Sermon Ideas Focus

Rev. Roy L. Thomas is one of the outstanding preacheers of Atlanta, Georgia. Hear ye him.

Last Updated November 27, 1998

Enter a 
search word 
e.g., Jesus
Chapter 10: 38, 39 

10:38-39: "But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized"

This text considers Jesus as he responds to a request of two of his disciples for high positions in the kingdom once it is established.

James and John, the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus to gain a favor from him. Their understanding of the nature of the kingdom of God was incomplete. They perceived it to be one of a temporal nature. They considered it to be immediate and they wanted assurances that of all of the disciples that they would receive positions of honor and power. They approached Jesus and asked him to give them whatever they asked. What they wanted was the right to sit on his right and left in the ruling of the kingdom. Once the other disciples heard of the request they were disturbed at their vanity and desire to rise over them.

However, Jesus' response was to ask them whether or not they were willing to drink from the same cup that he would taste. The two said they could, without considering what Jesus meant. He did not mean just a simple cup of wine or liquid, but the term "cup" was symbolic of the suffering, humiliation and embarrassment that he would suffer.

As Jesus explained the nature of the kingdom and the suffering it would require of all who chose to follow him, the request subsided. The brothers were intimidated by "this cup" which was the blood of the New Testament. They continued to follow Jesus however, they were unwilling to drink from "This Cup" experiences and from that time forward were satisfied with Look-A-Like cups. 

Chapter 11: 8-9 

11:8-9 "And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strowed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:"

This text focuses on a familiar text which draws attention to the events surrounding Jesus' entry into Jerusalem on what has traditionally become known as Palm Sunday. Jesus had become instantly famous among the Jews because he raised Lazarus from the dead. Many who had not seen him, heard of his mighty work and came to see him out of curiosity.

As Jesus prepared to enter Jerusalem the crowd that greeted him was mixed, to say the least. There were some who believed him completely. They were convinced by the raising of Lazarus that he was the Messiah. There were others that were among the crowd, but yet they did not believe completely and fully. John 12:9 notes that many of the crowd came not to see Jesus but to see Lazarus who had been risen from the dead. They did not know what to think about Jesus fully. Some believed and followed him. Some did not. Even some of the officials believed him but they chose to keep silent for fear it would not be popular at the time.

As Jesus entered the city "many" of the people cast the coats along the way and waved palm branches, a symbolic gesture which was a part of the many ceremonies associated with the Passover. There were words of praise offered for Jesus as he road in on a donkey. There were shouts of "Hosanna" in the highest from the crowds. Many shouted and praised him. Some did, but some did not. There were those who had not quite committed to serving him and still others that did not believe it all.

The shouts of praise in the crowd have been recorded by history, but the record indicates that not everyone that was in the crowd believed the report. John 12:38-40 details how there were many who saw what Jesus was doing, heard what he said and still would not believe, prompting the recall the words of the prophet Isaiah when he asked "Who hath believed our report." There were some who did and some who didn't. Neither were all of his disciples fully loyal. Some were, at least one was not.

In all, Jesus was praised by many, but not by all, which is a reflection of his entire ministry. Thousands heard his message of love of God and service to mankind, but believed it, but there were some who didn't.

Chapter 12: 13

12:13 "And the second is like namely this, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."

When speaking to the scribe, Jesus answered the question that was asked, and that was to identify the greatest of the Mosaic commandments. But in John Jesus expands on the Mosaic commandments and goes beyond the moral orders of
the 10 commandments and adds his own: that ye love one another "as I have loved you."  If the ten commandments form the moral law upon which the relationships of men are defined, then certainly Christ's command to love as he has loved is the 11th commandment that tells the whole story.

