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March 12, 2016
10th week 7th day: were you there?
In less than two weeks’ time will be the time of the calendar year when Jesus would be hung on the cross (historically). Today’s New Testament reading is ahead of 2016’s Calendar for the commemorative crucifixion date. In our Calendar, next Sunday will be Palm Sunday celebrated by many Christian churches. Many Christian churches hold special services on Palm Sunday where congregation members receive blessed palm leaves, which symbolize victory and joy. After Palm Sunday, when it comes to the subsequent week of watching, suffering, and victorious celebration of our Lord Jesus’ passion, Christians have three more holy days: Maunday Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Today’s reading from Mark chapter 15 is the chapter before the last chapter of Mark. I post the whole chapter here. I pray each of us who reads this receives form our Lord His own message for each of us as a believer and follower of Jesus. My own prompting in my spirit is “Watch the number of people participated and recorded in this chapter. See how each responded.” Yes, there are plenty of people from all walks of lives who have heard about Jesus and even witnessed what He has done, the preaching of the Good News of the Kingdom of God, the miraculous healing, the signs and wonders. I highlighted these people by bolding the letters in the verses. His religious enemies, the political and military head, military officer and soldiers, ordinary people (the crowd, the mob, the passerby), His disciples and followers. Women (specially mentioned and recorded here).
(I enclose at the end of this post the lyrics of a hymn “Were you there” which deeply touched y heart many years ago when I first heard it sung. )
Mark 15 New Living Translation (NLT)
Jesus’ Trial before Pilate
15 Very early in the morning the leading priests, the elders, and the teachers of religious law—the entire high council[a]—met to discuss their next step. They bound Jesus, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor.
2 Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus replied, “You have said it.”
3 Then the leading priests kept accusing him of many crimes,4 and Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?”5 But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise.
6 Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner—anyone the people requested.7 One of the prisoners at that time was Barabbas, a revolutionary who had committed murder in an uprising.8 The crowdwent to Pilate and asked him to release a prisoner as usual.
9 “Would you like me to release to you this ‘King of the Jews’?” Pilate asked.10 (For he realized by now that the leading priests had arrested Jesus out of envy.)11 But at this point the leading priests stirred up the crowd to demand the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus.12 Pilate asked them, “Then what should I do with this man you call the king of the Jews?”
13 They shouted back, “Crucify him!”
14 “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?”
But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!”
15 So to pacify the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.
The Soldiers Mock Jesus
16 The soldiers took Jesus into the courtyard of the governor’s headquarters (called the Praetorium) and called out the entire regiment.17 They dressed him in a purple robe, and they wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head.18 Then they saluted him and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!”19 And they struck him on the head with a reed stick, spit on him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship.20 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.
21 A passerby named Simon, who was from Cyrene,[b] was coming in from the countryside just then, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. (Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.)22 And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”).23 They offered him wine drugged with myrrh, but he refused it.
24 Then the soldiers nailed him to the cross. They divided his clothes and threw dice[c] to decide who would get each piece.25 It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.26 A sign announced the charge against him. It read, “The King of the Jews.”27 Two revolutionaries[d] were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.[e]
29 The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days.30 Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!”
31 The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself!32 Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him.
The Death of Jesus
33 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock.34 Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”[f]
35 Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah.36 One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. “Wait!” he said. “Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down!”
37 Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last.38 And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
39 When the Roman officer[g] who stood facing him[h] saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!”
40 Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James the younger and of Joseph[i]), and Salome.41 They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for him while he was in Galilee. Many other women who had come with him to Jerusalem were also there.
The Burial of Jesus
42 This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation,[j] the day before the Sabbath. As evening approached,43 Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.)44 Pilate couldn’t believe that Jesus was already dead, so he called for the Roman officer and asked if he had died yet.45 The officer confirmed that Jesus was dead, so Pilate told Joseph he could have the body.46 Joseph bought a long sheet of linen cloth. Then he took Jesus’ body down from the cross, wrapped it in the cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance.47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus’ body was laid.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree? Were you there when they nailed him to the tree? Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb? Were you there when they laid him in the tomb? Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when God raised him from the tomb? Were you there when God raised him from the tomb? Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?