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April 2, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit continues the series entitled “Passion Week,” with a message titled “The Crucifixion” from Mark 15.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today on The Daily Platform.
Steve Pettit is with us.
Steve, what makes us weak and so special to you. Thank you David for that wonderful question because this is the most special weekend of the year for me personally because 45 years ago I was a freshman in college I attended a school in Charleston South Carolina called the Citadel military college, South Carolina, and during my freshman year I was on the varsity soccer team and my roommate on the team was also a freshman, became my best friend in college was a Christian. He became a believer. His senior year of high school and so during our freshman year, especially as we would go to soccer practice during the afternoons there and back.
We would talk about life and he would always bring up the gospel he would always talk about Christ would always talk about the need of salvation. Then I had heard the gospel allows in high school, but I have not responded.
And God was working in my life, undeniably, and so during those conversations.
I began to sense the need of of my own salvation I I had a sense of conviction over my own sinfulness. I came to believe that Jesus Christ truly was the son of God, that he died on the cross and rose from the dead, but but stepping across the line and believing was a whole another ball game. Well we came into our second semester, my and then into the spring during my freshman year and we had spring break and I went to Myrtle Beach South Carolina for the spring break weekend and it was really a miserable time of my life as I look back on it really was the grace of God at work in my heart and life to bring me to faith in Christ and on Easter Sunday 1975 I woke up early that morning and decided to drive home from Myrtle Beach to my home in Columbia.
I was driving down one of those lonely two lane highways in the low country of South Carolina turned on the radio was going to listen to the local rock station and I decided to listen to Christian radio station and I found a church service. I don't know who, what kind of church. It was her who the pastor was. I just remember hearing the choir singing and then the preacher preaching the preacher preached a very simple message he preached about sin. And like I was under conviction. II knew I was a sinner lost in need of a Savior. Then he began to preach about Jesus.
Any lifted Christ up in my mind on the cross and I felt like I was standing at the foot of the cross and as I looked in the cross and saw Jesus dying that moment.
I don't know if I so I'm dying for the world so I'm dying for me and it made sense to me. It was clear to me, and then he simply explain how Jesus rose from the dead, and this was Easter Sunday morning and that this was the day of the resurrection, and suddenly it dawned on me that Jesus Christ truly was the son of God. He did die for me. He did rise from the dead. This is the truth that I can believe it, or I can help and receive it. Or I can rejected and on that day Easter Sunday 1975 I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior. That's why this weekend is so special to me and so I hope you listen very carefully to this message on the crucifixion. As Christ is lifted up on the cross woman ask you take your Bibles and turn if you will please to the book of Mark chapter 15 and I'd like this morning to conclude our message as we talk about the crucifixion, as some of the events around it. We we see in the passage that we read this morning that this is actually centered around primarily what the Romans did Jesus and it really begins by talking about the soldiers that led him away and then and then 11 times Mark uses the word today so is talking about the Romans in their treatment of Jesus.
There is no direct speech recorded in here, it's just action and it's all done in silence is written, what we call the historic Pres. present, which means that it's it's as if it's happening right now. It's like you're right there and obviously God intends for us to look into. Listen, because he wants us in our minds and our hearts to watch Jesus because the work of the Holy Spirit is to make Jesus real to us. Jesus was tried in 2 quarts, a religious court in a civil court before the Jews and before the Romans in both courts. He was condemned to die in the religious court. He was condemned for blasphemy because he claimed that he was the Messiah, the son of God and the Son of Man in the civil court. He was condemned to die for treason because he claimed to be the king of the Jews. What we read this morning actually proceeded to trial before Pontius Pilate. Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor and essentially he did two things to Jesus.
Number one he had them scourged and number two he had condemned to be crucified. What was scourging, what usually preceded crucifixion. It consisted of a severe beating with a multi-last will that contain contained embedded in the latches should she bone in metal.
Many men died during scourging.
The second was a crucifixion, the crucifixion was a form of capital punishment for those that that violated crimes against the government. It was invented to make death as miserable as possible. It was invented to be a deterrent to crime so people would not commit crime is going to die by crucifixion. When a person was crucified, they were nailed to a cross often times they would hang on the cross for days. I didn't die immediately, was intended to be very painful. You died.
