Saving King -

This is a family service talk by Malcolm Peters from the Riverside Church service on 2nd November 2008.

Click here to read the bible passage. Click here to use larger text.

Talk Part II/ Puppet Sketch

[Sam appears during Song ? looking grumpy/ downcast]

Me: Oh Hello Sam. What’s up with you this month?

Sam: Whatever!

Me: Whatever’s the matter?

Sam: Whatever.

Me: You’re not still sulking because you didn’t get picked as the winner of the Harvest beauty parade?

Sam: I got picked all right.

Me: Picked for what?

Sam: Picked out by one of the lunchtime assistants, that’s what’s what!

Me: Oh, Sam, don’t tell me you were having a fight in the playground or something?

Sam: Wasn’t me!

Me: Yeah, we’ve heard that one before. So what did you get up to this time?

Sam: No, it really wasn’t me.

Me: What wasn’t you?

Sam: Well there was a fight in the playground.

Me: Yesssss, and…..

Sam: And loads of other people were gathering round so it was really crowded.

Me: And…..

Sam: And then of course, the lunchtime assistants came running over. But in the confusion, with all the people crowded round, they couldn’t see properly. [pause] I was feeling squashed, so I was trying to get out of the crowd.

Me: And then…..

Sam: And then, someone grabbed my arm.

Me: What you mean one of the lunchtime assistants.

Sam: Exactly. And she thought I was one of the 2 boys who’d been fighting.

Me: And it wasn’t me gov.

Sam: No it really wasn’t me; I was trying to break it up; I was telling them to stop being so stupid.

Me: Well that’s really good Sam. I’m impressed.

Sam: But she wasn’t.

Me: Who wasn’t.

Sam: the lunchtime assistant. She didn’t believe me.

Me: She didn’t believe that you were trying to break up the fight, not having the fight.

Sam: Exactly. And of course, the boys who were having the fight had done a bunk by then and I’m left at the scene of the crime aren’t I!

Me: Well didn’t anybody else in the playground see what had happened and back you up.

Sam: Nop!

Me: No one stuck up for you?

Sam: Nop!

Me: Ahhhhhh! Let’s have a big Ahhhhhh.

Sam: Well it wasn’t Ahhhh on the day. It was off to the Head teacher.

Me: And he didn’t believe you either?

Sam: Nop! And neither did my dad when he got the letter.

Me: And so you got punished.

Sam: Yeah: detention for a week, and grounded for 2 weeks.

Me: That’s bad.

Sam: It gets worse. While I’m grounded, I’m not allowed to play on the playstation, so I can't improve my score on the old Grad theft auto.

Me: So you’re got punished for somebody else’s fight.

Sam: Yeah – out of order isn’t it!

Me: Well does sound a bit of a miscarriage of justice yes. But that’s sort of what was happening to Jesus in today’s Bible story.

Sam: What Jesus got arrested for breaking up a fight or something?

Me: Well Jesus did get arrested for something he didn’t do yes. Even though Jesus was powerful, kind and always trying to help people, there were people who didn't like him. The Jewish leaders were jealous. They were jealous because everyone was listening to Jesus instead of them. They wanted him out of the way; permanently.

Sam: So how did they frame him then?

Me: Well they had Jesus arrested, and he was put on trial as if he'd done something wrong.

Sam: And they told lies about him right?

Me: That’s right. And even though it was obvious that Jesus was innocent, he was convicted and sentenced to death.

Sam: That’s bad man.

Me: But not just any old death. Jesus was sentence to death by crucifixion, the most painful way of death ever invented. Big thick nails would have been hammered through his wrists and feet into a wooden cross; then the cross would have been lifted upright and the person left to die. Sometimes it would take several days of bleeding and pain before the person died. Crucifixion was so bad it, even the Romans kept it for the very worst of criminals; like the 2 bandits who were crucified at the same time as Jesus.

Sam: That’s well bad man.

Me: You’re not wrong there. But before Jesus was led out to be crucified, can you remember what the soldiers did to him?

