Sermons by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder

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EZEKIEL: "God's Call for Our Day"

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 06/14/15
“God’s Call for Our Day”
                         Ezekiel 1:1 -3:15                           
INTRODUCTION: God called Ezekiel to serve him in a new setting and in a strange culture. God still calls us to serve him. We may not be in a foreign land like Ezekiel but we do live in a strange culture that needs a word from the Lord. Let’s look at God’s call for us today.
(1:1 – 3; 2:1-10).
*Ezekiel was an exile in a foreign land with no job and an uncertain future. “On the fifth of the month—it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin—the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. There the hand of the Lord was on him” (1:2-3).
*God calls us to serve him in a new world, a new setting, and a strange culture. He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet…He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me…Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious people—they will know that a prophet has been among them’” (2:1-5).
*Ezekiel had an unusual encounter with God and experienced God’s awesome grandeur.  “I saw a windstorm coming out of the north—an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was human, but each of them had four faces and four wings…Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked something like a vault, sparkling like crystal, and awesome…then there came a voice from above the vault over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man” (1:4-26).
*A fresh vision of God keeps us strong as we go through tough challenges. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking” (1:28).
*Ezekiel was filled with the Spirit of God and given the message to deliver even though no one would listen to him or follow him. “And he said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you. Go now to your people in exile and speak to them. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says,’ whether they listen or fail to listen” (3:10-11).
*God’s word is true no matter what the culture says. We must stand on truth and practice love. And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel”… So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.  He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them…for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate. But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people” (3:1-9).
God is calling you to stand for him in this generation.

PARABLES OF JESUS: Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 05/31/15
“The Great Separation”
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
INTRODUCTION: We all demand justice. Some have questioned God’s power and God’s goodness because of all the evil, injustice and suffering in the world. Trying to answer these questions is a whole field of study known as Theodicy. Jesus addressed this issue in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Weeds). Jesus explains the source and the final end of evil and evildoers. Ultimately, Jesus says we are to be faithful and patient and let God deal with the evildoers. As Paul says, Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Let’s look at this parable and Jesus’ explanation.
*Jesus explained the parable to his disciples privately (13:36-43).
  • The sower and the seed = “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom” (37-38)
  • The weeds and the enemy = “The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil” (38-39).
  • The harvest and the harvesters = “The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels” (39).
  • The end of the evildoers and evil = “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (40-42).
  • The reward of the righteous = “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (43).
  • We have an enemy who tries to disrupt God’s plans (25). “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1Pet. 5:8).
  • We have counterfeit Christians who try to deceive God’s people (26). “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them…“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:15-21).
  • We are called to be fruit-producers not weed-pullers (27-30).
Jesus said: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:1-2).
*We are not to judge those outside the church but we are to maintain standards of purity within the church.  Paul wrote to Corinthian believers: “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?”
(1 Corinthians 5:9-12).
  • God will make all things right in the end (30). “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left (Matt. 25:31-33)
There will be a payday someday. In the meantime:
He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?(Micah 6:8).

PARABLES OF JESUS: The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 05/24/15
“You Mean I Have to Love Them?”
Luke 10:25-37
INTRODUCTION: A lawyer asked Jesus what a person had to do to receive eternal life. Jesus asked him what he thought the Scriptures taught. The lawyer said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Jesus agreed with him and told him to put his words into practice. The lawyer must have felt put on the spot so he asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” In other words, define neighbor; who am I responsible for and how far does that responsibility go? Jesus tells a story that says your neighbor is the one who needs help from you. Place yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask what would I want you to do for me? Our neighbor is the one who needs our mercy. Love knows no boundaries.
*The Samaritan overcame…
  • Fear (30-33)
  • Social stigma and prejudice (33)
  • Struggles with personal costs of time and money (34-35)
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise” (36-37)
*We are to show mercy and love to
  • The hurting and wounded
  • The stranger
  • The less fortunate
  • The enemy
Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs
                                                                               (Proverbs 10:12).

PARABLES - Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 05/17/15
“Hard Hearts Have Blind Eyes”
Luke 16:19-31
INTRODUCTION: Jesus was teaching about money and 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.”  The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts” (Luke 16:13-15). Wealth can be of great benefit to the Kingdom of God or it can be a deceitful trap to the one who possesses it. Greed can grab the hearts of poor people too. The use and misuse of wealth depends upon the heart of the individual. Jesus said “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21). The drive to gain wealth and the selfish use of wealth can lead to insensitivity to the needs of others. The heart becomes calloused to the point where the affluent individual no longer sees the hurt and suffering of others. That is why hard hearts have blind eyes. Jesus told a parable using a commonly known story to illustrate his point.
*Alexandrian Jews brought an Egyptian folk tale to Israel and turned it into the story of the poor scholar and the rich tax-collector Bar Ma’jan.  The poor scholar dies without recognition but is rewarded in death. Jesus uses this story to warn those living in ease to prepare for death.
*The Rich Man did not notice the needs of a suffering man because of his own self-absorbed heart. He did not see or empathize with someone he could have helped.
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried…But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony” (16:25).
*God expects us to show care for those who are hurting and to provide justice and fairness for those who are suffering and have no voice.
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that
 is coming on you…You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you…You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter (James 5:1-5).
*The Rich Man did not anticipate being held accountable in the afterlife for his actions in this present life. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side…“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment’ (16:22-28).
*Even the miracle of the resurrection will not convince the hard hearted of their need to repent.
“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead’” (16:29-31).
Who are you serving? How is your heart toward others and God?
Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and money.”
Repent and follow Jesus: For if you tell others with your own mouth that Jesus Christ is your Lord and believe in your own heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in his heart that a man becomes right with God; and with his mouth he tells others of his faith, confirming his salvation (Romans 10:9-10 TLB).


Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 05/10/15
“A Mother’s Care”
Matthew 23:37-39
INTRODUCTION: Jesus has finished his week of teaching in Jerusalem during the week of Passover. He knows his time is short. He has pleaded with his people to repent and accept the good news of the kingdom of God. Israel has refused. As he leaves the city, Jesus looks out over Jerusalem and laments over the coming judgment. He uses the metaphor of a mother hen and her chicks to describe his great love and deep longing for his wayward people. God cares for us like a mother cares for her children.
*Jesus repeatedly called his people to repentance and to acceptance of the Kingdom of God. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how often I have longed to gather your children together (37).
*God loves us and wants the best for us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
*God loves us like a mother loves her children.
*Jesus compares his care for us to a mother hen defending her chicks. Jesus says, “how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (37). 
*“God is a Spirit” (John 4:24), neither male nor female. Yet the maternal image of God sheltering his people under his wings is common in the Bible (as in Ex 19:4; Deut 32:11; Ps 17:8; 36:7; 63:7). “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge” (Psalm 91:4).
*Like a mother defends her young, God shelters us from all harm.

*God’s people, especially the religious leaders, had a history of rebellion and rejection of God’s ways. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing (37).
*Jesus warns the nation that judgment is coming because of their persistent rebellion. “Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’” (38-39).
*Like a mother who longs for her child to turn away from the wrong path, God does not want anyone to face certain punishment. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief” (2 Peter 3:9-10).
*God provides a way for us to return to him and restore the broken relationship. “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:27-28).
*Just like a mother will lay down her life to keep her children safe, so too did Jesus sacrifice his life to bring us back to the family of God.
God cares for us like a mother cares for her children. Thank God.


Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 05/03/15
“Sudden Disaster”
Luke 12:16-21
INTRODUCTION: In Luke 12, Jesus warned his disciples that following him would bring opposition. Faithfulness would bring God’s protection and blessing (Luke 12:1-11). Someone in the crowd wanted Jesus to settle a family inheritance dispute. Jesus warned his followers against greed (12:13-15) and told them the parable of the Rich Fool. It is foolish to devote yourself to things rather than to God.
*God blesses us with good things. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights… (James 1:17).
*There is nothing wrong with wealth. It is how we receive and use wealth that counts. And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ (Luke 12:16-17).
*There was nothing wrong with building bigger barns. The man’s sin was his self-dependence and assumption that he was in control of his future. “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ (Luke 12:18-19)
*We do not know the future. We need to humble ourselves before God and trust him with our plans and future. Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”(James 4:13-14).

*Jesus was tempted to presume on God’s goodness and protection. He resisted the idea that he could depend on himself rather than God to know God’s plans for his life. The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully’” … Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Luke 4:9-12).
*Foolishness presumes on God. It is self-dependent and self-centered.
*We do not know the future. We need to lean on the Lord daily and be ready for whatever happens. We need to build on a solid foundation. “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:20-21).
*The Rich Fool put his trust in riches. Greed is a form of idolatry that puts something else ahead of God. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5).
*Jesus warned his people that God’s hand of judgment was upon them. He ends the Sermon on the Mount with the illustration of building on the solid rock or building on shifting sand. The storm is coming.
*What foundation are you building on? Are you wise or foolish?
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

PARABLES - Mustard Seed and Leaven

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 04/26/15
“Rest Assured”
Matthew 13:31-35
INTRODUCTION: Matthew writes that “Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: ‘I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world’” (Matthew 13:34-35). What hidden things could Jesus teach using the tiny mustard seed and common yeast in his parables? The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast provide assurance and rest to Jesus’ followers. The Jesus movement will grow, thrive and prevail. God’s kingdom will prosper.
*To calm the doubts and fears of his followers, Jesus reminds them that great things always come from insignificant beginnings. He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches” (Matthew 13:31-32).
*The small seed becomes a large tree. God’s kingdom will grow and become a shelter for all people. Jesus’ little band of disciples will become a mighty people of God from all nations.  “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
*God wants to use you to change this world and build his kingdom.
*Leaven or yeast was mixed into the dough in order to make it rise. The leaven changed the dough from becoming dry and hard to becoming soft and spongy. He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough” (Matthew 13:33).
*Leaven alters the composition of the dough. The Good News of Jesus changes people’s lives. Sixty pounds of flour and leaven would make enough bread to feed 100  people. God transforms anyone who follows Jesus. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17).
*God wants you to be born again to a new life and a new hope.


Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 04/19/15
“There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy”
Luke 15:11-32
INTRODUCTION: We can experience grace-filled relationships. We do this by developing attitudes or dispositions of grace that reflect the gracious character of our Father in heaven. Jesus expressed grace and models the way we are to live. In order to teach us how we can develop grace-filled relationships, Jesus gave us the Parable of the Prodigal Son, also known as the Parable of the Loving Father.
The prodigal son had an attitude of reckless rebellion (11-16).
The rebel moved from a spirit of defiance to an attitude of humility (17-20).
The way back from rebellion is to accept full and complete pardon (20-24).
The elder son had an attitude of self-righteous entitlement and arrogance (25-28).
The unforgiving son moved from pride to bitterness (29-30).
The way back from disappointment is empathy and compassion (31-32).
The father had an attitude of persistent and unconditional love. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (20).
The father extended unrelenting generosity and mercy. “‘My son,’ the
father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found’” (31-32).

How to receive grace:
  • Acknowledge your sin and rebellion.
  • Accept forgiveness and pardon.
  • Celebrate
How to extend grace:
  • Admit your sin and pride
  • Love as you have been loved
  • Come alongside the restored sinner
There's a wideness in God's mercy
like the wideness of the sea;
there's a kindness in his justice,
which is more than liberty.
There is welcome for the sinner,
and more graces for the good;
there is mercy with the Savior; 
there is healing in his blood.

For the love of God is broader
than the measure of man's mind;
and the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more faithful,
we should take him at his word;
and our life would be thanksgiving
for the goodness of the Lord.

Words: Frederick William Faber, 1862


Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 04/12/15
It’s a New Day!
Mark 2:18-22
INTRODUCTION: New Testament scholar Joachim Jeremias makes this startling claim: “Jesus’ parables are something entirely new. In all the rabbinic literature, not one single parable has come down to us from the period before Jesus…We stand right before Jesus when reading his parables” (The Parables of Jesus, 12). The parables of Jesus are unique. They contain the native language of Jesus, the scenes of everyday Palestine, the core elements of Jesus’ message, and the basic conflict his preaching produced. The word pictures Jesus painted with his parables resisted the religious stagnation, the spiritual confusion, and Roman militarism of his day. Jesus intentionally used the parables to present the Good News that the Kingdom of God was at hand. The parables of the new garment and the new wine in Mark 2 reveal that salvation has come in the person of Jesus!
*Jesus describes his coming as a wedding celebration and he is the bridegroom. It is time to feast not fast. Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast” (Mark 2:19-20).
*Jesus did not come to repair the old system; he came to establish a new era and a new way of doing things. “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins” (Mark 2:21-22).
*Jesus quoted Isaiah 61 to describe his mission and the new day: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners  and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).
The new day of Jesus brings joy and favor to all who receive him.

*Jesus transforms the lives and habits of sinful and misguided people. Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him (Mark 2:13-14).
*Jesus rescues sick and hurting people instead of maintaining the rigid rules and regulations of those who think they are well. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:16-17).
The way of Jesus:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
The parables of the New Garment and the New Wine reveal that salvation has come in the person and work of Jesus!


Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 04/05/15
What Will You Do with Jesus?
Mark 15:12
INTRODUCTION: Can you imagine living all your life and looking back and discovering that you were wrong? How would you feel? Would you want a do over? The Easter season provides us with the opportunity to ask ourselves about Jesus – his life, his death, his resurrection. What have you decided about Jesus? On the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, the Roman governor Pontius Pilate asked an angry crowd a question: What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” (Mark 15:12). There were at least three responses to his question that day. As we think about Jesus and the day he died, let me ask you the same question Pilate asked: What will you do with Jesus?
*Pilate admired and respected Jesus and believed in his innocence. “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead (Mark 15:9-11).
*Pilate respected Jesus but he turned him over to be crucified. It is easy to rationalize Jesus away if you will not follow him. “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them. “Crucify him!” they shouted. “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”  Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified (Mark 15:12-15).
*The mob refused to follow Jesus and chose to eliminate him. “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them. “Crucify him!” they shouted (Mark 15:12-13).
*Rejection of Jesus always leads to ridicule:
  • The soldiers mocked Jesus: And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him (Mark 15:18-20).
  • Scoffers passing by insulted him: Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!”(Mark 15:29-30).
  • The religious leaders scorned Jesus. In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself!” (Mark 15:31).
*The Centurian recognized that Jesus was divine. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39).
* Paul recorded the testimony of those who recognized Jesus as the Son of God: For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time...Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).
*It is not enough to recognize Jesus as the Son of God. You must also receive him as your Lord. Thomas was not present when Jesus appeared to the other disciples and doubted their testimony. When Jesus appeared to him, Thomas recognized and accepted Jesus as his Lord. A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-28).
*What will you do with Jesus? Don’t look back on your life and realize you were wrong. Give your life to Jesus today.
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