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The Soldiers Who Mock


Have you ever gone along with the crowd even though you knew it was wrong? The example that immediately comes to my mind is the Holocaust. How in the world could thousands and thousands of people just let 6 million Jews die at the hands of the Nazis? How could people simply sit back and watch millions of people die simply for being Jewish? Most of us dislike being excluded from communities, social events, and so forth. Exclusion can be the result of “standing out” in a sea of people. To avoid being the odd one out, many of us go along with the behavior or ideas of a group we find ourselves in, even if we know morally that those ideas or behaviors are so very wrong.

This morning, we find ourselves in the Gospel of Mark in the most tragic example of what can happen when we just go along with the rest of the crowd. In this fourth week of our sermon series, “Face to Face with Jesus,” we will not only encounter the soldiers who scourged and mocked Jesus, but we will also come face to face with the 600 other soldiers who watched the King of Kings be brutally beaten and mocked and did absolutely nothing. I am reminded of something German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Standing up for Jesus when no one else will is never easy. In fact, for some of us, it might be quite costly to do so. We must be extremely careful when it comes to fear, friends. I've said this before and I'll say it again: the opposite of faith is not doubt, the opposite of faith is fear. The Bible says without faith, it is impossible to please God and I think here's why: because fear always paralyzes. Fear causes you to curl into a ball and do nothing, just like the crowd in Mark 15, but faith always produces action. This does not mean if you are a Christian that you are not sacred of stuff. But even in being scared by faith you move forward because you know God is in charge. So, you can be scared. Just do not be afraid. Don't be paralyzed but by faith step out of the boat. By faith, be that one person in a sea of people that takes a stand for God when no one else will.

My prayer is that we do not jump on the bandwagon that is this world and remain quiet and/or indifferent about our Risen Savior. Be prepared and ready to defend and share the faith, even when everyone else isn't, even when everyone else is opposed to this God/man named Jesus. May we not be ashamed of Jesus, but rather may we shout from the mountaintops, the name that is above every name, the beautiful name of Jesus Christ, our King of Kings, the Savior of the world, and the One who paid it all for our sake.

— Pastor Marge


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