Summary: The account of Jesus' suffering and death on our behalf has become so familiar that if we are not careful we can skim right through it when reading the Bible and never give it a second thought. Let's look at it again to day with fresh eyes of wonder.
Let's stand and read together our memory Scripture for this first quarter of 2018.
“Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him. If we disown Him, He will also disown us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown
And now our memory refresher verse ....
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
You may be seated.
On September 11, 2001 four commercial airliners were hijacked by Muslim radicals. They were fully loaded with passengers and fuel. Two of them were flown into the twin towers in NYC. Another one was flown into the pentagon in Washington, DC. The fourth one seemed to be headed to Washington, D.C to possibly be flown into the White House or the Capitol Building.
There were 2,996 innocent people killed on that day and many died later from the dust and ash that was inhaled by those near ground zero.
It was a devastating attack that cost the lives of more people than the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Just a few years later a reporter was interviewing someone in California about what he remembered about 9-11 attack and the guy responded, “Oh, you mean that thing that happened on the east coast?” As if it was some insignificant event.
Sometimes I think we as Christians are like that!
The Creator God, to Whom we owe our very existence sent His one and only Son 2,000 years ago for our salvation.
He was brutally tortured and killed on our behalf and sometimes our actions almost seem to say, “Oh, you mean that thing that happened 2,000 years ago?” Like it’s an afterthought!
Please open your Bibles to Mark 15:1-39 which we will read in a few minutes.
Why do I bring that up today?
Next Sunday is Palm Sunday so we will be taking a look at the events that took place on that day but on Good Friday we will be meeting for a community gathering at Yorkshire Free Methodist Church.
Good Friday is when we usually set aside time to take a careful look at the events which took place between the Last Supper Jesus had with His disciples and the crucifixion. And, since we will not be meeting here on Good Friday it seemed good to me that we would set aside to day for that purpose.
With that in mind let’s go ahead and read Mark 15:1-39
Let’s look at some of the things Jesus endured for us, for our salvation.
Jesus is betrayed into the hands of the Jews by Judas
Jesus is tried before Annas. Annas is a former High Priest and the father-in-law of the current High Priest and during questioning Jesus is slapped in the face by one of the Jewish officials … this is just the beginning …
Jesus is tried before Caiaphas the High Priest – many accusers are brought forward – and they are becoming emboldened with their abuse of the Lord. They spit in Jesus’ face, they punch Him with their fists, they slap Him and taunt Him.
Now, remember, Caiaphas is the one who prophesied in the Jewish council, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one Man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” – John 11:49b
Jesus hears Peter deny that he even knows Him for the third time. In the middle of all the confusion, the false witnesses, the accusations, the questioning, Jesus hears Peter call down curses on himself as proof that he does not know Jesus and Jesus looks directly at him.
This pierced Peter’s heart and must have pierced Jesus’ heart as well.
Jesus is then called before the entire Sanhedrin, the Jewish “Supreme Court” and here it is decided that they will ask the Roman government to put Jesus to death.
Pilate is in Jerusalem for one reason only, to control the Jews and to keep rebellion in check. Herod is the appointed king of the Jews so to have someone else claiming to be the king could be troubling.
So, here is Jesus standing before Pilate with accusations whizzing around Him and He’s not fighting back, not trying to protect Himself. This is something that Pilate has never seen before.
Pilate knows exactly what is going on. He’s been around Jerusalem long enough to know the power structure within the Jewish religious community.