KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.” (Mark 15:39)
The final chapters of Mark contain the account of the most crucial event of all time: Jesus’ ultimate deed of servanthood. Chapters 14 and 15 are sometimes called the “passion narrative,” and offer Mark’s account of the events that were preliminary to Jesus’ death, His Crucifixion, and details regarding His burial. Chapter 16 gives the Resurrection story.
Not one of the events that transpired was an accident, nor was Jesus a victim. The plotting of the religious leaders, the betrayal by Judas, the trials, the mocking and physical abuse, and the agony of the Cross were all foretold by the prophets. Jesus willingly submitted Himself and was obedient to His Father’s plan, thereby making it possible for all people to be delivered from sin and death.
The city of Jerusalem was exceedingly crowded during this final week before the Crucifixion, because Passover had to be observed there. Jesus’ nights during this time were spent either on the Mount of Olives, where the Garden of Gethsemane was located, or in Bethany, a city about two miles from Jerusalem on the east side of the Mount of Olives.
After Jesus’ betrayal by Judas, arrest, and the mockery of a trial, Mark tells how Jesus was led away to be crucified. Crucifixion was an agonizing and degrading form of punishment used by the Roman government. Jesus died about 3:00 p.m. on Friday, and was buried quickly before the Sabbath began at 6:00 p.m.
On Sunday morning, the angel inside the tomb declared the message that contains hope for every person: “He is risen.” Because Jesus conquered death, every soul has the opportunity to have eternal life.
The death and Resurrection of Christ was not just an event that occurred over two thousand years ago. The power of the Cross and of His Resurrection are real today and will give new life and hope to the one who will totally surrender, take up his cross, and follow Christ.