Do you think it’s possible to change the world in one day? Not even a whole day – just the hours from the pre-dawn darkness until the skies are darkening again as the sun slips behind the mountains.
Mark 15 covers a single day in history. Our attention is laser-focused on the once-in-a-lifetime, once-for-all-time event of the crucifixion of Jesus – the most pivotal point in humanity’s story. There are several players visible on the stage, but off-stage, unseen by the audience, are two others: one who thinks he’s the director of this particular act (Satan) and the true director, writer, and producer of the whole play (God the Father).
The cast is extensive.
* The religious leaders (chief priests, elders, Pharisees), who have instigated the crucifixion because of envy, and a desire to hold onto their power and position over the people.
* The crowds, stirred to a frenzy by the lies of false witnesses hired by the religious.
* The politician, Pilate, who knowingly condemned an innocent man to satisfy the crowds.
* The guilty Barabbas, a murderer, who gains his freedom in the political games.
* The robbers on either side, equally guilty but with different destinies, as one mocked while the other repented.
* The soldiers, relishing the freedom to be cruel – a day’s work for a day’s pay.
* The bystander, Simon, caught up in the crowds and pressed into service to carry the cross.
* The spectators, verbally abusive, mocking, sarcastic, insulting.
* The followers, some nearby but most observing from afar, hearts breaking, afraid for their own lives.
* The centurion, the weight of this barbaric ritual of death settling on his shoulders as he carried out his orders, but in the end, realizing he’d crucified the Son of God.
And then there’s Jesus, the central character around which the entire act turns. Innocent of the charge of blasphemy because He truly is God. Falsely accused. Lied about. Mocked. Scourged. Beaten. Humiliated. Exhausted physically but determined to fulfill His mission.
He’s nailed to the cross and displayed as a criminal getting what He deserved, but the reality is, He was dying in the place of every other player on the stage. Mark only records one of the seven statements Jesus made from the cross: My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
You see, Satan thought he was directing this particular act and at the end of this chapter in Mark, when the curtain closed, he thought it was the end of the play. Jesus knew better; the second act was coming in just a few hours. Nothing deterred Him from His role. He played His part according to His Father’s script, which was written in eternity past. For just a little while, God the Father separated Himself from God the Son so that redemption could be won.
All the sins of all the people who had ever lived were placed on the shoulders of Jesus and He bore the wrath of His Father’s righteous judgment. Your sin. My sin. All of our sins. That was the day that altered the course of history – the moment in time when the whole world changed. In just one day.