- Centering prayer— Pray for illumination, “Lord, open my heart and mind by the power of the Holy Spirit,” and remain in silence.
- Read slowly, keeping any words or phrase that come to your mind, and mark on them.
- Close eyes and meditate on what you read.
- Take a note if you have question, inspiration.
Read Today’s Scripture—Mark 15
Jesus before Pilate (1-15) —- Jesus’ trial before Pilate was paralleled to the trial by Sanhedrin (14:53-65). In each, Jesus was interrogated, condemned, and mocked. Both religious and civil authorities were responsible for the death of Jesus. Jesus was rejected first by Jews and then by Gentiles for different reasons. The crowd also joined condemning Jesus shouting “crucify him.” All by himself alone, Jesus stood before these people and he made no reply.
“Are you the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked Jesus with political mind, compared to “blasphemy” that the religious leaders accused of Jesus(14:64). Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor for the province of Judea from AD26-36 under the emperor Tiberius of Rome. Religious leaders brought Jesus to Pilate because only he could make death sentence. “Pardon,” was a Jewish custom to release criminal during the Feast.
The soldiers mock Jesus (16-20) —- Purple robe and crown were two signs of kingship and authority. But soldiers used them to mock Jesus. Jesus, the Song of God, the King of Jews was mocked, spited, hit, and dragged by soldiers.
Crucifixion(21-32) — A man named Simon from Cyrene was forced to carry the cross. One of is son, Rufus, became Christ later, and he was regarded by Apostle Paul(Romans 16:13). The third hours is nine in the morning in modern time zone. The ancient Jews at Jesus time divided a day by an hour beginning at dawn until sunset. The Gospel of Mark witnessed that the Crucifixion of Jesus was the paradoxical enthronement and coronation of the suffering King of the Jews, showing “God is like that.”
The death of Jesus (33-42) — Jesus was suffered on the cross for six hours, from the third to the ninth hours in ancient Jewish timeline. “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” was crying from
Humanness of Jesus, quoting Psalm 22:1, crying of the righteous sufferer. His crying was one of his last words on the cross. “The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” indicated the completion of God’s purpose through Jesus, redemption and salvation of God. Jesus’ death was sacrificial offering, one for all (Hebrews 10:1-18), for God’s salvation for the world.
Jesus died a day before Sabbath, which falls on Friday in modern day.
The burial (42-47) —- Joseph of Arimathea was described as a respected members of the council who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God. Wrapping the dead body with linen cloth and burring it in tomb of stone described the burial custom in the ancient Israel. “Jesus was buried” was the lowest point on his earthly journey. The way Jesus took on our behalf has let him to the grave. The Prophet Isaiah prophesized suffering servant for us, “by his wounds we are healed.” (53:5). By the grace of God Jesus tasted death for everyone (Hebrews 2:9)
After Reading —- Reflection and prayer.
- Ask yourself, “What does God speak to me today in this chapter?”
- Sing the hymn, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord,” Afro American Spiritual, UMC Hymn book no.288, and meditate on Jesus’ death for you.
- Pray God that the God’s word today be the way, the life, and the truth for you.