Summary: If you want that "insane courage" which will change your life and your world, bow before Christ as your Sovereign and believe in Him as your Substitute.
The 2011 film We Bought a Zoo was based on the true story of a British man named Benjamin Mee. In 2006 Mee and his family purchased and moved into a 30-acre zoo. In his book with the same title, Mee says that his new “neighbors” included “five Siberian tigers, three African lions, nine wolves, three big brown European bears, four Asian short-clawed otters, two flamingos, a Brazilian tapir called Ronnie, some large boa constrictors, and a tarantula.”
The zoo was dangerously rundown. Mee was faced with a series of challenges, including dealing with a rat infestation, and finding enough money to feed the animals. On the fourth day of their new lives, the jaguar escaped, endangering the neighborhood. Despite the difficulties, Mee and his family restored the zoo into a place of beauty and safety that provided healing for themselves and for their surrounding community.
But it wasn't easy. Mee admitted, “There were lots of times when I thought, ‘What have I done?’” So why did he buy and remodel the zoo? In the film version, Mee (played by Matt Damon) says something that gives us a clue. He is giving some advice to his son, who has trouble understanding girls. Take a look (show video: “20 Seconds of Insane Courage): “Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” (Mark Batterson, All In, Zondervan, 2013, page 79; www.PreachingToday.com; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmMFIganRQY)
I love that line, but it’s more than just a great line from a movie. It’s something that can change the trajectory of your life, your family, and our sick society. If we’re going to turn things around in a world that has gone mad, in a culture that is becoming more and more hostile towards the things of God, then we’re going to need some of that “insane courage”. We’re going to need some of that “embarrassing bravery”. We’re going to need bold followers of Christ, who are not afraid to do what the world considers “crazy”.
But How do we get that kind of courage? How do we find the bravery to follow Christ and to stand for Him in a world that opposes Him? Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Mark 15, Mark 15, where we’ll see how some of Christ’s followers found that courage literally at the foot of the cross.
Mark 15:1 And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. (ESV)
The chief priests had condemned Jesus to die for blasphemy, a capital offense in Jewish law, but the Roman authorities prevented the Jews from executing any of their own criminals. So they had to bring Jesus to Pilate, the Roman Governor, to get Jesus executed. Only Rome did not recognize blasphemy as a capital offense. So the chief priests came to Pilate with a different charge, namely that Jesus claimed to be “the King of the Jews”. Now, that was a capital offense in Rome’s eyes, because only Caesar was king and for anybody else to claim such would be high treason.
Mark 15:2 And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” (ESV)
Literally, “YOU say.” It was a cryptic response, indicating a kingship different than what Pilate had implied.
Mark 15:3-5 And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. (ESV)
Pilate was amazed, because Jesus did not try to defend himself like so many other prisoners had done. Isaiah 53 says, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). Pilate questioned Jesus’ claim to be king, not really believing the charges the chief priests brought against Him. Even so, Pilate turns Jesus over to be crucified.
Mark 15:6-15 Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. (ESV)