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Gospel of Mark #59 ~ (Mark 15:16-32)

Started by Al Moak, October 06, 2004, 09:16:26 AM

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Al Moak

Mark 15:16-32
We'd Be More Dedicated If Only . . .


I guess we all wonder sometimes what it would take to get us really moving for God, really serving Him with all we are and have. Have you ever wondered about that?  You want to serve Him, but at the same time there are things deep inside that you don't really want to give up?

I think the answer to the problem is before us in Mark today.  It isn't going to be an entirely pleasant answer because we're going to have to take a careful look at ourselves. And we're also going to have to become much, much more acquainted with our Lord.

God's love sent Jesus into this world, but we need to remember that He also came voluntarily.  Why? Why would He come to this fallen and rebellious planet?  It helps a little to realize that before He came, Jesus was able to look into the future.  He was able to see ahead to the results of the work He would do, and to see the results of His Father's love and of His coming, His living, His dying, and His resurrection. He rejoiced in those results. The writer of Hebrews told us about it.  He said,"looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

And that's why He came. He came because He knew what He would accomplish, because He knew He was going to redeem His people, and because He wanted to redeem them. He loved them enough to give Himself for them because He wanted to be their Savior - our Savior.

But dear people - why did He have to die? Why do His people need to be redeemed at such an awful price? To answer that, I have to deal with a subject that's very hard to deal with - I have to deal with the subject of sin. It's not a pleasant subject, but the Bible teaches that we are sinners, that we've rebelled against God, that we are guilty before Him, and that we deserve everlasting punishment. And it really is "we."  Romans 3:23 says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

But what is sin, after all? Personally, I think Isaiah said it better than anyone when he said, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Is. 53:6) Sin is just wanting our own way more than God's way. It's just saying, "God, get out of my way! I want to do my own thing, and I don't want to hear about You and what You want!"

You and I may never have said those words quite so blatantly, but we've all carried about the spirit of them in our hearts. We've all wanted to run our own lives, and we haven't really wanted any other god than self. And if - praise God - we've been rescued from that attitude, then even yet, at best, we're still mixtures - we want God's way, but we also want our own way.

And that's what sin is: it's turning our backs on God so we can go our own way - it's rebellion against a good and holy God, against Him Who made us and rightfully owns us. It's what Jesus had to come to rescue us from. It's why we needed to be redeemed at the awful price of Christ's own Blood - that's why He gave Himself for us. As Peter put it, "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit." (1 Pet. 3:18)

Now, with all that in mind, we're ready to look at the passage before us in Mark. Here we see soldiers spitting on Jesus. Here we see them mocking Him, placing upon Him a purple robe, as if He were a king. Here we see them weaving a crown of thorns and jamming it down onto His head. And here we see them pretending to worship Him, mocking Him some more, bowing their foreheads to the ground before Him.

Then we see them putting His own clothes back on Him and leading Him out to be crucified. We see them pounding large nails through His ankles and wrists into the wooden cross. And we see them placing His cross between the crosses of two thieves, as though He were the worst of them, as though He were the worst scum on Earth! Then we see the passers by wagging their heads and saying, "Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!" - more mocking. Yet we hear Him, from the Cross, saying, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." (Lk. 23:34)

Then, when we've read these things, we ask ourselves, "Why?" Why did He submit Himself to such contempt? It's inadequate to say that He went through these awful things only for the sake of His disciples, or for the sake of the Jews who watched, or for the sake of the soldiers and the governor. The only adequate answer for the payment of SUCH a price is that He did it for ALL of His people - for you and for me, and for all who believe Him and trust Him in all ages, from Adam right on down to the last one to submit him or herself to Jesus Christ before He comes again.

So then, as we read about these particular sinners, and as we see them despise Him and consider Him scum, what should we think? What should it mean to us?

I can only speak for myself. I know that it was I who mocked Him, it was I who persecuted Him, it was I who spit upon Him and struck Him, and it was I who crucified Him and mocked Him again when He hung upon the Cross. After all, it was my sin for which He came to atone.  It was my sin that placed Him on that Cross.  Therefore I did these things. Paul was right! He said, "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly . . . But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:6, 8)

Such thoughts shouldn't move me to morbidity or discouragement. They should move me, though, to worship and praise Him Who asked His Father for my forgiveness, because I knew not what I did. They should move me to rededicate myself to Him, to give myself to Him Who loved me so. They should move me to be very, very careful to avoid sin against such a loving Savior. They should move me to spend time in prayer and in the Word each day without fail. They should move me to give up some time and comfort to serve Him as I serve His people.

So - how will such thoughts move you? Will they move you at all during the week ahead? Will they move you through the rest of your life? God grant that they may. God grant that all of His people may love Him and give themselves entirely to Him. God grant that each of you may spend time in prayer, in the Word, and in the fellowship of His people. God grant that we'll all be willing to give up some time and comfort to serve Him as we serve one another.