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2007 Easter Conference Lecture 1


THE DEATH OF THE KING OF THE JEWS
Mark 15:1-47
Key Verse 15:34
At the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” –
which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Today is Good Friday. Why do we call the day Jesus was crucified like a king of criminals as
Good Friday? Someone might want to call it sad Friday or bad Friday or mad Friday. But it is
Good Friday because God did something really Good for mankind on that Friday. We want to
look at what happened that Friday from Mark 15. The title of today’s message is THE DEATH
OF THE KING OF THE JEWS. May the sufferings and death of Jesus give each one of us peace
with God and a new life of freedom and joy in the Lord.

I. Jesus testified to the truth (1-15)


Look at verse 1a. ‘Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the
law and the whole Sanhedrin, reached a decision.’ Thursday night they arrested Jesus secretly,
and conducted a hasty trial to condemn Jesus by any means. At last, the high priest asked Jesus,
“Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus answered, “I am, and you will see the
Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
They decided that Jesus must die for claiming to be the Christ, the Son of God. But as they had
no authority to execute death sentence, they handed him over to Pilate, with a demand to execute
him. They knew that Pilate will not be interested in a religious charge. So they made it sound like
political rebellion: “He claims to be the king of the Jews” accusing Jesus of rebellion against the
Roman emperor. Pilate, the Roman governor could not ignore this charge. “Are you the king of
the Jews?” asked Pilate. It was risky to answer ‘Yes’ to this question because he could be
branded as a Jewish terrorist leader. But what did Jesus reply? Look at verse 2b. “Yes, it is as you
say,” Jesus replied. Jesus said ‘Yes’ though it was profitable to say ‘No’. He did not compromise
the truth, in spite of the risk of being misunderstood and condemned. Jesus is the king of truth.
In the mean time, the chief priests were making numerous false charges against Jesus. Pilate
pressed Jesus to answer. But Jesus did not try to defend himself. And Pilate was amazed.
Pilate knew Jesus to be innocent and that it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed
Jesus over to him. But he did not want to have any trouble with the crowd. When the crowd came
up requesting to release a prisoner whom they wanted, Pilate tried to arouse their nationalism
asking, “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” Pilate calculated that the crowd
who had shouted, “Hosanna!” can be easily used to get Jesus released. Pilate looked smart when
he tried to avoid making a clear decision based on the truth and put the ball in the crowd’s court.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas, a murderous terrorist.
Pilate was shocked and asked them, “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the
Jews?” “Crucify him!” they shouted. “Why? What crime has he committed?” he tried to reason
with the crowd. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” Pilate realized his smart
compromise formula did not work and ditched innocent Jesus. Wanting to satisfy the crowd,
Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
The Roman historian Josephus mentions that Pilate suffered from a guilty conscience and
ultimately committed suicide. His compromise did not earn him anything more than a heavy
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burden of sin. Compromise is Satan’s subtle weapon. Here we must think whether we will stand
by the truth or compromise to get some immediate benefit. Though it look like we lose many
things when we stand by the truth, only truth can set us free. Compromise though it promise
immediate benefit, only leads us to destruction.

