Mark 15:33-41 (ESV)

33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” 40 There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

Mark records key events that occurred during the crucifixion of Jesus. Darkness came over the whole land from noon to 3p.m. This darkness symbolized God’s judgment upon sin, unleashed on his Son while he endured the cross. Jesus suffered the punishment humanity earned for disobedience to God, and he was judicially separated from the Father for the first (and last) time in eternity. The letter to the Galatians teaches that Jesus actually became a “curse” for us. Bearing the load of the curse, Jesus questioned, “Why have you forsaken me?” Yet even while experiencing God’s wrath against human sin, Jesus remained faithful, crying, “My God, my God!” Despite the unfathomable horror he underwent, he continued to depend on the Father in total trust. Verse 37 records that Jesus died. After he took his last breath, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom as a symbol of our new direct access to God through the final and complete atonement Jesus made for our sin. Immediately following his death, a Roman officer realized the truth about Jesus. For the first time in the Gospel of Mark, a human acknowledges Jesus as the “Son of God.” This officer, who probably oversaw many, many crucifixions, understood that Jesus was no ordinary man. Through his death, Jesus’ full identity was made known to the world.

Every single human soul not covered by the righteousness of Christ is still under the curse that Jesus bore on the cross. But those of us who have repented and put our faith in Jesus are totally free from the judicial penalty of sin we have earned and even continue to earn. If you are feeling down today, discouraged or stressed out by the cares of this life, and yet you are honestly a follower of Jesus, stop and consider your position before God. Take a minute to marvel at what Jesus accomplished for you on the execution rack we call the cross. You, Christian, are considered blameless before the Almighty God of the universe. God literally gave his own Son to be punished so that you could be righteous before him. Romans 8:32 declares that since God gave us his only Son, we would be foolish to think he will withhold what’s best from us now. He’s already given you the most valuable gift in the universe. The rest is just like pennies to him.