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Searchers - Lenten Studies - Session 5

Reading: Mark 15:33 – 39 Setting: The cross Theme: Anguish

Image by John Hain Pixabay

Question: What stood out to you from Mark 15?

· The darkness - nature reflected the suffering of Christ.

· The curtain was ripped in two, symbolising we are no longer separated from God because of the sacrifice of Jesus.

· The cruelty of it all is so devastating.

· Humans can’t live with people they don’t agree with, then and now.

· Humans can be blood thirsty – they watched as a spectator – but think how his mother and his disciples would have felt at Jesus’ public death.

· Jesus cries out in anguish – he felt lonely, empty and abandoned – total desolation.

It reminded Dorothy of the Passion Play she saw in Oberammergau.

Lindy and Kimberley were reminded of the stage production of Jesus Christ Super Star and how it brings tears to your eyes as you feel the passion of Jesus generated by the actors.

On Good Friday, year after year, we can feel more and more devastated as we remember the torture and death Jesus went through for us. We are not worthy but it’s this very sacrifice that brings us our salvation, so we are grateful.

THERE (at the scene): Thief on the cross beside Jesus

I’d never thought about God until my final hours – beside Jesus. I felt he was there for me – he said I’d be with him in paradise. I truly believe he was the Messiah and yet he chose to step down from his glory and die on a cross, next to a thief like me. I gave thanks to God for sending his Son to die beside me, to understand, to truly relate to me.

Jesus was hanging and dying on the cross but he cared about the thief and had a conversation with him, so great is his compassion and love!

HERE (today 2021): Bereaved member of a congregation

I flip between feeling God holding me and feeling a long way from faith. Easter will have a new meaning for me this year - the suffering, the pain, the crying out to God in anguish, the emptiness and loss, confusion, disbelief that someone so loved could ever really leave this world. Jesus breathed his last and God felt the anguish – the same sort of anguish I feel. God understands what I’m going through, because of the death of his Son.

It is good for us to have a God who has suffered just as we do. Without Jesus’ death we would be lost. When God sees us suffering it breaks his heart and when people don’t believe and suffer as a consequence, it breaks God’s heart. Our God is awe inspiring. It leads us to repentance. It brings forgiveness.

We listened to Charles Wesley’s hymn that reflects his own conversion to Christ:

And can it be that I should gain

An int’rest in the Saviour’s blood?

Died He for me, who caused His pain?

For me, who Him to death pursued?

Amazing love! how can it be

That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me

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