Class Notes: 7/15/2015

Mark 15:34-47; Jesus' last moments on the cross

In our study of Mark last time we concluded a study on the doctrine of rejection based on Jesus' rejection in Mark 15:34; When Christ died on the cross and bore the judgment for the sins of the world, Christ was forensically spiritually dead for three hours.

Spiritual death is separation from God Gen 2:17; "Dying you shall die." In the Hebrew the word death occurs twice. The first time refers to spiritual death; second time refers to physical death.

Physical death is the result of spiritual death. The wages of sin is (spiritual) death. When Adam sinned he suffered spiritual death immediately but he didn't die physically for another 930 years. Gen 5:5;

In the Hebrew Isa 53:9; also tells us that Christ died twice on the cross. The most important death was His substitutionary forensic spiritual death that provided for our eternal salvation.

Jesus Christ was rejected and forsaken by God the Father on the cross because He was judicially spiritually dead and separated from God as He received the imputation of the sins of all mankind during those 3 hours of darkness on the cross.

Jesus' cry with the words, "My God, My God" affirmed His abiding trust in God. This is His only recorded prayer where He did not use the address "Abba" (Mark 14:36;). Even though forsaken, Jesus claimed the Father as His God. He died forsaken by God so that every believer could claim God as their God and never be forsaken. Heb 13:5c;

Mark 15:35; This verse takes us back to the crowd that is standing around gawking at the spectacle.

When they heard "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani" it sounded to them that He was calling for Elijah because in the Aramaic they have a similar pronunciation. They were not impressed with the death of Christ but they were impressed with what they thought was a call for Elijah.

A popular Jewish belief at the time was that Elijah came in times of distress to deliver the righteous so they were curious and wanted to see if Elijah would actually come. At this point the crowd once again become very interested in the situation because they waned to see if Elijah was going to come and deliver Jesus.

This took place just as Jesus had finished the work of bearing the sins of the world. He had been crying out "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me" over and over again.

As the thick darkness was dispersed and the hill again became visible the people were still standing around to see if Elijah would come.

There is basis for assuming this because Malachi 4:5-6; the last two verses of the Old Testament refer to the coming of Elijah. Those verses are actually a reference to John the Bapizer as the herald of Jesus as Messiah and King,

Mark 15:36; In the parallel passage in John 19:28; Jesus expresses thirst so while they were standing there waiting to see if Elijah will show up they hear Jesus say "I thirst." so someone, probably a Roman soldier, took a sponge, dipped it in the sour wine, put it on a pole and raised it up for Him to drink fulfilling the prophecy of Psa 69:21;

Mark 15:37; This verse describes Jesus' physical death. The second time He died on the cross. Luke 23:46 tells us what He said.

Jesus did not die the ordinary death of crucifixion. Normally a person who was crucified suffered extreme exhaustion for two or three days and then lapsed into a coma before dying of suffocation.

Jesus was fully conscious to the end. His death came voluntarily and suddenly when He dismissed His spirit. John 10:17-18; This is why Pilate will be surprised when Joseph of Armithea requests Jesus' body.

Jesus' spirit immediately went to the Father in Heaven, His soul immediately went to the paradise compartment of hades and we will see that His body will be placed into Joseph of Arimathea's new tomb once it is removed from the cross.

Mark 15:38; This is the first of three miracles that occurred at the moment of His physical death and the only one recorded in Mark.

"The veil of the temple was torn in half from the top to the bottom." The veil of the temple had 72 twisted braids with 24 threads in each braid. It was 60 feet high and 30 feet wide. It was very thick heavy woven cloth so it was impossible to tear it with human hands.

It was torn "from the top," and the word "from" is very important here because it is the Greek word "apo" that denotes ultimate source. An expanded translation would say "from the ultimate source of the top," that means that God split the curtain.

The passive voice of verb and the direction of the tear indicate that this was God's action. It was observed and reported by the priests who at that very moment were conducting the Jewish evening sacrifice in the temple.

This is the veil between the holy place and the holy of holies and its being torn indicates the setting aside the ritual plan of the Jewish Age indicating that the way into the holy of holies is now available to anyone. This is the "whoever will" of the protocol plan of Church Age.

The centurion's recognition of the fact that Jesus was the Son of God not only emphasizes Jesus' identity but also contrasts with the mocking of the religious Jews

The Gentile's recognition of Jesus as the Son of God verifies the truth of the torn curtain and unrestricted access to God. Anyone anywhere can come to God and be saved at anytime by faith in Jesus Christ alone.

The other two miracles are noted in the parallel passage in Matthew 27.

Matt 27:51b; The second miracle was an earthquake, "and the earth shook, and the rocks split." In the Greek the word translated "split" is the same word that is used for the tearing or splitting of the veil.

The tearing of the veil was a witness to the Jews and the splitting of the rocks was a witness to the Romans. We will see that it was this second miracle that impressed the Roman centurion who was responsible for carrying out the crucifixion.

