Jesus: Suffering & Death For You! (Sunday of the Passion)
St. Mark 15:1-47
Confirmation of Kody Kupke, Danni Barkhurst and Brady Blair
“Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Those are our words too! We too wanted to get rid of Him! We jumped for joy when Pilate set the terrorist, Barabbas, free and then sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion.
We eagerly watched the flogging! Serves Him right! Who does He think He is? “That’s right soldier! Rip off a bigger piece of His flesh with that whip! And if you miss I’ll take over!”
We willingly joined in the soldiers’ mocking fun! Draping Him with the purple robe. Smashing the ring of razor-sharp thorns on His head. Demolishing His nose and face with our fists. Striking Him with the back of our hand. Coughing up all our phlegm and then showering Him with it! Taking the staff in our hands and way-laying Him with it as hard as we can! Time after time after time! Taunting Him! Bowing down as if before a king! Then the stinging words: “Hail, king of the Jews!” Laughing our heads off the entire time!
We insisted that the beaten and battered Jesus carry His cross the whole way to Golgotha! But that poor sap from Cyrene, Simon, who was just passing by, was forced to haul it for Jesus! Too bad! We missed out on another chance to poke fun at Him!
When the soldiers finally got around to driving the spikes through His hands and feet and then suspended Jesus on the cross, we cranked up the mockery! It was harsh! Cutting! Callous! Cruel! We fervently shouted insult after insult with everyone standing there! Wagging our heads! And readily shouting: “So! You can destroy the Jerusalem temple and then rebuild it in three days? All right Mr. Big Shot Preacher! If you’re so great, come down off that cross and save yourself! If you’re who you claim to be then pull out those spikes, climb down from there, and then we’ll believe in you!”
“Come down and then we’ll believe in you?” “Yeah, right! We didn’t mean that at all! It was all said in jest! We’d rather get rid of you! So that we never have to deal with you again!”
He didn’t come down. He stayed put! Guess that means He wasn’t who He said He was! If He truly was the Christ – if He truly was the King of the Jews, then …
And that’s when something really strange happened. For three hours from noon until 3 o’clock in the afternoon it got dark. Really dark! It scared the you know what out of us! Then Jesus said something that sounded like He was praying to Elijah. And then it was all over but the shouting. After a very loud cry He was … dead!
And we did it! We saw to it! We were responsible! We did it on purpose. No one forced us. We murdered Him! The King!
And He suffered it! All of it! All the evil! All the wickedness! All the rebellion! All the sin! Willingly! As the Suffering Servant King!
Incredibly, He suffered and died for those who put Him there! We meant it all for evil but He uses it for good! For our eternal good! He gave His Body into death as THE sacrifice that atones for all your sin! He sheds His Blood shed on the cross to cleanse you from all your sin. Sin you’ve committed. Sin that has been committed against you! Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! All of it!
The curtain in the temple tears in two from top to bottom when Jesus dies. Why? Because Jesus’ Body is the temple – the very dwelling of God on the earth! In addition, Jesus’ Body is the curtain by which forgiven by His Blood sinners have complete and total access to heaven itself. Hebrews 10:19-20, 22 teaches this. Listen. “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 … let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.”
Brothers and sisters, hidden in the beaten, brutalized, crucified and dead Body of Jesus is God Himself. Yes! God Himself! God for you there! God for your salvation there! The very gate/curtain of heaven standing wide open! For you Danni! For you Kody! For you Brady! For all of you Trinity!
The most unlikely and most unexpected person at Golgotha confesses the truth! “Surely this man was the Son of God!” Who said this? Who told the truth no matter what the consequences? Mary? John? Peter? No! It was the Roman centurion! The very man who was in charge of the crucifixion! It was his “confirmation” day, if you will!
At the foot of the cross he confesses Jesus to be the Savior! The very Son of God sent to justify the ungodly! Including him! His life was never the same again!
This same Jesus has claimed you as His own. Baptized you into His death! His Golgotha death! And so you have died with Him! And raised with Him to live a new life! The life of faith! Faith that believes His promise: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,” (Mark 16:16). Faith that confesses: “Surely this man was the Son of God!” And then faith that proclaims that Jesus’ death is for you as He gives you His Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Altar today with His oath that all your sin is forgiven.
And with this Jesus who dies for you — your lives are never the same again!
In the name of Jesus.