Finish the Work

Mark 15

Volitional Death

We see the silence of the servant.

The Sanhedrin needed to move quickly to get the case of Jesus before Pilate. They wanted Him executed before the Sabbath begins on Friday evening at sundown.

Only one accusation concerned Pilate, so he asked Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” This title has obvious political overtones for Pilate and Rome.

Jesus responds cryptically to his question: “You have said so.” This is neither a direct affirmation nor a denial. I think Jesus’ intention was something like this, “Yes, I am a king, but not the kind of king you are thinking of.” As Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John. 18:36). The chief priests would then begin to accuse Him of many more things, but Jesus would remain silent.

As believers—like Jesus—we must be willing to endure accusations for the sake of the gospel.

Vicarious Death

We see the substitution of the servant.

At Passover, Pilate was in the habit of releasing a prisoner, and condemned man, to gain the support and goodwill of the people. He apparently let them “make the call.” Barabbas, a notorious rebel and “freedom fighter”, was incarcerated for murder at the time.

The people began to petition Pilate for his annual Passover amnesty gift. Pilate saw this as a way out of a tough situation. He already told the Jewish leaders concerning Jesus, “I find no grounds for charging Him” (John 18:38). Further, his wife warned him, “having nothing to do with this” (Matt. 27:19). He also knew the chief priests had only arrested Jesus out of envy.

Things did not go as he had hoped. After the crowd demands that Christ be crucified, Pilate has had enough. He publicly washes his hands, while the crowd accepts responsibility for executing the King.

Jesus was innocent but declared to be guilty. Barabbas was guilty but was treated as though he were innocent.

As believers—like Jesus—we must be willing to endure injustice and insult for the sake of the gospel.

Violent Death

We see the suffering of the servant.

Following the life-threatening beating. “They called the whole company together.” This would number about six hundred hardened Roman soldiers. They clothed Him in a purple cloak, probably a faded military garment serving the purpose of a mock robe of royalty.

Completely alone, humiliated, naked, and beaten nearly to death, our Savior endured yet again ridicule, shame, and pain at the hands of those He came to save. Oh, how the angels must have wept.

God sent His Son into the world to save a sinful race and look at what we did to him. However, as a result of His sacrificial death, we are saved from the curse of the law. He was struck down so we could be lifted up.

As believers—like Jesus—we must be willing to endure pain and shame for the sake of the gospel.

Application

In the same way that Christ finished the work of our salvation by going to the cross, we must also finish the work to which He has called us—that is the fulfillment of the Great Commission. In that light, I leave you with these four points of application.

  1. Pray the gospel.
  2. Reflect upon it.
  3. Rejoice in it.
  4. Share it.
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