Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mark 15

Today we have Mark's account of the crucifixion of Jesus. He is brought before Pilate, political expedience encourages Pilate to give in to the wishes of the crowd and he releases Barabbas and sends Jesus off to be crucified. Crucifixion was horrible, so painful that the Romans invented a word "excruciating" (Pain as from the cross)to describe it. Jesus is crucified with two others outside the city gate on the main road. Crucifixion was intended to be shameful, public and a deterrent to further insurrection.
Jesus cries out "My God, My God why have you forsaken me!" Many scholars have explained why he says this: One suggests that with the sin of the world piled on him, feels the experience of separation from his heavenly Father. Another sees this as the last cry of his humanity. Personally, I think Jesus is drawing on the Psalms -- in this case Psalm 22 -- for comfort and support in this gruesome moment. "My God . . ." would have been the title in Hebrew of Psalm 22 -- it would be a good idea to take a look at what he is calling to mind by quoting the first line of Psalm 22.
Jesus dies. Joseph of Arimathea arranges to bury the body. Jesus is wrapped in a linen shroud and placed in an unused, new tomb. And everyone goes home to rest on the Sabbath . . . and, unbeknown to them, to wait for Sunday.

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