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Message From Pastor Leon

posted Feb 21, 2018, 1:11 PM by Tracey Morris

A story from Tony Campolo’s Let Me Tell You a Story:

     A new recruit went into training at Parris Island, hoping to become a Marine.  He was one of those young men who seemed to be a bit out of step with the norm, and he easily became the subject of ridicule for those who enjoy picking on people.

    In the particular barracks to which this young marine was assigned, there was an extremely high level of meanness.  The other young men did everything they could to make a joke of the new recruit and to humiliate him.  One day, someone came up with the bright idea that they could scare the daylights out of this young marine by dropping a disarmed hand grenade onto the floor and pretending it was about to go off.  Everyone else knew about this and they were all ready to get a big laugh.

     The hand grenade was thrown into the middle of the floor, and the warning was yelled, “It’s a live grenade.  It’s a live grenade!  It’s about to explode!”

    They fully expected that the young man would get hysterical and perhaps jump out a window.  Instead, the young marine fell on the grenade, hugged it to his stomach, and yelled to the other men in the barracks, “Run for your lives!  Run for your lives!  You’ll be killed if you don’t!”

     The other marines froze in stillness and shame.  They realized that the one they had scorned was the one ready to lay down his life for them.

     And so it was with Jesus.


   We are in the middle of the Season of Lent in which we remember how Jesus suffered the scorn and ridicule of those who he came to save.  The Old Testament prophet Isaiah foretold that the Messiah would be “despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.”  Mark 15 describes some of the abuse Jesus received at the hands of the soldiers:  “The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace and called together the whole company of soldiers.  They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him.  And they began to call out to him, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’  Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him.  Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him.  And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him.  Then they led him out to crucify him.”

    Though despised, Jesus, like the soldier in Campolo’s story, was determined to save these people.  John 1:10-12 says of Jesus:  “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”  In John 15:13 Jesus said of himself:  “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

    Take the opportunity this Lenten and Easter Season to remember Jesus, who gave his life for you.

Pastor Leon