Good Morning Church, Our passage for today is Mark 15:1-20
After Jesus was arrested and accused with many false allegations by the Pharisees & Scribes, he was brought to the Pilate who was the Governor at that time. The first question Pilate asks Jesus is “Are you the King of the Jews?”. To which Jesus answers “You have said so”.
Since the Pharisees didn’t have any reasonable charge against Jesus they falsely accuse Him by informing the Pilate that He calls Himself the “King of the Jews” which in those days was a crime. It was a crime because the region was ruled by Emperor Tiberius and anyone calling himself as a King was a threat to the Roman Empire and deserved severe punishment.
Mark tells us that the chief priests accused Jesus of many other things, and when Pilate again asked Him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” Jesus made no further answer which Mark says amazed the Pilate.
And the reason I believe Pilate was amazed was that He knew the allegations were false and that Jesus could have easily defended his case and proved himself innocent, but that is not what Jesus did.
Instead, Jesus gave himself up for the sinful and rebellious people of this world. He absorbed the injustice happening to Him which neither Pilate nor others could understand or comprehend.
Being on the other side of redemptive history we now know that Jesus was giving himself up for a greater purpose of redeeming mankind from the clutches of sin and death to a restored relationship with creator God, the Father in heaven who sent him to earth for this very purpose.
Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
1 John 2:2
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
Because of our sin & rebellion, our hearts have turned against the God who created us for His glory. We’ve become sinful, unworthy & unholy people who love sinning and rebelling against the authority of God.
Because of which God’s Holy wrath is upon us and the punishment for sin is death & destruction.
But because God so immensely loved us, he sent His son Jesus who takes our sins upon himself and absorbs the wrath of God that was upon us.
Jesus stays silent in the presence of Pilate and refuses to defend the false allegations upon him because He was willingly taking the punishment upon himself, the sins of the whole world, all the people, even till this day.
The wrath of God that was upon us He took it upon himself.
As He is doing so, he is also making his identity known to the people. When Pilate asks whether or not he is the King of the Jews, Jesus openly makes a bold affirmation that He is the King. To the High priests, he also affirmed that He is the Son of Man who will sit at the right hand of the Most High and will come back on the clouds.
What amazes me are the people group that was present at the greatest moment in history and yet failed to recognise & accept Jesus as their King.
The first group of people are the Pharisees and the Scribes who were theological scholars who went to Christian seminaries and studied the scriptures in and out. Read all the prophecies that were spoken about Jesus by Prophet Isaiah, King David and many others.
But unfortunately, they were so full of pride and narcissism that they couldn’t imagine letting go of their self-made fame and the authority they had over the people. They loved their position and wealth so much that they couldn’t stand Jesus who was challenging their authority, and even said and did things that were shaking their mini-kingdom. Accepting Jesus as the King meant losing their business and giving up on all their ungodly wealth, pleasures & pursuits.
The second group of people were the disciples and the followers of Jesus, even the Roman soldiers, who saw Jesus perform great miracles, heal the sick, heard Him speak about the Kingdom of God. Some of them even convinced that He was the Son of God who came to make all things new by offering himself as a sacrifice for their sins.
But unfortunately, these guys were so full of fear, lacked courage and was unprepared & unwilling to pay the cost of being His disciples, because of which they kept their mouth shut, and some even went hiding like the Apostle Peter.
The third group of people were the crowds and the onlookers, these were people who were so self-absorbed with their own lives, all they wanted was to be entertained. They probably knew nothing about Jesus or even what was happening, they might have considered the man Jesus as one of the criminals who has been punished for treason.
And we look at these people groups, it is easy for us to sit here and judge their actions and condemn them for their behaviour towards Jesus but we can totally forget that we too can possess the same qualities like them and behave in the same manner as they did.
Just as Jesus affirmed to Pilate that He is the King, not only of the Jews but the King of all generations, of all cultures, of all people groups, of all tribes, of all nations. Even till this day, he continues to show and affirm it to the world that He is the true King.
He is doing it through the faithful witness of His redeemed people, he is doing it by appearing in dreams and visions, he is doing it by showing His glory through the creation and in many other ways.
But still many of us fail to see and accept Him as the King of our lives and even fail to submit ourselves under His Authority.
Let me share with you three reasons from the passage why we fail to see and accept Him as our King. I will also share with you some practical applications on how we can overcome our failures.
1.The first reason we fail to see Him as our King is because of our spiritual blindness.
I’ll put the onlookers and the spectators in this category of the people group. For our context, we’re talking about the unbelievers of this world. They are people in our families, in our workplace, in our neighborhood, who’ve heard the story of Jesus, even seen the movie Passion of Christ, but are so self-absorbed with their lives that they just can’t get their head around it and are unable to put their faith in Jesus.
They are spiritually blind, and the reason these people are spiritually blind and unable to see Christ as the true King is explained by Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:4. He writes “In their case the god of this world (Devil) has blinded their minds, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
Maybe there are some of us sitting here this morning, you’ve come to church because someone invited you here, you’ve even heard the story of Jesus multiple times, but for some reason, you are unable to get your head around it and unable to believe this truth and follow Jesus.
There is a possibility that the enemy of Christ, the god of this world, the devil has blinded our mind from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.
