There’s nothing pretty about Mark 15. We can try to dress it up, try to avoid the reality of what is described, but this is a dark chapter in the Gospel. We have Jesus being unjustly condemned, beaten and whipped, and crucified before finally succumbing and dying upon the cross and his body laid in the tomb. Like I wrote yesterday, I still struggle with the why of it all. I don’t deny or disbelieve what happened here or in the theology around it, but I still ask why it was ultimately necessary. This is the part of the Gospel story that we don’t like to really think too deeply about. Instead, its easy to skip over this and get right to the next chapter – the resurrection. I see this in worship during Holy Week each year – there is huge attendance at Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, but its Good Friday where we have much fewer people participate in worship. Yet, you can’t get to new life without death. You can’t get to the tomb without resurrection.
We came across this relatively fresh kill in Addo about a week ago on one of our evening game drives. Our guide thought that it was less than a day old. The color picture is fairly gruesome and so I decided to just make it a bit more tame and make it B&W. When our kids saw it, one of them got quite upset about it. “Why did the zebra have to get killed?” was a question asked as we talked about it. The reality is that this is part of the life of the animals that we have seen here. For life to continue, death has to come. Its a hard truth, but truth nonetheless.
So it is with Jesus. For the resurrection to come, the death had to take place. For the freedom to come, the chains needed to be broken.