FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Hallelujah! What A Savior!
Man of Sorrows! What a name
For the Son of God, Who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Welcome to the Red Mountain Sunday Recap!
The Sunday Recap is a brief fly-by of what we did during Sunday worship. Did anything land with you from worship on Sunday? What did it make you think? How did it make you feel? What did you find especially sweet or challenging from God's word? What did we sing, read, or pray that left an impression on you?
Food For Thought:
I have known numerous persons who have been ‘looking for themselves’ for a lifetime without success…. In reflecting on my own life, I observed that those times when I have seemed most in touch with myself, when my self-identity has been most secure, have been those times when I was known by another—not by myself—and was accepted by that other. I then recalled someone [saying], ‘those who give their lives in search of happiness will find many things, but never happiness.’ Could it be that the issue of self-discovery is analogous? I believe it is. My assumption now is that one’s search for self ultimately is fruitless because it seeks to find that which can only be given by another. In short, we may seek self-identity and hope to find ourselves, but the hoped for result never occurs through our own efforts. We seek ourselves, but are finally found! One’s identity is the gift of another’s love. (Eugene Lowry)
Confession of Sin:
Prayer of Confession
We confess, our Father, that we do not live up to the family name. We are more ready to resent than to forgive, more ready to manipulate than to serve, more ready to fear than to love, more ready to keep our distance than to welcome, more ready to compete than to help. At the root of this behavior is mistrust and self-love. We do not love one another as we should, because we do not believe that you love us as you do. Forgive us our cold unbelief. And make more vivid to us the gift and power of your love at the cross. Show us what it cost you to give up your Son that we might become your sons and daughters. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our only righteousness. Amen.
Words of Grace
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
1 John 3:2-3
Confession of Faith: The Children’s Catechism Question 88-89
Q. 88. What is the third commandment?
A. The third commandment is “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
Q. 89. What does the third commandment teach you?
A. To treat God’s name, word and works with reverence.
Sermon Text: Mark 14:43-15:15
43 And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.” 45And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 46 And they laid hands on him and seized him. 47 But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. 48 And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.” 50 And they all left him and fled.
51 And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, 52 but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.
53 And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. 54 And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire. 55 Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. 56For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. 57And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?”61 But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? 64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. 65 And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows.
66 And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came, 67 and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed. 69 And the servant girl saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” 70 But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” 71 But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” 72 And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
15:1 And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. 2 And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” 3 And the chief priests accused him of many things. 4 And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” 5 But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.
6 Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. 7 And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. 8 And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. 9 And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. 11But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. 12 And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13 And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” 14 And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
- The ugliness of sin (14:11; 14:55 & 15:10; 14:72; 15:11,13; 15:15)
- The faithfulness of Jesus (14:49, 61-64; 15:5)
- The gift of grace (14:72; 15:6-13; Eph. 2:8)
Jesus had predicted his suffering and death three times earlier in Mark's gospel (8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34). Now we come to the actual events that culminate in his crucifixion: the betrayal and arrest of Jesus. Everyone in this passage, in one way or another, rejects Jesus. Judas rejects Jesus out of greed. The religious leaders reject Jesus out of envy. Peter rejects Jesus out of cowardice. The crowd rejects Jesus out of love for human opinion. Pilate rejects Jesus out ofambition. While not exhaustive, this passage paints a comprehensive picture of the ugliness of the human heart and the sin resident therein. But it also reveals precisely what Jesus came to do. Jesus willingly absorbs our sin so that, through faith in him, we might become the righteousness of God.
In order for us to apply this passage to our lives it's important to let scripture define and deepen our understanding of sin. While we see many flavors or facets of sin in this passage there is a common thread that runs throughout in the word translated to betray, or to handover. Judas handed over Jesus to the priests (14:11); the priests handed over Jesus to Pilate (15:1); and Pilate handed over Jesus to the soldiers to be crucified (15:15). Therefore, the essence of sin, in whatever form, is to hand Jesus over, to betray Jesus, to sacrifice Jesus for something we love and treasure more than him. It is a culpable and personal affront to a personal God.
However, as ugly and devastating as sin is it stands it stark contrast to the faithfulness of Jesus. Anyone looking in on these events would no doubt conclude the wheels are coming off. Everything Jesus said and did was all for naught. But that's not how Jesus sees it. The betrayal, the kangaroo court, and the political maneuvering are for Jesus how the scriptures will be fulfilled (14:49). Jesus yielded to his Father's will by seeking to fulfill the great story of redemption through his suffering. He remains faithful in two key ways. He makes a true confession despite the efforts of religious leaders to falsely accuse and kill him (14:61-64). Second he does not defend himself but instead continued to entrust himself to him who judges justly (14:61; 15:5; 1 Pet. 2:23). In other words, Jesus came to do for us what we can't and wouldn't do. He obeys his Father's word no matter the cost. He owns his true identity and mission no matter the cost. He does not seek revenge but faithfully endures suffering for the joy set before him (Heb. 12:2).
In other words, the faithfulness of Jesus becomes to us the gift of grace for all who trust in him. How do you know if the gift of Jesus' faithfulness has broken into your life? It begins with true spiritual conviction for sin. Consider Peter (14:72). Peter thought he had what it took to remain faithful even if he would have to die with Jesus (14:29-31). But alas, he was sorely mistaken. He did not see how spiritually needy and self-absorbed he really was. Have you ever been cut to the heart by the gospel of grace? Have you come to see your absolute spiritual poverty? However, as necessary as a true conviction for sin is to saving faith in Jesus, it is not based on that. The gift of grace is based on an exchange. Here in story form we see the very heart of the gospel. Jesus trades places with a murderer and insurrectionist. Jesus takes the place of the condemned and the condemned and guilty goes free. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). What should you do in light of the ugliness of sin in your own heart and Jesus' willingness to trade places with you? Receive the gift of grace by faith. To have faith in Jesus means, the quality of your life is no longer the measure of your worth. Now the measure of your worth is the quality and beauty of Jesus' life received by faith. This marks the end of the toilsome, endless need to prove yourself or to get others to approve of you. Faith means letting go of all your attempts to justify yourself, to establish your worthiness. Faith means accepting the righteousness of God, Jesus the beloved Son in whom the Father delights. Faith means accepting the gift of another's love, despite the fact you don't deserve it. Have you been found out by this gift? Do you know the comfort and assurance and hope found in Jesus willingly absorbing your sin, so that through faith in him, you might become the righteousness of God?
- What was new or compelling to you? What stood out to you from this passage?
- What questions does this passage raise for you?
- Was there anything that bothered you?
- What impresses you most about Jesus in this passage?
- Which aspect of sin, of "handing Jesus over," pierces you the most?
- How does the exchange of Barabas for Jesus reveal the gift of grace you must receive by faith?
For those of you wrestling with the question, "how do I live a life of faith in Christ as an active participant in the culture in which I live?" Or to put the question in more personal terms. "How do I live a life of faith and integrity as a neighbor to anyone regardless of their beliefs or practices?" I don't think there is a silver bullet for these kinds of questions. They take wisdom, humility and confidence that only the gospel of free grace can bring. At the same time one way we grow in these things (wisdom, humility and confidence) is trying to make sense of the opportunities and complexities before us. If you are looking for a clear and helpful book to orient you to the relationship between the gospel and culture let me suggest to you this book by D.A. Carson.
Songs for this week:
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
For All the Saints
Abide With Me
Jesus is Our Great Salvation
Sermon passage for this week: Psalm 3
Until next time,
Hallelujah! What A Savior!
Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! What a Savior!