Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Monday, April 07, 2008

Sermon-- The Message that Sent Jesus to the Cross-- Pt. 2

Last week we began looking at the Gospel of Mark for reasons why people would have wanted to send Jesus to the Cross. From Mark 1, last week we looked: Here is the Audio of the message.

1. A Message Shared with a Criminal
2. A Message of Fulfillment
3. A Message of Repentance
4. A Message of the Good News

All of these things contributed to many wanting to send Jesus to the Cross. Yes, even the Good News—that God is a God of Grace, that Salvation is a free gift that is not earned or deserved—so angered people, so stripped the religious Pharisees of unlawful authority that they opposed Him and hated Jesus for it.

But there’s more—there’s more in this passage that provided fuel to the fire.

1. A Message of Authority—1:21-22
a. Jesus has a teaching that is contrary to the world’s way of thinking. He comes right into the middle of our lives and teaches that mercy is better than sacrifice, that the thoughts and attitudes of the heart are just as important as one’s actions, that doing good in they eyes of man will never earn salvation. He confronts our apathy, He confronts our prejudices, He proclaims that the Love of God is not based on ceremony or ritual but forgiveness & holiness, especially sacrificial love. A love so great that the answer is that the innocent would lay down His life for the guilty.

b. But one thing that upset the local leadership is that it didn’t take people long to figure out that Jesus had a greater authority than they did.

c. One reason why Jesus stood out so much in this day and age was because very rarely would a speaker or teacher speak for themselves. They would always quote and say what someone else said. Some famous teacher, some commentary on the Torah. They would speak with someone else’s authority to try and bolster their own. Reading the words of Jesus, especially in the Sermon on the Mount—“You’ve heard it was said, but I say to you…”—it was different—Jesus spoke not just as one who had read and heard things all his life, but as One who knew the heart of God so well, One who remembered the intent of those laws when they were written before all the baggage

d. Matthew 7:28-29—“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at His teaching, because He taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”
e. For years, the people had depended on the voices of the Pharisees and other teachers of the law. They were the Gatekeepers—Access to God was granted or restricted based upon the adherence to their rules and regulations.

f. They set the rules, they said what you could do and couldn’t do—only if you satisfied them, would you be granted access to God. but their rules were not based upon Scripture—but the additions of opinion—there were the rules of the law—and to avoid breaking those laws—we’ll make buffer laws, or we’ll make special exceptions so you can do the same thing without violating the law. You don’t have to honor your father and mother if you say “corban” and dedicate your wealth to God—after you die of course. You don’t have to honor the Sabbath if you follow certain paths, but you violate the Sabbath if you do good or pick a few seeds.

g. I’ve heard some—Christians shouldn’t play cards—shouldn’t go to the movies—women shouldn’t wear pants—no dancing—you must have a quiet time before your feet hit the floor out of bed. Many of these rules are not necessarily wrong—they have elements of truth and warnings of danger—but they are convictions—the hard part, the dangerous part —the excessive demand and rule comes when you or I try to take those convictions and make them rules or mandates that every “good” Christian should follow.

h. You do know what makes a good Christian don’t you? Everyone who agrees with me and does what I do.

i. Jesus is the only one who can say that. He possessed a greater authority than those in charge and the people were hungering and thirsting for it. That hasn’t changed.

j. So many people are hungering and thirsting for authoritative teaching. And there are many that are jumping forward to claim the title. Even Oprah is involved in a webcast of spiritual truth that thousands are following which says there is no such thing as sin—many ways to God—that the kind of divinity Jesus had is yours if you would only realize it. among other things that are contrary to biblical teaching. Many are claiming to be the authority—But Jesus is the one who has the Authority

k. And just in case there was any doubt to this authority, Jesus gives some proof with…
2. A Message of Power—vs. 23-26, 30, 32-34
l. Vs. 23-26—the demonic live in a spiritual reality—the things that we are typically not aware of is the reality they see every moment and understand.

