Thursday, August 6, 2015

Reading 34: The Crucifixion

Mark 15:1-47

After his arrest Jesus is handed over to Pontius Pilate, the governor of the area. Pilate looks over the day-to-day operations for the Roman Empire in the Israelite area. Pilate gives in to the demands of the people pretty easily because of his previous experience. When Pilate first became governor he marched in with the Roman Standards, flags the army carries. The Jews did not like the pagan images being displayed in Jerusalem and so they revolted. The Emperor told Pilate to get rid of them because he didn't want a revolution. A while later Pilate made gold shields on which he engraved the Emperor's name and his own name and placed them in the Temple. Again the Jews didn't like that and revolted. The Emperor again told Pilate to take them out and if another revolt happened he would be ousted as Governor. Pilate feared another revolution if he let Jesus go free, even though he believed him innocent. So Pilate took the coward's way out and handed Jesus over to be crucified

During Jesus' crucifixion quite a few prophecies were fulfilled. The soldiers mocking him was prophesied in Isaiah 50:6, "I offered my back to those who beat me and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard. I did not hide my face from mockery and spitting." Isaiah also prophesied that God would die for our sins (Isaiah 53:4-11), that he would be considered a lawbreaker (Isaiah 53:12), and that he would be buried in the tomb of a rich man (Isaiah 53:8-9). David Prophesied that his hands and feet would be pieced (Psalm 22:16), that his clothes would be dived amongst his captors by lot (Psalm 22:18), and that they would give him vinegar to drink on the cross (Psalm 69:21). Those are just a few of the many, many prophecies fulfilled.

As Jesus is dying he cries out, "My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?" (Mark 16:34). Jesus had the sin of the entire world, all the past sins committed and all the future ones to be committed, upon himself. The evil placed on him was so great that God the Father could not look upon Jesus nor be in his presence. Jesus had to take all that sin to the grave to leave it behind so that we could be seen as righteous.

Upon his death the curtain in the temple that separated the Most Holy place, the place where God dwelt, ripped open. This signified that no longer was God contained in a single place, a place where no one could enter without extensive cleansing rituals, but God would now dwell with His people. Anyone could now have access to God due to Christ's death on the cross.

A rich man, Joseph of Arimathea, got permission to take Jesus' body and give him a proper burial. This was unheard of for a man who has been crucified. Cruxifixion was considered the punishment for the worst of the worst, the kind of people who didn't deserve a proper burial. But Jesus was not a common criminal as recognized by Joseph and Pontius Pilate who allowed it to happen.

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