Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, "So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself! – Vs 29-30
Jesus is hanging on the cross and the crowd is mocking Him. One of the things they are throwing into His face is the statement He made after He cleaning out the temple the first time. He had stated the temple would be destroyed, but that He would raiseit upthree days later. We find this exchange recorded in the book of John.
Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?" Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. – John 2:18-22
Now as Jesus hung on the cross, the people stood there mocking Him for claiming that He would destroy their precious temple in three days, then rebuild it. But as usual, they had missed the point. First of all, Jesus never claimed that He was going to destroy the temple. He said that THEY were going to be the ones who destroyed it. But He wasn't talking about the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus was talking about His own body. He had predicted the very event that was now taking place. The Jews were in the process of destroying His body and, but what they didn't know was thatHE would come back to life three days later.
And that's exactly what He did. Which is really good news when you consider the bad news that seems to fill this chapter. The crowds are mocking Jesus. They are shouting, "save Yourself, and come down from the cross!" They don't get it. They don't understand that Jesus did not come to save Himself, but to save others. Even the chief priest and spiritual leaders are mocking Him saying,
He saved others; He cannot save Himself. Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe! – Vs 31-32
No, they don't get it. They don't understand. Right there in front of them hung the Son of God. The very Messiah or deliverer they had been waiting for for generations. But they had no intention of believing. Instead they mocked and jeered and laughed. And Jesus died. Mark records, "And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last." The Jews had accomplished their objective. They had destroyed the Temple of God. They had eliminated the One who had been a thorn in their side for over three years. Their problems were over. Now things could get back to normal. Or so they thought.
Jesus was down, but He was far from out. He was dead, but the grave would not be able to hold Him. Death could not stop Him.
But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. – Acts 2:24
Chapter 15 of Mark seems like the climactic end to a very sad story. But we know, as Paul Harvey used to say, "the rest of the story." We know about chapter 16. We know that the worst intentions of man could not halt the divine plans of God. All the repulsive schemes of the enemy could never stand in the way of the redemptive plan of God. Chapter 15 ends at the tomb. Chapter 16 begins in the very same place. But something has changed. The mockers are gone. The Pharisees are gone. The soldiers are gone. The crowds are gone. But more importantly, the body of Jesus is gone. But more on that Monday.
Father, never let us forget the rest of the story. Because when we do, we get discouraged. We come to the grave looking a body, instead of a miracle. The enemy wants us to live in defeat instead of victory. He wants us to see the empty tomb as just another empty promise. He wants us to doubt its power and importance. But there is victory in death. "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:56-57). Amen