Ryan Bruce/ The Gathering The Gospel of Mark (Naked Runner Series) #24
The Characteristics of Sin Mark 15:1-20, Galatians 5:19-21, James 1:13-15, 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Let me begin with a parallel comparison of the accusers and the accused. As we read the text in Mark’s gospel, we see a physical depiction of the spiritual world and it’s characteristics. We see the divine Holy God in the presence of direct evil and oppression. I want to look at how evil approaches the believer, and how holiness should respond according to the example set by Jesus here.
Evil acts quickly; acts violently, is aggressive; and accuses. Evil lies, and it is harsh. Evil promotes more evil. Evil is a mocker of truth; it ignores justice and hates discipline. It is a lover of pride, is hypocritical and is never satisfied. It denies truth as obvious as it may be.
When we read through all the gospel accounts, we see the accusers lied and accused Jesus of withholding taxes and encouraging rebellion. These “religious” men would not enter the Praetorium (gentile roman headquarters), because they were too committed to their spiritual Passover customs. They had a form of godliness, but their “fruit” said otherwise. We read a warning about these types of people in 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
James 1:13-15- We also must understand that each and every one of us is guilty of evil; although it entices each of us differently. The Bible tells us that the teachers were lead by envy, Pilate was lead to sin by the approval and praise of men, and Peter by fear of persecution. What is it that grips you? What of sin entices you? Do you let it lead you?
The Result of Sin Isaiah 59: 2, Proverbs 14: 12
Sin has its due penalties. It should not surprise or offend us when we see the results of sin in this world. Death should not surprise us; pain should be expected. We should understand that punishment is deserved, because there is no one righteous, not one. You are guilty; I am guilty! People and our wicked hearts are all we have to blame for any pain, death and sickness.
The Characteristics of Righteousness John 18: 19-23, 33-37, Mark 15: 2-5
Now let’s breakdown the reaction of righteousness as we examine Jesus, God in the flesh, the “perfector of our faith”. We can see what holiness is in its most vulnerable position. Jesus was lied about, mocked, abandoned, beat, awaiting crucifixion and death, but what was His response?
We read the details in John 18: 19-23, 33-37. His was a response of truth in the midst of lies. He spoke with humility and peace in the midst of pride and chaos. Jesus had eternal perspective. He did not let the temptation of his flesh govern his behavior and actions; instead, he responds by stating that his perspective and purpose are not the same as the world’s, His kingdom is not as the world’s.
We see in Mark 15: 2-5 that Pilate stood in amazement at Jesus’ silence. While sin spoke with haste, Jesus allowed his actions to speak on his behalf. Pilate said that he saw no wrong in Jesus and desired to release him, but he moved in his own desire to please men and had Jesus condemned.
We must notice one other major part of Jesus’ response because our livelihood depends on it. As Barabbas, a man guilty of murder, is released; Jesus, the innocent, is carried away to his death. Jesus responds willingly. He Substituted His life for ours. Our God, all powerful and mighty, laid down his life for murderers, liars, people- pleasers, gossips, rebels, and justice hating mockers. This is unfathomable; yet, he displayed perfect love by laying down his life willingly.
The Result of Righteousness 2 Corinthians 5: 17-21
In 2 Corinthians 5: 17-21 we see that by the willingness and righteousness of God that we now have been saved! Those who believe in him and his work on the cross will never perish but live eternally with him in heaven. Christ paid our penalty for sin and did away with death once and for all! Christ died on our behalf with the purpose that we too will be righteous. We as believers in the sacrifice of Jesus are made a new creation! The old self controlled and influenced by sin is gone. The new has come!
Are you righteous, made new, and lead by the Spirit of God? Are you fulfilling the purpose of Christ’s sacrifice? What a shame to waste such a righteousness sacrifice if not.
Suffering for Righteousness 1 Peter 5:10, 1 Peter 3: 14, John 16: 33, John 15: 18-25
Jesus was no stranger to suffering. We must, as Children of God expect trial, hatred and sufferings of many kinds. It was Jesus who said, “If they hated me, they will hate you. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you” Christians, we must not grow weary of being righteousness in the presence of wickedness. We must look at our example of Christ’s behavior in the midst of evil. We must share truth and be patient with the lost. We must practice humility and righteousness always.
We are encouraged by Jesus himself in John 16:33 to take heart and not fear the world because He has overcome! Allow me to close this lesson with the encouraging words of the apostle Peter “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled.” 1 Peter 3:14