Today we close out our survey of the Gospel of Mark. If you are just joining us here are the links to the
Today we are going to look at the last three chapters of the book, so take your Bibles and read Mark 14-16.
The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus are the most important events in human history. They are the key events for understanding the gospel and are foundational for developing a Christian view of the world. As we saw earlier this week, the crucifixion did not take Jesus by surprise. Three times in Mark 8-10, Jesus prophesied about His death and resurrection. On the night before He was crucified, Jesus gathered His disciples together to celebrate the Old Testament Feast of Passover, which commemorated the deliverance of the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt. Every year, the Jewish people all over the world would gather with their families to remember the night that God delivered Moses and the ancient Israelites from Egypt. In Mark 14:12-26, Jesus gathers with His disciples to celebrate the Passover, but Jesus uses this opportunity to begin a new ordinance for the church—the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. We will look more fully at this next week, but for now, we want to turn our focus on the meaning of Jesus’ death. The gospels give us the historical record of Jesus death, but to understand its full meaning, we must bring in other parts of the New Testament. Today, we want to look at three key truths taught to us in the New Testament about the death of Jesus on the cross.
Three Important Truths About the Death of Jesus:
1. Jesus’ death was a demonstration of God’s love
Read John 3:16
The children’s song says, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so,” but to truly understand how much Jesus loves us we must be more specific. The Bible tells us that Jesus loved us so much that He died in our place on the cross. The Apostle Paul says it this way in Romans 5:7-8, “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (NKJV)
2. Jesus’ death paid the debt for our sin.
Read 2 Corinthians 5:21
In Genesis 2:17, God made a rule and attached a penalty to it. He told Adam and Eve that if they ate from the forbidden tree that they would die. As we learned earlier this week, death in the Bible refers not only to our physical death but also to separation from God. Once death entered into the world through our first parents, Adam and Eve, it spread throughout all the generations, so that Romans 3:23 is correct when it says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” I have sinned, you have sinned, and every person who has ever lived has sinned except for one. The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in every way that you and I are, but He remained without sin (Heb 4:15). Earlier in the week, we saw how Satan came to Jesus and tempted Him to sin, but Jesus withstood the temptation and remained without sin. That is important because, in order for Jesus to pay the penalty for our sin, He had to be sinless.
Read Romans 5:8-10
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God withdrew His presence. God could no longer live in perfect union and communion with them because of the presence of sin. The curse of sin was passed from generation to generation because all have sinned (see Rom 3:9-19). Through His death, Jesus has reconciled us to God, so that now we can once again enter into His presence and call Him Father. John 1:12 says, “To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” As a result of His death, sin no longer keeps us from entering into God’s presence. Therefore, we can have eternal life in heaven when we die (John 3:16) and abundant life while we are serving Him in this age (John 10:10).
The death of Jesus would have no meaning to us if it were not for the resurrection. The resurrection is the single most important event in history. It shows us that Jesus is truly the Son of God and that God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The resurrection is also our source of hope, because the Bible teaches that we will be resurrected in the same way that Jesus was (1 John 3:2). When a believer dies their soul goes on to be with Jesus in heaven (Phil 1:21-23), but their body is buried where it will stay until Jesus returns. The Bible teaches us that those who have died before the second coming will rise first, and those who are left will then be caught up into heaven and given a new body (1 Thess 4:13-18; 1 Cor 15:51-54). This is sometime called the “blessed hope” because, as Christians, we look forward to the day when the struggles and trials of this fallen world will be ended and Jesus will return all things to a state of perfection.
Jesus is the center of God’s mission to redeem the world from sin. He is the focus of God’s plan to redeem the world and the main character of the entire Bible. Jesus came to earth to redeem the world that Adam and Eve had ruined by their sin. On the cross, He paid the penalty for our sin and reconciled us to God. Through His resurrection, He offers us new life and a future in heaven. Even in heaven, Jesus will be the primary focus of attention (see Rev 5:1-14). As believers, Jesus should be the primary focus of our lives and the object of all of our affections. In other words, Jesus should have first place in our lives.