“And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. 38 And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. 39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. 40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; 41 (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.
42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. 44 And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. 45 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. 47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.” Mark 15:37-47 (KJV)
Jesus had finished the gruelling, cruel, task of bearing the sins of the world. Jesus spoke seven times from the cross one of which was, “It is finished”, which is recorded by John in chapter 19 verse 30.
Mark records something that is not recorded in the other Gospels, and that is the remark of the centurion in verse 39, “Truly this man was the Son of God”. Matthew, Mark and Luke mention the “Veil of the temple was rent” with Luke’s version leaving off that it was torn from top to bottom.
The “Veil” separated the “Holy place” from the “Holy of Holies”. The “veil” allowed only limited access, and that was only once per year on the day of Atonement by the high priest, and with the blood of a spotless sacrifice. The significance of the torn veil is that now the way has been made for all people to come into the presence of Holy God. Remember Jesus’ words, “I am the way…”. He parted the veil and “The Way” has been made. We can all now, “…Come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16). The special significance of the veil being torn from “top to bottom” is that it was done by God, not by man, showing that the only way to God is not by the works of flesh and law, but only by God’s grace.
The centurion was so amazed by the strength, power and authority of the voice of Jesus at His last words from the cross it made a lasting impression on him. Being a “centurion” he would have been in charge of 100 men, and according to the Gospel of Matthew chapter 27 verse 54,
“Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. Matt 27:54 (KJV)”.
John MacArthur writes of this in the Study Bible,
“those with him. These were probably men under his charge. Mark 15:39 says the centurion was the one who uttered the words of confession, but he evidently spoke for his men as well. Their ‘fear’ speaks of an awareness of their sin, and the word ‘truly’ suggests a certainty and conviction that bespeaks genuine faith. These men represent an answer to Jesus’ prayer in Luke 23:34.”
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do”. (Luke 23:34).
It is not improbable nor unlikely that this man and those with him are with Jesus in heaven.
At His death there were also several women who were there. Some of them are named here – Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the less, and of Joses, and Salome, and others. My how the work of women has improved since the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The New Testament tells us nothing of any wicked women or wicked deeds compared to that of the Old Testament. Here we see the women had less fear for themselves than the men did, and they were closer to Jesus in His death than many of the disciples were.
At His death there was a man we do not know much about. He was one who “Waited for the kingdom of God…” and went and asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. He must have been a silent follower before or became one at His death. Anyway he has the bold courage to appear before Pilate and asks for the body. Joseph of Arimathaea is the man. After Pilate had affirmed that Jesus was dead he gave Joseph the body. Joseph, then, took the body of Jesus and prepared it with the proper perfumes, wrapped His body in “Fine linen”, and “…Laid Him in a sepulcher which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulcher”. Matthew writes, “And laid it in his own new tomb,…” (Matthew 27:60).
The final verse of our text tells us that Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid. They would not leave until they knew where Jesus would be buried. Jesus had no personal means of paying for a burial. He knew that would be taken care of by His Father.
So! Who was really on trial here? Who should have been crucified? Yet, He hung, He bled, He was accursed and died in our stead. It seems to me that what we see here in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus is the wicked, vile, sinful nature of mankind. That was what sent Jesus to the trial and to the crucifixion. It was His love that kept Him stedfast, and faithful to the finish.
-Tim A. Blankenship