The Roman soldiers seek to humiliate Jesus. They anoint Him with a purple robe and their spit in a mock coronation. Yet at the end of the crucifixion, when Jesus dies on the cross, a Roman centurion says, “Truly this man was God’s son.” So what happened to that Roman soldier watching the crucifixion that changed his mind? We will explore the change in a message titled, “Journey to Easter: Distracted by Clothing.”
2,000 years ago Jesus was dead. The stone had been rolled in front of the tomb and the tomb was sealed. This was the end of the story for most Messiahs in the 1st century. But something different happened in the case of Jesus. It was so different that even the disciples had doubts at first. But then the astonishing truth became clear.
The Disciples doubted. John the Baptist expressed his doubt when he asked Jesus, “are you the one?” We have our doubts. Thankfully Jesus didn’t reject those who doubted. Instead He encouraged them to stick around and develop their faith. How do we handle our doubts?
Life can knock us down so that we lose hope. The Apostle Paul believes that the story of Abraham can renew us with hope.
Signs of quitting are everywhere…a half read book placed back on the bookshelf, a car jacked up on blocks rusting away, a diet which was abandoned or a faith that has grown cold. The Christmas story deals with the issue of giving up. Zechariah and Elizabeth were close to giving up in their old age when a surprising event changed everything. Instead their waiting paid off.
Faith is the most powerful force in the world. When an individual believes something, it can energize them to act. When Jesus was crucified the closest people to Jesus believed he was dead. They believed that his death meant the end of their call to be disciples. But something they saw caused them to believe differently.
Sometimes the faith of our childhood is not mature enough to survive adulthood. Simple theological beliefs struggle when we find out that bad things happen to good people and our prayers are not always answered. In the midst of these difficulties of faith we don’t know where to start formulating our faith. This message will give us a clear starting point when we have doubts about the Bible and the theology we have been taught.
Sermon preached at Gold Canyon United Methodist Church in Gold Canyon, Arizona on April 5, 2015 by Rev. Fred Steinberg