My notations from this reading:
“And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.” -Mark 15:21
I never noticed this before, Simon of Cyrene’s son’s names are mentioned in this text. Why does that matter to me? It tells me that this one encounter with Jesus changed the life of Simon and thus the life of the entire family, so much so that years after Jesus’ death Mark knew not only the name of the man that carried the cross but he knew his family as well, because Simon and his family were part of the disciples family now. The power of an encounter with Jesus, converting hearts even while He is headed to the cross.
Of course He also converted hearts while hanging on the cross,
And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” -Mark 15:39
The interesting point about this text is that this centurion, a Roman centurion, is the first in all the book of Mark to acknowledge Jesus as the “Son of God” which then in a way is Mark affirming the heart of this Roman soldier.
Then immediately after that the women that followed Jesus were affirmed,
There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem. -Mark 15:40, 41
Mark is just going after all the biases in one fell swoop!
“After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. 13 And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.” -Mark 16:12, 13
Based on the two texts above the disciples should have already been out spreading the good news of Jesus’ resurrection…but they weren’t which is why,
“Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.” -Mark 16:14, 15
This text to me is powerful because there are some of us that at times think we would have greater faith if we could have seen Jesus face to face…it seems Jesus doesn’t see that as a legitimate excuse for not believing. The testimony of another is enough in the Lord’s eyes.
Tomorrow’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 6-8