Sam: Nop, sorry wasn’t here for that bit!

Me: Can anyone else remember what happened to Jesus before they crucified him?

[1. purple robe; 2.. crown of thorns;

salute him K of Jews; 4. beat him on the head;

5. Spat on him 6. Knelt down and mockingly worshipped him.

Still me: That’s right, the soldiers made fun of him. They knew Jesus had said he was the King of God's kingdom, so they mocked him. Purple was the colour Kings wore - so they found an old purple robe and put it on him. And there’s more: what do kings wear on their heads?
[Sam looks around quizzically – ie doesn’t know; engage with congregation]

Still me: Crowns of course: that’s why they made a crown for Jesus: but this crown wasn’t made from gold. No, it was a crown of thorns with big spikes sticking out. So as they pushed it down on his head, it started bleeding. Then they all stood around him and yelled out, “Hail, King of the Jews!” So, do you think they believed Jesus was the King?

Sam: Course not. They’re taking the mick.

Me: Exactly. They were just making fun of him. And after they’d beaten him up even more and spat on him, they pretended to bow down and worship him. This wasn't just name calling. This was really cruel. Physically cruel. But morally cruel as well: because Jesus hadn't done anything wrong.

Sam: What just like me?

Me: Well you may not have been involved in that fight, but you’re not perfect are you?

Sam: Who is?

Me: None of us; no one who’s ever lived - except Jesus. Because Jesus was God himself with a human face so to speak. And so Jesus was perfect.

Sam: Wicked man.

Me: No perfect. Jesus really was the King! It’s just that the people around him didn’t believe Him.

Sam: Yeah, I know what that feels like.

Me: So when they’d finished making fun of Jesus, the soldiers led him out to a place called skull hill. [mini-pause] The place where the Romans crucified people. And when they crucified people they stuck a notice above their heads so everybody could see what they’d done. So it might read: terrorist; killed 40 people with a bus bomb or something. So who can remember what the notice said above J's head ?

Sam: You’ve been framed!

Me: Nearly. The notice read: “King of the Jews!” Jesus really was the King of the Jews. The king of the whole world in fact. The Romans were taking the mick. But in taking the mick, they were telling the truth at the same time.

Sam: this is bad man.

Me: So who can remember what people were saying as they passed by the cross?
[Sam shakes head; engage with congregation]

Passers by: insults; come down from the cross and save yourself.

Jewish leaders: come down from cross and we’ll believe in Him

Centurion: this really was the Son of God.]

Still Me: No one stuck up for Jesus. No one was saying: he's innocent, this isn’t right. No, as people passed by, they made fun of him just like the soldiers. Some people yelled out, “He saved others, but he can't save himself! If you're a real King, let's see you come down from the cross. Then we'll believe in you.”

Sam: No one stuck up for me either.

Me: I know. But remember the story so far in Mark’s Gospel. Remember how Jesus healed the Leper and the paralytic and calmed the terrible storm. So do you think Jesus could have come down from the cross if he’d wanted to?

Sam: Well I suppose so yes.

Me: So why do you think he didn't come down?

Sam: Don’t know. Must have had a reason though if he could have but didn’t!

Me: So can anyone else think of why Jesus didn’t save himself from the cross?

[engage re possible answers]

Still me: That’s right. Jesus stayed on the cross because he had a job to do; a job that was part of God’s plan; a job he’d already explained to his disciples.

Sam: But how can he get on with the job if he’s dieing on a cross?

Me: Well remember last time’s memory verse:

For even the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many. [Mk 10:45 mem verse —on screen].

And back in September when we looked at chapter 8, we saw that Jesus had already explained what giving his life as a ransom would mean.

Sam: Sorry can’t remember.

Me: OK let’s remind ourselves again. Because after Peter had worked out who Jesus was, the King, Messiah, the Christ, Jesus explained what kind of king he was going to be. A king who would be rejected by the authorities and be killed. Killed as a ransom for many.

