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Calling up Courage

Walking with Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  40:49
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Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened. --Billy Graham
Baker New Testament Commentary: Mark 15:42–47 The Burial of Jesus

The struggle is over. The battle has been won. The work which the Father gave the Son to do is finished (John 17:4; 19:30). The body of Jesus, though still on the cross, suffers no more pain, for his spirit has entered Paradise (Luke 23:43). It is quiet on Calvary now. Most of the people have left. In fact, evening has fallen, as our passage states.

EST - Our text describes the events of the afternoon of Jesus’ death.
ESS - Our message notes the action in courage taken by one anticipating God’s kingdom.
OSS - The message will conclude by asking us to face fears and pray for help to overcome them.
TRANS - Let’s travel to that dark day right just past the time of Jesus’ death on the cross.

What does it say?

Mark 15:42–47 ESV
And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.

What does it mean?

Called to Action

What was “preparation day,” and why was Jesus buried that evening?
Preparation day is either a day prior to a festival of Sabbath.
Here it is the day before the Sabbath which begins at sundown.
Mark explains this for Gentile readers.
BAK
there were two evenings in the ancient Hebrew way of speaking: one late afternoon about 3 and the other near 6
Here is why are looking at the fist
Joseph of Arimathea, a Jew, would not set out to speak to Pilate Friday after 6
It was against the law to leave a dead body on the cross overnight
even worse, on the sabbath, much worse, sabbath of Passover week
There could be no delay, Jesus was buried before 6PM
What do Joseph’s actions tell us about him, and what did he risk by burying Jesus’ body?
We know he is a Jew and needed to get to action quickly because of the things just mentioned.
Joseph is not ordinary man; he is a member of the Council; the Sanhedrin.
This same group worked to have Jesus killed and now one of their own seek to have him buried properly.
Also, Luke tells us Joseph didn’t consent to the decision and action taken against Jesus:
Luke 23:50–51 ESV
Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God.
The custom was for a close friend or relative to request the body.
With the disciples scattered and Mary a mess, Joeseph steps up requesting Jesus’ body.
Already at odds over Jesus, and now acting as a close friend puts him at odds with the ruling class of Jews.

Confirmed by Authorities

Why would it later prove important that Jesus’ death was confirmed by an expert?
The word “die” is noted twice in v.44 and then confirmed by the centurion in v.45.
Most people believe whatever makes sense to them.
For the Christian, Scripture is our authority which makes this explicit reference to Jesus being dead critical to everything we believe.
In place we have:
the powerful Pilate; nobody dare lie to him.
the confirming centurion; familiar with how a dead body appears
It was important to the Jesus in the first century and through all the years up until the present.
In this way, any rumor that Jesus was not dead, is handled.

Customs Appropriated

Describe the significance of the burial customs reported in Mark 15:46.
Jesus was wrapped in a burial linen according to the custom of an honorable burial.
While there is no mention of washing the body, it’s most likely Jesus’ body was even washed as this was done even when necessary on sabbath.
If Jesus were buried like a common criminal, he’d been tossed in a hole near the cross.
The customs, the cloth, washing, tomb, and by someone caring, tell us that Jesus’ body was well cared for.
Why were stones placed against the entrances to tombs?
Tombs were sealed with a large rock to keep out animals and grave robbers.
Most had flat stones wedged into place, but the more elaborate had large discs that were easily rolled into place, but very difficult to dislodge.
We have examples of this in Palestine today and all of them are from Jesus’ time.

What is God asking from people?

Willingness to act, even when chancing personal risk, takes courage.
The Sanhedrin considered Joseph’s act as defiance.
Joseph’s courage proves his hope for the coming kingdom was greater than his fear of the powerful Jewish leaders.
Does your fear surpass your hope in Jesus?
Can we ask the HS to replace our fear with courage?
What do you fear?
ILL - As a young man I once found myself in an ally with a fellow pointing a little jackknife toward my belly. He said, “give me that $20 out of your pocket or I’d stab you.” To this day I have no idea how he knew I had a $20 bill in my pocket. Yet, the story goes this way.
You see, I recognized the fellow as a high school schoolmate. Apparently he didn’t recognize me until I called him by name and said I’ve been to his house and know his mother. It was a rather sobering moment for the fellow. For a moment he snapped out of his condition, probably high on some drug, and looked me in the eye. I could have taken him in that moment, but took out the $20 and said, “Here, take it, you need it more than I do.” I had hopped to run into him again someday, but hadn’t seen him sense.
You see, when we know more than what causes us to fear, we don’t need to be afraid. If we know a shooter is not going to shoot, that a fire is not going to burn, or basically everything is going to be alright, we don’t need to be afraid.
It’s like that for Jesus followers.
We know the future, we know God’s got it under control, and we know that in all places He is with us.
So, what do we have to fear.
Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations 875 Wanted: Hundred Men

John Wesley said, “Give me a hundred men who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I will shake the world. I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; and such alone will overthrow the kingdom of Satan and build up the Kingdom of God on earth.”

When we have such faith, why fear?
Do you know God even gives us a picture of living beyond fear?
Consider your baptismal service where you demonstrated your courage by being buried with Christ through baptism into death and raised with Him to walk in newness of life:
Romans 6:4 ESV
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
See, you’ve nothing to fear.
Let’s call up that same courage we had when baptized and ask the HS to put us to work serving God this week.
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