Summary: Jesus died when He wasn't guilty - for us when we were guilty. The price of freedom, both civil and spiritual, is innocent blood

Innocent Blood

Mark 15:15-41

• As we have worked our way through the gospel of Mark, we have learned many things. It has been more than a little interesting how we have “stumbled” on to the perfect text for the perfect day. It is no accident that we are where we are today! I’ve entitled this message “Innocent Blood”. What comes to your mind when you hear that phrase? Candidly for me, those 2 words have an expansive meaning in today’s culture. Certainly little babies being aborted will come to our mind because there is no one more innocent than a little unborn baby. They’ve done nothing to anyone and their only crime is existing. This is truly innocent blood.

• Next, because I have been so closely related to military bases over my ministry, I am reminded of the men and women in uniform whose lives have been cut short not because of anything they’ve done except defend this nation, you, me, and our right to be free. The cost of our civil freedom (ultimately the cost of all freedom) comes in a high price of this thing we call innocent blood. In recent years a movie came out which did quite well at the box office. It was entitled “Saving Private Ryan.” This week I read much about Normandy beach and this movie only to be reminded that close to 10,000 young allied soldiers were wounded or killed at the beach. On YouTube, I saw the opening 14 minutes and am still stunned at the ultimate price which was paid by so many. I must confess to a little anger reading comments from some who undervalued & underappreciated the sacrifices which so many made. Soldiers shedding innocent blood at Normandy, in Korea, Vietnam, and now Iraq & Afghanistan. (I am so sensitive to the commitment of service personnel that last week in the Apple store, I sat next to a young man in the Army & just had to thank him.)

• Without the shedding of innocent blood, you wouldn’t be able to be here today. In fact, you might be “TOLD” where to, how to, and to whom you were to offer your worship. You might well, like in the old 3rd world countries, be told that you cannot worship or make money or live like you want. We should acknowledge and appreciate those who have paid the ultimate cost for our freedom.

• But never lose sight of this fact: Just as surely as men and women have died to secure our civil freedom, Jesus died to secure our spiritual freedom. Can I offer you one difference? Our civil freedom is not being protected and may, one day soon, be taken away because we have not been diligent to protect what people died to provide. However, in Jesus – your spiritual freedom has been purchased for time and eternity – and according to Holy Scripture – can never be lost.

• Now, as we begin in our text, “How exactly did this happen?” We remember that the betrayer, Judas, used his relationship with Jesus to hand Him over to the soldiers & their religious leaders who wanted Jesus to die. Those leaders had turned Jesus over to Pilate demanding death.

• To see the full impact of Jesus’ sacrifice & how it could happen – let’s pick up in verse 15.

1. The Setup – Read the verse…The shedding of Innocent blood seems to always begin & end in the same way – this verse is a great outline to see this.

a. A Man – The man in the story is Pilate. He is a normal man, put in place to keep the peace at all cost, and possessed the authority stop the entire event. He actually knew Jesus was innocent of the charges, but he wasn’t strong enough to stand for what was right. He was the man or mouse.

b. A Motivation – Now we discover Pilate’s problem, which is a common problem that leads to all kinds difficulties. His wanted to “Please the crowd”. Honestly, I cannot think of one instance in God’s word where the ‘crowd’ gets it right! When your motivation becomes what ‘they think’ or trying to please ‘a lot of people’, more often than not, you’ll get it wrong. Do you know why? Here’s a secret: You’ll never please a crowd! Watch how this works for Pilate.

c. A Mistake – While I say, “A Mistake” – the single mistake is Pilate’s motivation of “TRYING” to please the crowd. This single mistake led him to do the opposite of what he should have done. The Bible says that he release Barabbas and scourged Jesus. In effect, to please the crowd, he chose wrong over right, evil over good, and unrighteous over righteous. I offer you this: Trying to please the crowd will ALWAYS bring this kind of outcome or result.

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