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Love's Last Mile

Walking with Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  33:02
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300 Quotations for Preachers The Cold Water of Persecution

The cold water of persecution is often thrown on the church’s face to fetch her to herself when she is in a swoon of indolence or pride.

EST - Our text will describe the handing over of Jesus to be flogged by the soldiers.
ESS - Our message will remind us that if Jesus was persecuted, then his followers can expect the same.
OSS - Following our message is a time to reflect and consider how we take it when others say and do bad things to Jesus followers.
TRANS - This morning we are joining the story where we left off last week. Pilate is catering to the demands of the people releasing Barabbas and Jesus is being led away as a prisoner.

What does it say?

Mark 15:15–23 ESV
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him. And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.

Psychically Thrashed

What was involved in the flogging of Jesus recorded in Mark 15:15?
Pilate couldn’t get the people to change their minds and is going to have Jesus crucified.
Pilate did what was good for his own political career.
His wife caused him to think, yet he still did what was best for his position.
Pilate didn’t have to have Jesus flogged; he was still holding a hope the people might let Jesus go with a beating.
Roman flogging involved stripping the victim and tying their hands.
The flogging whip was made of leather strands tied with pieces of bone and lead bits attached to the ends.
Two men on either side usually did the flogging.
Jews limited flogging to 40 whips, but the Romans had not limitation.
The heavy whip was used with full force against Jesus shoulders, back, and legs.
Fist the skin was cut, then they become deeper.
Eventually the subcutaneous tissue is exposed and blood begins to ooze.
Then with deeper cuts arterial bleed spurts blood from the underlying muscles.
Finally the skin hangs in long ribbons and the man is a unrecognizable mass of bleeding torn tissue.
Rarely did a Roman victim survive.

Psychologically Taunted

What is the Praetorium, and who are the soldiers who mocked Jesus there?
The Praetorium is the palace Pilate occupied during his stay.
Usually the Praetorium is in Caesarea, but when in Jerusalem it is the place where the “praetor,” Pilate, stayed; hence the Praetorium.
The soldiers were conscripted area Gentiles consisting of 1/10 of a legion or 600 soldiers and of that about 200 were on duty at that time.
How did the robe and crown contribute to the soldiers’ mockery of Jesus?
The soldiers thought it funny that this gentle man claimed to be a king.
The soldiers mocked Jesus buy putting royal colors on him and a crown from some kind of prickly plant.
The royal purple and a crown was one way the solders mocked Jesus.
In addition, they shouted, “Hail, king of the Jews” which is a sort of parody of “Hail, Emperor Caesar.”

The Last Mile

Why was someone needed to carry Jesus’ cross?
The custom of the time was to have the condemned carry their cross to the outside of the city.
The text doesn’t say if this was the entire cross or just the crossbeam.
Jesus did carry the cross, but physical exhaustion made it impossible for him to carry it far.
From the last 15 hours consider his condition:
the tenseness of the upper room
betrayed by Judas
agony of Gethsemane
disciples desertion
the hypocritical Sanhedrin,
mockery in the palace of the High Priest
denial of Peter
trial before Pilate
the scourging
the pronounced death sentence
the abuse by the soldiers
So wonder Jesus could even walk!
What is the significance of the name “Golgotha,” and where was its location?
Golgotha is a Grecianized form of the Aramaic word meaning skull.
Jews and Romans usually executed people outside of the city in public places.
We expect this is not far from the city wall and near a road.
All we really know is from John:
John 19:20 ESV
Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek.
“near the city” and from Hebrews:
Hebrews 13:12 ESV
So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.
“outside the gate”
The text does not say on a hill.
We really don’t know its location.
From about 326 AD the Church of the Holy Sepulcher has claimed to be the spot.
Recent archaeologists have proven this to be outside a second wall on the northwest of the city at the time of Jesus.
The Roman siege of AD 70 destroyed the city and in AD 135 the desecration of holy sites and rebuilding as a pagan city makes it very difficult to say for certain.
Then there is the site of the Garden Tomb which is not ancient and has a resemblance of a skull that is probably the result of medieval and modern excavation.
Our best guess today suggests that the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is the place where Jesus was crucified.
This text is more concerned with the significance of Jesus’ death than where it happened.
Why did they offer Jesus wine with myrrh, and why did Jesus refuse to drink it?
An old tradition tells us that respectable women of Jerusalem offered a narcotic drink to people condemned to death to help them overcome the excruciating pain.
A 1st century army doctor noted the properties of myrrh for its narcotic properties.
As custom, Jesus was offered this narcotic which he refused choosing to endure with full consciousness the suffering appointed for him.

What is God asking from me?

Men in positions of power dressed Jesus in purple and crowned him with thorns and mocked him.
They pretended to respect Jesus bowing before him calling him king.
In the book of John, Jesus remind us that if they persecuted the Master they with not hesitate going after his servants:
John 15:20 ESV
Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.

Cassie Bernall, seventeen, was in the library at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, on April 20, 1999, studying the Bible as she did every day at lunch, when she heard shooting erupt. As the gunman entered the room, Cassie reportedly knelt and prayed which angered the attacker. He approached her, asked her sarcastically if she believed in God. She paused, then said one word: “Yes.” The gunman asked her “Why?” but Cassie had no time to answer before she was shot to death. Cassie, who had been a Christian for two years, was known for carrying her Bible to school every day and wearing a “What Would Jesus Do?” bracelet. Three days before the shooting, she had skipped her prom to help with a Denver Area Youth For Christ banquet.

“She is a martyr, the best martyr,” Pastor George Kristen told two thousand mourners at the memorial service. “Cassie died a martyr’s death. She went to the martyr’s hall of fame.” And at that service over seventy-five kids made first-time commitments to Christ.

Lets consider it a privilege to be disrespected or teased for our faith in Jesus and pray for those who persecute us.
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