Sermon #72                                            Mark Sermons


          Title:            WHAT CONVINCED HIM?

          Text:            Mark 15:33-39

          Subject:          Miracles Surrounding The Crucifixion

          Date:            Sunday Morning - February 7, 1999

          Tape #        V-10a

          Reading:          Matthew 27:29-54




Yonder – amazing sight! -- I see Th’ incarnate Son of God

Expiring on th’ accursed tree, And weltering in His blood.


Behold, a purple torrent run Down from His hands and head—

The crimson tide puts out the sun; His groans awake the dead.


The trembling earth, the darkened sky, Proclaim the truth aloud,

And with th’ amazed centurion cry, “This is the Son of God!”


So great, so vast a sacrifice May well my hope revive:

If God’s own Son thus bleeds and dies, The sinner sure may live!


Oh that these cords of love divine Might draw me, Lord, to Thee!

Thou hast my heart, it shall be Thine! Thine it shall ever be!


Come with me once more to Golgotha’s dark brow. I want us today to observe those things which the centurion observed on that day of man’s infamy, the day of God’s glory, when the Son of God suffered the wrath of God in the place of men and women who were the enemies of God. Let’s read together Mark 15:33-39.


Mark 15:33-39  "And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. 36 And one ran and filled a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. 37 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."


WHAT CONVINCED HIM? That is the title of my message. What convinced this crusty, battle hardened soldier, this man who had probably slaughtered multitudes with steel-hearted coldness, what convinced this Roman centurion that the man he executed on that dark, dark day was the Son of God? Let me show you what he saw. May God the Holy Spirit convince you that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Son of God. May he also convince you now of sin, righteousness, and judgment to the saving of your soul by the merit of our crucified Savior.


We will look a several passages of Scripture in the gospel narratives this morning. So I encourage you to keep your Bibles open and follow me closely, as we go through these inspired records of the crucifixion.


Let me show you seven extraordinary miracles which took place when the Son of God was made to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Here are seven miracles of Calvary. Six of them, if not all seven, were witnessed and carefully observed by the centurion. They convinced him that Jesus of Nazareth, with whose blood he was covered, is himself the Son of God.




Matthew 27:45  "Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour."


Mark 15:33  "And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour."


Luke 23:44-45  "And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst."


          Ungodly men are forever trying to explain away the miraculous. They tell us that this just did not happen, that it was just an exaggeration on the part of the Lord’s disciples, that it was only meant to teach spiritual lessons, or that it was an ordinary solar eclipse. But none of those cows will fly.


·        The report was given by divine inspiration and given by honest men.


·        It was at the time of the Jews’ passover, which was always held during the full moon.


·        This extraordinary midnight darkness at midday was reported and recorded by heathen chronologers and historians in the ancient archives of Rome.


          In fact, one Dionysius saw this great darkness over the earth in Egypt and wrote - “Either the Divine Being suffers, or suffers with him that suffers, or the frame of the world is dissolving.”


          This noon-day darkness was predicted by Amos as an indication of God’s judgment upon the Jewish nation for despising and rejecting his Word (Amos 8:9).


Amos 8:9  "And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day:"


          Without question, these three hours of darkness which engulfed the earth from twelve noon until three o’clock in the afternoon are intended to teach us many things. Let me point out just a few things that are obvious, upon the very surface. These three hours of darkness are intended to display in the most convincing manner possible


A. God’s Abhorrence Of Sin!


          When God’s own Son was made to be sin for us, when God the Son was forsaken by God the Father as our Substitute, God turned out all the lights of heaven, to show his abhorrence of sin!


B.  The Darkness and Blindness of Divine Judgment!


          When God takes away the light, you cannot see. When God sent blindness upon the Jews, they kept all their religious ceremonialism, religious books, and religious customs; but they have no light!




          It was at the end of these three hours of darkness, at 3:00 in the afternoon, that our Savior cried out, My God, my God, Why hast thou forsaken me?” This took place just as the Jews were offering up their daily sacrifice and the paschal lamb. Both of these were eminent types of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, whose very soul was engulfed in the darkness of God’s holy wrath and fierce justice.




Matthew 27:51  "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;"


Mark 15:38  "And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom."


Luke 23:45  "And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst."


          Notice that we are specifically told that this veil was ripped apart from the top to the bottom, not from the bottom to the top. It did not just wear out at this particular time. God almighty ripped it open!