Often times, because of drowning because your lungs were filled with your own fluid and that's how you died. So the passage that we read this morning we find it pilot is just scourged Jesus in these condemned in the die by crucifixion and so that's where the scene picks is actually two scenes. The first scene is in the governor's headquarters called Pretoria. This is a scene where the entire Roman read here in the Scriptures is banned, but it is the is the word cohort and in today's language, it would be like an army battalion somewhere around 600 troops. I don't think they were all there, but but we can say that there were literally hundreds of soldiers that were there.
It became a scene of major abuse towards Jesus and in the end they bowed their knees and worship him in a mocking way by saying, hail, King of the Jews. The second scene occurs at a place called Golgotha, which is called the place of the skull. This is where Jesus was crucified outside the city walls of Jerusalem and they are the Roman soldiers nailed Jesus to a cross and then they posted a plaque above his head cleared his Chargers accusation that was written against him and it says the king of the Jews. So in both scenes, we see the king of the Jews.
One group they are bowing before in the other and is posting who he claimed to be. Mark is saying here what he's been saying all along because in this passage of Scripture. We actually see the theme of Mark unfolded. What is the thing.
The primary theme is that Jesus is God's son, who is God's suffering servant. The secondary theme is that this is a message for all of us as disciples is Jesus working to follow him. We have to guide ourselves, take up our cross and follow him.
So this morning we will see these two things come out very clearly in the passage of Scripture.
In the end result is for us to worship the King, the first thing Mark reveals is who Jesus is that Jesus is the true King and when you look at lease scenes you can look at it from three different ways three different viewpoints or three different sets of eyes. The first viewpoint is a viewpoint of mockery. Mark tells us that this is what's happening on the most natural or surface level.
Verse 17 and they closed him with purple and platted a crown of thorns and put it up on his head and began to salute him. Hail, King of the Jews and they smote him on the head with a root credence is sped up, running and bowing their knees worship him. And when they had mocked him.
This is the viewpoint of Shirley the Romans. That's how they would've viewed it to mock means to ridicule it means to make fun of someone by pretending that he's not what he is or by imitating him in a distorted manner.
So the Roman soldiers mock Jesus for his claim to be king. The mockery included the purple robe aerobic royalty, a crown of thorns and bowing their knees so there's the viewpoint of mockery.
Then there's the viewpoint of irony. I think that's really what what Mark is intending to do here. Irony is the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite. So think with me. The purple robe the scepter the crown there. All artifacts of loyalty, hail, King of the Jews is really a public salutation. He is the king of the Jews and when the soldiers mock him, they were actually telling the truth that the iron is a reader of the book of Mark, you and I reading it. As Christians, we see that we see that what they were doing mockery was actually the opposite. It's the truth that they were confessing. But then there's 1/3 viewpoint and that's God's and how did God view this event and here's what I want to make clear everything that takes place is as God intended is the viewpoint of sovereignty.
You see, what we read this morning is not a mistake what happened Jesus is not a series of unfortunate events. I want to really bonded in our mind. This is God's sovereign plan. This is what God intended.
And how do we know that because the entire event had already been prophesied.
It was prophesied by Jesus three times in Mark's gospel chapter 8, nine and 10, along with his final prediction at the Last Supper where he would give his body and his blood memorialized in the bread and the wine of the meal at least four times. Jesus prophesied how he was going to die.
This is exactly what God intended. But not only did Jesus prophesied.
But the Old Testament did. For example let's take the mockery Psalm 22 verse seven all to see me, market me. They make mouths at me, they wag their heads. Consider the parting of his garments in the casting of his lots prophesied in Psalm 2218 they did divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast long and then consider even as Marx stated it that the two thieves hanging on either side of Jesus was prophesied in Isaiah 53 in verse 12 he was numbered with the transgressors.
Folks, what is God trying to say this whole event exactly what happened is exactly what God planned. We read it this morning that Jesus was crucified at the third hour. That's 9 AM in the morning, three hours after 6 AM, but what we read it we read only Mark's gospel is that it's actually according to schedule because it says in verse 25 that he was crucified at the third hour at the sixth hour in verse 33. It says that it became dark in the land and then in verse 34 at the ninth hour he died.
