Sermon Summary (Oct 22, 2017)
Mark 15:1-15 (NIV) • Pastor Tim Tseng
Pilate and the crowd that supported the crucifixion of Jesus were “fair-weathered” people. They are like church-goers who participate only when the church community benefits them. Pilate teaches us that we need to examine our hearts regularly and repent of being fair-weathered church-goers. We need to lean on Jesus’ commitment to his mission to rescue us from this condition.
Mark 15:1-15 reveals an indifferent Roman military leader who wants to satisfy the crowd regardless of whether his decision is just or not. Though it is obvious to him that the high priests are driven by envy (15:10) and that Jesus has done no evil (15:14), Pilate is indifferent to his responsibility to carry out justice. Pilate also represents a state concerned only with preserving order, regardless of the injustice suffered by others.
We are told that the crowd was easily swayed by the religious leaders, so they chose Barabbas, an insurrectionist guilty of murder, to go free over Jesus, who had no interest in causing sedition or social upheaval. Jesus thus takes his place on the cross.
Like us, it was easier for the crowd and for Pilate to sacrifice principle, fairness, and justice for self-interest. Jesus’ silence reveals the dark heart humans. By refusing to defend himself, Jesus exposes the sin in people’s hearts.
What about us? Do we easily sacrifice Jesus when he becomes inconvenient? Do we stop obeying and following him when he opposes our self-interests? If we treat church the way a consumer treats a product, rather than as a member of Christ’s body accountable to our Lord, then, “yes,” we have become like Pilate. We will participate in this particular church or take Jesus seriously so long as the church provides the services that we want – and provides it the way we want it. Too many churches have caved in to the wants and anxieties of its consumer-minded people that they have lost Jesus – rather, gave him up to “satisfy the crowd.”
Disciples of Jesus need to discern when we are succumbing to Pilate and the crowd’s sin and repent. We need to ask Jesus to save us from a consumer religion.
For the sake of Canaan’s future, discipleship must matter more than catering to consumers. Otherwise, we will lose the birthright to be part of God’s family. I know it’s hard call people to discipleship, but hard times will always reveal true disciples of Jesus.