Preaching the Death of Jesus to Yourself - Mark 15:33-41

Back to Message Archive


What does it mean to preach? Here’s one way preaching can be defined: Preaching is act of proclaiming the truth, with the goal of bringing faith and change in the lives of the hearers. Each week when we gather to hear God’s Word preached or proclaimed, we should be asking God to speak through the preaching of His Word and to change us.

Jerry Bridges is known for saying that every Christian should be actively preaching the Gospel to themselves every day. What he means is that we should be taking time every day to remind ourselves of the truths of the Gospel. And the purpose of these “sermons” should be to help us remember what’s true so we can think rightly about our sin and about our relationship with God.

Of course, if we are going to be effective preachers, then we need to know the Gospel. We need to know what the Bible says about sin, and about the solution to sin and about how we can be reconciled to God. These are all things we can learn from what the Bible says about the death of Christ.

In Mark’s account of the death of Christ we are reminded of the seriousness of sin, how Jesus died as a substitute for our sin, and how Christ’s death brings us into fellowship with God. The goal of this sermon is to help you prepare your own sermons; sermons that you can preach to yourself, so that you can be strengthened and equipped to live for Christ.

 The Seriousness of Sin – The wrath of God (15:33-34)

  • The darkened sky – A sign of God’s judgment on sin (vs. 33)
  • The cry of Jesus – An announcement of God’s wrath (vs. 34) (Psalm 22:1; Isaiah 53:6, 10; Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • Preaching the Gospel to Yourself - At this moment in Mark 15 Jesus is experiencing the wrath of God for sinful men. This should serve as a stark reminder of the seriousness of sin and of the length that God had to go to in order to free us from our sin. And as we remind ourselves of this truth it should serve to strengthen us in our fight against temptation and encourage us to flee from the things for which Jesus had to die in order to save us.

The Substitute for Sin – Jesus as our propitiation (15:35-37)

  • A call for Elijah? - Jesus does not call for salvation from His suffering (vv. 35-36) (Mark 10:45)
  • A loud cry and final breath – Jesus knowingly (and victoriously) gave up His life (vs. 37) (Luke 23:46; John 19:30)
  • Preaching the Gospel to Yourself – At times we can struggle to believe that God will truly forgive our sins. We may spend time beating ourselves up or living in guilt for the things we’ve done. We may even be slow in confessing our sin because we don’t feel worthy of forgiveness. We are not worthy, but Jesus died in our place, and because He did, we can confess our sins knowing that we will be fully and completely forgiven (Romans 4:7-8).

Our Access to God – Jesus purchased access (15:38)

  • The tearing of the curtain – Through the death of Jesus we have been given access to God apart from the works of the Law. We no longer need sacrifices or an earthly priest (Heb. 9:1-5; 10:19-23).
  • Preaching the Gospel to Yourself – Because of the work of Jesus we can know that we have fellowship with God. We have a high priest who brings us into the presence of God. We can come boldly to the throne of grace and find mercy and help in the time of need.

Responding to the Cross (15:39-41)

  • A clear perspective of who Christ is – In Mark 1:1 we learn that Mark’s purpose is to show, through this book, that Jesus is the Son of God. The centurion is the first person in the Gospel of Mark to refer to Jesus as the Son of God. Through His death Jesus showed definitively who He is and why He came (vs. 39).
  • Devoted followers – In these final two verses Mark tells us of these women who have followed Jesus in His life, and who now are there even at His death (unlike His other disciples). These women are examples of faithfulness and were also used by God as eyewitnesses of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection (vv. 40-41).