Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mark 15: Curious Facts about Jesus' Crucifixion

Mark 15:23-24, 37-38 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him.. With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 

There are two curious facts in the Mark's account of Jesus' crucifixion:

1) Jesus was offered wine mixed with myrrh: Jesus was offered wine mixed with myrrh before he was crucified. This concoction was supposed to be analgesic, given to those to be crucified to help alleviate the pain. But Jesus refused it! Jesus' self-sacrifice was to suffer all the pain and agony of the Cross on behalf of sinful man in order to redeem them. To alleviate the pain would be to undermine the process of redemption because he came to bear the full brunt of divine wrath upon Himself so that nothing is left for us to take.

2) Temple curtain torn into two from top to bottom : Another curious fact is that the temple curtain separating the Most Holy Place (where only the high priest could enter once a year) and the Holy Place (where all the other priests could enter daily) was torn - not from bottom up from top down! This suggests a divine act - God has torn down the curtain that has prevented direct access to Himself up to that point because Jesus has now paid the full price of sin. The atoning sacrifice has been offered and now God is fully accessible to anyone who comes via the Cross. There is no need for a curtain to hide God's presence. So, we read in Hebrews 10:19-22, "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water." 

The way into the Most Holy Place is now made possible through the shed blood of Jesus. No longer do we need to come before God with a "guilty conscience" but rather with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith. We have been cleansed of all sins and of all guilt and condemnation because Jesus paid the full price. Let's not make His death void by engaging in self-doubt and self-condemnation. We are fully accepted in Christ: "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding" (Ephesians 1:7-8).

Lord Jesus, thank You for taking upon Yourself the full punishment of our sin, so that we can be spared from the agony of death again. Thank You that the access to the Father is now open to us without any more guilt and condemnation from the Father. Amen.

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