Expositional Devotions: Mark 15:33-39

aaron-burden-113284The gospel, which means “good news,” is the ultimate story of an innocent man taking the place of the guilty. It is the story of a man who never sinned, taking the punishment of sinful men and women. Mark 15:33-39 tells the story of Jesus’ death. As an innocent man dying for the guilty, Jesus proved himself to be the Messiah, the Son of God, sent from God to bear God’s wrath against sin and sinners. He also proved himself to be the Savior who brings sinners back to God. There are two images we see in this chapter that show Jesus as our sacrificial Lamb and our great Mediator.

First, look at Mark 15:34. Mark writes, “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice…”My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This means so much for you and me. Jesus was about to die. With the last bit of strength he had in his dying body, he shouted loudly that God had “forsaken” him. This means that God had abandoned him. In this moment, the wrath of God was pouring out on Jesus. It was like God the Father turned his back on God the Son.

For the first time in eternity, forsakenness existed within the Trinity because as Jesus took his final breaths, the weight of human sin was on his shoulders—your sin and my sin. Jesus took our sin upon himself (2 Cor. 5:21). He was forsaken or abandoned by God so that all who believe in him will never be forsaken or abandoned by God.

Second, look at Mark 15:37-38. Mark writes, “And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” John tells us that loud cry was, “It is finished” (John 19:30). As Jesus breathed his last breath on a hill outside the city of Jerusalem, a curtain in the temple in Jerusalem tore in two pieces.

This curtain separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place in the temple. It was in the Most Holy Place that the presence of God dwelled, and where the high priest would go to make sacrifices for the people. When Jesus died, he offered himself to God as the once for all perfect sacrifice for sin. Through his death, the veil separating the people from the presence of God was forever torn.

Main Idea

Jesus was forsaken or abandoned by God so that all who believe in him will never be forsaken or abandoned by God.

Discussion Starters

Based on Mark 15:33-39, write out the gospel in your own words in one sentence.

 Prayer Points

Thank God for his saving grace by sending Jesus to die for the ungodly.


4 Ways to Be a More Authentic Christian

pexels-photo-241332Why is there often a disconnect between our knowledge of God and our experience of God? What is the difference between knowing stuff about God and knowing God on a personal level? Do you feel that you have grown content with knowing all the right answers about God, the Bible, and the Christian faith? Have you ever wondered why your head knowledge of God hasn’t translated into obedience to God?

What does it mean to be an authentic Christian? In an Instagram-filter world, we want to put on our best face and present ourselves as Christians to one another and to the world in a cookie-cutter manner. We have our own ideas of what an ideal Christian looks like. Some of those ideas are biblical. Some are more culturally informed. Maybe more than anything, we are afraid to let our spiritual doubts or depression show. We can’t let anyone know we are in a spiritual rut, or else they may doubt the legitimacy of our faith or our God. We believe the lie that true Christians don’t feel spiritually dry.

The truth is that authentic Christian experience comes through a combination of honesty and humility. Authenticity moves into our lives when we are honest with God and other believers about our own doubts, demons, and despair. I believe there are four ways we can move toward greater authenticity in our Christian journeys.

1. Don’t ruin your spiritual appetite for God.

Don’t substitute the source of your spiritual appetite with lesser pleasures (Jer. 2:12-13). What do mothers tell their children when they want to eat dessert before dinner? You’ll ruin your appetite. Don’t eat those cookies! You’ll ruin your appetite! I’ve already learned this firsthand with Jude. Just between us, there have been times when Jude has been really fussy before dinner. When Mama won’t give him anything to eat, trying to teach him patience and to wait for his dinner, the boy knows where to turn. “Dada,” he’ll say. And if he says it enough, I might give him a small snack. I’ve had to learn the hard way that when Jude eats something sweet before dinner, he doesn’t eat his dinner. He doesn’t feel a need to eat broccoli or chicken when he’s had a cookie.

The same is true for our spiritual appetites. We can ruin our spiritual appetite for God by seeking spiritual nourishment in other, lesser sources. In God, we have a feast of spiritual sustenance. But, we are prone to settle for sin, which gives the appearance of satisfying us, but only leaves us wanting more.

The worst thing you can do for your soul is seek in other people or things what can only be found in God. Authenticity begins by satisfying your spiritual appetite with the only source that will do. Don’t ruin your spiritual appetite for God.

2. Meditate on the character of God (Ps. 63:6)

David says he knows he will be satisfied in the Lord and his lips will praise him when he remembers him and meditates on him. So, one important step in moving toward greater authenticity in your Christian walk is to meditate on the character of God. In order to crave and be content in your God is to know him. For Christians, the more you know about God, the more you will know God. The more you think about God with your mind, the more your heart will be kindled with affections for him.

3. Preach the gospel to yourself (Ps. 63:7)

We are prone to forget. Those of us with children are doubly prone to forget. When you are in a spiritual rut and don’t understand why God feels absent, feelings of doubt will creep in your mind and heart.  Become a seasoned preacher to your own soul. Use the truths about God and the gospel to your advantage. Remind yourself of God’s righteousness and how he gives it to us freely at great cost to himself.

4. Don’t waste your Sunday mornings (Ps. 63:2)

Jonathan Edwards: “The duty of singing praises to God seems to be appointed wholly to excite and express religious affections.”

When we gather as a redeemed community to sing praises to God, read and proclaim his Word, confess our sin, and partake of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, we are beholding the glory and power of the Lord. We are able to see the glory and power of the Lord in our weekly gatherings far more clearly than David could in the Tabernacle. We see the glory of God revealed in Scripture and through our songs of praise. We see the power of the Lord’s grace through confession, baptism, and the Table. We behold the glory and power of the Lord every Sunday morning through the ordinary elements of our worship service.

When you see Sunday mornings in this light, they will begin to serve you as reminders of the Lord’s presence and power when you are spiritual despondent. Being satisfied in God begins with beholding God as he truly is. Our goal as pastors is to help lead you to see God as he truly is. That’s why we sing God-centered songs that teach the gospel and preach expositional sermons that teach the gospel—to help you behold the glory and power of the Lord. Our weekly gatherings should create both fainting for and feasting of the riches of God’s grace in Christ. May each Sunday morning be a fresh drink of water for your soul.

Morning Mashup 04/17

Morning Mashup

A daily mashup of book recommendations, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 3) | N.T. WRIGHT



The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus | GARY HABERMAS & MICHAEL LICONA





R.C. Sproul: How is the resurrection of Christ linked to the idea of justification in the New Testament?


Aaron Armstrong: Whenever we gather together with a body of believers in the area, even as visitors or semi-regular attendees as we’ve been doing over the last several months,1 it reminds us that there’s still one thing that’s the same, even if the faces and songs aren’t. And that doesn’t change for us just because this Sunday happens to be Easter. If anything, it makes this truth more real for me.


The key to persevering in a discouraging marriage is hope and faith from God’s word that he can overcome the divide.


Kelly Minter: How many times have I looked for life in places where only dead men live? I’ve peered into the tombs of fame and wealth, stepped into caverns where the powerful and popular preside, and carried my offerings to the pleasures of this world, looking for life. And then the whisper that cuts with the tip of a sword slices through: Why are you looking for life here? Look for Jesus. No life is life except the life he gives.


Dane Ortlund: Easter is the promise of final in-breaking light to every pocket of darkness in our lives. Easter is the proven certainty of a sunrise on every self-inflicted sunset. Easter is the promise of reversal.