Mark 15:21-27, 29-32 21 And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. 22 And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. 25 And it was the third hour when they crucified him. 26 And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. 29 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.
The book of Mark clearly shows the depravity of mankind in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. At the last supper, as the disciples celebrated the Passover meal together with Jesus, He made it known that one of them would betray Him (Mark 14:18). This did not stop Judas Iscariot who that very night betrayed Jesus to the chief priests and the scribes in the garden of Gethsemane. After the arrest of Jesus, the chief priests and scribes then looked for any possible way to legally have Jesus of Nazareth put to death. Jesus gives them what they desire as He publicly and directly admits to them that He is no ordinary man but is equal with God as the Christ- the promised Savior of Israel and of all of mankind. They use His Words as a justification to kill Jesus as the punishment of claiming to be equal with God is death (Leviticus 24:16). But in Jesus’ case it was true and all of Jesus’ actions proved that this was a true statement. They took Jesus to the Roman governor Pilate and tried to persuade him. Pilate could see through the wrong motives of the chief priests and the scribes and tried to gain the favor of the people. Pilate assumed that the people, when given the choice between letting a convicted murderer or Jesus free, would choose Jesus but they did not. They chose the murderer and Pilate did not stand against the evil but gave them what they wanted in order to protect himself. The soldiers then mocked and beat and abused Jesus and placed a crown of thorns upon His head. But this was not enough. More was to come as Jesus died upon the cross.
As Jesus went to the cross He was too weak from the beating that He had received at the hand of the Roman soldiers to carry the cross. A man named Simon was forced to carry it. If there is any doubt of the humility of the Son of God who entered into creation and lived as a man this scene shouts it loud and clear. Jesus, who created the heavens and the earth, humbled Himself to be like us and was willing to die in apparent weakness. He was willing to bear the shame that sin brings and He was willing to bear all of the evil of mankind. He was willing to become nothing. In spite of the power of God that had been seen in Jesus Christ as the Kingdom of God was manifest in Him and around Him as He had performed many miracles and preached with great authority for over three years, now Jesus is weak; now He is silent; now He appears powerless. The man who walked on water could not even carry a cross. He was defeated.
2 Corinthians 13:4 For he was crucified in weakness...
How sick and evil is man to get pleasure out of such a scene but this is exactly what happened. Jesus was taken to Golgotha which means Place of a Skull- a place of pure evil. What would happen to this great man? The people were curious. Jesus was offered a drug to drink to numb His sense about what was about to happen to Him but He refused. Jesus would not run from or try to hide from the evil of sin. He was fully committed to be our sin bearer. The soldiers had no shame in dividing the spoils of His garments. The Son of God who owned all things as the Creator of the universe was left with no possessions. They were not afraid to take what little He had in His very presence. After all, Jesus was utterly pathetic.
How mankind loves to abuse the person who is weak and is vulnerable. Especially a man who was declared to be great and then has been brought low. There is something about a fall from greatness that the wickedness in man especially gets pleasure from. There is something about someone great who is now below us that makes us have satisfaction in our wickedness. Jesus was crucified between two robbers. The chief priests and the scribes acknowledged that Jesus had demonstrated power and He had saved others but now He was completely weak and unable to save Himself. Everyone did all that they could to display their power over Jesus while He died in the most cruel form of torture created by mankind. How evil is mankind? Even the robbers who were dying condemned Jesus. But Jesus had not been overcome. Not for a moment. He had willingly submitted Himself to be crucified in weakness for our sake. He was in complete control as He was led to the slaughter. He was dying for you and for me.
Those who passed by Him mocked Jesus and told Him to save Himself. It was easy to tell Jesus to come down from the cross. But if He did come down from the cross no one could be saved. All of mankind is evil at the core. The cross of Jesus Christ proves this. Every single person alive today has exactly the same absolutely wicked and profusely evil nature as all these people who were alive upon this earth when Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. It is absolutely insane that any of us, or that any of them who mocked Jesus at His death, could claim to be good enough that we can save ourselves. But that is exactly what most people will try to get away with. Any person who will not recognize their own sinfulness and look to the Lamb who was slain as providing for their personal salvation is someone who tries to save themselves. The sinner who does not recognize their own sin and their absolute need of a Savior will be found guilty at the final judgment. And it will be none other than the One who died in weakness that will tell them that they cannot save themselves no matter how they may plead their case. Jesus Christ will condemn them for although He was crucified in weakness He rose from the dead in power. He lives for all eternity in the glory that was hidden as He humbled Himself in death:
2 Corinthians 13:4 For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God.
Do you see yourself deserving such a death as Jesus suffered? It is what we all deserve and much worse in our treatment of God. No one can argue that eternal suffering is unjust in light of how we are all willing to treat the Son of God. And yet in spite of all this, anyone can be saved if they only repent and believe in Jesus Christ. Are you still trying to save yourself or can you see what Jesus did for you upon the cross? Do you understand why He was crucified in weakness?
Pastor Murray Hack