Sunday Sermon Quotes: "Simply Astounding"

“Because Jesus follows each passion prediction with some reference to the implications for those who follow him, this part of Mark’s narrative is often said to be about discipleship. The recognition of this discipleship material, however, should not be permitted to overshadow the fact that Mark’s story is about Jesus…By repeatedly foreshadowing his death, this section propels Jesus towards the cross.” Peter Bolt

“There is something about him now that had a profound effect on them all. It was a sense of almost frightening determination in his whole being” Sinclair Ferguson

“With the specific mention of Jesus and the disciples proceeding toward Jerusalem and the clearest mention so far as to what will occur there, there is a sense that the Passion narrative begins at this point. This is heightened by the amazement and fear that these things bring about.” Robert Stein

“Mark wants to emphasize to his readers that Jesus death was neither a tragedy nor an unfortunate turn of events. Jesus went to Jerusalem knowing full well that he would be put to death. He knew the precise details of what would be involved, but he nevertheless went because this was a divine necessity and he desired to fulfill his Father’s will.” Robert Stein

“The theological backdrop of this phrase, ‘deliver him over to the Gentiles’ is rarely if ever examined. An examination of this phrase in the OT shows that it does not simply refer to the way things will happen but that it is a theologically loaded term. The horror of this action should be apparent to all who are familiar with OT history. To hand someone over to the Gentiles is equivalent to handing someone over to God’s wrath.” Peter Bolt

“Our familiarity with the fact that Jesus died, indeed the fact that his death is central to the Christian faith, is liable to obscure the astounding character of the event. Death is the wages of sin and it does not cease to be such in the case of Christ. If it is the wages of sin, how could death be applicable to him, how could it be predictable of him? He was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. So in the death of Christ we encounter an absolute abnormality. In all other cases men and women deserve to die. He did not deserve to die. Yet he died. What is the reason?

But there is something, perhaps more astounding. That arises from who he was. He was the eternal and only-begotten Son of God and for that reason equal with God the Father in respect of divine identity. He, the Word, eternally pre-existing, eternally with God, and eternally God, became flesh. So death was not only the contradiction of what he was as human. It was the contradiction of all that he was as God. This is the astounding feature of Christ’s death. He died. But death in his case was the contradiction of all that he was as divine and human, as God-man. This, therefore, points up to the absolute uniqueness, the unprecedented, unparalleled character of his death. And it points up the urgency of the question: why?

Why did Jesus die if, of all who died, he alone deserved not to die? Here is the marvel of grace and love. The Father sent him to make an end of sin by bearing it. Jesus bore the penalty of sin, the whole penal judgment of God upon the sin he vicariously bore. He bore our sins. The Lord laid on him the iniquities of us all. Him who knew no sin the Father made to be sin for us.” John Murray

“He who had been condemned for us in his death, was publicly vindicated in his resurrection. The resurrection is God’s decisive demonstration that he had not died in vain.” John Stott

“It would be inexcusable to close the treatment of this precious passage without showing what it implies with respect to the majesty of Christ’s love.” William Hendrikson