November 12th, 2006
When you’re on the Titanic and the ship starts to sink, there are several choices you can make. You can refuse to admit that there is a problem and keep dining. You can recognise that there is a problem but choose to do nothing about it, playing on like the band in an ultimately futile gesture of defiance. You can choose to save yourself. Or you can choose to save someone else. For most people with the benefit of hindsight, the “save yourself” option would be the most popular. But the option which Jesus selected when he allowed himself to be crucified was the “save others” option.
Mark’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 15
15:1 First thing in the morning the senior priests, with the elders and religious lawyers and the whole council, held a consultation, and tied up Jesus, carried him away, and handed him over to Pilate. 15:2 Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered, “They are your words, not mine.” 15:3 The senior priests brought a number of accusations against him. 15:4 Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer? You can see how many accusations they make against you!” 15:5 But Jesus made no further reply, and Pilate was amazed.
15:6 At the feast his custom was to release to the crowd one prisoner, whoever they wanted. 15:7 One called Barabbas had been arrested with the rebels who had committed murder in the insurrection. 15:8 The crowd started demanding that Pilate do as he always did for them. 15:9 Pilate answered them, “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 15:10 He could see that the senior priests had handed him over because of jealousy. 15:11 But the senior priests stirred up the crowd to demand that he should release Barabbas instead. 15:12 Pilate again asked them, “What should I do to the one you call the King of the Jews?”
15:13 They shouted again, “Crucify him!” 15:14 Pilate asked, “Why? What harm has he done?” But they shouted even louder, “Crucify him!” 15:15 Pilate, wanting to appease the crowd, released Barabbas to them, and arranged for Jesus to be flogged and then crucified. 15:16 The soldiers led him into the courtyard, also known as the Praetorium, and they called together the whole group. 15:17 They clothed him with purple, then wove a crown of thorns and put it on him. 15:18 They saluted him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 15:19 They hit him on the head with a reed, spat on him and knelt down in mock worship. 15:20 When they had mocked him, they took the purple off him, and gave him back his own clothes. They led him out to crucify him. 15:21 They forced a passer-by, who came from the country, Simon of Cyrene, father of Alexander and Rufus, to go with them and carry the cross. 15:22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha, which can be translated as, “The place of a skull.” 15:23 They offered him wine mixed with myrrh to drink, but he did not take it.
15:24 They crucified him and divided his clothes amongst themselves, casting lots to decide what everybody would get. 15:25 It was about 9am when they crucified him. 15:26 A signboard placed above him said, “THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 15:27 They crucified two robbers with him, one on his right side and one on his left.
15:29 Those who passed by insulted him, wagging their heads and saying, “You want to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days? 15:30 Come down from the cross and save yourself!” 15:31 The senior priests and religious lawyers were also mocking among themselves saying, “He saved others, but can’t save himself. 15:32 The Christ, the King of Israel, can come on down from the cross, and when we see that we’ll believe him.” Those who were crucified with him also insulted him.
15:33 There was darkness over the whole land from around midday until 3pm. 15:34 At about 3pm Jesus shouted out, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which can be translated as, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
15:35 Some bystanders heard it and said, “He is calling Elijah.” 15:36 One ran to fill a sponge full of vinegar, put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Leave him alone. Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down.”
15:37 Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and gave up his spirit. 15:38 The veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. 15:39 The centurion who was standing opposite him saw how he died and said, “This man really was the Son of God!”
15:40 Watching from a distance were some women including Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome, 15:41 who had followed him and served him when he was in Galilee, and many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.
15:42 Evening arrived, and it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath. 15:43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable council member who was himself a seeker after the kingdom of God, boldly went in to Pilate to ask for Jesus’s body. 15:44 Pilate was surprised to find that he was already dead, and he called the centurion to find out whether he had been dead long. 15:45 When he received confirmation from the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph, 15:46 who bought a linen cloth and, taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and placed him in a tomb which had been cut out of a rock. He rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 15:47 Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Joses, saw where he was placed.
Entry Filed under: Hope