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-Devotion and Prayer for the Day: Proverbs 16: 1-17

by Dr. D ~ March 25th, 2019

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Join us in today’s prayer and devotion: -Praying Thru Proverbs: 16: 1-17:

16 The plans of the heart belong to man,
but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the spirit.[a]
3 Commit your work to the Lord,
and your plans will be established.
4 The Lord has made everything for its purpose,
even the wicked for the day of trouble.
5 Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
be assured, he will not go unpunished.
6 By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,
and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil. …
16 How much better to get wisdom than gold!
To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
17 The highway of the upright turns aside from evil;
whoever guards his way preserves his life. –ESV

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-California Curriculum: Man-Boy a Form of ‘Sexual Orientation’ to Be Studied in Schools?

by Dr. D ~ March 25th, 2019

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Does the new LGBT supported SexEd curriculum being forced by law onto California public schools include studying all the different forms of ‘sexual orientation’ including pederasty (sexual "relationships" between adult men and boys)? Apparently so, and all without parental op-out provisions.  From Townhall:

…asked if and why BOUSD was teaching material on pederasty to ninth graders.

I might have expected Torres to outright dismiss such a claim as silly. Instead, after acting annoyed that this was the third time she was having to explain it, she shockingly seems to admit that they are indeed discussing pederasty as a form of sexuality.

"This is done because we are talking about historical perspectives of how gender relations and different sexual orientation have existed in history. Something that has occurred in history so this is really important."

It’s true that child molestation was normalized in certain ancient cultures, but did Torres really just frame the issue of pederasty as "sexual orientation"?

<Read the whole article>

Response: And so it begins. Parental rights are ignored and over-ridden in the California law providing for the new SexEd school curricula and that is obviously the point. The California progressives want to ‘educate’ (read ‘brainwash’) a whole new generation about all possible ‘sexual orientations’ without the input or religious ‘hang-ups’ of their parents.

Not only are parental rights denied in the administration of the new SexEd curricula but parents are being substantially kept in the dark about what their children are actually going to be taught. In this article a school administrator seemingly admits that pederasty (sexual "relationships" between adult men and boys) is one of the alternate forms of sexual orientation that will be studied and presented by the new teaching material to ninth graders.

Christian parents in California should demand to be apprized of what their children are actually being taught in the schools. The new California SexEd curriculum begins with First Grade children. Regardless of what is being taught in schools, no law yet can stop parents from teaching their own children what the Bible has to say about gender, sexual orientation, and marriage.

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-Weekly Bible Study: Mark 16

by Dr. D ~ March 24th, 2019
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Gospel of Mark

Lesson 18: Mark -Chapter 16

Previous Lesson: Lesson 17: Mark -Chapter 15

 

First read Mark 16 all the way through.

The ‘Supernatural’ Acts and Events in  Mark 16

Things you don’t see everyday:

Verse 4:

– Stone was rolled away

Verse 5:

– Angel was in the tomb

Verse 6:

– Jesus has risen -he is resurrected

———————-

Verses 9-14:

-Appearances of the Resurrected Lord

Verses 17-18:

-Supernatural Signs

Verse 19:

-Ascension of Jesus’

Verse 20:

-Jesus continues to help

-Supernatural Signs Confirm Message

 

 

Now read it again in detail along with the Notes and Commentary below:

Notes and Commentary:

 

I.  The Resurrection of Jesus –Verses 1-8

     Verses 1-3:  The two Marys and Salome went to the first Sunday morning sunrise service on Resurrection Day. The three women were at the crucifixion-  Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome who was the mother of the Zebedee brothers- James and John (Matt. 27:56). Now they were going to the tomb to show their devotion to Jesus and complete the anointing of his body for burial. On the way they were wondering who was going to move the stone away from the tomb once they got there.

     Verses 4-5:  When they got to the tomb they found that the rock was already rolled away from the entrance. When they entered, there was a ‘young man’ dressed in a white robe sitting there. Matthew identifies him as an angel (Matt. 28:2). The woman were taken back and alarmed at this unexpected sight.

     Verses 6-7:  The young man (angel) speaks to them:

"Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you."

     Verse 8:  The women responded to the message with fear and trembling and actually were afraid to tell anyone. Luke 24:9-11 tells us that the woman did go back and tell the eleven but the apostles did not believe.

