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The Crucifixion of Jesus as Recorded in Mark’s Gospel

April 6, 2012

Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take. It wasnine o’clockin the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him. When it wasnoon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. Atthree o’clockJesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” (Mark 15:22-39)

The only words from the cross that Mark records (and the same is true of Matthew) are Jesus’ crying out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It’s as if he wants this to be the one supreme thing we remember. Today, as we reflect on all the physical pain our Lord endured out of love for us, let’s especially remember his anguish of soul, his drinking to the full the cup of God-forsakenness, so that all our darkness and death might be drawn up into his light and life for evermore.

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