March 11

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“But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise” (Mark 15:5 NLT).

From: March 11, 2018

JESUS WAS SILENT
As Christ’s accusers made charge after charge against Him, Pilate was surprised at His silence. Pilate already suspected that the Jews were acting out of “envy” (Mark 15:10), but he was amazed that Jesus offered no defense. No doubt he was accustomed to seeing the accused blubber out a passionate defense when facing his court. Yet, Jesus uttered not a word. Certainly, he must have also marveled at Christ’s dignity and self-control. He had never seen a man such as this.
 
Jesus could have easily offered a verbal defense that would have made Pilate see Him as innocent and His accusers as fools. But Jesus said nothing. Jesus could have responded with a devastating military defense, as He had told Peter when he tried to defend Jesus in the garden, “Put away your sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:53). Yet, Jesus took no action.
 
As the prophet Isaiah prophesied concerning the Messiah, “He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth” (Isa. 53:7). Jesus was silent.
 
And as the chorus of Ray Overholt’s 1958 hymn declares:
“He could have called ten thousand angels
     To destory the world and set Him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
     But He died alone for you and me.”

“And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mark 15:37-38 NKJV).

From: March 11, 2017

At the sound of Jesus’ last cry, the thick curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple, was rent from top to bottom, opening the way. This must have been quite startling to the priests who witnessed it during the exact time of afternoon prayers. For it was at the “ninth hour” that Jesus cried out, which was the final time of daily prayers. The Jews counted time from sunrise at 6AM which they called the “first hour,” so the “ninth hour” would have been 3PM. There were three daily prayer times, except on the Sabbath when there were four. The daily prayer times were: Morning prayers at 9AM, Midday prayers at Noon, and Afternoon prayers at 3PM. It was during the third prayer time that Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying “It is finished!” (John 19:30). And the temple veil was torn asunder.
 
From that moment, Jesus, our Great High Priest, opened up “a new and living way” by His blood, so that we are able to enter the “Holiest” place and bring our requests before the Father (Heb. 10:19-22).

‘And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”’ (Mark 15:39 ESV)

From: March 11, 2016

Roman soldiers were expert executioners. They had seen men die in the cruelest of ways. They had witnessed their various human responses to torture and death. Yet, this officer had never seen anyone endure suffering as Jesus did. What was it about Jesus that moved this hardened death squad centurion? Was it his dignity and demeanor amidst such ugliness and disdain? Was it his care for the thief crucified beside him or his forgiveness of the taunting crowd? Perhaps it was the darkening of the sky or the ground that shook when he cried out his last? Maybe there was a way that he looked at the Roman leader with compassion in his eyes even as he was dying? Whatever it was, this officer was moved to affirm Christ’s identity. His normally sarcastic, biting tongue was moved to childlike wonder. I wonder. What became of this Roman officer? Did he turn in his sword for a seat at the Lord’s table? Did he exchange his Roman helmet for one of salvation? Will we see the soldier who once stood at the foot of the cross, someday a servant bowing at the feet of the Christ?

“So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, ‘Truly this Man was the Son of God!'” (Mark 15:39 NKJV)

From: March 11, 2015

Roman soldiers were expert executioners. They had seen men die in the cruelest of ways. They had witnessed their various human responses to torture and death. Yet, this officer had never seen anyone endure suffering as Jesus did. What was it about Jesus that moved this hardened death squad centurion? Was it his dignity and demeanor amidst such ugliness and disdain? Was it his care for the thief crucified beside him or his forgiveness of the taunting crowd? Perhaps it was the darkening of the sky or the ground that shook when he cried out his last? Maybe there was a way that he looked at the Roman leader with compassion in his eyes even as he was dying? Whatever it was, this officer was moved to affirm Christ’s identity. His normally sarcastic, biting tongue was moved to childlike wonder. I wonder. What became of this Roman officer? Did he turn in his sword for a seat at the Lord’s table? Did he exchange his Roman helmet for one of salvation?

“When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, ‘This man truly was the Son of God!'” (Mark 15:39 NLT)

From: March 11, 2014

Roman soldiers were expert executioners. They had seen men die in the cruelest of ways. They had seen their various human responses to torture and death. Yet, this officer had never seen anyone endure suffering as Jesus did. What was it about Jesus that moved this hardened death squad centurion? Was it his dignity and demeanor amidst such ugliness and disdain? Was it his care for the thief crucified beside him or his forgiveness of the taunting crowd? Perhaps it was the darkening of the sky or the ground that shook when he cried out his last? Maybe there was a way that he looked at the Roman leader with compassion in his eyes even as he was dying? Whatever it was, this officer was moved to affirm Christ’s identity. His normally sarcastic, biting tongue was moved to childlike wonder. I wonder. What became of this Roman officer? Did he turn in his sword for a seat at the Table?

“Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life” (Psalm 54:4 ESV)

From: March 11, 2013

David wrote this psalm while hiding from King Saul. He called God his helper and upholder. David encouraged himself with this. Saul had the support and help of all Israel, but David had the Lord. Some may have wealth or worldly power to help, but we have the help of God. He not only helps us, He sustains, supports, upholds and keeps us alive. Who do you call upon when you need help?

Today, I was reading about Korah’s rebellion in Numbers and about Jesus being turned over to Pilate in Mark 15 (3/11/09)

From: March 11, 2009

I’m often struck by the way a reading from the OT connects to a reading from the NT. In this case, I saw a group of Levites who had been given authority to serve God, but they wanted more authority. They falsely accused Moses and Aaron of taking more authority than God had given. They accused Moses and Aaron of “going too far.” It’s funny how their accusation really revealed their own hearts. They were the ones “going too far.” They were jealous of God’s appointed/anointed leaders. They wanted to be the leaders and they got the crowd behind them.
In the book of Mark, the Jewish leaders acted similarly. They falsely accused God’s Son of going too far. But Pilate saw the truth. They were jealous of Jesus. Again, the leaders got the crowd behind them and came ready to back up their false accusations with fleshly support.
In the first story, God’s anointed (Moses) is protected by God. The false accusers are supernaturally dealt with. In the second story, God’s anointed (Jesus) is given over to these false ones and they crucify him, seeking the authority for themselves.
Do you think Jesus could have asked God to have the ground “swallow” them as Moses did? Why did Jesus keep silent? Why did the Son of God go meekly like a Lamb to the slaughter? I wonder if God was saying to Jesus (as He was saying to Moses): “Get away from all these people so I may destroy them.”? I wonder if that’s why Christ responded to God as He stood being accused, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.”?
Do you see the way the OT and NT often connect as if they were meant to be read together? It’s as if they have the same Author.
Blessings as you read God’s Word!