a few, the cross is an object of power and wisdom.  In 1 Cor. 1:24, Paul says that those who have grasped the true message of the cross understand that it is not weak or foolish.  It is instead, the power of God and the wisdom of God.  It is the power of God because through the cross God forever destroyed the kingdom of Satan and broke the grip of sin.  It is the wisdom of God because in the cross, God used a tool that neither man nor devil could have ever foreseen to accomplish salvation for His people.  Had Satan known what Jesus would accomplish through the cross, he never would have pushed Jesus to the cross, 2 Cor. 2:8.

Notice the level of detail the writer provides for the mocking and the scorn and the humiliation vs the lack of detail for the physical aspects of His suffering

THE VOLUNTARY SUBMISSION OF JESUS TO THE HUMILIATION AND AGONY OF THE UNJUST CRUCIFIXION IN FULFILLMENT OF OT PROPHECY TESTIFIES TO HIS DEITY AND MISSION OF REDEMPTION

I.  (:22-28) THE STAGING OF THE CRUCIFIXION – NAILING DOWN THE HISTORICAL REALITY OF THE EVENT

A.  (:22) The Place – Historical and Geographical Identification as the Place of a Skull

Then they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull.

This event occurred at a specific geographic location that was known to Mark’s readers; could be visibly identified by anyone who wanted to check it out

Associated with death

B.  (:23) The Pain – Refusing Anesthesia – not some mythical suffering

And they tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh; but He did not take it.

Myrrh was connected with the birth of Jesus – one of the gifts brought by the wise men

Parunak: His suffering is deliberate, purposeful. He must sense the forsaking by the Father to relieve us of that agony.

C.  (:24) The Perspective – Viewed from Different Vantage Points

And they crucified Him, and divided up His garments among themselves, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take.

  • Such a simple statement of what went down – such profound significance
  1. Viewed from Perspective of God the Father – Fulfillment of OT Prophecy –

Ps. 22:18

Part of the eternal plan of salvation

:This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” – at the same time how it must have hurt the Father to see His son suffer such humiliation and agony

What forbearance …. What restraint …. What mercy … what love

  1. Viewed from God the Son – Jesus who was experiencing the humiliation and agony
  • Personal bankruptcy – Jesus left with nothing

Humbled Himself and submitted to this death on the cross – Phil. 2

  1. Viewed from the Soldiers – they are the subject of this sentence

–     Executing the proscribed sentence – serving as the executioners – here of an innocent man but they did not care

  • Indifference of the soldiers – dividing up the trophies = his clothes – could not have been of much value aside from memorabilia

Headgear, sandals, belt, outer tunic – seamless tunic

  1. Viewed from our perspective – should impact us deeply and touch our hearts

–     Substitutionary death – He who was rich became poor for our sakes

2 Cor. 8:9  “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though H was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.”

William Barclay: When they reached the place of crucifixion, the cross was laid flat on the ground. The prisoner was stretched upon it and his hands nailed to it. The feet were not nailed but only loosely bound. Between the prisoner’s legs projected a ledge of wood called the saddle, to take his weight when the cross was raised upright–otherwise the nails would have torn through the flesh of the hands. The cross was then lifted upright and set in its socket–and the criminal was left to die. The cross was not tall. It was shaped like the letter T, and had no top piece at all. Sometimes prisoners hung for as long as a week, slowly dying of hunger and of thirst, suffering sometimes to the point of actual madness.

Jim Bomkamp:   After being nailed to a cross for crucifixion, the person would be suspended in the air exposed to all of the elements, and be in excruciating pain.  As the person continued to bleed, his heart would begin to pump harder and harder to try to keep his blood pressure up and keep him conscious, and water would fill the sack around his heart.  The person’s organs would one at a time begin to fail because of lack of oxygen.  Breathing would become more and more difficult with each breath, and every breath required the person to push himself upwards to allow his lungs to fill with air.  Finally, when the person had not the strength or ability to lift himself up for another breath, or when his heart could take it no longer, the person would die of heart failure or suffocation.  But, death for most did not come for a day or two or longer, and during that entire time the person would be in excruciating pain.