Can you remember what happened from 12n to 3pm while Jesus was dying on the cross?

Sam: It went dark didn’t it?

Me: So you do remember somthings then. That’s right, in the middle of the day, for 3 hours, it went dark. It wasn't an eclipse. It was another miracle. A demonstration of God's power. But this time not his healing power, but his judging power. Because in the OT, darkness was a sign of God's judgement. So as Jesus was dying on the cross, God was angry.

Sam: But I thought you said Jesus was perfect and hadn’t done anything wrong.

Me: Right again. And that’s because, on the cross, Jesus was taking the punishment for all the sins of all God’s people. He could have saved himself, but he didn't. Why? Because he was giving his life as a ransom for many; for all of his people in fact. Jesus was dying so people like us could be forgiven. [looking at Sam] People like you and me.

Sam: What you mean Jesus died for me?

Me: It’s an amazing thought isn’t it?

Sam: That’s a bit like how I was punished instead of those 2 boys who were fighting.

Me: Except you didn’t do it willing did you?

Sam: What d’you mean?

Me: Well if you could’ve got out of it, you would’ve wouldn’t you?

Sam: Of course!

Me: But Jesus didn’t. Jesus was innocent. He could have come down from the cross, because He was God and so He had the power to save himself.

Sam: But he didn’t.

Me: Exactly. Because that was the main reason Jesus came to earth in the first place: to do a simple swap. We all deserve to be punished for the ways we’ve disobeyed and ignored God. But Jesus took the hit for us. Jesus was punished in our place. He died for you, if Jesus is your king.

Sam: That’s amazing. He did all that willingly.

Me: And that's why we call the day Jesus died Good Friday. It’s Good Friday is because of what it achieved for His people. Because Jesus died as a ransom for many. All of His people in fact. Jesus died for me and you if Jesus is your king. And that’s why the cross became a symbol of the Christian faith [banner 9 up on screen].

Can you imagine anyone wearing a golden noose or an electric chair around their neck.

Sam: You’d probably get a few dodgy looks.

Me: I think you’re right. But no one bats an eyelid if you wear a golden cross around your neck. But the cross was an instrument of torture and execution. It’s far worse than a noose or an electric chair. But J's death on the cross was good because of that swap. And that’s why as Christians, we celebrate the cross and even make it into jewellery.

Sam: Amazing.

Me: Truly amazing. At 3pm on that first Good Friday, while it was still dark in the middle of the day, Jesus died. Lots of people were watching. But who can remember what the army officer said when he saw how Jesus died? [engage]

Still me: That’s right: this man really was the son of God. And that’s this month’s memory verse. [Mk 15:39 mem verse up on screen + learn; Sam joining in]

Sam + all: [Mem verse:] “When the army officer saw how Jesus died, he said: “This man really was the Son of God.””

Still me: The officer in charge of the soldiers who’d mocked Jesus and beaten him up. When this officer saw how Jesus died: he changed his mind. Surely this man really was the Son of God. Jesus really is the King. And next time, as we finish the story of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel, we’re going to see lots more people realising that Jesus really is the King.

Sam: That’s amazing.

Me: It is. But what about us then. And what about you. I want you to think about the different ways people treated Jesus? Everyone in the story had decided something about Jesus. And it’s the same for us. You can either believe that J’s isn’t the King, like most people who watched him die on the cross. Or you can be like that army officer who realised that Jesus really is the king, the Son of God. But if you do believe that Jesus is

the King; and if you do believe that Jesus died for you; then, just like the paralysed man we looked at back in March, your sins are forgiven and you’re one of God’s children. That’s the message of Mark's Gospel. Jesus is King, the king of everyone. And because He’s the king; because He’s perfect, He’ll Judge each and every one of us on Judgment Day. But for those who are following J; for those who are trusting in Jesus, then J's death has paid the price; paid the price our sins deserved. We don’t deserve His mercy; we don’t deserve His love. And yet he died to save me, died upon the cross.

Sam: Amazing.

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