Comment: The disciples and apostles of Jesus really were not expecting a resurrection. The woman went to the tomb to complete the preparations for burial that they were not able to do earlier because of the Sabbath. The brave men were back at the upper room hiding out.

Even though Jesus had spoken repeatedly about rising again on the third day, they were not expecting or even hoping for a resurrection. When Jesus finally did appear to them, it changed everything and the world hasn’t been the same since.

This is the earliest Gospel account of the Resurrection. The Gospels written later have all sorts of details and testimonies that were left out of this brief account. The earliest written account and testimony of the Resurrection of Jesus is found in the writings of Paul, I Corinthians 15: 1-8. Paul testifies that he saw the Lord, Peter and the Twelve also, James and over 500 on one occasion. Most were still alive at the writing of the letter.

 


**Note- Verses 9-20: Some of the earliest and most reliable New Testament manuscripts do not include verses 9-20.

See our Scholarship Notes and Conclusions On The 9-20 Text following the continuation of our Notes and Commentary:


 

Notes and Commentary: (cont.) 

 

II.  The Appearances of the Resurrected Jesus –Verses 9-16:

Verses 1-8 record the Resurrection Sunday events through the eyes of the women ( Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome)  who came early to tomb to prepare the body of Jesus. While the major emphasis and focus of Verses 9-16 are the appearances and the ascension of the resurrected Lord.

     Verse 9:  The verse seems to bring a rather abrupt change of direction. While verses 1-8 record the experiences of three women with the angel (young man) at the tomb. Verse 9 singles out Mary Magdalene as having a direct encounter with the resurrected Lord. 

Other Gospel Records: 

Matt. 28:1-10 has the same order of events as Mark but records that “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary” went to the tomb and encountered the angel and then both later met Jesus.

Luke 24:1-11 mentions that the women came to the tomb and saw two angels but doesn’t record the appearance of Jesus to the them.

John 20 records the most complete account of the events of the day.  In Gospel of John, Mary Magdalene encountered the Lord during a second trip to the tomb while she lingered and wept outside. 

Mary Magdalene- “from whom he had cast out seven demons.” Interestingly, the mention of the ’seven demons’ in connection with Mary Magdalene is not mentioned earlier in Mark (It is mentioned Luke 8:2). 

This is cited by many scholars as one of the examples in 9-20 that may indicate that ‘the longer ending’ probably had a different author than verses 1-8. One who used additional sources for the 9-20 ending. 

     Verses 10-11:  Earlier in verse 8, the women didn’t tell anyone because they were afraid. Here in verses 10-11 Mary Magdalene boldly tells the disciples that she has seen Jesus but they do not believe her.

It is interesting, given the prevailing culture, that Jesus appeared to a woman first. In first century Judea the testimony of a woman was not respected or considered to be equal to the word of a man. It still is that way in the Muslim Middle East.

     Verses 12-13:  Here the appearance to two traveling on the road is mentioned. The whole story is recorded in Luke: 24:13-35. The disciples don’t believe them either.

     Verse 14:  Jesus finally appears to the eleven and rebukes them for their unbelief.

On at least three occasions in Mark, Jesus told his disciples that he was going to be killed and then later resurrected. They substantially ignored this teaching because it did not fit in with their understanding of the coming of the Messiah and his Kingdom. They expected Jesus to kick the Romans out of Israel and eventually rule the whole world and they continually fought over who was going to be the number two ruler.

After Jesus was crucified they believed it was all over and discounted all of the appearances of the resurrected Lord until Jesus personally appeared to them.

 

III.  The Great Commission –Verses 15-16   

     Verses 15-16:  Here a shorter version of The Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) is given:

“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation”.

Whoever ‘believes’ and “does not believe” is the major issue in verse 16. Those who don’t believe cannot be saved but are condemned.

Secondarily, I believe that the verse supports the importance of following the command to be baptized. Baptism should naturally follow belief and commitment to Jesus.

The Great Commission in Matt. 28:18-20 records that his servants are called to:

1. Make disciples of all nations

2. Baptize

3. Teach them to observe the commandments

Notice that Baptism, in the Matthew ‘Commission,’ has a prominent part to play in the discipleship process according to Jesus.