Chapter 1521, 27

15:21 And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross

    The text focuses on Simon who was forced into service of the Master, to help bear his cross.
    The  Roman soldiers were commissioned to take Jesus out to crucify him. On the
way from Pilate's judgment seat, as they went down the Via Dolorosa, the  "way of sorrows," through the streets of Jerusalem, Jesus stumbled and fell.  The second time he stumbled, the Roman soldiers grabbed an African man who was in the  crowd and impressed him to bear the cross of Jesus.
    Simon was from Cyrene, a country in North Africa. He had come to Jerusalem with his two sons Rufus and Alexander to celebrate the Passover, having studied the Jewish religion and become impressed with their God. That was significant at the time for the predominant religion of most in Africa was not Judaism. However, many had come to learn about the people with one God, called Jehovah as the Roman Empire stretched across the known world. Simon came to learn more about the God of the Jews, before that day ended, he would know him better than he ever imagined. He didn't plan it, but circumstances would demand it. He would help Jesus carry his cross.
    Circumstances changed what should have been a learning vacation into a life changing experience for Simon. He was compelled, yet the result of the experience changed his life forever. There is evidence in the Scripture that this event had a tremendous effect  on Simon's life. In the book of Acts  he was there on the Day of Pentecost and very likely did become a Christian as a result of this  sudden interruption of his plans. Mark makes clear to us that Simon was the  father of Alexander and Rufus, who are well-known to the Gentile believers to whom Mark is writing. In Romans, Chapter 16, he mentions  Rufus with whom he was very closely associated  and whose mother had been very kind to Paul. It is evidently the same Rufus.
     Mark simply brings out Simon's attitude of unwilling involvement in the crucifixion of Jesus. However, his involvement changed his life forever.

15:27:"and with him they crucified two thieves; the one on his right hand and the other on his left hand."

This text presents two extremes of penitence. First we see the cross of one who was a robber by nature. By profession, a robber took from others, things that did not belong to him.This robber had been found guilty and was now paying the penalty.

The first thief was impenitent, he refused to repent from his sins. Even though he was hanging on a cross with death looming over him within just a few hours and pain and agony racking his body he was still stubborn.

While hanging on the cross he mocked Christ. He taunted Christ saying "you say you are the Christ, then why don't you save yourself and me too." Hi impenitent and stubborn nature blinded him so cruelly that he was so close to heaven but yet so far away. His unrepentant nature made him act foolishly, mocking one that could have saved him.

The second thief was similar to the first, but he was different in one way. He too had been a robber most of his life. He had lived outside of the Mosaic law. He had been tried in the Roman court of law and sentenced to death.

But while the second thief was like the first in many ways he was different in that he chose to recognize the forgiving powers of Jesus.

He said he deserved to be where he was but Jesus did not. He said to the other thief in essence: "we have been thieves all of our lives, we have transgressed the laws of God and the laws of the Romans, but this man has done no wrong."

He recognized that the crucifixion of Christ represented the key to salvation, the door of spiritual blessing, the implementation of a divine plan.

I know that you can't come down from the cross, for that would defy the projections of the prophets, but when you get into the kingdom, remember me.

When you receive the royal diadem.. remember me 

Chapter 16: 3, 4 

16:3-4 :"And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great."

This text focuses on events that took place after the crucifixion as the women came to anoint the body of Christ. According to the text, Christ had been in the grave for three days and nights as he predicted in Matthew 12:40. Early on the first day, which was Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome set out to anoint his body with spices. While enroute the thought came to them that there was a stone covering the entrance of the tomb. This was no small pebble or lightweight rock. It was a huge stone, taller than a man, and requiring the services of several men to move. It had been placed in front of the tomb to keep Christ's disciples from coming in the middle of the night, stealing the body, and claiming to the world that he had risen from dead. The intent of the stone was to keep believers away from Christ. As they walked toward the tomb they became concerned about "who shall roll for us the stone away?" Although they were concerned, the women were not dissuaded, the went forward anyway! Once there, they learned that the stone had already been rolled away. An angel, which appeared as a young man, told them that Jesus had risen and invited them to see the place where Jesus had lain.

The text notes that the women proceeded with great confidence throughout the entire experience. They never flinched or became afraid. While the men hid themselves and worried about their fate and future, they courageously went forward.

Return to Main Bible Index

Home | Illustrations | Sample Sermon | Idea Exchange | Expositions By Wright | Bible Resources
Questions and Answers | Black Church Plays | About Us | Browse Our Catalog | Build A Sermon | Contact Us | Subscriber Login | News Articles
©2018 Sermon Ideas. All rights reserved.   Design by: Rebirth Designs