Print this Page

Mark’s first-century biography – page 48

And the sixth hour having come (12 noon, Jerusalem, c. AD 30, Jesus has been on the cross since 9 a.m.), darkness came over the whole earth until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried a great call, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is, translated, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” 
“Darkness came over the whole earth” from 12 noon until 3 p.m. At 3 p.m. and in the midst of that deep darkness, Jesus calls out because the Father has now abandoned him to death.

This great cry had been written one thousand years earlier by an ancestor of Jesus – King David both of Bethlehem and of Jerusalem. He wrote Psalm 22 which the people of Israel preserved in their national archives and which is now in Christian Bibles. ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.’ 

And some of those who stood near, hearing it, stated, “Look! He is calling Elijah.” 

Jesus had cried out in Aramaic. These bystanders misunderstood his great call as an attempt to summon Elijah. They would have known of Elijah as a highly-respected ninth-century BC prophet of Almighty God. 

But someone, running and filling full a sponge with sour wine, and putting it on a reed, was making him drink, stating, “Let him alone! We may see if Elijah comes to bring him down.”

It seems that this particular bystander might have been attempting to keep Jesus alive in the hope of seeing Elijah bring Jesus down – alive. He wanted to see a ‘saint’ save him. But he was determined to die.

‘Who is He on yonder tree/ dies in pain and agony? / ’Tis the Lord! / O wondrous story! / ’Tis the Lord, the King of glory!’ (Benjamin Hanby, composer, 1833-1867)
But Jesus, having let out a great call, breathed out his last. 

He lets out another great call and expires. Mark has not recorded for us the words of that final great call. Perhaps he intended his readers to listen to the call which his sacrificial death itself cries out to us. 

And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 

When writing about the “temple”, Mark uses the Greek word ‘hieron’ nine times where it always means the place itself. The “curtain” in the hieron effectively sealed from view the Holy of Holies and made it inaccessible  . The glory of God was veiled by this "curtain of the temple".

But on three occasions (of which this is one) he used the Greek word ‘naos’. The first was around 6 a.m. that very morning (page 44). Testimony was given “We heard him state that, ‘I will destroy this particular temple [naos] – man-made - and in three days I will build another house, not man-made.’” 

The second was between 9 a.m. and 12 a.m. Jesus was on the cross (page 47). Passers-by stated “Aha! The one dissolving the temple [naos] and house-building in three days! Save your own self, having come down from the cross!”

This time – at 3 p.m. that day – “the curtain of the temple [naos] was torn in two, from top to bottom.” Not only was the veil in the hieron torn apart but also the veil over Jesus was removed when he died. All would now see the glory - the self-giving of Almighty God. We go to him, our temple - no curtain, no veil. 

But the centurion, standing out opposite him, having seen that in this way he breathed his last, said, “Truly this man was God’s Son.”

The centurion saw “the way” Jesus “breathed out his last”.  His death, forsaken by the Father because of the sin which he took upon himself, was in his own hands. It was his decision, God’s Son, to die that death, to show his – and the Father’s glory.

‘From heaven you came, helpless babe, entered our world, your glory veiled; not to be served but to serve, and give your life that we might live. This is our God, the Servant King, He calls us now to follow Him.’ (Graham Kendrick, ‘Servant King’)

But there were also women watching from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome - when he was in Galilee, these had followed him and served him - and also many other women having walked up with him to Jerusalem.

Sinner Syvret

Email this newsletter to a friend
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Friend`s name
Friend`s email address *
Your name
Your email address *

Send comment
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Your name *
Your email address *
Your comment *