What Jesus Did! 'The Gamble' — Mark 15:24

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

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The soldiers nailed Jesus to a cross. Then the soldiers divided Jesus' clothes among themselves. They gambled with dice to decide which clothes each soldier would get.
— Mark 15:24
Illustration of Mark 15:24 — The soldiers nailed Jesus to a cross. Then the soldiers divided Jesus' clothes among themselves. They gambled with dice to decide which clothes each soldier would get.

Key Thought

Just as the soldiers at the foot of this cross gambled for Jesus' clothes, people still gamble on the Cross of Christ today. Anytime people refuse to recognize who was crucified on that Cross, they gamble their future—their eternal future—assuming that Jesus was only just another man. The stakes of this gamble are incredibly high. Either Jesus offers eternal life with God or he is a delusional, self-appointed messiah. Skull Hill leaves no other places for us to place a wager. For those who believe in what Jesus did at this Cross and commit their lives to him, their faith promises them life. For those who do not believe, there is only a horribly risky gamble that this Jesus was just another man. We know from Mark 15:39 that at least one soldier acknowleged Jesus as God's Son. What have you decided about the identity of this man, Jesus, on this Cross?

Today's Prayer

Father in heaven, I believe that Jesus died on the Cross to save me from my sins. I believe you raised Jesus from the dead. I have been baptized to share in his death and I have been raised to walk in a new life trusting in your saving power. I believe that Jesus' death and resurrection broke the power that Satan and his demons had over me through death. Please help me keep dead the old life I have left. Empower me by your Spirit so that I can be a living witness to the power of your Son's love and your grace. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Pilate's soldiers brought Jesus into the governor's palace (called the Praetorium). They called all the other soldiers together. The soldiers put a purple robe on Jesus. Then they used thorny weeds to make a crown. They put the crown of thorns on Jesus' head. Then they called to Jesus. They said, "Hello, king of the Jews!" The soldiers hit Jesus on the head many times with a stick. They also spit on him. Then {they teased Jesus by} bowing on their knees and worshiping him. After they finished teasing Jesus, the soldiers took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led Jesus out of the palace to be killed on a cross. There was a man from Cyrene walking into the city. The man was Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus. Simon was walking into the city from the fields. The soldiers forced Simon to carry the cross for Jesus. They led Jesus to the place called Golgotha. (Golgotha means "The Place of the Skull.") At Golgotha the soldiers tried to give Jesus wine to drink. This wine was mixed with myrrh. But Jesus refused to drink it. The soldiers nailed Jesus to a cross. Then the soldiers divided Jesus' clothes among themselves. They gambled with dice to decide which clothes each soldier would get. It was nine o'clock in the morning when they nailed Jesus to the cross. There was a sign with the charge against Jesus written on it. The sign said: "THE KING OF THE JEWS." They also put two robbers on crosses beside Jesus. They put one robber beside Jesus on the right, and they put the other robber beside Jesus on the left. People walked by and said bad things to Jesus. They shook their heads and said, "You said you could destroy the temple and build it again in three days. So save yourself! Come down from that cross!" The leading priests and the teachers of the law were also there. They teased Jesus the same as the other people did. They said to themselves, "He saved other people. But he can't save himself. If he is really the Christ, the king ofIsrael (the Jews), then he should {save himself by} coming down from the cross now. We will see this, and then we will believe in him." The robbers that were being killed on the crosses beside Jesus also said bad things to him.

Mark 15:16-32

Related Scripture Readings

The teaching about the cross seems foolish to those people that are lost. But to us who are being saved it is the power of God. Like the Scriptures say, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise people. I will confuse the understanding of the intelligent people." Where is the wise person? Where is the educated person? Where is the philosopher of this time? God has made the wisdom of the world foolish. This is what God with his wisdom wanted: The world did not know God through the world's own wisdom. So God used the message that sounds foolish to save the people that believe it. The Jews ask for miracles as proofs. The Greeks want wisdom. But this is the message we tell everyone: Christ was killed on a cross. This message is a big problem to the Jews. And the non-Jews think it is foolish. But Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God to those people that God has called (chosen)—Jews and Greeks (non-Jews). Even the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom. Even the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

In Christ you had a different kind of circumcision. That circumcision was not done by the hands of any person. I mean you were made free from the power of your sinful self. That is the kind of circumcision Christ does. When you were baptized, {your old self died and} you were buried with Christ. And in that baptism you were raised up with Christ because of your faith in God's power. God's power was shown when he raised Christ from death. You were spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were not free from the power of your sinful self. But God made you alive with Christ. And God forgave all our sins. We owed a debt because we broke God's laws. That debt listed all the rules we failed to follow. But God forgave us of that debt. God took away that debt and nailed it to the cross. God defeated the spiritual rulers and powers. With the cross God won the victory and defeated those rulers and powers. God showed the world that they were powerless.

Colossians 2:11-15

I hope I will never boast about things like that. The cross (death) of our Lord Jesus Christ is my only reason for boasting. Through Jesus' death on the cross the world is dead to me; and I am dead to the world.

Galatians 6:14


About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.