Title: When God loses

Focus: God is so powerful, he takes obvious losses and humiliating defeats and turns them to victory by transforming the meaning of power and life. This paradigm is seen ultimately in the cross

Function: To motivate the hearers to live a life of weakness and death so they can have power and life

Text: Mk 15:1-41

1.  Have you ever felt like you losing ground in your faith?  Lost the power,
2.  The key to regaining ground is Upsidedown, backwards, Irony
3.  The text is filled with Upsidedown, backwards, Irony
4.  (Mark 15)

I.  (v.1-15)  The Irony of his condemnation
	A.  Jesus goes before Pilate the prefect
		1.  Jesus responds to Pilate with “you say”
		2.  That would be like saying “whatever”
		3.  Pilate made a feeble attempt to get him released
	B.  The irony comes from the release of Barabbas
		1.  Jesus accused falsely of insurrection
			a.  Barabbas was the insurrectionist
			b.  Jesus condemned on a false charge
			c.  It would have been appropriate for Barabbas
		2.  Jesus in exchange for the criminal
			a.  Jesus took cross meant for Barabbas
			b.  Crucified between 2 other criminals
		3.  (2 Cor 5:21) - “He made him who knew no sin...”
			a.  Even before crucifixion, Gospel already in action
			b.  Jesus life given in exchange for a sinner
	C.  Another Irony - Barabbas released to continue revolts
		1.  Led to war with Rome just a few years later
		2.  Their insurrection led to destruction of temple
			a.  Just as Jesus had said in Romans 13
			b.  It was worse than imaginable
				- Cannibalism, starvation, death, unburied dead
		3.  Barrabass did what they accusing Jesus of trying to do
	D.  Everything is backwards, upside down
		1.  Barabbas should have been condemned
		2.  Jesus should have been found innocent

II.  (v.16-32)  Irony of the contempt
	A.  Jesus endured the most awful kind of humiliation
	B.  Mark tells of humilation from four directions
		1.  Irony of humiliation and the insults
			a.  They speaking true words while mocking the king
			b.  They took his clothes, yet one day they will stand before 
			      him in judgement completely exposed
			c.  (Rom 2:16) - God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus
			d.  Irony - Jesus accused of blasphemy
				- (29) They hurling abuse (lit - blasphemies)
				- Who are the real blasmphemers here|?
		2.  Irony of his refusal of the wine and myrrh (mild sedative)
			a.  He chose to experience his cup of suffering full strength
			b.  He would not sleep through it like disciples in the garden
		3.  Irony - He saved others, cannot him save himself
			a.  Jesus is modeling what he taught
				- (8:35) - Whoever wishes to save life will lose it
				- (10:45) - Gave his life a ransom for many
			b.  Said to take up cross, not come down from the cross
			c.  In his not saving himself, he saved sinners
	C.  He was all alone, no one really seemed to believe him
		1.  Like that T.V. Show, King of the Hill
		2.  Person from Boston came to visit and do business
		3.  Did not think Hanks was a true Texan
		4.  Why?  Hank did not have cowboy boots, and hat or buckle
	D.  Jesus did not look like a Messiah or a King to anyone
		1.  Powerless, weak, dying
		2.  Now he is all alone
		3.  Everything is backwards, upside down

III.  (v.33-41) Irony of the Centurian
	A.  This was the man who was overseeing the crucifixion
		1.  No one else got it
		2.  Yet this gentile first to confess faith in crucified Messiah
	B.  What was it that convinced the Centurian?
		1.  Was it the cry of Jesus?
			a.  Jesus lived by scripture and knew he fulfilling it
			b.  It was the 9th hour, a Jewish hour of prayer
			c.  Jesus prayed the 22nd Psalm (ends in faith)
				- Lament (v.6-7)
				- Supplication (v.16-21)
				- Praise and Faith (v.22-26)
				- This a Psalm of the righteous sufferer
				- God abandons temple, not Jesus
			d.  Maybe centurion knew he was righteous
		2.  Wouldn’t a display of power have been better?
		3.  If he saved self, called down lightning,etc.
		4.  Centurian certainly would have understood power
	C.  ILL:  Kind of like Principle Mr. __________
		1.  He was a drill sergeant of a principle
		2.  He policed the school with an eagle eye
		3.  Everyone knew he was the authority in that school
		4.  However, when he not looking, some kids still did wrong
	C.  That’s what would have happened if Jesus displayed power like this
		1.  If came as “policeman” would get compliance, not conversion
		2.  Those who want to see “power”never converted
			a.  Beware of Leaven of Pharisees and Herod (8:15)
			b. Wanted to see a sign, but had no intention of believing
	D.  Faithful obedience to death can convert the executioner
		1.  Not power, but weakness can convert
		2.  Not life, but death can convert
		3.  IRONY - Only the gentile centurion seemed to get it

Transition:  But how can the son of God die?  Is this the end?
	1.  He has been defeated.  The king is dead!
	2.  Everything is backwards, upside down

IV.  Application:  The Irony of the Christian Life
	A.  Jesus modeled a upsidedown, backwards, ironic lifestyle for us
	B.  Look at what all this upsidedown, backwards Irony did
		1.  The veil in the temple is torn in two
			a.  Prefigured at his baptism - Heavens “ripped” open (1:10)
			b.  Spirit comes down on Jesus
			c.  Now God’s spirit will be available to all who come
		2.  Will see that the Centurian’s confession only partially true
			a.  One word is untrue - This “WAS” the Son of God
			b.  More on that later
		3.  Upsidedown? - Jesus turns your life rightsideup by turning your 
		      life upsidedown.
			a.  Already seen this in Jesus teaching
				- First shall be last, last shall be first
				- Give up life to gain it
				- Greatness is about being the least
			b.  To try and defeat the enemy on his terms would fail
				- That’s why Jesus rebuked Peter for using a sword
				- Our battle is not with swords, guns, earthly power
	C.  We use God’s power
		1.  God is so powerful, that he takes what looks like a defeat, and 
		      turns it upsidedown to victory
		2.  He does this by transforming the meaning of power and life
		3.  Jesus modeled this ultimately on the cross
	D.  That’s what it means to “take up your cross” daily and follow him
		1.  To have power, must live a life of weakness in Christ
		2.  To have life, must die
		3.  How do you do this?

1.  How do you live a weak, powerful life of death?
2.  Here are some starters on living the weak life of power
	a.  Take the lower paying job
		- Will make you seem insignificant in the world
		- But last will be first, and first will be last
		- WIll have more time for family, and for God
	b.  Try running with the outsiders, geeks, nerds, etc. (as Jesus did)
		- May not look as impressive to others
		- Look good to God
		- Instead of trying to lift self up, will find it easier to lift others up
	c.  Admit and be honest about your mistakes
		- Being honest about mistakes may make you seem a failure
		- The word’s “Ï’m sorry” have great power
		- You will be anyting BUT a failure
	d.  Take the last place in line and take the leftovers
		- We usually want to be first and at the top
		- But there is no higher place that the bottom of the barrel
	e.  Give to him who asks of you, go the 2nd mile
		- He who sows sparingly shall reap sparingly
		- He who sows generously shall reap generously
		- Give generously of time - For God, pray and study
		- Give generously of self - For family, brethren and others
3.  If you do this, you will begin to understand 2 Cor 12:9
	a.  Power is perfected in weakness
	b.  Jesus went to the cross in weakness
	c.  After he poured himself out, God filled him with glory
4.  That’s why Jesus says, “He who loses his life for my sake shall find it.”
5.  Have you lost yourself to Jesus?