II. The King of the Jews was crucified (16-25)


First, Jesus mocked and tortured (16-19) As soon as the soldiers were ordered to flog Jesus, they
brought him to the Praetorium where the palace guards were stationed. They called together the
whole company of soldiers and began to mock him. Since Jesus was tried and condemned with
the charge, “THE KING OF THE JEWS,” they dressed up Jesus like a king of the Jews. They
put a purple rob on him. Next they twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on Jesus’ head.
As soon as the crown of thorns was set on his head, blood burst out and flowed down Jesus’ head
and face. Instead of feeling sorry for him, the soldiers began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the
Jews!” Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. When they saw
Jesus they could not but poke fun of him to provoke him. After wounding him shamefully, they
fell on their knees and worshiped him, to offend him some more. In their ignorance they treated
Jesus according to their sadistic feelings. They did not know what they were talking about. But
what they said, “the king of the Jews” was exactly right in accordance with the prophecies. Yes,
Jesus is the king of the Jews who was promised to come as the Savior of the world.
The Son of God was tortured in our place in a way that tongue and pen cannot describe. Isaiah
53:4 says, “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him
stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.” Jesus was tortured to the maximum degree. Jesus
did not have to be tortured. But Jesus was tortured by the cruel soldiers for the sin of the world.
Second, they crucified him (20-25) After torturing and mocking Jesus, the soldiers led him out to
crucify him. As we know, Jesus had been tried and beaten up and he was worn out. So he was too
weak to carry the rugged cross. The Roman soldiers grabbed a certain man from Cyrene, known
as Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus. He was passing by, on his way in from the country.
But as soon as he arrived in Jerusalem, he was picked to carry the cross of Jesus to Golgotha. At
first Simon was angry and scared. But reluctantly he began to carry the cross of Jesus. Then
something happened in his heart. As he carried the cross behind Jesus, the sufferings of Jesus
became etched in his soul. And he experienced all his sins washed away as he saw God in the
tortured Jesus. The assurance of eternal life and the kingdom of God entered his heart. It became
the most wonderful day in his life. Through being forced to carry the cross of Jesus, Simon and
his whole family was blessed. It is most blessed to carry the cross, even though it look
burdensome at times.
They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). The
routine of crucifixion was to take the longest way to the place of execution so that many may see
the condemned man, as a warning to others. Jesus looked too pitiful to look at. Some of them felt
terribly sorry. So they offered Jesus wine mixed with myrrh, to relieve the pain of his tortured
body. Look at verse 23. ‘Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.’
Jesus refused it when he was so thirsty. Jesus refused to drink wine mixed with myrrh in order to
participate in all our sorrows and pains as our High Priest. Jesus also did not take wine mixed
with myrrh in order to obey God’s will thoroughly. We are sinners who eat all kinds of oily food
with much masala to tickle our tongue and then chew down a deigene tablet. Jesus could take the
wine, but he refused to drink the wine in order to fulfill the divine purpose. Jesus did not believe
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in escaping pain through drugs. His religion faces life as it is and wins victory through obedience
that come from faith.
As soon as they arrived at the place of execution, the soldiers placed the cross flat on the ground
and they stretched Jesus upon it. They nailed his hands and his feet with hammers. Nails 18 cms
long were hammered through his body. They projected a wedge of wood between his legs, they
raised the cross upright and set it in its socket. Jesus unbearably suffered as he was being
crucified in this way. The psalmist describes his sufferings as follows: “I am poured out like
water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away
within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my
mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.” (Ps 22:14,15) Jesus’ suffering was unbearable.
At the moment of crucifixion, the soldiers gambled for his clothes. Actually Jesus’ clothes were
not expensive. But they cast lots to see what each would get. They could not but follow their
sinful habits regardless of Jesus’ sufferings.
St. Peter was the top disciple of Jesus. Outwardly he looked a responsible and hardworking
family man. But he was also under the power of sin denying Jesus thrice the previous night.
Later he confessed in 1 Peter 2:24, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we
might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” Many live
with lacerating wounds in their hearts. Evil spirits like flies fester on these wounds of sin.
Secretly we suffer from the guilt of our past sins, our secret sinful habits. But Jesus was wounded
mortally so that he might heal our wounds of sin. In Jesus’ wounds we can find healing and live
righteous lives.
Look at verse 25,26. ‘It was the third hour when they crucified him. The written notice of the
charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS.’ The chief priests and the teachers of the
law fabricated the charge, trying to make Jesus a political criminal opposing the Roman emperor.
Such a rebellion deserved death penalty. They crucified two robbers with him in order to
humiliate Jesus by making him equal with two robbers. Humanly speaking, his death was a most
shameful one. But from God’s point of view, it was the death of ‘THE KING OF THE JEWS’.
Jesus gave his life in order to give us eternal life and the kingdom of God.

III. Jesus did not save himself (29-32)


When Jesus was in the anguish of soul on the cross, the crowd of people who passed by insulted
him. They shook their heads, saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it
in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” They mocked Jesus, saying, “He
said he would build the temple in three days, when it took others forty years to build it. Then
why did he not save himself with the power to build the temple in three days?” Yes, Jesus had
power to bring his angels from four corners and destroy all the enemies (Mt.26:53). But Jesus did
not save himself in order to save us from our sins. Those who would be used in saving souls
must necessarily sacrifice their lives. Such lives spread the fragrance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the
cross. Among us Mother Barry’s sacrifice became a very good influence of sacrificing not only
the comforts of American life, but even her marriage to serve Korean campus students. God
accepted and blessed UBF ministry among campus students around the world. Where there is
sacrifice, soul saving ministry happens.
In the same way, the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves.
“He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself!” They did not know that Jesus did not
save himself in order to save others. They did not know that Jesus was the Messiah. In their
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ignorance, they heaped insults on Jesus, saying, “Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down
from the cross.” The religious leaders were eager to save their skins by every possible means. As
a result, the servants of God turned out to be the devil. Pilate the governor was ready to
compromise in order to protect his position and his kids. Jesus had the mighty power of God to
save himself. But he did not save himself so that through him we might be saved. Here we learn
that those who save themselves first and next want to save others will never save even one lost
soul. We must overcome Satan’s temptation to save myself first.

