Crucifixion - Mark 15:22-41

Jesus finally arrived at the place of His death, Golgotha (v. 22). (“Place of the skull” does not necessarily mean the place resembled a skull, but merely that it was associated with skulls.) In a continuation of mocking, the soldiers offered Jesus wine mixed with myrrh (v. 23). Most likely, none of us have tasted wine mixed with myrrh. The traditional understanding is that this was a gesture of mercy – that the mixture would have eased Jesus’ physical pain. However, it is likely that this mixed drink was actually very bad tasting and meant to add further insult to His injury (cf. Matt. 27:34).

Then the soldiers placed Jesus on the cross and pounded nails through His wrists and His feet. While Jesus suffered in excruciating pain, trying to take breaths while also trying to not put pressure on His pierced limbs (an impossible task), the soldiers sat by Him and gambled for His clothes (v. 24; cf. Ps. 22:18).

The soldiers placed a sign above Jesus’ head (v. 26). It was common to place a sign above the head of the crucified to identify their crime. Jesus’ crime was listed as “King of the Jews.” As Jesus labored for breath while crucified on the cross; the God of the world, the One who created everything, prepared to die while the truth of His identity was nailed above His head. Jesus was – and is – the King. Not just the king of the Jews, but the ultimate King over all His creation.

Jesus was also verbally mocked as He suffered for our sins (vs. 29-32).

When the time finally came for Jesus to die, He cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (v. 34). This is the first line of Psalm 22, which we read during the 3rd week of these devotionals. When Jesus cried this, the Jews who stood watching immediately knew that this was a reference to Psalm 22. This was not so much a cry of distress as it was a cry of victory! Jesus was proclaiming His true identity (Son of God = God) and a proclamation that prophecy had been fulfilled. Yet they continued to mock Him (vs. 35-36).

And Jesus died (v. 37).

At the moment of Jesus’ death the temple curtain, which served as a doorway for the Holy of Holies, was torn in two (v. 38). The temple room where the ark resided and the high priest could only enter once a year was opened for all. (See Hebrews passages from week 4 devotionals.)

Notice that the first person in Mark to recognize what had truly happened – who Jesus truly was – was a Gentile, a Roman solider (v. 39). Not everyone was deceived. Even at the moment of Jesus’ death God was revealing the truth.

Thoughts to Ponder
Please take the time to reread Psalm 22.

Today, on Good Friday, there does not seem to be much good. Today, we watch our Savior, our God, brutally die on the cross. Things appear dim.