Christ’s Power Over Every Need
The Gospel of Mark Sermon Series
“The Orphan’d Cry”
At the heart of the city of London is Charing Cross. All distances across the city are measured from its central point. Locals refer to it simply as “the cross.” One day a child became lost in the bustling metropolis. A city police officer (A “bobby,” as they are referred to in London) came to the child’s aid to try and help him return to his family.
The bobby asked the child a variety of questions in an attempt to discover where the boy lived, to no avail. Finally, with tears streaming down the boy’s face, he said, “If you will take me to the cross I think I can find my way from there.” What an apt description of the Christian life. The cross is both the starting place of our new life in Christ, but also the place we must return to, time and again, to keep our bearings in life.
The Hour Has Come (vv. 33-39)
And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
(v. 33) “when the sixth hour had come,” – 12pm.
At this moment, the Father considered him sin, 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” And for that reason, the Father forsakes the Son, and Jesus feels the total wrath of God, the worst of which is separation and abandonment from God the Father.
Jesus is being cut off from God, Isaiah 59:2 “but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”
A. Darkness Over the Whole Land
(v. 33) “there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour,” – “In the plague of darkness which preceded the first Passover, darkness over the land was the token that the curse of God rested upon it (Exodus 10:21).” For the hours while Jesus was on the cross, – darkness as a sign of God’s curse was over the land. There was no natural cause for the sudden darkness, it lasted for three hours, and then was gone.
B. Jesus’ Cry of Dereliction
Jesus cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – Jesus knows why He has been forsaken by the Father; He is not surprised by the Father’s separation from him. Jesus is quoting the opening verse of Psalm 22. The psalm “portrays the desolation of the suffering of the righteous (vv. 1-21) and the eventual triumphant vindication of this one by God (vv. 22-31).”
John Calvin put it this way, “If Christ had died only a bodily death, it would have been ineffectual . . . Unless his soul shared in the punishment, he would have been the Redeemer of bodies alone.’ In consequence, ‘he paid a greater and more excellent price in suffering in his soul the terrible torments of a condemned and forsaken man.’” This psalm is an expression of a dreadful separation between the Father and Son, Jesus was God-forsakenness and cursed by God.
Bystanders misunderstand Jesus when He says, Eloi, and think He said Elijah, “Behold, he is calling Elijah,” People even today, still misinterpret what Jesus said.
B. The Temple Curtain Was Torn
(v. 38) “And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” – When Adam and Eve sinned by taking of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden they had to leave the Garden. When Cain killed his brother Abel, he had to leave the family – when humans sin against God they are separated from Him. The curtain in the temple is a symbol of this separation.
The Holy of Holies was where the ark of the covenant resided – which represented the presence of God, the curtain is between everyone and God. Once a year, a priest would enter the Holy of Holies and spread blood of a perfect lamb over the mercy seat. “This curtain separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place was 60 feet high and 30 feet wide.”
When Jesus “breathed his last,” then the temple curtain was torn. Jesus completed his mission; He died as a sinless substitute for humanity. He took the complete wrath of God for our sin, and because of that, what separates man from God has been done away with. Once Jesus completed His mission, “his once-for-all sacrificial death has made animal sacrifices in the temple obsolete.” All the feasts, festivals, instantly became obsolete – even the Passover meal was replaced with “The Lord’s Supper.”
Our sin has caused a distance between us and God. So, God chose one race of people amongst all the people of the earth to give His Word to and to have a relationship with (the Hebrews, Israelites, the Jews). God gave them the law so that mankind and God could in some sense have a relationship. In the law we see God requiring the slaughter of animals so that man’s sin could be atoned Atonement means “to cover.” The sin of mankind is still there, it has only been covered so that God’s wrath is held back. But you have to keep going back to the temple, keep offering bulls and goats to atone for your continuing sin. You have to keep covering the sin.
Romans 3:23-26 “For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Propitiation – is a turning away of wrath. Jesus’ blood being shed turns away God’s wrath. “Jesus paid the price for my sin, but I still should be ashamed of my behavior, right?” 1 John 2:1-2 “But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” Not only does Jesus’ blood turn away God’s wrath from all of our previous sin, He also has covered all future sins as well. “ . . . the implication of verse 2 is not only that our sins are purged, but also that his displeasure is removed – God’s wrath is propitiated.” He remembers your sin no more. Neither should you.
Notice the detail, “from top to bottom.” Mankind did not rip the curtain from the bottom up. God ripped the curtain from top to bottom. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16. Through Jesus’ separation from God, we are able to no longer be separated from God.
Why is it that mankind perishes if they don’t believe in Jesus? Because they are separated from God because of their sin (like Adam and Eve, Like Cain, etc.) So God provided one way for us to be brought close to Him once more – Jesus. God poured out on His Son all the wrath of every sin you have ever done, or will do in the future – you are clean. What about the sin you haven’t done yet, it’s already been taken care of.
Isaiah 1:18 “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;”
Hebrews 10:19-20 “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, . . .”
C. The Centurion Takes Notice
(v. 39) “And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” – This man was convinced that this man was a religious fanatic when Jesus was presented for morning comedy relief for the battalion. He probably started the day with the assumption that a man convicted of the crime was deserving of death. He watched as Jesus was led to Calvary, nailed to a cross and lifted up – The centurion took in all the evidence, all the days occurrences and this battle hardened leader of men, he had an open mind, and he changes his mind about Jesus.