IV. Jesus was abandoned and died (33-41)


Look at verse 33. ‘At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour.’
Even the sun could not endure the injustice of the world and stopped working.
Look at verse 34. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama
sabachthani?” – which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus’ last
cry is too deep to understand. But when we meditate on the words he spoke, we see that he is
crying because his love relationship with God was broken. Up to now, he had suffered everything
that life could bring him. He had endured the failures of his disciples, the hatred of foes, the
malice of enemies. He had endured the most searing pains that life could offer when his hands
were nailed to the cross. When the crown of thorns was pressed on his head, he said nothing.
John 19:25 says that near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, weeping. On the cross, Jesus had
many things to say or cry. Yet Jesus did not cry. But when his relationship with God was broken,
he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” As long as his love relationship
with God was right, Jesus could bear any kind of suffering. Jesus was always sure about his love
relationship with God. But when God cut his love relationship because of man’s sin, Jesus felt
abandoned by God and cried out, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani”.
This cry teaches us two things. First, the seriousness of our sin. We commit sin habitually. As we
are habituated to a sinful life, our consciences become like a leper’s body with no feeling of
guilt. When our lives become so miserable like a leper’s we wonder why? But Jesus’ agonizing
cry on the cross reveals the terrible consequence of our sin – it cuts us off from God making us
like orphans. Sin makes us to whither away like a cut flower. We must see Jesus who suffered,
was crucified and died abandoned by God because of my sin. May Jesus’ agony on the cross
make us realise the horrible character of sin that we may not play around with sin anymore.
Rather we may hate sin, turn away from it and fight against Satan’s temptations wholeheartedly.
Second, God’s love for sinners. God hates sin, but loves sinners. John 3:16 says, ‘For God so
loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish
but have eternal life.’ God gave his one and only Son to die for our sin. God abandoned his Son
on the cross to save us from the power of sin. On the cross, Jesus revealed the fullest extent of
God’s love for us sinners. We look at my financial problems, my insecure future, how others hurt
us, etc. all the time. And we complain, worry, fear, and become all the more selfish. We must
learn to look at Jesus who as the Lamb of God took away the sin of the world. When we look at
the Son of God agonizing on the cross in our place, the love of God flows into our hearts freeing
us from sin’s bondage and giving us eternal life.
When I stand beneath the cross of Jesus, I found my habituated sin that made me powerless.
Once I was a slave to lust and lived like a leper with no sense. It looked like I should die in sin.
But the love of God in Jesus forgave all my sins and called me to be God’s child. I was so
habituated to sinful life. When problems arose in life, I tried to escape, indulging lustful fantasies
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only to become more miserable and condemned myself. However God did not abandon me.
Again and again God gave me his word and showered his forgiving grace so that I might live by
faith in Jesus who took up my sins on the cross. I thought I suffered because of my situation, my
lack of ability and will power. But as I stand beneath the cross, I realize my sin of seeking
pleasure in lustful stories and images made me powerless. This sin made my mind dull. This sin
made me to suffer secretly, like a wounded man. Because of my pride, I for a long time, refused
to acknowledge the seriousness of my sin. As I stood beneath Jesus’ cross, and heard his cry
‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani’ I was convicted that my sin of lust crucified the Son of God. Jesus
was abandoned because of my sin. God abandoned Jesus because of my sin. Sin however small it
may look is deadly, killing my strength and taking away my joy in the Lord. I hate this sin that
made me miserable and decide to die to it and live for righteousness from now on by focusing
my eyes on Jesus who was cut off from God to take away my sin. I want to meditate on God’s
word until I find joy in God’s word rather than in the pleasure of sin.
At the moment Jesus breathed his last, the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Read verse 38.
“The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” Jesus died for us once and for
all. Through his death Jesus opened a new and living way for sinners to come to God. All we
have to do is to go to Jesus just as we are, believing that he died for our sins.
Look at verse 39. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and
saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
May be this centurion was in charge of the execution squad, and had seen many a man die. He
must have hardened his heart when he stood by the cross of Jesus. It was because he was a
Roman officer, whose motto was ‘only victory and no defeat’. For the sake of world conquest
Roman officers must overcome feelings of pity. This centurion saw and heard what Jesus had
done during the time of his trial and crucifixion. The centurion found that Jesus was quite
different from ordinary people. In his experience, those who were dying were paralyzed by fear
and wanted to live even ten minutes more. They were filled with sorrow and terror. But Jesus did
not think of himself. Rather, he clearly manifested that he is the king of the Jews. To the
centurion’s eyes, the Pharisees and teachers of the law and Pilate the governor of the Roman
Empire and the people on the bottom of the society were all equal. There was no distinction. To
his eye, only Jesus looked different. Jesus looked like the Son of God. Probably, this centurion
was one of the executioners. Maybe not. Anyway, he saw God in Jesus and was moved by
tortured Jesus. When the centurion surveyed Jesus, he could believe in God. When he surveyed
Jesus, he was convinced the he had eternal life and the kingdom of God in Jesus. Moreover his
troubled heart was appeased. So he cried out publicly, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
His testimony was short. But it is recorded at the most important part of the gospel accounts. The
centurion saw one of the criminals crucified by evil men. But he saw the death of the Son of
God.
Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the
mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed
him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were
also there. They were women who received the grace of forgiveness from Jesus. They were
women who received eternal life and the kingdom of God from Jesus. They supported Jesus and
his company a great deal. Most importantly, they followed Jesus to the end. Finally they stood
beneath the cross and cried. Those who received the grace of forgiveness of sin and eternal life
can never be separated from Jesus.
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In verses 42-47, Mark declares that the burial of Jesus is a fact in history. Look at verse 43.
“Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the
kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.” Joseph was a member of the
Jewish Council. But he despaired when he thought of his upcoming death. The honorable Joseph
could not contact Jesus in the past because of his social standing. But he had heard about Jesus’
healing the sick and preaching the kingdom of God. When he saw the death of Jesus, his faith in
the kingdom of God was confirmed. When Pilate gave him the body of Jesus, Joseph took down
the body and wrapped it in linen and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock which was prepared for
himself. Joseph gave his grave to Jesus. He rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. In
this way, Jesus died and was buried.
Why did Jesus have to be buried? Here we must understand the spiritual meaning of Jesus’
burial. Spiritually speaking, burial refers to extreme punishment. Isaiah 53:9a says, “He was
assigned a grave with the wicked…” God crucified his one and only Son for our sins. Finally
God buried him among the wicked. This was to punish his Son in our place. We are the ones who
should be punished severely. Those who lived a life of sin should be put in a terrible place. Rev.
21:8 says, “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral,
those who practice magic arts, the idolators and all liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of
burning sulfur. This is the second death.” The punishment will be eternal punishment under
God’s condemnation. This is the reason we must fear God. Our Lord Jesus Christ was punished
in our place. Thank God. In this way Jesus gave us eternal life and the kingdom of God.

