Thursday, March 5, 2009

“His Robe” Mk. 15:16-17a

S-1104 3/04/09 1MIL/3B Hymns: (O) #388; #147; (S) #371 (C) # 558

Texts Psalm 45:6-8; Revelation 6:9-11; Mark 15:15-20

Theme: “His Robe” (2nd sermon series in Lent on HIStory, Mark 15:16-17a).

Question: “What is your favorite garment?’”


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our second Midweek in Lent is from the Gospel reading: “The soldiers took Jesus inside to the courtyard of the governor’s palace and called together the rest of the company. They put a purple robe on Jesus” (Mk. 15:16-17a).

Saints in Christ, tonight we continue our journey in Lent as we consider again the HIStory of the Passion that took our Savior to the cross and the grave. A faithful student of the Scriptures sees the many vivid pictures that are painted in them. These pictures are imbedded in our minds and hearts. These pictures tell stories of both good and evil that took place among God’s people. And these stories engage us as we grow in the knowledge and grace of the Almighty God.

Such a picture—a sad picture is what happened in the Garden of Eden. After man fell into sin, Adam and Eve attempted to cover their shame and nakedness with fig leaves. But those leaves were not useful or sufficient to cover their naked bodies. And so God intervened—He intervened by making something better. He had to sacrifice an animal to cover them up.

Ever since that day, man has been wearing a garment to cover his/her body and the shame. We don’t walk around naked for a reason. Although certainly some people haven’t gotten that message, they reveal more than should be seen. But robes are what we put on before we leave our homes and they are useful to be sure for many reasons.

In tonight’s text, Mark speaks of another sad picture that took place, not in the Garden of Eden, but in the courtyard of Pilate’s palace. This event happened to our Savior in the final earthly days. Listen to the voice of Mark as he paints this picture to you. “The soldiers took Jesus inside to the courtyard of the governor’s palace and called together the rest of the company. They put a purple robe on Jesus” (Mk. 15:16-17a).

“The Royal Purple” people called it in the past. In years gone by kings and queens wore robes of purple, because only they could afford the costly price in making such a robe. The purple robe then became a symbol of the magnificent palaces, gilded chariots and rich splendor which showed the world how royalty lived

On Good Friday, in the Palace of the Roman curator Pilate, another king wore the royal purple robe. But what a king He was and what a robe He wore! In mockery some soldiers found this robe in a dusty corner of the barrack and draped it over the shoulder of the Galilean Rabi—Jesus. And if the color was faded, that didn’t matter at all. Before long it will be darkened by the blood of the victim’s body standing before them, who will be beaten and bludgeoned by their cruel and brutal hands. A king he was supposed to be, so with taunting and screaming the soldiers dressed Him like one, in a purple robe stained by His own blood.

They placed the robe on Jesus’ back in mockery and meanness that day. But if you study that picture deeply and intently, you will realize how fitting it was to do so. If anyone in the world had a right to wear the “Royal Purple Robe”, it is Jesus—for He really is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Yet, on that day, He didn’t act like a king, He didn’t look like a king and He wasn’t treated like a king; no homage paid to Him as king. On the contrary, He was humiliated and spat upon. He was mocked and mauled. He was taunted and tormented. He was disgraced and dishonored by that act.

The author of our text knows us all too well the value of garments. You see the night before, the Jewish Rabi and His disciples were in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was praying all by Himself to His heavenly Father to give Him the strength to face the next few days. And while He was on His knees the soldiers came. They came with torches and clubs and swords. They came to take the leader of this small band away. All of the disciples ran for fear of the company of soldiers. And Mark ran too. In his haste to get away one of the soldiers grabbed his garment and he left it and ran naked. (Mk. 14:51-52).

Running in the street naked is humiliating. But not as humiliating as it was for our Savior that night in the Palace Court. There the soldiers were making fun of Him as they draped that purple robe on Him and bowed before Him as if He was truly a King. PAUSE.

How many times do we act like kings? How many times do we put on different garments to show the people what we have? We don on our best suit for others to see—the garment of good works, the garment of self-righteous, the garment of pride and arrogance, the garment of power and prestige—acting as if we are better than someone else.

Tonight, as we study this picture, we look deeply into the eyes and heart of the Savior, and learn from Him true humility. He left the Royal palace of heaven and humbled Himself as He came to live here with us on earth. He came to serve us. He came to suffer for us. He came to seek us out and dress up with the true royalty garments.

He left heaven to live the life of a humble servant. He who owns all has to borrow a place to lay His head, a boat to cross a lake, a cape to cloak His body, a tomb to hold His corpse. Willingly He chooses to endure poverty and pain, self-denial and death, beaten and bleeding. Never has the world seen such royalty.

That blood stained robe reminds us tonight of His royalty. It reminds us also of something else. How the Rabi from Nazareth loved us—loved us enough to endure the shame and humiliation, the spitting and mocking, the beaten and death to pay for ALL of our sins. PAUSE

This love caused God to intervene—to intervene in our lives—to give us something to cover our shame and nakedness. He did it by sacrificing an animal—a lamb to cover our sins. That is what took place on Good Friday; the Lamb of God was put to death for us.

This He did so that He can weave for us another robe—the robe of righteousness and holiness. This robe He put on our shoulders on the day of our baptism, to mark us as one’s redeemed by His red and innocent blood. Because of His robe, we can stand before our God in heaven. Because of this robe we are assured that not one drop of sin will stain our garments. Because of that robe the world will know that we are His beloved sons and daughters.

On Good Friday, they draped on His shoulders a purple robe to mock Him. But tonight He gives us a robe of mercy. They draped Him with a robe of shame, and He drapes us with robe of grace. They draped Him with a robe of gory, and He drapes us with a robe of glory.

That night they cried out, “King” in mockery. They mocked and shamed Him, but the day will come when every knee in heaven, on earth and beneath the earth will bow before this true King. For those who believe in Him as their Savior, He gives them the white robes of righteousness to make worthy of His Royal palace. But to those who don’t believe in Him, they will be dressed with the robe of ashes and annihilation to burn in hell forever.

Tonight, dear saints in Christ, Jesus once again reaches out to you with His scared and pierced hands and dons on you His robe, the Royal Robe holiness and righteousness to let you know that you are heirs of heaven on account of His suffering, death and resurrection. Thank God with me for the robe you are wearing now and always. Amen.

Now the peace…

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