Thomas Constable: Simon is ordered to place the patibulum [crosspiece] on the ground and Jesus is quickly thrown backwards with His shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square, wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The patibulum is then lifted in place at the top of the stipes [the vertical beam]….

“The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed. The Victim is now crucified. As He slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain-the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. As He pushes Himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet.

“At this point, another phenomenon occurs. As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward…. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one small breath. Finally carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically He is able to push himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen….

“Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins. A deep crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart….

“It is now almost over-the loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level-the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues-the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air….

“The body of Jesus is now in extremis, and He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues…

MacArthur: “took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic. Now the tunic was seamless, woven in one place. There would have been a headpiece, shoes, an undergarment, a tunic and then on top of that, a seamless robe.” And that’s the next verse. They said to one another, “Let’s not tear that seamless robe, woven in one piece, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be. This was to fulfill the Scripture, they divided My outer garments among them and for My clothing, they cast lots.” That’s directly quoted from Psalm 22:18, that they would cast lots for His garments. That’s what they did. It was customary for executioners to get those pieces of clothing from their victim.

D.  (:25) The Point in History — Timestamp

And it was the third hour when they crucified Him.

Jewish reckoning – beginning of day at 6 AM … so this would be 9 AM

[gospel of John used Roman time reckoning  — ]

E.  (:26) The Placard Containing the Charge

And the inscription of the charge against Him read, ‘THE KING OF THE JEWS.’

Cf. Ps. 2:1-6

We learn from the 19th chapter of John also that Pilate had this inscription written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek so that everyone would be able to understand it.

Hendriksen: Pilate’s motivation for making sure this placard of the charge hung on the cross:

  • to tell the Jews, “I do not at all believe the charge you brought against him”

  • to mock the Jews – look at the pitiful king that represents such a pitiful people

II.  (:27-28) THE STIGMA OF THE CRUCIFIXION

A.  (:27) Flanked by Common Criminals

And they crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left.

Fulfills Isa. 53:12

Remember that James and John had asked to sit at Jesus’ right and left hands in glory (Mark 10:37) – but they could not drink the cup Jesus was to drink or be baptized with His baptism

B.  (:28) Fulfilling OT Prophecy

And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘And He was numbered with transgressors.’

Not in some of the older manuscripts

III.  (:29-32) THE SCOFFING OF THE CRUCIFIXION

A.  (:29-30) By the Crowd

And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying,

       ‘Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,

         save Yourself, and come down from the cross!’

Parunak: What they did: The verb means “defiant irreverence.” It emphasizes their impiety, their disregard for the things of God. Shows the shallowness of the multitudes, who swarmed after Jesus out of curiosity and herd instinct, not because they truly feared God.

Hiebert: “wagging their heads” – a familiar Old Testament gesture of scorn and derision (2 Ki 19:21; Ps 109:25; Lam 2:15)

I also have become a reproach to them;

When they see me, they wag their head.”

James Edwards: Since the arrest of Jesus Mark has narrated the passion as an antiphony between the witness of Jesus and human responses to it.

  • The first antiphony was Jesus’ confession before the Sanhedrin (14:61-62), followed by the mockery and maltreatment of the Sanhedrin (14:63-65) and Peter’s denial (14:66-72).

  • The second was Jesus’ appearance before Pilate (15:2-5), followed by shouts from the crowd for his death (15:16-20).

  • The third antiphony was the crucifixion of Jesus (15:21-26), followed by mockery frm the bystanders (15:27-32).

B.  (:31-32a) By the Chief Priests and Scribes

In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes, were mocking Him among themselves and saying, ‘He saved others; He cannot save Himself.

        Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross,

        so that we may see and believe!’

C.  (:32b) By the Common Criminals

And those who were crucified with Him were casting the same insult at Him.

CONCLUSION:

James Edwards: In this haunting picture of Jesus, fastened to a cross and assailed in mockery, we see “proof of the amazing difference between God’s way and everything which men consider their goal or conceive of as being God’s way.”  There is no self-defense from Jesus, no effort to get even or get in the final word, no attempt to preserve at least a modicum of dignity and pride.  Jesus surrenders in total vulnerability to the malevolence and violence of the world.


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