In this passage we learn that Jesus suffered much and died on the cross for our sins. In order to
die on the cross, Jesus was tied up and the executioners nailed his hands and feet. Finally his
cross was lifted up to the sky as a man of shame. They crucified two robbers and stood one on
each side of Jesus to make him more shameful. He bore all our shame on the cross. Jesus also
bore all our pain and crime and punishment on the cross in our place. Beneath the cross,
weeping, Mary the mother of Jesus was standing with other Marys. Jesus took up all our sorrows
on the cross. By shedding his blood on the cross he obeyed God’s will for world salvation. Most
of all, by shedding his blood on the cross he forgave all our sins. We must bring all our sins
small and big beneath the cross of Jesus. When we repent and confess our sins beneath his cross,
Jesus gives us peace and joy in our hearts. On this Good Friday I pray that each of us may
confess our sins with tears of repentance and receive new life in him.

Let’s read the key verse one more: At the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi,
Eloi, lama sabachthani?” –which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
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2007 Easter Conference Lecture I

THE DEATH OF THE KING OF THE JEWS


Mark 15:1-47
Key Verse 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama
sabachthani?"--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken
me?"

1. What decision did the Sanhedrin make and where did they take Jesus (1)? What did Pilate ask
Jesus (2a)? What did this question imply? How did Jesus answer (2b)? What amazed Pilate
(3-5)?

2. What did Pilate know about the Sanhedrin and about Jesus (6-8)? What did Pilate suggest
(9)? Why (10)? Why was this a compromise solution? How did the crowd respond (11-13)?
Why did Pilate hand Jesus over to be crucified (14,15)?

3. How and why did the Roman soldiers mock Jesus (16-19)? How did their mockery and
torture of Jesus fulfill prophecy (Isa 53:4)?

4. What happened on the way (20,21)? How might Simon’s participation in Jesus’ crucifixion
have changed his life? How was Jesus crucified (22-24)? Why do you think Jesus refused the
wine mixed with myrrh?

5. What was the charge written on the cross (25,26)? What did this mean to the Roman
officials? To the religious leaders? To God? What was the purpose of crucifying him between
two robbers (27)?

6. What was the common point of people’s insult at Jesus (29-32)? Why didn’t Jesus save
himself (Mt 26:53)? How did all others try to save themselves (Pilate, the disciples, the
religious leaders)?

7. What happened from the sixth to the ninth hours (33)? What did Jesus’ cry at the ninth hour
mean (34-37)? What did the curtain torn from top to bottom mean (38)? What was the
centurion’s testimony (39)? What did his testimony mean to us?

8. Who were women witnesses of Jesus’ crucifixion (40)? How had they served Jesus and how
had they been served by him (41)?

9. Who was Joseph (42,43)? How did Jesus’ burial confirm the fact of his death and set the
stage for the resurrection (44-47)? From what does Jesus’ death save us (Rev 21:8; Rev
5:12)?