So many seem to de-emphasize the importance of baptism. It has become an after thought and a once-a-year practice in many churches today. It is probably a reaction to some of the sects and cults who teach that baptism is necessary for salvation.

Unfortunately, some try to use verse 16 as a text for proving their view of Baptism– as necessary for salvation.  Again, the verse should not be twisted in that way, the central subject is “believes” and “does not believe”. It doesn’t say that those who are not baptized are condemned, but those who do not ‘believe’.  

IV.  Signs Following –Verses 17-18

     Verses 17-18:  The promise of ‘signs’ is distinctive to the longer ending and is not found in any other Gospel. It is reflective of the experience of the early church in Apostolic times as recorded in the book of Acts and in church history. Many of us today believe that the church should continue to reflect apostolic practices and teachings.  

Casting out demons and the gift of Tongues (Acts 2) were a major feature of the early apostolic church. Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake and survived (Acts 28:4-5). He healed the sick through laying on of hands (Acts 28:8-9) along with others, and James says to call for the elders (James 5:14-15).

While drinking deadly poison is never mentioned in scripture, there are stories and traditions about early Christians being forced to drink poison and surviving which are alluded to early Christian literature.

V.  Ascension of Jesus –Verse 19

     Verse 19:  Here the ascension of Jesus is recorded. It also mentioned in Luke 24:51 and Acts 1:9-11.  Jesus  ‘at the right hand of God’ was also observed by Stephen as he was being martyred in Acts 7:56.

“At the right hand of God” –symbolized and demonstrated the divine authority that Jesus shares with God the Father.

VI.  Response of the Disciples -Verse 20

     Verse 20:  Mark 16:9-20 ends with a clear response by the disciples. They went out  and followed the commission of Jesus by preaching the Gospel everywhere. Notice that it says that Jesus continued to help them. Also, miraculous signs supported their message and ministry.

Many in Charismatic and Pentecostal circles today observe that Jesus continues to personally work with his church and that he continues bless us with signs, wonders, and healings which accompany and confirm the preaching of the Gospel in all the World. Therefore, for many Christians the message of Mark 16:15-20 continues to be confirmed in the life of the church.

 

Scholarship Notes and Conclusions On The 9-20 Text

All of the modern English versions of the Bible note that Mark 16:9-20 is not contained in some of the earliest and most reliable NT manuscripts. Verses 9-20 have come to be known as the ‘Longer Ending’ of Mark since there are shorter endings in some of the manuscripts. But what exactly does that mean for us–for those who believe, read, study, and teach the Bible? Let’s take a look at this issue:

All of the major New Testament textual scholars in the last 50 years (who have spent a lifetime looking at the ancient texts in the original languages) have cited problems with the manuscript history of verses 9-20.  Nearly every major Bible scholar from every major seminary, including all of the Evangelical and conservative schools I am aware of, also observe that there are some problems, though they may disagree on what those problems really are.

Every Bible translation committee of every new English version made in the last 50+ years, some with 100’s of respected scholars, have supported some kind of notation about the difficulties in the textual history of verses 9-20.

The earliest mention of 9-20 in early Christian literature comes from Irenaeus (AD 184)  and Tatian’s Diatessaron in AD 172.  Justin Martyr (AD 160) may have earlier alluded to the passage but that is far from certain. Jerome did include the verses in his Latin Vulgate translation in AD 383 and that was probably one of the primary reasons it was ultimately included in the canon. However, later in life Jerome did observe that many of the Greek manuscripts did not have the verses in question.

The lack of references to 9-20 before 160 AD is cited as a reason to suspect that the verses were possibly a late addition. However, this is not entirely conclusive since it can be characterized as only evidence ‘from silence.’ 

Many scholars believe that a final page of the original manuscript may have been lost since the Gospel does not seem to end very well at verse 8, while some do hold that the original could well have ended at that verse. Other scholars have observed that the words, style, and content of verses 9-20 seem to have been written by a different author and view the verses as an early attempt to ‘finish’ the Gospel.  They note that Verse 9 seems rather abrupt in its continuation of the story.

