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Summary: Jesus actions during the passion narrative of Mark are evidence and illustration of loving one’s enemies.

LOVING YOUR ENEMIES

Mark 15:1-20

Sermon Objective: A communion sermon; Jesus actions during the passion narrative of Mark are evidence and illustration of loving one’s enemies.

Supporting Scripture: Leviticus 19:18; Luke 6:27-36; Romans 5:10; Romans 12:17; 1 John 4:9-10

MARK 15:1-20

Simply put, your enemies are those who wish harm to come upon you. It may be expressed by overt action or passive tolerance of your situation.

1 Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, reached a decision. They bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate.

2 “Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate. “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.

3 The chief priests accused him of many things.

4 So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”

5 But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.

6 Now it was the custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested.

7 A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising.

8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.

9 “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate,

10 knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him.

11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.

12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.

13 “Crucify him!” they shouted.

14 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

16 The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers.

17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him.

18 And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” m

19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him.

20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

INTRO

Simply put, your enemies are those who wish harm to come upon you. It may be expressed by overt action or passive tolerance of your situation.

Love Your Enemies: Forgiveness in Rwanda

(portions from Chuck Colson, BreakPoint, February 2, 2009)

Bishop John Rucyahana, a Tutsi Rwandan, found Christ while growing up as an exile from his native Rwanda. I like the way he describes His conversion: “I did not accept Jesus. Jesus graciously met me and accepted me.” This is a man who understands how we come empty-handed to Christ.

In spite of his faith, Bishop John, a Tutsi Rwandan, had reason to hate. The Hutus in Rwanda brutally raped and killed his own niece, Madu, during the genocide of the early 1990’s.

He escaped the genocide and was in the United States in 1994 when he felt God’s call to return to Rwanda. He wanted to avoid the conflict (and his hatred) by doing ministry in Uganda instead of Rwanda. But he obeyed God’s call to face the darkness and returned to his homeland. Upon returning to Rwanda, he found sun-bleached bones littering the streets and open graves fouling the air.

Bishop John worked with others to establish Prison Fellowship Rwanda. He also helped start the Umuvumu Project, which has brought together tens of thousands of perpetrators and victims of the genocide, offering offenders the opportunity to confess their crimes and victims the chance to forgive.

In a large open area of a Rwandan prison, Anglican Bishop John Rucyahana speaks to a crowd of killers responsible for the 1994 genocide. “Close your eyes,” he instructed them. “Go back in your mind to 1994. What did you see?” he asked. “What did you smell? What did you hear?”

Many in the crowd began to weep. He told the men to see their victims’ faces. The sobs grew louder. “Now,” said Bishop John, “that which made you cry, that you must confess.”

It’s amazing enough that Bishop John would speak to the Hutu perpetrators of the genocide. It’s even more amazing when you consider what they did to his family members. It is even more amazing to think that he is seeking to find way to offer the offenders forgiveness and reconciliation1

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