Can you imagine what believers thought at the time of Jesus’ arrest and trial? They spent time with Him and saw for themselves His mighty power. He healed the sick and raised the dead back to life. But now, Jesus was charged with crimes He did not commit and was hanging on a cross like a criminal.
What they knew was ripped out from under them as they were trying to make sense of what they were seeing versus what Jesus had told them.
They couldn’t see at that moment, so they had to have faith. They had to trust Jesus. They had to believe in their hearts that something great was going to happen. I would think they were bewildered, confused, and their minds began doubting. I would think they pondered, “We saw Him raise Lazarus from the dead. He gave blind people sight and crippled people walked again. Why isn’t He saving Himself? Why are the religious leaders who have taught us through the years not advocating for Him?”
Have you had a time where you felt like the believers in Jesus’ day? Are you in a circumstance or a season where your faith is being challenged by what you see, feel, and think versus your faith in God and His Word? The two aren’t matching up, so you have to wait on God. You have to have faith that God will give you understanding as you trust in Jesus. You have to believe that God will move you forward into whatever He has for you.
Put yourself in the believers’ shoes as you read Mark 15:16-47. They watched from a distance as their Lord and soon-to-be Savior was going to be mistreated. This passage gives a clear picture of how cold and vile the world is, as well as the evil that resides in the hearts of men, and what God is going to do about it.
Looking at verses 16-20, you see men following the world’s way. These soldiers rejected truth. They gathered together and mocked Jesus, taunted Him by making fun of Him, thought He was a joke, and led Him away to His death. How does this make you feel when you read how Jesus was treated? How you live your life reflects what you believe.
Let’s continue with verses 21-32, you read how evil is a bully. A man passing by got caught in the crossfire of good and evil and was forced to carry Jesus’ cross. Maybe it’s not good to simply live life as a blasé bystander. This gives you and I something to think about.
You read how evil hates truth, so much so that truth was nailed to a cross. Truth was crucified, crushed, silenced, so they thought. Charges were against an innocent man. You see how injustice was even in biblical times.
Evil takes advantage of situations too. “They divided His clothes and threw dice to decide who would get each piece.”24 Why would they want Jesus’ clothes? The mentality of what’s in it for me will squelch any faith opportunity from growing within you and it keeps your eyes closed.
You read how more people simply passed by shouted abusive things while mocking Jesus. Evil is pompous and callous. They yelled, “Save yourself and come down from the cross!”30 What is a sad reality found in verse 31? This had to make believers question everything they were taught by these teachers and comparing it to what Jesus had taught them.
Verses 33-41 speaks of wonderful news. What looked like doomsday for truth was actually part of God’s plan to usher in the very thing needed to establish victory over evil so truth can prevail.
Keep a watchful eye for God is in control!
Jesus took it upon Himself to be the Savior to every person wanting to be free from evil. What evil meant to kill and destroy, truth gave a way out. Jesus bore man’s sins. His final words describe the reality of evil, “My God, My God, why have you abandoned Me?”34 Sin separates every human being from God.
Once Jesus breathed His last breath on earth, God moved like never before! What once was a barrier between God and man in the Temple, was now torn in two, from top to bottom. Read Exodus 26 to learn about why this is significant. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, you and I have access to God. Each of us has the opportunity to choose Jesus and walk in the ways of the Lord rather than evil.
Notice how one man saw things differently, see verse 39. How did he see things differently? He stood facing Jesus! He exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!” Most missed this historical event for they weren’t keeping a watchful eye. They were busy with their own lives. They were just passing by going to work, the store, or catching the latest blockbuster movie.
Another man saw differently too. Read verses 42-47 and see how a man named Joseph took a big risk and asked for Jesus’ body. What do you learn from verse 43 that gives you a glimpse of his heart? Joseph cared for Jesus’ body and laid Him in a tomb carved out of rock. He had a watchful eye.
There is one last trait of an evil heart. Pilate exemplified it in verses 44-45. Pilate’s eyes were closed. He was spiritually blind. He was unable to understand truth. He probably found it boring. Jesus uninterested him, so life went on Pilate’s way.
Today, what are you struggling with, wrestling over as you wait on God to bring new life into an old season? Where are you needing clarity and understanding? Like the believers in Jesus’ day, you trust, like Jesus did to His Father. You remain obedient to the Spirit, just like Jesus did. God and His Son moved as one. God desires for you to walk in the same fashion with Jesus. You keep the faith until God moves you forward in His time.
You and I know how the story goes for the believers back then. Sunday came and the world has never been the same since! God is calling you to choose His Son, follow Him, and keep a watchful eye with feet that are ready to go where God is calling for great things are about to happen.