To complicate the issue, there is also an alternate ending (called the ‘Shorter Ending’) that appears in some manuscripts. The textual evidence for this ending is even later and weaker–which seems to accentuate and prove that there is some sort of problem with the original text–here’s the entire ‘shorter’ reading:

“But they reported briefly to Peter and those with him all that they had been told. And after this Jesus himself sent out by means of them, from the east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.”

This does not mean that all these scholars are necessarily correct. In fact, it is all rather subjective and there is little agreement between any of them except that verses 9-20 were probably not part of the original.  Also, there are some who still champion the authenticity of the verses–here is a link to one Pastor who presents substantial evidence in support of 9-20.

Conclusions: Most scholars believe that the original ending may have been lost, if it didn’t end at verse 8, and that these verses  (9-20) could have been a later attempt by someone else to ‘finish’ the Gospel. Presently, we don’t know for sure when these verses became part of the text and probably never will know this side of Heaven and barring any providential textual discovery.

What does this mean for Christians who believe that the Bible is the Word of God, including the Gospel of Mark?  Should verses 9-20 be taken out of the Holy writ? For all practical purposes, the opinions of many of the ‘scholars’ seem to border on that and leave us hanging with what we should do with the verses. Plus, there is no ultimate Christian forum today that can address a canonical issue like this.

How I believe We Should Respond to the 9-20 Textual Problem:

1.  The verses were part of Mark when it was canonized by the church.

2.  I have preached and have taught the verses in question in the past and will continue to do so.  It continues to be part of the canon as far as I am concerned. Though the difficulties should always be noted. 

3.  I personally believe that verses 9-20 were probably written in the first century and reflect authentic early Christian apostolic tradition and should continue to be recognized as part of Mark even if they might have been written by a different author.

4.  I would caution however that these verses should never be a major ‘stand alone’ text for creating theology and practice. For example, the sects who use snakes in their worship and cite verse 18 are not only going beyond the context of the text here but will find no support for it anywhere else in the Bible.

Previous Lesson: Lesson 17: Mark -Chapter 15

-This concludes our Lessons on the Gospel of Mark 

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-Devotion and Prayer for the Day: Proverbs 15: 16-33

by Dr. D ~ March 22nd, 2019

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Join us in today’s prayer and devotion: -Praying Thru Proverbs: 15: 16-33:

16 Better is a little with the fear of the Lord
than great treasure and trouble with it.
17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is
than a fattened ox and hatred with it.
18 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. … 
28 The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
29 The Lord is far from the wicked,
but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
30 The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,
and good news refreshes[c] the bones.
31 The ear that listens to life-giving reproof
will dwell among the wise.
32 Whoever ignores instruction despises himself,
but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.
33 The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom,
and humility comes before honor. –ESV

Continue: <Link to the rest on our Prayer & Devotion page>

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-Devotion and Prayer for the Day: Proverbs 15: 1-15

by Dr. D ~ March 21st, 2019

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Join us in today’s prayer and devotion: -Praying Thru Proverbs: 15: 1-15:

15 A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good.
4 A gentle[a] tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
5 A fool despises his father’s instruction,
but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.
6 In the house of the righteous there is much treasure,
but trouble befalls the income of the wicked. …
15 All the days of the afflicted are evil,
but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast. –ESV

Continue: <Link to the rest on our Prayer & Devotion page>

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-Devotion and Prayer for the Day: Proverbs 14: 20-35

by Dr. D ~ March 20th, 2019

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Join us in today’s prayer and devotion: -Praying Thru Proverbs: 14: 20-35:

20 The poor is disliked even by his neighbor,
but the rich has many friends.
21 Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner,
but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.
22 Do they not go astray who devise evil?
Those who devise good meet[e] steadfast love and faithfulness. …
26 In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence,
and his children will have a refuge.
27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
that one may turn away from the snares of death.
28 In a multitude of people is the glory of a king,
but without people a prince is ruined.
29 Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding,
but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
30 A tranquil[f] heart gives life to the flesh,
but envy[g] makes the bones rot. …
34 Righteousness exalts a nation,
but sin is a reproach to any people.
35 A servant who deals wisely has the king’s favor,
but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully. –ESV