Matt 27:52-53; The third miracle is the resuscitation of Jewish believers. "And the tombs were opened." Notice that it says tombs. The transfer of the Old Testament saints from Paradise to Heaven is alluded to in Eph 4:8; but in our passage we simply have the opening of the graves.

The subject is "many bodies of the saints." It says "many," but not all. The actual subject is bodies so this is a resuscitation, not a resurrection. So some of the saints received a physical body for the purpose of witnessing of the death and resurrection of Christ.

"Of the saints" refers to the Old Testament saints, those whose souls would be in Paradise and whose bodies were buried in the vicinity of Jerusalem; "who had fallen asleep were raised."

The word translated "asleep" is in the perfect tense, indicating death in the past with the result that the body had remained where it had been buried in the grave for some period of time.

There is no additional reference to these people in the Bible so we do not know weather they were left on the earth after Jesus' ascension or were transferred into heaven when He ascended into heaven.

Mark 15:39; The manner in which He died and the events surrounding His death were a sufficient witness to cause the Roman centurion to become a believer. The words used to describe the centurion and the soldiers with him in the parallel passage in Matt 27:54; indicate that all of them became believers because they all said "Truly this was the Son of God"

Mark 15:40-41; These were the women who followed Him and supported His ministry financially. Luke 8:1-3;

Mark mentions these women as eyewitnesses of Jesus' crucifixion in anticipation of their eyewitness role at Jesus' burial Mark 15:47;) and His resurrection (Mark 16:1-8;).

They were more devoted to Jesus than 11 disciples who had deserted Him (Mark 14:50;). These words should serve as encouragement to the faithful women in the church who God will recognize and honor with eternal rewards.

Mark 15:42; This verse provides us with a timestamp that tells us that the Jewish Passover seder is going to be observed that evening. This is Wednesday evening not Friday evening. The day before every Jewish Holy Day was a "preparation day." This was the preparation day for the First Day of Unleavened Bread.

The Sabbath that is referenced is the First Day of Unleavened Bread (Lev 23:5-7;) that in the year of our Lords crucifixion was a Thursday not the seventh day or weekly Sabbath (Lev 23:3;)

Mark 15:43; Joseph of Arimathaea, was a member of the Sanhedrin who like Nicodemos was also a disciple of Jesus. Though Joseph probably lived in Jerusalem he was originally from Arimathea, a village 20 miles northwest of the city.

Under Roman law only the imperial magistrate could release a crucified man's corpse for burial. Usually such a request by a victim's relatives was granted, but sometimes a body would be left on a cross to decay or be eaten by predatory animals and birds and the remains were thrown into a common grave.

Jewish law required a proper burial for all bodies, even those of those who were executed. It also dictated that those hanged were to be taken down and buried before sunset. Deut 21:23;

Aware of these regulations, Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and requested Jesus' body for burial. He did this as evening approached probably about 4 P.M.

As a member of the Sanhedrin it is possible that he was present and was one of those who dissented during the mock trials that the Sanhedrin held to condemn Jesus to death.

He regarded Jesus as Messiah but up to that point he had remained an invisible disciple.

The word translated "gathered up courage" is "tolmao" that means to dare, to have courage or to go boldly. He went to Pilate boldly and asked for Jesus' body even though he had no standing to do so.

His action was bold because he was not related to Jesus so his request was to ask a favor that Pilate would likely reject on principle since he had no standing and Jesus had been executed for treason.

He also risked ceremonial defilement by handling a dead body the day before the Sabbath and his request amounted to an open confession of personal loyalty to Jesus that would certainly cause him to incur the wrath of his associates in the Sanhedrin because would no longer be invisible.

He did not know that Pilate would grant his request because he had no way of knowing that Pilate was actually sympathetic to Jesus because he believed Jesus was innocent.

Mark 15:44-45; Pilate was surprised Jesus was dead so soon but after confirming with the centurion the He had actually died he gave His body to Joseph. The controversy that would arise after Jesus' resurrection required this indisputable irrefutable confirmation of His death by a Roman military officer.

Mark 15:46-47; Most likely Joseph had servants help him to accomplish a proper burial in the two hours before sunset. John 19:39-40; tells us that. Nicodemus, a fellow Sanhedrin member also helped him.

After Jesus' body was removed from the cross, it was probably washed (Acts 9:37;) before it was wrapped tightly in strips of linen cloth with aromatic spices placed between the wraps. All this was in accord with Jewish burial custom. John 19:39-40;.

Then the body was carried to a nearby garden and placed on a stone shelf inside Joseph's own previously unused tomb (Matt. 27:60; John 19:41-42) that had been cut out of a rock cliff.

The tomb was sealed shut with a large circular flat stone that rolled down a sloping groove till it was securely in front of the entrance to keep out intruders. To roll the stone back up again would require the strength of several men.

Two of women who had witnessed Jesus' death on the cross (Mark 15:40;) watched all of this occur observing with interest where He was buried. Apparently the other women had returned home to prepare for the Passover and the first day of Unleavened Bread.

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