Those Sleeping Sheep

“Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will fall away, because it is written:   I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.” (Mark 14:27 CSB17)

I’m working on Mark 14.27-52, and we see Mark describe the events surrounding Jesus’ betrayal and arrest.  As I worked on this passage, I gradually settled on a structure like this:

A Betrayal in Three Acts:

  1. Peter (and the others) Promise not to Abandon Jesus
  2. In Gethsemane
  3. Betrayal and Arrest

It’s not a bad structure, right?  It gets the point across, but does lack a little zest and verve. Then I came across the following structure from St. Helen’s Bishopsgate, in London [Dick Lucas, an A-1 biblical expositor used to be the pastor there]:

1.The shepherd will be struck and the sheep will be scattered
2. The shepherd prays and the sheep sleep
3. The shepherd begins to be struck and the sheep begin to scatter

It has a little more zing, then my structure has, don’t you think?  I once attended a preaching class by the late Stephen Olford, and someone asked him, “is it okay to use someone else’s structure in your sermon?”

I thought Mr. Olford’s answer was quite wise.  He said something like: If you find a structure that someone uses for a passage and you don’t think you can improve upon it, then sure, why not use that structure [he was not advocating using someone else’s sermon, just the way the sermon was organized].

So following Mr. Oldford’s wise advice, if I was preaching on this passage, I would definitely use St. Helens Bishopsgate’s structure.  It is excellent!


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