Continue: <Link to the rest on our Prayer & Devotion page>

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-Devotion and Prayer for the Day: Proverbs 14: 1-19

by Dr. D ~ March 19th, 2019

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Join us in today’s prayer and devotion: -Praying Thru Proverbs: 14: 1-19:

14 The wisest of women builds her house,
but folly with her own hands tears it down.
2 Whoever walks in uprightness fears the Lord,
but he who is devious in his ways despises him.
3 By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back,[a]
but the lips of the wise will preserve them.
4 Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.
5 A faithful witness does not lie,
but a false witness breathes out lies. …
12 There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.[c]…
18 The simple inherit folly,
but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
19 The evil bow down before the good,
the wicked at the gates of the righteous. –ESV

Continue: <Link to the rest on our Prayer & Devotion page>

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-Devotion and Prayer for the Day: Proverbs 13: 13-25

by Dr. D ~ March 18th, 2019

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Join us in today’s prayer and devotion: -Praying Thru Proverbs: 13: 13-25:

13 Whoever despises the word[e] brings destruction on himself,
but he who reveres the commandment[f] will be rewarded.
14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
that one may turn away from the snares of death.
15 Good sense wins favor,
but the way of the treacherous is their ruin.[g]
16 Every prudent man acts with knowledge,
but a fool flaunts his folly. …
24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.[i]
25 The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite,
but the belly of the wicked suffers want. –ESV

Continue: <Link to the rest on our Prayer & Devotion page>

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-Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2019

by Dr. D ~ March 17th, 2019

Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2019. Here’s our traditional post for this holiday- “The Real Story of St. Patrick”:

The Real Story of St. Patrick

image Happy St. Patrick’s Day! A day to go to your favorite pub, eat corned beef and cabbage and wash it all down with plenty of green beer. Oh yes–a day of parades and celebration of Irish nationality.

But who was this St. Patrick anyway? A man born into a Roman Christian family in Wales around 385 AD with a given name of Macwyn Succat. He didn’t make it to Ireland until he was kidnapped at 16 and enslaved by Irish bandits. After six years of service he heard a voice from God instructing him to escape slavery and make it back home.

He did miraculously escape and went on to study at a Christian seminary to become a Priest. Then had a vision from God to return to Ireland as a missionary.

There were really no Christians at the time in Ireland and he singlehandedly established the church in that country while refusing tribute and support from the noblemen and kings. He converted and baptized thousands of pagans, and ordained hundreds of Priests and set up an untold number of Christian communities and churches.

He is recognized by all major Christian churches–Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, and Anglican since he ministered before the church divided into all the different denominations we have today. So Protestants have just as great a claim on him as Catholics. And those of us who have Welsh blood running through our veins have as much right to claim St. Patrick as any Irishman.

Rather than a day with a built-in excuse to get drunk, I believe that it is a day for Christians to celebrate the reality and continual miracles of the Christian faith. A day to celebrate that God continues to give visions and directions to missionaries even today.

St. Patrick transformed an entire nation bringing the Gospel to an Island in darkness. Missionaries today continue to leave the comforts of home and family to spread the word of Jesus Christ to every nation in the world.  That is the real legacy of Macwyn Succat also known as St. Patrick.                *Top

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-Weekly Bible Study: Mark 15

by Dr. D ~ March 16th, 2019
Bibles027

Gospel of Mark

Lesson 17: Mark -Chapter 15

Previous Lesson: Lesson 16: Mark -Chapter 14: 27-72

First read Mark 15 all the way through.

The ‘Supernatural’ Acts and Events in  Mark 15:

Things you don’t see everyday:

Verse 33:

-There was darkness over the whole land while Jesus was being crucified.

Verse 38:

-Curtain of the Temple is Torn in two. (supernatural)

Verse 39:

– Centurion prophetically proclaims: Truly this man was the Son of God!

 

Now read it again in detail along with the Notes and Commentary below:

Notes and Commentary:

I.  Jesus On Trial: Before Pilate –Verses 1-15

     Verses 1-5:  The Sanhedrin had made it’s decision. Now they send Jesus to Pilate hoping that he will agree to carry out their sentence. However, Pilate is not about to rubber stamp their ‘religious’ condemnation. He proceeds to judge for himself.