m. The Demons Knew Him—“I know who you are”—they knew Jesus’ identity.
n. The Demons Feared Him —have you come to destroy us?—they knew what Jesus was capable of.
o. The Demons Obeyed Him
p. The Demons Fled from Him

q. Even the demons believed
r. Vs. 27-28

s. Such a contrary message—from other incidents in the New testament, we know that in Judaism, within the people blessed with the testimony of God’s intervention, blessed with the law, there were still people ravaged by demonic influence—some affected children, throwing them into the fire. Some were so violent and uncontrollable that they lived in tombs. Others caused an inability to speak. The demonic caused immense suffering—and many had lost hope at overcoming them. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were helpless when faced with this kind of opposition.

t. Then Jesus comes along—the demons know Him, they fear Him, they Obey Him. As long as this Jesus has this kind of power even over the spiritual world, then the teachers of the law would fear the influence of Jesus—“what do we do, they might start looking to Him, they might start listening to Him more than they listen to us.

u. Not just over the Demonic—but the Physical as well—vs 29-34—let’s us know that a fever, not caused by the demonic was cured—that many people with various diseases were brought to Jesus.

v. What’s worse for the leadership is that “the whole town gathered at the door” For those accustomed to being the mouthpiece of God, used to the attention and prestige for their religious authority—Jesus came in with authoritative teaching—came with demonstrations of authority of disease and the demonic.

w. Jesus claimed it, He proved it—and He awakened such an impassioned resistance even from the demonic that He was sent to the Cross—you will either want to embrace Jesus or you will want to crucify Him—this middle ground of –“Wow, He’s really interesting or a Good teacher” is not really a sustainable position—you must make a decision about who He is and what He has come to do.

x. Because it is in that message of authority and power that comes…

3. A Message of Calling—Mark 1:16-20
a. This good news Jesus did not allow His teachings to just become a nice set of laws or teaching philosophies. Jesus comes across people who’s hearts are seeking after God and He calls them out of their ordinary existence and puts them on the path of eternal significance. Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

b. He calls you and me to a decision—a decision that will radically change
i. what we are doing,
ii. why we are doing it and
iii. who we are doing it for.

c. Whatever you are doing in life—God calls you to a greater cause, a greater purpose, a greater more abundant life. I wonder what Jesus would have said if He had been walking in front of a bunch of
i. Accountants—Come, follow me and you will tally the harvest of heaven.
ii. Mechanics—Come, follow Me and I will have you repair those seeking the Way of Holiness
iii. Soldiers—Come, follow Me and I will have you rescue the fallen from behind enemy lines
iv. Professors—Come, follow Me and I will have you bring the true light to minds darkened by sin
v. Garbage Men—Come, follow Me and I will have you bring beauty to the unclean

d. There is no mundane life, no mundane job, no area of life that Jesus cannot transform into something glorious. The Call of God is to take our lives and Transform them into a grand adventure—for the Kingdom of God—it’s not about fame, fortune, brilliance, the bold or the beautiful—He calls you out of a life that does not fulfill our hearts desire and unite it to a more noble purpose.
e. 2 Timothy 2:20—“ In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21 If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
2TI 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

f. Gold, silver, wood, clay—all of them were capable of being used for noble purposes. We miss that fact sometimes. We sometimes thing that only the best, only the smartest, only the most talented, only the best paying are capable of being used for God’s glory. But that’s not true—a noble purpose is something that only God is able to give.

g. People in the world by nature, do not do things of a true, eternal, noble purpose—they may be able to accomplish some good, even great things—for themselves, for others—but our purposes are always tainted by our sin nature that come through and taints what we want to do with greed, selfishness—and accomplish things that will not make a difference in eternity.

h. The truly noble things, great and meaningful tings are the ones which Jesus invites us to—because what Jesus invites us to will have an Eternal Kingdom Value.

i. And these men were seeking something—seeking something greater, something bigger, something more inspiring than the daily grind. Their hearts were yearning for something significant. Do you share that? Do you share the desire for your life to mean something? It requires doing what they did—immediately, with desire and urgency—follow Him—even if it means leaving behind the comforting things.

j. Jesus is calling you and me out of where we are and into a life of significance. There is something more to be living for and Jesus is the one with the Authority and Power to show it to you!

k. Let me say that I don’t believe you will ever look at your job, your life, your opportunities the same way again when it is your heart’s desire to glorify God and draw people to Him in whatever you happen to be doing.

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