          This was not just a heavy curtain, it was a thick, thick veil, separating to holy of holies from the holy place. It was at least 40 cubits (60 ft.) in length!


          No one was allowed to go behind this thick, thick veil, except the high priest. He went in only on the day of atonement and, even then, only with the blood of the paschal lamb. There he sprinkled the blood upon the mercy-seat and made a typical, ceremonial atonement for Israel’s sins.


          Can you imagine the shock, the horror which must have seized those emptied-handed priests who were in the temple when this happened?


A.  The rending of that veil displayed in the most vivid way possible, the complete fulfillment and abolition of the entire Mosaic economy.


          The law was now totally fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ for us. All its types, all its requirements, all its purposes were fulfilled by our Substitute. Now, Christ is the end of the law!”


          To try to re-establish the law, the priesthood, altars, sacrifices is nothing short of idolatry. It is an attempt to undo the work of Christ and sew up the ripped veil! It must not be tolerated.


B.  That veil represented the humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ.


          When the veil was rent, it meant that the true paschal lamb had now been offered and accepted by God for the redemption of his people.


Hebrews 9:7-12  "But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: 8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. 11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."


C.  The rent veil means that God himself has opened the way for sinners to come to him - THE BLOOD!


Hebrews 10:12-22  "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. 19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."




Matthew 27:51  "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;"


          Both the prophet Amos and the psalmist tell us that this earthquake was a token of God anger, wrath, and judgment against the nation of Israel because of their evil works.


Amos 8:7-8  "The LORD hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works. 8 Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? and it shall rise up wholly as a flood; and it shall be cast out and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt."


Psalms 18:7  "Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth."


          This earthquake was an emblem of the shaking and removing of Judaism (Heb. 12:26-27).


Hebrews 12:26-27  "Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain."


IV. Next, we read, in Matthew 27:51, that “THE ROCKS RENT.”


          This rending of the rocks seems to imply two things…




Nahum 1:5-6  "The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. 6 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him."


          What a warning God gives to sinners with every token of his displeasure. These were special, miraculous tokens of judgment upon the Jewish nation and of judgment to come. But every time God sends an earthquake, tornado, flood, tidal wave, or hurricane, he is warning you of the fury of his wrath!




          As the result of Christ’s death, by the merit of his precious, sin-atoning blood, God the Holy Spirit, breaks hard, stony-hearted sinners, takes away the heart of stone, and gives them tender hearts of flesh.


          “God is able of these stones (Gentiles) to raise up children unto Abraham!”


Acts 2:37-42  "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."


          Now look at Matthew 27:52.


Matthew 27:52  "And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose."


          Here is the fifth thing that centurion witnessed…




          John Gill wrote, “This was a proof of Christ's power over death and the grave. By dying; he through death, destroyed him that had the power of it, and abolished death itself. He became the plague of death and the destruction of the grave, and took into his hands the keys of hell and death.”


          Read on…


Matthew 27:51-53  "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."


          Not only were the graves opened, there was (after our Lord’s resurrection),




          We are not told who they are, so we will not guess; but many of the saints came out of their graves in resurrection bodies just after the Lord Jesus did, walked the streets of Jerusalem, and were seen of many.


A.  This, too, was predicted in the Old Testament.


Isaiah 26:19  "Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead."


B.  The resurrection of these saints by virtue of Christ’s atonement was God’s declaration that atonement was indeed made!


Romans 4:25  "Christ was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification."


C.  These resurrected saints stand as the pledge of our resurrection.


          I do not know whether the centurion witnesses the resurrection of these saints or not; but there is one more miracle he did witness, by which he was convinced that the crucified Substitute was indeed the Son of God. You will see it in Luke 23:39-43. Here is…




Luke 23:39-43  "And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."


          What a picture we have before us of God’s rich, free, matchless grace in Christ! Here is…


·        A Condemned Confessor.

·        A Devider Delivered.

·        A Rebel Reconciled.

·        A Thief Transformed.

·        A Sinner Saved.

·        A Savior Satisfied.


Ephesians 2:8-9  "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast."


John 20:30-31  "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."


Convinced of this one thing am I, And to the mocking crowd,

With th’ amazed centurion cry, “THIS IS THE SON OF GOD!”