By Ben Simpson

 

As we journey through the Witness of Mark, we want to encourage you to first begin with the Daily Reading that will take you through the entire book of Mark. Then, read the First 15 Scripture and Reflection to dive a little deeper into verses from the Daily Reading. 

Today's daily reading is:     Mark 15:33-47

Scripture

Mark 15:39

And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

 

Reflection

Jesus’ death is accompanied by many strange signs. At noon, darkness falls over the land, lasting until mid-afternoon. While hanging on the cross Jesus quotes Psalm 22:1, “My God, my god, why have you forsaken me?” Some thought Jesus was calling Elijah, God’s prophet, to come from heaven and rescue him. Jesus cries out in a loud voice, and Mark tells us that the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. A centurion, standing nearby, does not say “Surely this is the King of the Jews” or even “Surely this is the Son of Man!” No. Rather, he says with Mark, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” 

Charles B. Erdman writes:

 

“This, then, is the meaning of his death; the mighty Servant is giving his life ‘a ransom for many.’ Those that stand by misinterpret his words: ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ They can be understood only as the cry of the sinless One who was bearing the sins of the world. This is the message of ‘the veil of the temple,’ ‘rent in two’ by a divine hand, ‘from the top to the bottom;’ it is a picture of atonement, of access to God which his Son made possible for us by ‘a new and living way, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.’ This explains, also, the demeanor of the divine Sufferer, which so impresses the centurion. This is the death of no human prophet of martyr. The darkened skies, the trembling earth, that shout of triumph, that lordly dismissal of his spirit, all speak of a voluntary death, all conspire to make thoughtful witnesses unite in the exclamation: ‘Truly this man was the Son of God’” (Charles R. Erdman, The Gospel of Mark: An Exposition, 194)!

 

Jesus dies on a Friday. A man named Joseph of Arimathea, who was a leader of the Jewish Council, goes to Pilate and asks for the body of Jesus. After confirming that Jesus has died, Pilate grants the body to Joseph. Joseph wrapped the body in a linen cloth and laid him in a tomb cut from the rock, and rolled a stone over the entrance. Two women, Mary Magdalene and Mary the Mother of Joseph, saw where Jesus was lain. 

Christ has died. The death of Jesus was enough for the centurion to proclaim he was indeed God’s Son. But this, as we know, is not the end of the story.

Death could not hold him. And Christ, in us, has set us free from the power of sin and death. In him, death cannot hold us. Paul writes in Romans 6:4, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

You have seen Christ upon the cross. What do you say? See, and believe. Follow him, proclaim him, and invite all people to receive his forgiveness, his embrace, and the eternal life he brings.

Prayer

Lord, in Jesus Christ we believe death has been put to death. Liberate us from sin and keep us from every encumbrance that might slow us in experiencing the fullness of life that is ours in him. Send your Spirit, renew our hearts, and help us to walk blameless before you. Amen.