Summary: Jesus was not just left behind, but hatefully rejected for our good.
1. UPI article: “An Indiana man enlisted the help of the American Civil Liberties Union to help win his fight against the state for a custom license plate reading, "ATHE1ST."
“Chris Bontrager said a letter from the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles did not cite a specific reason why his request for the vanity plate was denied in February, but the letter stated plates can be denied if they are determined to be offensive, misleading, or considered otherwise improper for issuance by the BMV.
Bontrager, suspecting the denial was religiously motivated, sought assistance from the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.”
2. Many people, however, do not reject God but reject Jesus as being God. As a matter of fact, all of the people involved in Jesus trial and crucifixion could be labeled religious, to one degree or another. Religious Jewish leaders, religions pagan Romans… Even Saul of Tarsus who would later become Paul the Apostle persecuted Christians out of religious conviction.
3. And that is the theme of today’s sermon: rejection.
4. There are different ways to be rejected. Some of us have felt the rejection of abandonment. Paul did in 2 Timothy 4 :16-17, “At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me…”
5. But Jesus rejection was not the rejection of being left behind or left alone, it was a malicious, hateful, willful, cruel, intentionally evil rejection.
6. Mark’s Gospel is the shortest summary. Leaves out visit to Herod, or the dream experience of Pilate’s wife.
7. We began our series in Mark’s Gospel about 4 years ago, the spring of 2013. We finished our last installment about exactly one year ago. Now we are finishing this series with Easter Sunday.
Main Idea: Jesus was not just left behind, but hatefully rejected for our good.
I. The Irony: Pilate Was More POSITIVE Toward Jesus than Many of the Jewish People (1-15).
A. Pilate’s POLITICAL vulnerability
? Tiberius (Capri) and Sejanus, who appointed Pilate (26). Tiberius returns 31 AD.
? His loyalty to Caesar (Tiberius) was a big question, his area of vulnerability.
? We rightly condemn Pilate for weak character, but he was better than Jews.
B. Pilate sought for a way to BYPASS Jesus’ execution (6-10).
1. This crowd was probably selectively INVITED.
? Not the same crowd as Palm Sunday
? Pilate had a great plan: give them a choice between a murder/rebel, Barabbas, and Jesus.
? He probably thought it was a no-brainer and would resolve the issue
? Pilate would have been utterly shocked they chose Barabbas
? With this scheme, he had, in essence, declared Jesus a guilty criminal on par with Barabbas; so now he has to let the crowd decide.
2. The problem of MOB violence demonstrates our utter social sinfulness.
? In 2008, a 17-year old man jumped from the top of a parking garage in England after 300 or so people chanted for him to go for it. Some took photos and recorded video before, during and after. Afterward, the crowd dispersed, the strange spell broken. The taunters walked away wondering what had come over them. The other onlookers vented their disgust into social media.
? In San Francisco, in 2010, a man stepped onto the ledge of his apartment window and contemplated dropping from the building. A crowd gathered below and soon started yelling for him to jump. They even tweeted about it. He died on impact 15 minutes later. [ethicalnag.org]
In both of these instances, there were people who did not go along with the crowd. But many people are “monkey see, monkey do.” They let others decide for them, or are swept away by emotion.
C. Pilate RELUCTANTLY hands Jesus over for crucifixion (11-15).
1. To his credit, he tried to preserve Jesus’ life; he tried to be fair.
2. To his shame, he caved in, even with his wife’s dream.
3. But, as Pharaoh was raised up in Moses day to show God’s glory, so Pilate was in place to administer God’s great plan of redemption.
4. Was it good or bad that Jesus died? Both.
Jesus was not just left behind, but hatefully rejected for our good.
II. Total CONTEMPT: The Soldiers Found Pleasure in Abusing Him (16-20)
A. In our day, the Jesus of the Bible only bears PARTIAL resemblance to popular notions of Jesus; this inaccurate Jesus is not held in contempt.
??People embrace a false version of Jesus. Their Jesus
• doesn’t judge
• doesn’t get angry
• doesn’t assert He is the only way to God
• is somehow less than God
• tolerates about anything
B. The real Jesus PROVOKED and insulted Israel’s leaders.