Sermon #72 Mark Sermons
Title: WHAT CONVINCED HIM?
Text: Mark 15:33-39
Subject: Miracles Surrounding The Crucifixion
Date: Sunday Morning - February 7, 1999
Tape # V-10a
Reading: Matthew 27:29-54
Yonder – amazing sight! -- I see Th’ incarnate Son of God
Expiring on th’ accursed tree, And weltering in His blood.
Behold, a purple torrent run Down from His hands and head—
The crimson tide puts out the sun; His groans awake the dead.
The trembling earth, the darkened sky, Proclaim the truth aloud,
And with th’ amazed centurion cry, “This is the Son of God!”
So great, so vast a sacrifice May well my hope revive:
If God’s own Son thus bleeds and dies, The sinner sure may live!
Oh that these cords of love divine Might draw me, Lord, to Thee!
Thou hast my heart, it shall be Thine! Thine it shall ever be!
Come with me once more to Golgotha’s dark brow. I want us today to observe those things which the centurion observed on that day of man’s infamy, the day of God’s glory, when the Son of God suffered the wrath of God in the place of men and women who were the enemies of God. Let’s read together Mark 15:33-39.
WHAT CONVINCED HIM? That is the title of my message. What convinced this crusty, battle hardened soldier, this man who had probably slaughtered multitudes with steel-hearted coldness, what convinced this Roman centurion that the man he executed on that dark, dark day was the Son of God? Let me show you what he saw. May God the Holy Spirit convince you that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Son of God. May he also convince you now of sin, righteousness, and judgment to the saving of your soul by the merit of our crucified Savior.
We will look a several passages of Scripture in the gospel narratives this morning. So I encourage you to keep your Bibles open and follow me closely, as we go through these inspired records of the crucifixion.
Let me show you seven extraordinary miracles which took place when the Son of God was made to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Here are seven miracles of Calvary. Six of them, if not all seven, were witnessed and carefully observed by the centurion. They convinced him that Jesus of Nazareth, with whose blood he was covered, is himself the Son of God.
I. THE SUN WAS TURNED INTO DARKNESS.
Ungodly men are forever trying to explain away the miraculous. They tell us that this just did not happen, that it was just an exaggeration on the part of the Lord’s disciples, that it was only meant to teach spiritual lessons, or that it was an ordinary solar eclipse. But none of those cows will fly.
· The report was given by divine inspiration and given by honest men.
· It was at the time of the Jews’ passover, which was always held during the full moon.
· This extraordinary midnight darkness at midday was reported and recorded by heathen chronologers and historians in the ancient archives of Rome.
In fact, one Dionysius saw this great darkness over the earth in Egypt and wrote - “Either the Divine Being suffers, or suffers with him that suffers, or the frame of the world is dissolving.”
This noon-day darkness was predicted by Amos as an indication of God’s judgment upon the Jewish nation for despising and rejecting his Word (Amos 8:9).
Without question, these three hours of darkness which engulfed the earth from twelve noon until three o’clock in the afternoon are intended to teach us many things. Let me point out just a few things that are obvious, upon the very surface. These three hours of darkness are intended to display in the most convincing manner possible…
A. God’s Abhorrence Of Sin!
When God’s own Son was made to be sin for us, when God the Son was forsaken by God the Father as our Substitute, God turned out all the lights of heaven, to show his abhorrence of sin!
B. The Darkness and Blindness of Divine Judgment!
When God takes away the light, you cannot see. When God sent blindness upon the Jews, they kept all their religious ceremonialism, religious books, and religious customs; but they have no light!
C. THE DARKNESS ENGULFING OUR SAVIOR’S SOUL WHEN HE ENDURED THE WRATH OF GOD FOR US!
It was at the end of these three hours of darkness, at 3:00 in the afternoon, that our Savior cried out, My God, my God, Why hast thou forsaken me?” This took place just as the Jews were offering up their daily sacrifice and the paschal lamb. Both of these were eminent types of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, whose very soul was engulfed in the darkness of God’s holy wrath and fierce justice.
