from WL Worcester (H Blackmer, ed.), 
The Sower.  Helps to the Study of the Bible in Home and Sunday School
(Boston: Massachusetts New-Church Union, n.d.)

Table of Contents


Lesson 33

Mark 15:22-47  At the Cross

The Story


We have in mind the Lord's words to the daughters of Jerusalem: "Weep not for Me." We also remember the care of angel teachers in teaching little children of the Lord's resurrection, to avoid anything funereal. (H.335) We shall therefore tell briefly this part of the sacred story, and pass on to the gladness of Easter morning.

The hill Golgotha was near the city, outside the northern gate. It was about nine o'clock when the Lord was crucified. From noon till three o'clock there was darkness over all the land. It was as if the whole earth felt the sadness of this rejecting of the Lord.

We see three kinds of people among those near the cross. There were the soldiers who crucified the Lord. We see them parting His garments among them, and keeping guard. There were priests still mocking the Lord with cruel words, and there were women who loved the Lord, who looked sadly on.

And now before the sunset came two men who had leave from Pilate and took the body of the Lord and laid it tenderly in a little chamber in the rocky hillside near by. The women saw the place and the stone which closed the door, and the garden that was about it. Now all was peaceful and the Sabbath rest had come.


A sad procession moved through the streets of the city to the northern gate. The Lord clothed in His own garments and bearing His cross; soldiers walked beside Him, one of them carrying as the usual placard to announce the crime, the title which Pilate had written in Hebrew and Greek and Latin "THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS." Women wept at the sad sight, and the Lord said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children." They met one Simon from the country (his house was in far-off Africa), and on him laid the Lord's cross.

There was a bare-topped hill outside of the city, named from its shape, "The place of a skull." Here they crucified the Lord, and He said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

The soldiers parted His garments among them; the priests taunted Him. The disciple John and faithful women stood sadly by. The Lord spoke to them, and gave Mary to the care of the beloved disciple.

There was darkness over all the earth from noon till three o'clock. The Lord then cried with a loud voice and bowed His head. The veil in the temple was rent from top to bottom. The great battle which the Lord had fought with all the powers of evil was ended, and He had overcome. What wonderful peace!

There came two men, Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus, and with Pilate's leave took the body of the Lord and wrapped it in linen with spices, and laid him in a new tomb in a garden in the hillside. The women sadly watched them, and saw a great stone rolled to the door. It was toward sunset and the women went to prepare spices, that after the Sabbath rest they might come and anoint the Lord's body.

We may feel a sense of awe as we stand by the cross; we may feel the pity of such ingratitude; but above all feelings of sadness there should be a sense of the great victory which the Lord was gaining, the greatest that was ever gained on earth. We feel the awe of the great conflict, the grandeur of the victory, the perfect peace.

1. What words were written and placed upon the cross? In what languages were they written?

2. Who parted the Lord's garments? Who mocked him? Who were there that loved Him?

3. Who took the body of the Lord? Where was it laid?

Spiritual Study


Verse 23 tells of wine mingled with myrrh which the Lord would not drink, and verse 36 speaks of vinegar or sour wine which He received. Wine is often the type of spiritual truth. The wine mingled .with myrrh the Lord did not take, for it represented truth perverted by falsity, as it was with the Jews. The sour wine He did receive, for it represented truth, imperfect, indeed, but held honestly by simple minds. (E. 519)

We have thought of the Lord's garments as representing the truth which revealed and clothed His love. The soldiers treated His garments as the Jews, and as others in the church at other times, have treated His Word. They rend it in their quarrels; they destroy it. Yet only its letter, for the deeper meaning of the Word like the inner garment they cannot rend. (A. 3812, 9093)

The cry of the Lord upon the cross, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" expresses the sense of utter desolation which came to Him in His times of temptation. Strength seemed as far away from the Lord as it ever does from us; there was the same despair, the same uncertainty of success. The cry is from the twenty-second Psalm. Read the whole Psalm, for it expresses more of the Lord's heart in this great conflict, and in its later verses it expresses the triumph of His victory, and the blessing that His victory would be to all the world. (T. 126) We remember how in the temptation in the wilderness the Lord found strength in words of Scripture; may we not believe that in this last trial of the cross He was strengthened by this Psalm?

Burial, we are often told, means to angels resurrection and eternal life. The ancient care for burial, as for example the custom of embalming, was that the burial might picture the preservation and continuance of life in heaven. There was the same meaning in all that is told of the burial of the Lord, only all that is told of the Lord must be understood in a "supereminent" sense. That is, in relation to the Lord it does not represent merely resurrection to heavenly life, but glorification, becoming wholly Divine. With this general thought in regard to the meaning of the embalming, can we see in particular what is meant by the ointments, and what by the linen cloth in which the body was swathed? Do the ointments suggest the eternity of love, and the linen the eternity of truth? And in relation to the Lord's burial do these represent the truth that His love and truth had not perished, were not lost, but had become Divine? Remember the Lord's saying of Mary, that she did a good work in anointing His body for burial. She expressed the truth that the world needs to know, that the Lord's Humanity by glorification became Divine. (A. 10252)

to next Lesson