The Jewish leaders say that this Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah- an heir of King David. If so, then this could be treason and this Jesus might be leading a revote against Rome. The chief priests made all sorts of charges against this Jesus but the ‘King’ charge is the only one that really concerns him. Pilate asks Jesus: "Are you the King of the Jews?"

Jesus barely responds: "You have said so." Then he declines to answer any further. This is totally shocking to Pilate. However, he sees no real basis for condemning this man to death.

At this point in the Gospel of Luke, Pilate finds out that Jesus was from Galilee so sends him off to be judged by Herod Antipas the Tetrarch ruler over that area. Herod sends Jesus back and honors Pilate with the responsibility for this man.

     Verses 6-14:  Pilate then seeks to find a way to release Jesus since he finds no merit in the charges. He decides to offer him up as the prisoner who receives the traditional reprieve for Passover. However, the chief priests stir up the crowd to ask for the release of Barabbas instead. The plans of Pilate are frustrated. Even worse, Barabbas really was an insurrectionist against Rome and a robber. He really did deserve his sentence.

Pilate then asks the crowd what he should do with Jesus: "Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?" The crowd responses: "Crucify him." Pilate asks: "Why, what evil has he done?" But the crowd continues to shout all the more: "Crucify him."

For years, I have wondered who the people were that made up this crowd. After all, a few days ago people were cheering Jesus as a King when he came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Also, the chief priests were afraid of the people and were careful to arrest Jesus in the middle of the night hoping to prevent a riot. Neither did they challenge Jesus and stop him from clearing and teaching in the Temple. The crowd must have been comprised of zealot supporters of Barabbas and stooges of the Sanhedrin.

     Verse 15:  Pilate is left with few alternatives. He decides to make the best of a bad situation and gain the favor of the Jewish religious leaders and the crowd. He already said that Jesus really wasn’t guilty of anything and yet he sentences Jesus to be crucified. Note: The Gospel of Matthew records the famous scene of Pilate washing his hands of the situation. Nevertheless, the legal and moral responsibility remained all his. He could have released Jesus, he had the power, and he had already had him tortured but he sent him on to be crucified.

The Gospel of John (19:1-6) tells us that he had Jesus scourged first before he brought him back and asked: "…what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?" Pilate was probably hoping that the punishment would be enough to satisfy them. Anyone who saw the movie: "The Passion", observed how brutal that punishment really was. However as it turned out, Jesus ended up suffering through both.

II.  The Mocking of Jesus by the Roman Soldiers –Verses 16-21

     Verses 16-20:  The Roman soldiers came and led Jesus away to the Army headquarters in the Palace. Notice it says that the whole battalion was called in. Obviously they were concerned about any possible backlash from the followers of Jesus.

Several soldiers were probably guarding Jesus when he was being judged by Pilate. They heard the claim that he was supposed to be some kind of ‘King of the Jews’ and told the rest of their company about Jesus.

The Roman soldiers stationed in Judea generally despised the Jews because they acted so uppity and usually treated them as untouchables. Here was their chance to have some fun with one of these royal pains. From a Jewish perspective, the Romans were occupiers and oppressors. Also, the more religious, like the Pharisees did not want to have anything to do with ‘Gentiles’ in general because they considered them to be ‘unclean’.

A purple robe was a sign of wealth and royalty. Purple cloth was difficult and expensive to produce in the ancient world. It could well have been one of Pilate’s old robes that he had thrown away. It is hard to imagine that they would have put a robe like that in good condition on Jesus. Notice the games that the real King of the universe had to endure: mock homage and salutes, mixed with spitting and striking-a real scene of revelry.  One day these soldiers and everyone else will genuinely bow down to Jesus:

“so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  –Philippians 2:10-11 (ESV)

Finally they take the robe away and put his own clothes back on him and then lead him away to be crucified.

     Verse 21:  It was customary for condemned man to carry his own cross through the streets of Jerusalem on out to the hill outside the city gates where the prisoners were executed-called Golgotha. Along the way Jesus was no longer able to carry his own cross, so the soldiers grabbed a passerby and forced him to carry it for Jesus.

