"The Test of His Courage"
Sermon shared by Kenneth Sauer
Summary: The Cross is the ultimate in Courage.
Denomination: United Methodist
Audience: General adults
And this is exactly what Jesus deliberately chose to face, simply for the salvation of you and of me and of all who will believe.
He would be betrayed into the hands of the chief priests and scribes, and thus face the suffering of a broken heart…
…a broken heart smashed to bits by the disloyalty of friends.
He would be condemned to death and face the suffering of the most horrible kind of injustice.
With our current and increasing knowledge of DNA we often hear of folks who have been sentenced to death or to life in prison—falsely.
They did not commit the crime.
They may have served 5, 10, 15, 20 years or more and we are in awe of what they had to endure.
Some have faced the death penalty and then have been spared at the last moment because new scientific evidence has proven that they did not commit the crime.
Still, they paid a price.
Well, Jesus was completely innocent of all sin, and yet, He deliberately paid the ultimate price for the sins of us all!!!
It is very hard to bear the suffering of injustice, but this is one of the many things Jesus courageously faced as He deliberately went up to Jerusalem to die.
Jesus also was going to be mocked and flogged.
Few tortures in the world can compare with a Roman flogging.
Jesus knew the physical pain that He would have to endure…
…and He knew that He would be crucified.
He would die a horribly lonely, painful, and slow agonizing death.
Yet, He faced all this because He came into this world “to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus willingly and deliberately and courageously faced death in order to save those who would believe, and He said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”
Jesus courageously chose the Cross over a long life.
Jesus courageously chose to lose His life on this earth in order to save the lives of those who would trust in Him.
And of course, Jesus had the confidence that He would be raised to life eternal…which He was, which He was.
How many of us, here tonight, have the confidence that God will raise us up to life eternal?
How many of us have decided to trust in the courageous act of Jesus Christ?
To trust in His mercy and grace.
To take up our Cross, deny ourselves, and follow Jesus?
Jesus didn’t promise that life would be easy for those who decide to follow Him, but He did promise a peace which transcends all understanding and an eternal glory that makes everything else pale in comparison.
In Mark’s Gospel we are told that as Jesus led the way up to Jerusalem those who followed Him were afraid.
They were afraid, and yet they followed.
I would say that that is pretty courageous, wouldn’t you?
How many of us are willing to follow Jesus, although it makes us afraid for our physical well-being, our status in the community, our reputations?
How many of us are following the Great Commission of Jesus Christ, the thing He told all of us to do: “Go and make disciples of all nations…”
How many of us prefer to have an idea of discipleship that leaves the Cross out of it?
That way, we can get on with our worldly ways and be Christian at the same time.
We can have
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