33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”
36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.
37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
SALVATION IS HERE
The longest night gives way to morning as Jesus, beaten beyond recognition and bleeding from head to toe, staggers physically strengthless under the weight of his own cross towards the crucifixion site at Golgotha (Mark 15:22).
Moments later Jesus, nails driven through his wrists and feet, is raised up on his cross. On one of the cruelest means of torture mankind has ever devised, the one labelled the King of the Jews (Mark 15:26) is in agony.
His crucifixion is a very public spectacle. The same crowd who had been whipped into a "crucify him" frenzy by the religious leaders merely minutes before having now gathered around Jesus to continue their mocking.
One of the thieves crucified alongside Jesus joins in with the crowd as they insult and mock him for his inability to save himself (Mark 15:27, 31). They do not realise that if this King saves himself their only hope for salvation is lost. The other thief, however, sees Jesus for who he really is and receives the gift of life when he asks the Messiah to remember him (Luke 23:42-43). Salvation is coming.
As the clock strikes midday, the skies turn dark (v.33). Jesus, the Son of God is embracing the will of the Father so that we might know eternal life. He has become sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), crying out in a loud voice of isolation, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (v.34, Psalm 22:1). It is the single greatest display of love and surrendered obedience the world has ever and will ever see.
Shortly after, having drank the cup he prayed would pass him by, and having experienced the full weight of sin, Jesus wilfully gives up his life in three words that intricately weaves our past, present and future together and still reverberate to this very day:
"It is finished" (John 19:30).
As Jesus commits his spirit into the hands of his Father and dies (Luke 23:46), the temple curtain is torn from top to bottom (Mark 15:38). What once separated us from God's holy presence is forever gone, overcome by grace. "Surely this man was (and is) the Son of God!"