If you are that person and you desire to know this Jesus the way others in this room sees him, you want to know Him as the true King of this world and of your life. I suggest that you talk to Jesus as if you are talking to a real person and ask Him to open your eyes and reveal himself to you.
And if you do that with an honest and a seeking heart, I can confidently say that he will take away that veil of blindness from your eyes and will surely reveal himself to you as He has revealed himself to us.
One of our family friend who was a young Muslim girl by the name of Saira Banu, now known as Sarah. When she was in college, someone shared the story of Jesus with her and one day as she was doing her regular Namaz (Muslim Prayer) she spoke to Jesus and told him if you are the true God then reveal yourself to me, and I will follow you all the days of my life. The same night Jesus appeared to her in a dream and spoke. And since then she’s been a believer and a follower of Jesus.
The story of Saira Banu is one of the many stories in which Jesus has revealed himself as King.
There are also many here who’ve been sharing the Gospel and telling the story of Jesus to your family member, a co-worker, a neighbor, a stranger on the street. But no matter how diligently you try, they fail to understand and fail to respond in faith, as if there is a veil that’s blocking their minds from seeing and accepting Christ as the King.
My encouragement to you is that you share the Gospel please also pray for that person, even more diligently. It is not enough for us to just share the story of Jesus and hope that he or she will respond in faith. The problem is their spiritual blindness. It is not our eloquent words and persuasive gospel-sharing methods that will open their minds. Only God can open their minds and help them see Jesus as the true King.
Pray before the Gospel, pray after sharing the Gospel. We are a believer because someone prayed for us. The person I could is my Mom who diligently prayed for me and asked God to open my eyes to the truth and to use me as His servant.
2.The second reason why people fail to see Jesus as the true King and follow Him is because of lack of courage and unpreparedness & unwillingness to pay the cost of becoming His follower.
I’ll put the disciples & the followers of Jesus in this category of people who knew Jesus was the true King but failed to acknowledge or stand with him when he was being crucified.
There are many us even today when we heard the Gospel, our eyes opened, and our hearts responded in faith. We dropped our idols, our past ways, and decided to follow Jesus.
But as soon as we started experiencing the reality of living for Jesus, paying the cost and carrying our cross daily, face threat & persecution from family and friends because of our faith any even other kinds of sufferings we undergo. We either end up abandoning him, or we’ve stopped acknowledge Jesus as our King of lives and follow him wholeheartedly.
Coming to a safe environment like church or GC and declaring ourselves as Christian is easy but when we’re out in the world we feel scared, we lack courage, we feel unprepared & unwilling to pay the cost of being His disciple.
In Luke 14:26-27 Jesus said
26 You cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you love your father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot come with me unless you love me more than you love your own life.
27 You cannot be my disciple unless you carry your own cross and come with me.
You may ask How do we buckle up such courage?
The answer to that question is to be men who are filled and led by the Holy Spirit. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he told His disciples that the Holy Spirit will come upon them, whom the Father will send in his name, to teach us all things and bring to our remembrance all that I have said to you.
The same Spirit, when it is upon us also gives us the courage to follow Jesus and obey His commands no matter what circumstances we’re facing.
Remember, when the disciples were the upper room and praying, the Holy Spirit came upon them and, the same Peter who denied Jesus, stood with the other eleven, lifted up his voice, addressed the crowd, preached the Gospel with boldness and three thousand souls were added to the Kingdom of God. Theologians say that Peter was crucified for his faith in Christ.
Do you lack the courage to stand up for Jesus and declare Him as the King of your life? Are you not prepared to pay the cost of being of Jesus?
My encouragement to you is ask the Lord to fill you with His Holy Spirit and He will give you the strength and courage needed to face challenging situations.
3.And finally, the third reason why we fail to accept Him as our King is because we tend to love darkness more than light.
I’ll put the Pharisees and the Scribes in this category of people who were okay to release and tolerate a criminal & a murderer like Barabas instead of Jesus. Just because Barabas wasn’t going to disrupt their fame, wealth & ungodly pursuits but Jesus would.
We’ve heard the Gospel, accepted the fact that Jesus is the true King, pretend to be a Christian, even go to Church but have not yet given full reign of our lives to King Jesus.
I’m sorry to say, but a Half-hearted surrendering is no surrendering at all.
And the reason some of us haven’t given full reign of our lives to King Jesus is because we love the darkness more than light, we love the pleasure of sin than the joy of being with Jesus, we love slothfulness & comforts more than diligence to Christ, we love money, wealth & possessions more than God.
In Matthew 6:24 Jesus said “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus said
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Brothers & sisters, it may seem like there is joy is pursuing the world and its pleasures, but remember the end is not going to be pleasurable as you think. Without complete surrender to Jesus and his Kingship over our lives we are never going to make it to heaven and sadly end up in the wrong place.
Fully surrendering to Jesus & accepting His as our King doesn’t mean that we will become perfect human beings. For as long as we are in this flesh, we will be imperfect.
But a man and a woman who is truly for Jesus will live a life of continual repentance and belief in the Gospel. And they will produce Fruit as they keep up with Repentance.
Jesus said a good tree will be known by its fruit and so is a truly surrendered Christian.
If you are in that place this morning, I want to urge you to repent of your sins, give up on your pride, let loose of your grip on money and possessions and see and accept Jesus as your true King and the greatest treasure of your Life.
1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”