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Summary: A sermon about overcoming fear.

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“24 Hours that Changed the World: Condemned by the Righteous”

Mark 14:53-72

One day a bus driver was driving along his usual route.

He didn’t have any problems for the first few stops; a few people got on and got off, and things went pretty smooth.

At one stop, however, a big hulk of a man got on.

He was 6’8” tall, built like a wrestler, and his arms seemed to hang down to the ground.

He glared at the bus driver and told him, “Big John doesn’t pay!”

Then he sat down at the back of the bus.

The driver was 5’3” tall, thin, and very meek…so he didn’t argue with Big John.

But, of course, he wasn’t happy about it.

The next day, the same thing happened.

Big John got on again, made a big show of refusing to pay, and sat down.

It happened the next day, and again the day after that.

The bus driver started to lose sleep over the way Big John was taking advantage of him.

Finally, he couldn’t stand it anymore.

He signed up for body building courses, karate, judo, and a class on finding your self-esteem.

By the end of the summer, the bus driver had become quite strong and felt really good about himself.

The next Monday, Big John got on the bus again and declared: “Big John doesn’t pay!”

Enraged, the bus driver stood up, glared back at Big John, and bellowed, “And why not?!”

With a surprised look on his face, Big John replied, “Big John has a bus pass.”

Fear can cause us to do silly things.

It can cause us to see danger where there is none.

It can paralyze us from doing what we know is right.

It can also cause us to do horrible, atrocious things.

In his book Fearless, Max Lucado writes about the power fear has to turn us into beastly people:

“[Fear] turns us into control freaks…[for]…fear, at its center, is a perceived loss of control.

When life spins wildly, we grab for a component of life we can manage: our diet, the tidiness of our home, the armrest of a plane, or, in many cases, people.

The more insecure we feel, the meaner we become.

We growl and bare our fangs.

Why?

Because we are bad?

In part.

But also because we feel cornered.”

The guards that had arrested Jesus took Him to the “high priest, and all the chief priests, elders, and legal experts gathered.”

Meanwhile, Peter had mustered enough courage to follow at a distance, hiding in the shadows, distraught and afraid.

We are told that “the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for testimony against Jesus in order to put him to death…”

The Sanhedrin was a council made up of 71 of the wisest and most religious men of the time.

In Jesus’ day, the Sanhedrin ruled over all things religious just like the Romans ruled over their political lives.

The Sanhedrin had control of the Temple and the religious courts.

They were men who devoted themselves to God, and their high priest was the leading religious figure of his time.

We are told that all these religious folk condemned Jesus to die.


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