Holy Week: Day 6

What Looked Like Defeat was Victory

Mark 15:37-39

Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

The complete story of Jesus must include his brutal death.
Death isn't easy under the best circumstances.
Death becomes even more grievous when it is unexpected or unjust.

Can you imagine what Jesus' mom was feeling when she witnessed her son’s execution?
Did she think back to his arrival - that time that she “treasured up and pondered in her heart” the miracle of His birth? Did she remember escaping the murderous rampage of Herod with their safe passage to Egypt, toddler Jesus in tow? Maybe she thought about the time Jesus as a 12 year old was left behind in Jerusalem and was lost - at least by her - for three days. She was frantic! The miracles. Did she walk back through her memory of the many miracles she witnessed?

The death of someone close triggers the grief of loss and regret; forces us to reflect on the life of the one we have loved - only memories, no more memories to be made.

And, what about the hardened, Roman Centurion? Unlike Jesus’ mom, he didn’t have a close connection to Jesus. How many crucifixions had he supervised and participated in? Yet, there was something so different about the death of Jesus. The sky grew dark, the earth quaked, the veil in the temple ripped from top to bottom. We get a sense of the centurion’s response in the Gospel of Mark chapter 15 verses 37-39, where we read,
“With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. 38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

Surely this man was the Son of God! Even though Jesus was dead, His death was different. What was different about the death of Jesus? Why does His death matter?

At His death, Jesus experienced the isolating separateness of sin, and by His death, the curtain isolating God from humanity came down. God sent his Son to suffer and to die so that through him we might draw near. Because of the cross, we can experience the FULLNESS of joy only HIS PRESENCE brings. On this solemn day remember weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5). What looked like defeat was victory.  

Eric and Rhonda Smith

Related Posts

No Comments