What did I learn about Jesus?
- Jesus was alone and deserted on the cross.
- If we ever feel lonely, we can know that Jesus has experienced loneliness too.
What did I learn about disciple-making?
- Through his death on the cross Jesus reconciled his disciples to God, so that even when he left, God could still be with them through his Spirit.
- We, as Jesus’ disciples, are never alone, because God’s Spirit is always with us.
Extended thoughts and observations from Pastor Mark:
As I read this very familiar chapter, it struck me how very alone and deserted Jesus must have felt. Before this, in 14, Judas betrays him; in 50, ‘everyone deserted him and fled.’ The young man in 14.51 (maybe Mark) fled naked. Peter disowned him.
Now in 15-the Jewish leaders betray their Messiah, the crowd (how many cried “Hosanna” a week earlier?) chooses a murderer over Jesus; Pilate, who clearly finds no fault, caves to the pressure of the crowd; the soldiers can’t pass up the opportunity to bully, torture and humiliate him and, ultimately, Jesus even felt like the Father Himself had abandoned him with perhaps the saddest words in the Bible, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Surely, no person in history ever felt more alone than Jesus in this moment? What love is this that the God of creation would endure such isolation and pain for me?
And yet, we have the isolated souls who step up to help…or at least, seemed to help.
- Simon carries his crossbeam; what must it have been like for him to one day say, “I bore the cross for my savior who died on it”? Wow.
- Then there was the “one man” who filled a sponge with wine and offered it to Jesus. Was he being cruel…or was he being kind? “Leave him alone,” he tells the mockers. I’m not sure if he’s a good guy or not.
- The Centurion who is remembered as the first preacher of the gospel after Jesus’ death. “Surely this man was the Son of God!” From a Roman! Again, wow.
- The women…bless those faithful women…both named and unnamed, mentioned in 40-41. How I wish his MALE disciples had been as faithful and courageous as his FEMALE disciples were.
- But one was. Joseph of Arimathea, a religious leader who had everything to lose standing for Jesus but did so anyway, asking for his body, caring for it and burying it rather than allowing it to be desecrated– by birds as it hung on the cross and then by dumping it on the smoldering garbage pit as other criminals bodies were.
- And finally, twice-mentioned Mary Magdalene and twice-mentioned Mary of Joses, witnesses to his burial. Again, faithfulness!
We NEVER know whether we will be brave until the moment of persecution or mockery comes. Oh, that I might bravely stand by the Christ who laid down his life for me! God make me brave.