Mark identifies the cross bearer as Simon of Cyrene. Cyrene was an important city in what is today Libya, and had a large Jewish community at the time. So Simon could have been a Jewish pilgrim visiting in Jerusalem for the Passover. It is also possible that he lived in Jerusalem but was known as Simon of Cyrene because he originally came from there. This could be the case, since Mark and his readers were acquainted with his two sons Alexander and Rufus who obviously were part of the Christian community when the gospel was written.

III.  Details of the Crucifixion Setup –Verses 22-28

     Verse 22:  They took Jesus to Golgotha (place of the skull). It was probably so named because it was a rounded hill top that was devoid of vegetation. In Jerusalem today there is a hilltop thought to be the possible location with impressions beneath that remind one of eye sockets. The actual site of course is uncertain.

     Verse 23:  They offer Jesus wine mixed with Myrrh, but he doesn’t take it. Tradition is that pious women in Jerusalem provided the wine as an anesthetic to all condemned criminals as an offering of mercy. Jesus chooses to face death with a clear mind. Besides, he had told his disciples at the Last Supper that it was the last time he would eat or drink with them in this life.

     Verses 24-25:  "And they crucified him.." -Meaning that they nailed him to the cross and placed it upright in position. In the process, the soldiers stripped him of his clothes and gambled over his garments. A fulfillment of Psalm 22:18.

"And it was the third hour.." -That would place the time at around 9:00 am in the morning.

     Verse 26:  The Roman charge against Jesus was treason- that Jesus was perceived to be a contender for the throne of Judea: "The King of the Jews". In Roman executions it was traditional to have a sign naming the charge, called the ‘titulus’ in Latin, which was carried with the prisoner to the execution site and then nailed above his head for all to see.

The title: "King of the Jews" rankled the Jewish leaders as we can see in John’s account (John 19:19-22). Pilate was obviously pulling their chains. However, the title is accurate. Jesus was the heir of David and he is coming one day to literally reign in Jerusalem.

     Verses 27:  Jesus was placed between two ‘robbers’. The Greek word here for robber can also mean "insurrectionist". Since mere robbery was not a capitol offense, some scholars believe that the second word is the preferred meaning.

Many historians believe that the execution was previously arranged with Barabbas in mind (he was a ‘Zealot’ insurrectionist), Jesus was inserted into the plan as a substitute. The Romans many times would crucify criminals together that were guilty of similar crimes. Barabbas would have been at home with this group while Jesus stands out as unique. Which is fitting.

     Verse 28And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “He was numbered with the transgressors” –This verse is missing in all of the earliest and most reliable Greek manuscripts. Most scholars believe that it was a notation made by a copyist that was inserted into the text in later copies. All of the modern editions of the Bible have either dropped the verse or footnoted it. Nevertheless, it does represent a truth, the placing of Jesus between the two robbers could be considered to be a fulfillment of Is. 53:12. Also, Luke 22:37 does record it.

IV.  The Crucifixion –Verses 29-32

     Verses 29-32:  It is hard to imagine what Jesus was feeling while he was dying on the cross and all these people were standing around making fun of him. How barbaric! It is difficult for me to understand how people could be that way while a person is obviously suffering and dying. Some of the recent scenes of terror and videotaped beheading from the Middle East seem to be in the same category. How does one learn to hate in this way? I thank God for the Holy Spirit which leads all believers to love one another and even their enemies.

"Come down for the cross" -what a diabolical taunt. The fact is he did save others and it was in his own power to save himself. What a temptation! The chief priests and scribes are challenging him here to come down and demonstrate that he really is the Messiah. He could have done it and what a surprise that would have been. What would they have said then? Would they have finally believed? Probably not. Nevertheless, he followed the plan of his Father and died on the cross for everyone and for all time.

As a final insult, even those dying on the cross next to him were involved in the taunting. Luke tells us that later one of the criminals recanted and received a promise of life in Paradise from Jesus.

V.  The Death of Jesus –Verses 33-41

     Verse 33:  Darkness fell upon the whole land from noon to 3 PM as Jesus was dying on the cross.

     Verses 34-36:  At 3 PM Jesus cried out in Aramaic: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" -this is a direct quote of Psalm 22:1. Some of the bystanders misunderstood what Jesus said and thought that maybe he was calling for Elijah to come and save him.

