Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XXIII: Learning How To Leave An Effective Witness When Our Integrity Is Challenged
(Mark 15:1-41)
  1. Introduction
    1. If we seek to share Christ with others, and they are all ears, our task seems to be rather easy.
    2. However, if we want to talk to others about Christ, or be a living witness, and our credibility is being questioned or we are under scrutiny as suspects of being in deep sin, even though we are innocent, our task of being a good witnes s is made much more difficult.
    3. Jesus left a witness that deeply astonished the godless governor, Pilate and led the centurion who commanded the garrison that crucified Him to faith in Himself. Just how Jesus achieved this in a state of human weakness and when His integrity was challenged is instructive for us in such cases.
  2. Learning How To Leave An Effective Witness When Our Integrity Is Challenged, Mk. 15:1-41.
    1. When Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate and was crucified before the centurion, He was in a position of human weakness and His integrity was seriously challenged:
      1. Jesus was in a position of human weakness before Pontius Pilate and the centurion:
        1. Before Pontius Pilate, Jesus was bound and led about, Mk. 15:1.
        2. He was also whipped under Pilate's jurisdiction, Mk. 15:15.
        3. Before the centurion, Jesus was crucified to the cross to die without His outer garments or any earthly possessions of value left to His Name, Mk. 15:24.
        4. Before the centurion, Jesus cried out in human weakness, saying, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34)
      2. Christ's personal integrity was also seriously challenged when He stood before these two men:
        1. In front of Pilate, the religious leaders of Israel heaped up charges (Mark 15:3a) and led the multitude to cry out about Jesus, "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!" (Mk. 15:8,12-14)
        2. In front of the centurion, Jesus was reviled on the cross by the people and the religious leaders of Israel Who challenged His claims to being God's Son and the King of Israel, Mk. 15:29-32. For Jesus to be on the cross seemed to coun ter any claim He had of being a Messiah or the Son of God, so the centurion really had no external, logical reason from such things to believe in Jesus as Savior!
    2. However, both Pontius Pilate and later the centurion were deeply convinced Jesus was upright:
      1. When Jesus stood before Pilate, he believed Jesus was innocent and tried to release him, 15:6-14.
      2. When the centurion saw Jesus die, He actually came to faith in Him as the Son of God, Mk. 14:39.
    3. If we examine how Jesus conducted Himself before both of these officials, we learn how we, like Jesus can leave an indelible impression on the onlookers when our integrity is also strongly challenged:
      1. Item One - Jesus was mild in demeanor when facing His hostile accusers, Mk. 15:1-2.
      2. Item Two - Jesus was honest in how He answered Pilate in the face of His accusers, Mk. 15:2.
      3. Item Three - Jesus was not defensive in the face of hostility, Mark 15:3-5.
      4. Item Four - Jesus kept His bearings under suffering by focusing on applicable Scriptures, Mk. 15:34 with Psalm 22:1. He picked out the applicable psalm that predicted His crucifixion, and applied it.
      5. Item Five - Jesus fully obeyed the Father by taking His life on the cross with great clarity:
        1. John 10:17-18 records Christ's witness that He had authority and a command from the Father to lay His life down, that no man take it from Him.
        2. Thus, on the cross, Christ shouted and suddenly lay His life down to obey the Father, and it was this act of obedience that revealed Jesus died of means other than crucifixion by slow death and deeply convince d the centurion Jesus was of God, Mk. 15:37-39.
Lesson: To be an effective witness when our integrity is seriously challenged, (1) we must (a) remain mild, (b) be honest, (c) be undefensive in demeanor, (d) focus on applicable Scriptures related to our experiences so that we know what to do a nd (e) fully obey God's Word each step of the Way. (2) It is then up to the plan of GOD to make these actions EFFECTIVE in leading others to believe in our message to be saved. In Jesus' case, it was the Father's provision for Him to lay down His life in a supernatural way that led to the centurion's faith.