He died at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Jesus was only on the cross six hours nine in the morning to three in the afternoon and while three in the afternoon because folks that is the time of the evening sacrifice. When every morning and every evening they sacrifice the lamb as a burnt offering and folks God is trying to show us that this was all in his trying schedule and so what appears to be a mistake in the mistreatment of Jesus was the sovereign plan of God. Therefore, folks. The road that led to the cross was God's path for his son to be the king.
How did Jesus become the king through this way you could say this was his installation service as the King of King so the soldiers scourging him.
The soldiers spitting on him.
The soldiers striking him was a part of God's liturgy is order of service for his coronation because Jesus is crown is across in Jesus's throne is a tree and from a human standpoint. The Romans crucified Jesus from a divine perspective.
The Romans crown to Ms. King when they nailed him to the cross and how opposite is that of the way that we all think we don't think this way. Why because his ways are not our ways. God's thoughts are not our thoughts. This is not man's wisdom. This is God's wisdom don't you see how smart God is and through the cross. What do we gain. We gained the right opinion, why viewpoint of who Jesus is on the cross. What happens, he becomes our Redeemer. She becomes our sacrifice, she becomes our propitiation, she becomes our ransom. Thank God he becomes our key. No wonder Paul said in Galatians 614 but God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ among the world's crucified on to me and I to the world biblical worship is always a cross focused worship, to be honest with you the atmosphere that we've experienced here in the services this week particularly. Today is the way that we properly approached God we approach him with reference and respect and a sense of fear and all and trembling and love we worship a crucified king.
We view all the benefits and the blessings of Jesus through the cross. So the Romans who had ironically mocked and crucified Jesus became God's tool for the accomplishment of his sovereign purposes. All worship the King dies. He said hi on the throne of your own heart. Is that where Jesus is today. But then there's a second thing which is because what is Mark's theme. The Mark's theme is is about the true King, but he also shows us in this passage. What a true disciple is this something new is not like Jesus is never told in this.
He's been telling this that's all. In Mark chapter 8 verse 34. He gets clear requirements to be his disciple. If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. At this point in Mark's gospel where the 12 disciples how well have they done at this point they miserably fail God's commands. One is betray Jesus. One is denied Jesus and all the others ran away from Jesus so has God's purpose and plan failed because his disciples failed know because we later learned that they actually come back and they learned that their faithfulness is not found in their own ability and strength, but in God's faith. I want to be very clear that God's standard for discipleship is not changed because his disciples failed God's standard remains the same. In this passage, Mark uses a writing technique I believe to arrest our attention into illustrator illustrate this point and what is the technique is a contrast between the insiders and the outsiders who are the insiders was those that are closest to Jesus. That would include of course his disciples and even his family.
These were those who knew Jesus past they had spent time with him. They were intimately close to him. But what about the outsiders who were these these were mentioned throughout the gospel of Mark like the maniac of Madera blind Bart Emmaus and the sorrow Phoenician woman. These are those who came to Christ, and they followed him without any apparent our previous knowledge or Jesus or relationship with Jesus. And here's the point that Mark is making is that the outsiders quickly modeled the true followers of Christ. Where is the insiders were very slow and reluctant to follow Jesus and often did not model discipleship.
I say that to you this morning is a crowd of most of you are insiders remember when I came here as a student at Bob Jones University II felt like a total outsider total outside in my mind is ironic that on the president. I'm serious about that.
I didn't grow up in a Christian home.
I did go to Christian school, I didn't. I didn't have Christian parents I got saved in college I didn't even get into a Christian education until I was 22 years old when I came to Bob Jones of the total outsider, but you what I've learned. I have learned that it doesn't matter if you're an insider and outsider, it matters what you do. Jesus, are you gonna really follow him because there some of you have grown up with all your life and in the truth is a light seven even turned on for you and there are others of you that have come here and you you sort of feel like I'm not really an insider. You know I'm not a legacy student. My parents didn't go to school here is as if that gives you one up with Jesus.
And what we see in Mark is that God is no respecter of persons, and even though Jesus is inside disciples failed. Mark Mark illustrates for us true discipleship. In this passage through to outsiders who are the outsiders we arty know who they are.
Number one was a Manning Simon of Cyrene, the Bible says that they compel one Simon a Cyrene, and who pass by coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus to bear his cross. Whenever a man was condemned to die by crucifixion.
He was forced to carry his own cross. It was just the cross beam, not the upright piece called the Stites was called the particular him he had to carry the weight of 100 pounds on his back to the site of execution Jesus began to carry his cross to this place of execution. It was called Golgotha, the place of a skull either because it looked like a skull or there literally were skulls there.