Most Bible teachers believe that it was at that very moment that God the Father placed upon his Son Jesus, all the sins of the world of every generation from the beginning to the end. For the first time in his life, Jesus was feeling the agony of separation from his Father. The scriptural penalty of sin is eternal separation from God. At that moment, Jesus paid the penalty for us all.

Sour wine was part of the daily allotment of the Roman soldiers, so it would have been readily available. John 19:28 tells us that Jesus said: "I thirst" -so the wine was probably given in response.

Jesus cries out and then dies. John records the last cry as: "It is finished" (John 19:30). Mathew tells us that immediately there was an earthquake (Matt. 27:51).

     Verse 38:  At the death of Jesus, the great curtain that separated the holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was torn in two. The curtain was huge and exceedingly thick. The tearing of the curtain would have caused a major problem for the temple priests.

Only the High Priest was allowed to enter the holiest place once a year, the presence of God was said to be there. The rendering of the door that separated one from the presence of God symbolized the beginning of a new covenant. A covenant where regular people could have access to the Father through faith and commitment to the Son. A human intermediary or priest is no longer needed. Jesus himself being both our High Priest and the sacrificial lamb bringing atonement for our sins, for now and forever.

     Verse 39:  A Roman centurion testifies: "Truly this man was the Son of God!" Whether the Roman meant it in the way that we Christians read it today is uncertain. Nevertheless, it was a prophetic statement of truth. One wonders how all the chief priests and scribes were responding to the darkened sky and to the earthquake that shook their precious temple and really changed the perception of their religion forever. After all, there is no longer any temple and the temple sacrifices have ceased long ago in 69/70 AD.

     Verses 40-41:  It is interesting that a number of women are mention here that followed Jesus from Galilee and did not shrink from being present at his execution. There is no doubt that they may have been hoping for a different ending. Nevertheless, they were faithful to Jesus to the very end. Mary Magdalene we are familiar with, and Salome is the mother of the Apostles James and John. However, Mary the mother of James the younger and Joses we know of only here at the crucifixion.

This does leave us with some questions. Where were all the Apostles? John was there supporting Mary the mother of Jesus. We also know that Peter was hanging on in the back some where. What about the rest? I wonder if Judas showed up? We can only speculate.

VI.  The Burial of Jesus –Verses 42-47

     Verse 42:  Preparation Day- Friday before sunset was called the day of preparation since food and provisions were prepared ahead of time for the Sabbath (Friday sunset to Saturday sunset).

     Verse 43:  Joseph of Arimathea was a respected member of the Sanhedrin and a closet follower of Jesus. He was looking for the Kingdom of God and probably hoped that Jesus was the promised Messiah. He boldly goes to Pilate and asks for the body of Jesus. What an act of incredible courage. He has nothing to gain and everything to lose. His associates on the council would have condemned his actions for sure. Being closely identified with one who was crucified as a ‘traitor’ would not commend him to the Romans either.

     Verses 44-45:  Pilate is surprised and checks to see if Jesus was already dead. The centurion confirms that Jesus is dead. This is major a testimony! The Roman soldiers knew how to kill people, they were experts. They also knew when someone was dead or maybe just unconscious. Jesus was dead. There go all the modern theories about Jesus coming too later and living a life as a regular person. According to the Roman centurion, Jesus was dead. So Pilate gave permission to Joseph to take the body.

One wonders where all of the disciples of Jesus were? Why didn’t any of them come for the body? It was fortunate that Joseph of Arimathea came for Jesus because the Romans rarely surrendered the bodies of executed criminals to their friends or family. It is remarkable that Pilate surrendered the body of Jesus to Joseph.

     Verse 46:  Joseph had Jesus taken down and he wrapped his body in a new linen shroud. Then he took him and laid him in a new tomb carved in rock and had the rock rolled in front of the entrance and closed up. According to the Gospel of John (19:39-42), Nicodemus helped Joseph. Matthew (27:60) tells us that the tomb was made for Joseph.

     Verse 47:  As an interesting side note, apparently Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed the removal and burial of Jesus and made plans to complete the preparation of the body on Sunday morning after the Sabbath was complete. But that was Friday, the whole world changed once and for all Sunday morning.

 

-Read: Mark 16: 1-8 for the next lesson.

Previous Lesson: Lesson 16: Mark -Chapter 14: 27-72

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