Sermons

Summary: I don’t know about you, but I find Sundays uplifting. Why can’t everyday be Sunday? The rest of the week gets tough, huh?

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--Illus: I have a personal hero list, and high on that list is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I admire him for his courage and conviction; what he did and how he challenged this nation is nothing short of inspirational. Furthermore, as a preacher, I admire him as an orator. His speeches are spellbinding. My favorite speech of his? It isn’t "I Have a Dream." I personally think his "Mountaintop" speech is his greatest one. Perhaps you know the story behind it. It was delivered in Memphis, TN on Apr 3, 1968. Dr. King was in Memphis to support striking santitation workers, sanitation workers grossly and unjustly underpaid. A rally was scheduled at Memphis’ Mason Temple, and Dr. King was scheduled to speak. But he was tired; his duties taxed him, and he had Ralph Abernathy (the man who was going to introduce him) fill in for him. Back in his hotel room, Dr. King got a phone call. It was Abernathy. He told him, "Get down here. This is YOUR audience. There’s a buzz all around, and these people are here to see YOU!" So, Dr. King went and delivered the speech. Everytime I read it or hear it, it still stirs me. I remember watching a TV documentary on it; all who witnessed it said that they were never so moved. An amazing speech. And what makes it even more moving was the timeliness of it. You see, he was assassinated the very next day. Amazing, isn’t it. How the euphoria of the Mason Temple and Apr 3 gave way to the Lorraine Motel and Apr 4?

--And if you think about it, we see that same principle all thru life. ’What principle is that?’

--I: Part One

--In Mk. 11-16, we have Mark’s record of Jesus’ passion week. Mark gives us a day by day account of this last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Two Sundays bookend the section.

--And when you think about it, the two Sundays are wildly triumphant Sundays. They are clearly high points.

--On the 1st Sunday, we have the triumphal entry. It’s passover time. The most important festival on the Jewish calendar.

--And remember that passover was more than a religious festival. It stirred patriotic feelings in the Jewish people as well. Passover commemmorated their deliverance from Egypt, from slavery, and God led them into the promised land, the land he’d give them forever and ever...Passover celebrated their formation as a nation and a people. It united them. It expressed solidarity.

--Think of what the 4th of July does for many Americans? Yes, it is a secular holiday, but we at times attach a lot of religious baggage to it, don’t we? For many, it is more than a secular holiday. Well, passover was like that and then some to the Jewish people. It stirred feelings of patriotism and nationalism.

--This, of course, made the Romans nervous. Passover was a very volatile time in Palestine. And because the Romans were so resented, passover gave the Jewish people a heightened expectation and sense of anticipation.

--Every passover, there was this hope. "Maybe this is THE passover? Maybe there’ll be another Exodus? Only the Romans will be the ones leaving! Maybe THIS will be the passover when Messiah comes and he glorifies Israel?!"


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