We will be studying Mark 15:21-(possibly)47 in our exploration of the gospel of Mark this Sunday.
Jesus has been tried, condemned and brought before the powers of Rome, who have determined to crucify Him for political reasons. All of this was predicted by Jesus before hand.
Mark’s gospel is unique in all the accounts because Mark provides so few details about Jesus during this time. There is no description of Jesus’ other words spoken just before and during His time on the cross, other than what he says in v34. It has been suggested that Mark’s viewpoint then, is not at the foot of the cross looking up…but rather a view from the cross looking around.
From this vantage point we see Simone the Cyrenian press-ganged into carrying Jesus’ cross. He and his sons are mentioned in such a way that we would think they are well known to the readers who originally recieved this gospel. Tradition says that they became leaders in the early church.
We see from Mark’s view the solders who try to offer Jesus pain killers, and then once their grizzly task is completed, begin dividing up Jesus’ clothing as the spoils of their job.
Looking to the right and left, we see two other men on crosses. Robbers, it says in the text, though that could have been a generic term used to describe people who stirring trouble and breaking laws. They may have been the very men Barabbas was chained up with when Jesus took his place.
From the cross, we see the passers by…the ones who probably have heard about this teacher from up north who thinks He’s the Messiah. Now they see Him on a cross, and begin jeering and taunting Him, because in their minds, this proves Jesus isn’t the Messiah they’ve been waiting for.
The religious leaders are there too. When the mocking begins, they don’t urge people to mercy. There is no kindness demonstrated in spite of their disagreement with Him. They don’t say “listen, this guy’s suffering already, lets not add to it, lets pray for Him.” No. They join in the mockery.
Darkness descends, the atmosphere becomes strangely ominous. Jesus gives one final cry, and dies. One final character stands at the foot of that cross, and we see him looking up at Jesus. He says “Truly, this man was the Son of God.”
What are your thoughts on the cross, at least from Mark’s description of it? Mark’s gospel was the earliest one written, and if all we had was Mark’s account of this….what would we make of it? What do you think Mark’s view from the cross tells us? I’d love to hear your thoughts.