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These last couple weeks during the Winter Olympics, one of the stories was about how US superstar skier Lindsey Vonn and German superstar skier Maria Riesch are not only rivals, but best friends.
They're both 25 and have been friends on the world stage of skiing since they were 15. They're both over 5' 10". They both speak German and English.
They've taken vacations together. In fact, every year Lindsey goes to Maria's home for Christmas.
Lindsey even admitted she'd be cheering for Maria over her US teammates. "I think most of the U.S. team girls know and respect my relationship with Maria." [USA Today.com, 1/17/2010]
Every now and then we'll hear a story like this about rivals who become friends.
As we've read through Mark's gospel, especially these last days of Christ's life, we've seen those who were supposed to be His friends betray Him, and deny Him, and forsake Him. Some of His friends even become His enemies.
Maybe you know what that's like-people who were once close friends, for whatever reason turn on you and become your enemies.
But here at the end of Mk. 15, we see the exact opposite happening: We see Christ's enemies becoming His friends.
These aren't just rivals. These are enemies. We're talking about a member of the Sanhedrin-the council that just put Jesus to death.
We're talking about a centurion-the captain in charge of His crucifixion.
You may know people like this-who are enemies of Jesus Christ. Maybe it's a neighbor or coworker who has no reason to dislike you-except the fact that you're a Christian.
They hate Christianity, so they've made it clear-if you want to talk to them about Jesus, then they will be your enemy. When it comes to Christ they are intractable, they are dedicated enemies of whoever is for Him.
This evening we're going to see there's hope for people like that. We don't have to give up on them.
Christ has the power to transform enemies into friends.