The text for this lesson is Mark 15:1—16:8.
- Good Friday is both the worst of days, revealing the gravity of our sin and God’s wrath, and the best of days, forever portraying God’s love for us in the crucifixion and resurrection of His Son.
- Law: Though I was not there, I am among those who spat in Jesus’ face and crucified Him by my sinfulness.
- Gospel: Willingly, Jesus came to earth, suffered, died, and rose again so that God might enliven me and forgive my sins.
Our Holy Week was for the Jews the week of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. In Jerusalem, it was standing room only. Because the Jews were under Roman rule, the death penalty could only be pronounced by a Roman official—thus, Pilate’s involvement. Jesus is executed on Friday but rapidly removed from the cross because of the approaching Sabbath. He rests in the tomb the few remaining hours of Friday, then Saturday (the Sabbath), and then rises sometime on the third day, Sunday. Sunday, therefore, becomes the day for Christians, replacing the Sabbath of the old covenant.
Discussion Points and Questions
- Since this is Easter, the day of the resurrection, why talk about Christ’s suffering and death today? Answer that query on the basis of 1 Corinthians 2:1–5; Revelation 5:12; Romans 4:25.
- Occasionally Christians ask, “Why do we need the Old Testament now that the New Testament has come?” How does 1 Corinthians 15:1–8 answer the question? What does Isaiah 52:13–53:12, written about seven hundred years before Christ, teach us about Him?
- What is remarkable about the dialogue in Mark 15:1–39? (Hint: if you have a “red-letter Bible,” this is readily apparent.) What does this indicate to us about Christ’s Passion?
- How does Jesus’ “cry of dereliction” in Mark 15:34 serve as a key to understanding the ultimate significance of the entire Passion account? Revisit Isaiah 53:6–10 for insight.
- Jesus taught, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Did He live out that teaching? See 1 Peter 2:22 and Hebrews 4:14–16. What is at stake in this question?
- According to Mark 15:32, what sort of Christ were the Jewish leaders looking for? What Old Testament passage about the Christ should the Jews have focused on? What is ironic about Mark 15:39, in which Jesus is declared “the Son of God”?
- According to 1 Corinthians 15:3–5, where does the news of Easter Sunday rank among all the things we will ever be told of in this life? What does 1 Corinthians 15:14–20 say would happen if Christ’s bodily resurrection from the tomb were just a myth?
- How does Mark 16:6–8, the angel’s message to the women and their reaction, parallel our own experience amid the changes and uncertainties of life? What kind of encouragement are we given in 2 Corinthians 4:13–18 and John 20:29–31?
- The word torn is common to both Mark 1:9–11 and Mark 15:37–38. What connection might this make? What was significant about the curtain in the temple? How do Galatians 3:26–27 and Romans 6:3–4 connect us to Christ’s Baptism and death?
- Simon of Cyrene was just a passerby on the day of Christ’s crucifixion, but God changed his plan and made him the bearer of Christ’s cross (Mark 15:21). What does bearing the cross mean for Christians today? See Mark 8:34–38; 1 Peter 2:21–25; Galatians 2:20–21.
For Next Week
Read John 21:1–19 to prepare for the next lesson. As we continue to celebrate the Easter season, we will study one of Christ’s post-resurrection appearances to His disciples. We will focus on the key point that “We are all like Peter in our words and actions, denying our Lord and weeping bitterly over what we have done. We are in need of the same comfort that Peter received—the comfort of sins forgiven and the assurance that even though we are faithless, Jesus will remain faithful.”