There were bones there when Jesus carried his cross today. If you were to go to Jerusalem, there's the way of the cross of the Via Dolorosa, perhaps because of weakness and blood loss during the scourging Jesus was not able to carry the particular him so a man passing by name Simon of Cyrene was conscripted by the Roman soldiers to carry Jesus.
Cyrene was off the coast of North Africa in Libya today. Perhaps Simon was a man of color in Mark uniquely mentions not only Simon but he mentions his sons Alexander and Rufus.
Why because because Mark is writing to Christians in Rome and we don't know anything about Alexander. We really don't know that much about Simon but we know that there was a man in the church of Rome, who was called for. Paul writes in Romans 1613 greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord.
Also, his mother, who is been a mother to me as well.
So most people believe that this roof is identified in the book of Romans is who he's talking about here in the in the gospel of Mark.
So it appears that Simon was a revered disciple of Jesus in the minds of the Romans in Simon is mentioned immediately following Jesus being led out to be crucified, why to reinforce the distinguishing mark of discipleship here to take up your cross and follow Jesus. And that is exactly what Simon did. Simon becomes the first person in Mark literally to fulfill this command for Mark discipleship is not a symbolic gesture is a concrete command. If you're going to follow Jesus Christ. You have to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow him. God is not going to change his demands for discipleship. But then there's a second illustration that's found in verse 27, and these are also outsiders because their thieves and so we read and when, and with him. They crucified two thieves. The one on his right hand and the other on the left.
What do these two dying thieves remind us of. Perhaps you recall back in chapter 10 after Jesus predicted his crucifixion, James and John came to Jesus with an unusual request.
Remember what they said they said, Master, we were that you should do for us whatever we desire. And Jesus said what would G that I should do for you and they said unto him grant under us that we may set one on your right hand and the other on your left hand in glory with James and John wanted to sit with with Jesus when he entered into his raining glory and the perception in their mind of Jesus's glory was a throne and a crown. But they did not realize that his glory was actually a tree and across and so Jesus tells them that is not in his power to give them those places of honor. However, he could offer them something and what was that Jesus said you don't know what you're asking. Can you drink of the cup that I drink up and be baptized with the baptism that I baptize with and they said unto him, we can.
Jesus said you shall indeed drink the cup and with the baptism I baptize with you shall be baptized but to sit on my right hand on my left hand is not mine to give, but it bit shall be given to them for whom it is prepared this place in the story. Every reader would remember what James and John requested in light of the disciples failure and Simon of Cyrene cross bearing becomes quite clear that the position on either side of Jesus in Jerusalem is not a position of power, but it is a sharing in his stuff. Jesus could not guarantee James and John.
The position that they requested. However, he could gain he could guarantee them a share in his sufferings which would guarantee a position on either side of Jesus, like the two thieves. Paul tells us if we suffer, we shall also reign with him. We reign through suffering. This is how Jesus became the true King and this is how you and I become true disciples. Could I encourage you to do something over the next couple of days.
Take these two chapters Mark 1415 and just read them through.
Let the word of God soak into your heart and soul take the passage that has to do with the crucifixion and just think about it, let it roll over your heart and wake up Sunday morning fired up because this same King who died on the tree walked out of a grave alive. First time I went to Jerusalem.
I'll never forget.
I was able to go to the tomb where Jesus was buried and I walked into the two there's a placard on the door as you enter in the tomb and it says these words it says he is not here, for he is risen. The empty tomb is the testimony that he is the true King folks we do not worship a dead man.
We worship a resurrected King. He is the Lord he is the king and it is in him that we have the power to be a true disciple of Jesus.
Father, we praise you for your word and we thank you for what you done on the cross, Lord, grant us a spirit of reverence and fear in all and worship glory in your cross in Jesus name, amen.
By listening friend. Can I ask you a question. Have you received the crucified resurrected Jesus as your own personal savior. No doubt God is speaking to your heart. There's a knock on the door of your heart and he's asking to come in. Would you personally individually right now.
Call upon the name of the Lord ask Jesus to be your savior for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Let me urge you to do that right now. May God bless you from all of us here at The Daily Platform radio program.
Consider the words he is risen he is risen indeed as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ this weekend