by James Merritt

No Easy Way Out
James Merritt
Luke 23:1-25; Matthew 27:1-26


1. His name was lee. I first met him in the seventh grade and we finished high school together. Not two weeks after we had graduated he was driving a motorcycle and he accidentally ran into the back of a tractor-trailer and was decapitated. That is not why I remember him. I remember him, not because of how he died, but because of the way I treated him one time when he was living.

2. To put it bluntly, lee was what we would call today ''a dork''. He was skinny, wore thick glasses, and had a nervous condition that made his hands shake almost uncontrollably. The guys in my class use to pick on him. They would walk by his desk and slap him as hard as they could in the back of his head knowing that he could not, or would not, retaliate. They would mark on his homework while he was working on it. They would make fun of him and laugh at him, because of his condition.

3. To my shame to this day, one day joining in with the crowd, I walked up behind him and I, too, popped him on the back of the head and laughed about it. I didn't hit him nearly as hard as some of the other guys would, but the humiliation was the same. To this day, decades later, I will never forget the look on his face, almost as if to say, ''anybody, but you.''

4. I never hit him again and I never made fun of him again, but that day I knew the shame that I felt was because I had compromised. I had let the crowd and the culture around me dictate my behavior. That day taught me one of the most valuable lessons of life that I've ever learned and it is what I want you to take away from this message. Key take away: there are some things you must never compromise. The cost is just too great.

5. As we are looking at the last 24 hours of the life of Christ, maybe, the most fascinating character of this entire 24 hours is a man named Pontius Pilate. He was the roman governor over Judea. He was about 45 years old and a seas ...

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