The Women Remain (vv. 40-41)
40 There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.
Mark mentions that there were several women and even names them by name. “The significance of the presence of these women to Mark is that they were eyewitnesses to the primary events proclaimed in the gospel, the death (vv. 40-41), burial (v. 47), and resurrection (16:1) of Jesus. The details of what took place could be substantiated by their testimony.”
These women are long-term followers of Jesus, from the Galilean period (v. 41). We also get a glimpse that “they followed him and ministered to him,” – Jesus’ lifestyle and the disciples as well had a support network that supplied material needs, contributions, and those that followed Jesus from place to place were not just the 12 disciples, but a whole group of women as well.
When the disciples flee, we see what is left behind. The women of Jesus’ ministry are faithful to the end, and it will be women who first experience what is to happen in chapter 16, and it is to these women that they will give an account of what happens next, because the men are all gone. Remember this is Mark’s account given in a time when women had no legal status or could give testimony in court. But even with Jesus’ death, they are still devoted to Him. “Women had always been a significant part of Christ’s life and ministry. It is not surprising to see them as a significant part of his death.”
A New Disciple Takes Courage (vv. 42-47)
42 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. 46 And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.
(v. 43) “Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, — Mark tells us where he is from, his occupation, and that he was “looking for the kingdom of God.” We can discern that Joseph was well liked and respected by others. He had done very well with his occupation and therefore was quite wealthy. But you can easily put in your name, where you are from, your occupation, and then add on and was “looking for the kingdom of God.”
Mark 1:14-15 “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” “The kingdom means the reign and rule of the promised Messiah in power and grace.” There was something different about Joseph and Nicodemus who asked “how can a man be born again?” (both religious leaders) who were able to see something none of the others religious leaders saw. They were looking for God.
What are you looking for?
It was out of that looking for the kingdom that Joseph “took courage . . .” Joseph steps out of the darkness, and with courage and boldness asks Pilate for Jesus’ body. Time was of the essence now, and clock was ticking – Jesus’ body had to be taken down, and buried before the setting of the sun, in order to keep the law.
“since it was the day of Preparation” all the preparations that needed to get done had to be done a day ahead of the sabbath since no work could be done on that day. He had two to three hours to do the work of burying Jesus before the sabbath begins. Joseph purchases a burial shroud, wraps Jesus up, and lays him in the tomb.
The Sanhedrin have worked so hard to get Jesus killed, they would not have been pleased with Joseph’s desire to give Jesus an honorable burial. Notice it is not the religious leaders who are interested in Jesus’ burial, Duet. 21:22-23 even says, “And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance.”
The gospel of John tells us that Nicodemus and Joseph together prepared his body. The two men, “wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb.” (v. 46) “cut out of the rock.” – most people were buried in the ground, but the wealthy would prepare a body, and place it in a carved out tomb (which was very labor intense and therefore expensive) then once the body was decayed they would place the bones in stone box called an ossuary.
The last thing Joseph does is “he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.”
The last thing in the Passion narrative from Mark is that, “Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.” The woman followed the body in silent pain and mourning to the tomb, where they watched Joseph and Nicodemus take Jesus into the tomb. “They were there not just to watch, however, but to know where to return to after the sabbath.”
As we consider Jesus on the cross, there are three things to take away:
Our sin must be extremely horrible. Stott says, “what sent Christ there was neither the greed of Judas, nor the envy of the priests, nor the vacillating cowardice of Pilate, but our own greed, envy, cowardice and other sins, and Christ’s resolve in love and mercy to bear their judgement and so put them away.”
God’s love must be wonderful beyond comprehension. God had every right to leave us in our sin. He could have abandoned us to our fate of being lost, but in His grace (love toward the undeserving) we were pursued by a loving God who sought us out, and did what was required to save us from ourselves.
Christ’s salvation must be a free gift. Jesus purchased our salvation at the cost of His own life. So what is there left for us to pay? Jesus even says from the cross, “it is finished.” There is nothing that we can contribute. So stop trying to earn your way into heaven – you don’t have to be anything. But who can look at the cross of Christ, take in all that He did to save us – and then run to sin even more? The cross is the most powerful incentive to live a holy life.
 Amos 8:9-10
 William L. Lane, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel of Mark (Grand Rapids; Michigan, 1974) 572.
 William F. Cook, Jesus’ Final Week, From Triumphal Entry to Empty Tomb (Nashville, Tennessee; Broadman and Holman Publishing, 2022) 133.
 John R. W. Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downers Grove; Illinois; Intervarsity Press, 1986) 81.
 Andreas Köstenberger, The Final Days of Jesus (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Publishing, 2014) 162.
 Köstenberger, 162.
 Steve Jeffery, Michael Ovey, Andrew Sach, Pierced For Our Transgressions, Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution (Wheaton, Illinois; Crossway Books, 2007) 84.
 Tradition has called him Longinus.
 George Arthur Buttrick, General Editor, The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume VII (Nashville, Tennessee; Abingdon Press, 1953) 908.
 Lane, 577.
 R. T. France, The New International Greek Commentary, The Gospel of Mark (Grand Rapids, Michigan; William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002) 665.
 Max Anders, General Editor, Holman New Testament Commentary, Mark (Nashville, Tennessee; B&H Publishing Group, 2000) 261.
 Luke 23:51 tells us that he did not consent to the council’s actions to have Jesus killed.
 Fulfilled Isa. 53:9 “and he made his grave . . . with the rich in his death.”
 R.C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Mark’s Gospel (Minneapolis; Minnesota; Augsburg Publishing House, 1964) 730.
 Cook, 138.
 France, 669.
 Stott, 83.
 Stott. 83.