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Mark 270 - Choosing



With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.


Mark 15:37


Have you ever been in the room when someone died? I have. It’s a most memorable time. I remember everything about it.


I was called to the bedside of a woman who had gone into a diabetic coma. She was in her house when she passed out and was undetected for more than a day. By the time she was discovered and taken to the hospital, there was no brain function. There was nothing to be done.


The family gathered in her private hospital room, talking quietly while she barely breathed. I mostly listened, held hands, and prayed when asked. For a number of hours, we waited for her breathing to stop. And when it did, there was no somber music in the background. No organ playing in the background. No trumpets announcing her entrance into heaven. No dimming of the lights. She was gone.


We held hands and prayed, thanking God for the gift of life and her life in particular. We prayed for the family, that they would morn but not like those who have no hope[1]. We asked for his strength to live on for him. In his power. In his grace. We hugged and left the room.


In one sense, Jesus’ death was not all that different from this story. His heart stopped. And he was dead. But in one very important detail, his death was the most unique in all of history. Life was not taken from him; he gave it up. Life was not ripped from his hands; he released it.


And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.


Matthew 27:50


The end of Jesus’ life was not a struggle, it was a release. He gave it up. He sent it away. There was no fight, instead it was a departure that was under his control. Jesus willingly gave up his life.


In a real and literal sense, Jesus is the only person in history who died as a decision of his will. He chose to die. He dismissed his life. His spirit.


Additionally, Jesus wasn’t surprised at all by the events leading up to, and including, his death. He not only knew what was coming, he openly told his disciples what was going to happen.


Then Jesus said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things. He will be rejected by the older Jewish leaders, the leading priests, and teachers of the law. And he will be killed.”


Luke 9:22a


How bad of a message is that! You can’t get much worse of a prophecy. While things may be bad now, it’s going to get so much worse in the future. And it’s not like he was just going to have his life snuffed out, to be instantly assassinated.


And he wasn’t just going to suffer – he was going to suffer many things. The betrayal. The arrest. Being tied up and beaten up. The mockery of fake and fixed trials. Being crowned with thorns. Being flogged with a whip till he was on the edge of death. He knew what was coming. He clearly knew and understood what awaited him in his future.


What’s surprising to me is that he didn’t try to run away. He didn’t go into hiding. He didn’t leave the country and travel overseas. He didn’t even try to hide his movements and identity. What kept him on task? On target? What powerful motivation and hope awaited him so that he could go through with it?


But after three days he will be raised from death.


Luke 9:22b


The certainty of the resurrection from the dead allowed him to keep his eye on the prize. And not some general resurrection by-and-by, way out in the future. But his personal, bodily resurrection three days later. That hope in the resurrection was not a hope-so, or some wild goose guess. No, his hope was a statement of fact before it happened. That’s how certain he was about his immediate future.


When it comes to your life, how sure are you about the certainty of your future? Is your life’s destiny set in stone? Or in the shifting quicksand of our own ideas?


Jesus personally demonstrates that we can have a rock-solid future with him. But it comes at a two-fold price.


  • First – the price paid by Jesus on the cross.

  • Second – the price of choosing to abandoning ourselves to him.


It’s that simple. But I didn’t say it was easy.

[1] 1 Thessalonians 4:13

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