Joseph of Arimathea…went boldly to Pilate and asked for Christ body…So he gave the body to Joseph…he took the body down, wrapped it in linen cloth, and laid it in his own tomb cut out of rock. (Mark 15:43-46 NIV)
This man was a follower of Christ and member of the council like Nicodemus.
We know Nicodemus came to Jesus at night and talked with Him. We know the council was divided by Him, and we learn that Joseph went to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus. For Joseph this was a bold move not because of Pilate but because of the Jews. By asking this Joseph made no secret of his acceptance of Christ. We to should live boldly and confidently in Christ not caring about what are family or the world says about our devotion to Jesus. We should never be ashamed of Him who gave his life for us. There were those on the council that did come to a saving knowledge of Christ. They did recognize Him as the Messiah. But those who recognize Christ will always be the minority. The majority of people today would go along with the Pharisees in rejection of Christ. That is why it is so important that we show our love for Christ as boldly as Joseph did. So others may see that we belong to Christ and repent.
At the sixth hour darkness covered the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?”…With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. (Mark 15:33-38 NIV)
The darkness no doubt was a sign of the Father turning away from Jesus. The sight was more than He could bear. God’s love sent His son to the cross at His will. Because God was interested in our restoration to Him; Jesus was now experiencing the full price of sins penalty. He was suffering the complete wrath of God for sin – separation from the Father. Forever thrust from his presence is the penalty for sin. That is death: Never to know God or to have fellowship with him. Christ bore this penalty for us and as a result God’s wrath was satisfied. How do we know? The veil of the temple was torn in two. The temple was God’s place of meeting his people Israel under the Old Covenant. That veil stood for the inaccessible presence of God. God was not accessible to Israel they could not come into his presence. The only one who could enter was the high priest and he could do it only once a year. By removing the veil God was now accessible through Christ. The wall of separation was torn down. The gap between God and humanity was now bridged. All can come to God we have confidence to approach him because of Christ sacrifice.
Jesus was brought to a place called Golgotha…and there they crucified him… it was the third hour when they crucified him…They crucified two robbers with him, one on his right, and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him. In the same way the Sanhedrin also mocked him saying, “he saved others, can’t he save himself? Come down from the cross and we will believe you!” (Mark 15:22-32 NIV)
In a moment of time Christ found himself alone as he hung dying on the cross. The disciples had fled, the religious leaders mocked, the world scorned him, and worst of all the Father had forsaken him. It was truly an unbearable load to bear. But Christ went all the way out of love for the world – so that we could be forgiven of our sins. He could have come down off the cross if He so chose to. The Pharisees could not understand why He hung there. It was not because He was powerless but because He was obedient. If Christ had come down at the Pharisees invitation he could have shown that He was the Son of God beyond doubt. But even then would they have believed? We are grateful Jesus didn’t because it meant forgiveness and life for us. We could never experience God’s love and forgiveness, fellowship or grace if not for Christ. The love of God is beyond understanding.
Now it was the custom… to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man named Barabbas was in prison for insurrection and murder… Pilate asked, “Do you want me to release the King of the Jews?” he knew it was out if envy that Jesus had been handed over to him. But the chief priest stirred up the crowd to have Barabbas released instead. “What shall I do with the King of the Jews?” he asked. “Crucify Him!” they shouted. (Mark 15:6-13 NIV)
Funny how public opinion is so feeble at times. The Jews hailed Christ their king as he entered Jerusalem not a week before this moment; throwing cloaks down, waving palm branches, and even singing and quoting Scripture. Now disillusioned, these same Jews cried out for their king’s death. Instead of releasing Christ they release a murderer. Barabbas was an unpleasant fellow to say the least. Is that really who they would rather see walking the street at night? When we look at the big picture in this scenario it was a condition of the heart that was seen in the Jews. They choose Barabbas over Jesus. Are there any Barabbas’s in your life? Have you substituted Christ for some other idol of your making? When it comes down to it every time we choose to walk away from fellowship with Christ we have just sat Barabbas in his place. Whoever or whatever our Barabbas may look like he is in a place he does not belong – Our hearts. We can repent of that idol worship and give Christ first place in our lives and hearts. Or we can just keep shouting, “Crucify!”
Early in the morning…The Sanhedrin brought Jesus to Pilate having condemned him to death. … The chief priest accused him of many things. So Pilate asked, “are you not going to answer the charges? …but Jesus made no reply and Pilate was amazed. (Mark 15:1-5 NIV)
Jesus’ silence during the trial is astonishing. He made no defense though He was accused of many things. All of them were false. But that is what is so astonishing about His silence. When we are accused of something we have done, we always try to make a defense. If we have done something wrong and we are accused then we are guilty and there is not much we can do about it. We can accept the charge because it is true. Being accused falsely is something altogether different. We feel the whole world is against us. The gossip, slander, backstabbing, etc. we feel betrayed and all alone. While being accused falsely Jesus did nothing, not one word did He utter in all this. There is a lesson we can learn from this I believe. The Pharisees knew who Jesus was. They knew they could not find fault in him. Like Daniel in the Old Testament He was faultless. I believe Jesus’ silence is defense in itself. He said nothing because he did not have to. His life spoke for him. And the Pharisees knew it too. We should learn from the Master that out lives should not require a defense with words but a life shown in holiness through faith to a lost world.