Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Nov 11, Mt 27, Mk 15.

Today's readings are Mt 27, Mk 15. Tomorrow's are Lk 23, Jn 18-19.

In Matthew's familiar story of the death and resurrection there are still some fascinating points to ponder. The veil is torn from the top to the bottom (Mt 27:51). The veil was 30 ft high and nearly 3 ft thick. That it was torn from the top is a symbol of God acting from heaven above upon the earth below. Aside from removing the divide between Himself and His people, opening up the Holy of Holies to all, this shows the work is His alone.

In Mt 27:53, we hear of the dead being raised. This is a tough verse to parse. There are many different interpretations of it, but it is best to read it for what it is. At or immediately after the resurrection, there were some who were resurrected as well. This is, quite probably and simply, a display of God's power in and through the resurrection of His Son. It is a guarantee that we too will be raised.

In Mt 27:54, a centurion, with no indication that he was a believer, proclaims "This truly was the Son of God!" This is another guarantee, one that "every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess..." (Rom 14:11).

Mk 15:2 relates Pilate's pronunciation of Jesus' kingship. Ironically, Jesus is proclaimed King by a pagan Gentile governor. In Mk 15:12-15 Pilate actually declares Jesus to be innocent. This is an independent, outside affirmation that Jesus is being tried and judged inappropriately. 

During the crucifixion we hear Jesus cry out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Mk 15:34). We should not miss what happens here. First, we see Jesus has not lost His faith and trust in the Father. He continues to confess Him and "My God." Second, we see the extent of Jesus' suffering as a man. Somehow, without surrendering His nature as God (He was fully man and fully God simultaneously and at all times), He feels the separation that sin causes between man and God. Yet, Jesus remains a full-fledged member of the Trinity as the Son. We know the Trinity is unchanging forever because God never changes. So, the Trinity remains intact and fully functional with Jesus maintaining His role as the Son. Yet, as a man, Jesus feels the anguish and heartbreak of being alone. This is difficult for us to comprehend. As such, it has to be accepted in faith.

For those of us who have experienced heartbreak and isolation, this should be an encouragement that we never suffer anything that our Lord has not suffered. He was "...a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief" (Is 53:3), particularly at this moment on the cross. Jesus as a man not only identifies with our struggles and pain, but as God, He comforts us and wipes every tear away. 

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