II. THE VEIL OF THE TEMPLE WAS RIPPED APART, FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM.
Notice that we are specifically told that this veil was ripped apart from the top to the bottom, not from the bottom to the top. It did not just wear out at this particular time. God almighty ripped it open!
This was not just a heavy curtain, it was a thick, thick veil, separating to holy of holies from the holy place. It was at least 40 cubits (60 ft.) in length!
No one was allowed to go behind this thick, thick veil, except the high priest. He went in only on the day of atonement and, even then, only with the blood of the paschal lamb. There he sprinkled the blood upon the mercy-seat and made a typical, ceremonial atonement for Israel’s sins.
Can you imagine the shock, the horror which must have seized those emptied-handed priests who were in the temple when this happened?
A. The rending of that veil displayed in the most vivid way possible, the complete fulfillment and abolition of the entire Mosaic economy.
The law was now totally fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ for us. All its types, all its requirements, all its purposes were fulfilled by our Substitute. Now, Christ is the end of the law!”
To try to re-establish the law, the priesthood, altars, sacrifices is nothing short of idolatry. It is an attempt to undo the work of Christ and sew up the ripped veil! It must not be tolerated.
B. That veil represented the humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When the veil was rent, it meant that the true paschal lamb had now been offered and accepted by God for the redemption of his people.
C. The rent veil means that God himself has opened the way for sinners to come to him - THE BLOOD!
III. THE EARTH QUAKED.
Both the prophet Amos and the psalmist tell us that this earthquake was a token of God anger, wrath, and judgment against the nation of Israel because of their evil works.
This earthquake was an emblem of the shaking and removing of Judaism (Heb. 12:26-27).
IV. Next, we read, in Matthew 27:51, that “THE ROCKS RENT.”
This rending of the rocks seems to imply two things…
A. THE TERRIBLE FURY OF GOD’S HOLY WRATH!
What a warning God gives to sinners with every token of his displeasure. These were special, miraculous tokens of judgment upon the Jewish nation and of judgment to come. But every time God sends an earthquake, tornado, flood, tidal wave, or hurricane, he is warning you of the fury of his wrath!
B. THE CONVERSION OF GOD’S ELECT BY THE PREACHING OF CHRIST CRUCIFIED!
As the result of Christ’s death, by the merit of his precious, sin-atoning blood, God the Holy Spirit, breaks hard, stony-hearted sinners, takes away the heart of stone, and gives them tender hearts of flesh.
“God is able of these stones (Gentiles) to raise up children unto Abraham!”
Now look at Matthew 27:52.
Here is the fifth thing that centurion witnessed…
V. “AND THE GRAVES WERE OPENED!”
John Gill wrote, “This was a proof of Christ's power over death and the grave. By dying; he through death, destroyed him that had the power of it, and abolished death itself. He became the plague of death and the destruction of the grave, and took into his hands the keys of hell and death.”
Not only were the graves opened, there was (after our Lord’s resurrection),
VI. A MIRACULOUS RESURRECTION OF MANY OF GOD’S SAINTS.
We are not told who they are, so we will not guess; but many of the saints came out of their graves in resurrection bodies just after the Lord Jesus did, walked the streets of Jerusalem, and were seen of many.
A. This, too, was predicted in the Old Testament.
B. The resurrection of these saints by virtue of Christ’s atonement was God’s declaration that atonement was indeed made!
C. These resurrected saints stand as the pledge of our resurrection.
I do not know whether the centurion witnesses the resurrection of these saints or not; but there is one more miracle he did witness, by which he was convinced that the crucified Substitute was indeed the Son of God. You will see it in Luke 23:39-43. Here is…
VII. A MIRACLE OF MERCY.
What a picture we have before us of God’s rich, free, matchless grace in Christ! Here is…
· A Condemned Confessor.
· A Devider Delivered.
· A Rebel Reconciled.
· A Thief Transformed.
· A Sinner Saved.
· A Savior Satisfied.
Convinced of this one thing am I, And to the mocking crowd,
With th’ amazed centurion cry, “THIS IS THE SON OF GOD!”