January 29, 2017
Servant King – Week 4 – The mission continues with opposition
Servant King – Week 4 – The mission continues with opposition
I have enjoyed this study of Mark so far Last week we looked at Jesus and His encounter with a group called the Pharisees. As we left last week and I began to reflect with my wife over the message I realized that it came off a bit harsh. Some of you might have sensed that I was maybe frustrated. If that was true for you, I am sorry. It was not my intention to come off that way, I find when I look at scripture and see the Pharisees I often find I am looking at a mirror. If we don’t face the Pharisee in ourselves Jesus can never show us what true freedom looks like. Let’s pick up in Mark 3 with Jesus final encounter with these Pharisees…
3:1 Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
I am always fascinated to see how Jesus deals with those who want to trap Him. Here we see the wisdom of Jesus and the heart He has to reach even them. Jesus goes to the synagogue, and as He is there a man with a shriveled hand. Luke actually tells us it was his right hand. Why is this significant? Because if it was his dominant hand that would mean he probably was not able to work. If a man was unable to work he mostly resorted to begging. Knowing the Pharisees view of begging and the high value they placed on works, in some sense we can see the scene set as they ask Jesus if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath (according to Matthew they started the question so they could trap Jesus) Jesus knowing what they were up to called the man up front, and then asked them a question to reveal their hearts at that moment.
Instead of answering them He asks “What should you do on the sabbath? Good or evil? Save a life or kill?” That seems pretty strong doesn’t it? They weren’t killing this man, were they? Not literally but we know that Jesus said if you have hatred in your heart you are guilty of murder. Jesus was revealing there heart that they really didn’t care about this man, they were using him to get at Jesus. Jesus first becomes angry and sad at the same time, because there hearts were hard. Jesus then instantly heals the man. The next statement reveals that the Pharisees began to work with the Herodians to plan to kill Jesus. Their legalism led them to join forces with a group that they were totally opposed to because they they didn’t like the change Jesus was bringing.
May we never become so stubborn in our own ways and hearts that we seek to hurt and harm the work that God desires to do in our lives or others lives. Are we willing to surrender to his will?
Unfortunately, this happens everyday. Jesus wants to heal Jesus wants to save a life, and yet when He calls many are to stubborn to surrender their wills to Him. You might be here today and you have never surrendered you will to Him. Laid down your life and given Him complete control. If that is you here today. Jesus doesn’t want to harm you he wants to heal you. Will you surrender to Him today?
7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. 8 When they heard about all He was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon.
Once again we see the crowd growing but look carefully why it was growing. It was not because of the Good News. It was because of all of the miracles. Ask your self this question. If God never gave you anything good in your life. If He never helped you through the difficult circumstances, If all He did was promise that one day you would not have to live in torment in hell would you still follow him? These people were follow him only to have temporal need met, but Jesus shows us that He wants to meet temporal and eternal needs.
It is amazing the crowds were growing from people so far away.
Judea – 167 miles – 8 days
Jerusalem – 85 miles – 5 days
Idumea – 2 weeks
Regions across the Jordan – Decapolis – 10 Days
Tyre – 35 miles – 2 Days
Sidon – 50 miles – 3 Days
9 Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. 10 For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. 11 Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 But he gave them strict orders not to tell others about Him.
Can you imagine this scene Jesus tells the disciples to be ready with a boat so that He will not be crushed by the people crowding in around Him. Jesus wants to minister and heal people but the pressure has got to be incredible. This would be like it feels when you go into NYC for the New Years ball drop. Packed in so tight you could not breath. and everyone wants a piece of Jesus. They want what He can do for them. It is bedlam. The disease, the mentally ill, the demonic all pressing in on Him. How would you feel? Can you feel the stress?
13 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him.
So Jesus finally escapes and goes up on a mountain (His favorite place to pray) and he selects a small band of brothers to come with Him. Up until this point everyone is following Jesus but no one is special. All of them are equal. And then Jesus calls a few to a deeper level with Him. How do you think everyone else responds to this? I am sure there were fights and hurt feelings. What makes them so special? Do you know who they are? I saw this in my last ministry. There were certain people who naturally I worked with more than others. They saw the vision and wanted the same things for the ministry. But you know what that bothered some. In fact there were times that I was attacked and told I was being cliquish. I am sure Jesus went through the same opposition.
14 He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons.
Jesus was not doing this because He didn’t care. He knew he could not do it all. He had to gather around Him those who would follow the vision and minister to all the people. So He begins the train process. He begins selecting those who will take the Gospel and share in the mission.
16 These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), 17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”), 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
I love this, here is a list of the 12 Apostles. Notice how many of these are nicknames. Simon (Peter), James and John (Sons of thunder), then there is Levi (Matthew), Thaddaeus which means big hearted (his real name was Judas, I am sure this was to distinguish him from the other Judas), Simon (the passionate one) the zealots didn’t form until after Christ, and Judas Iscariot (Iscariot was not his last name. There are a few options here, first he could be from the town of Kerioth Ish(man of) Kerioth. or He could be Ish – Sicarii , man of the sicar a know group of political assasins known for their use of a Sicar blade. I personally think it might have been a nickname the knife man. Maybe because of his cutting words. Notice one of the twelve would betray him. Can I tell you, there is nothing more difficult more heartrending than someone who you have invested so much in, someone you thought was part of your ministry that betrays you and walks away. I have experienced this in my own ministry. It shakes you to the core. It makes you wonder if it is all worth it. The longer you are in ministry the more you will experience those who betray you. Who hurt you in ministry. Jesus knows what that is like.
20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
Not only does Jesus experience the opposition and pressure from those who he is trying to minister to and He experiences opposition from those who are following Him, from those closest to Him (the ones he selects), now even His family is calling Him crazy. In modern vernacular they were worried he had “drank the cool-aid”. I know some of you have experienced this. Especially those who come from a different religious tradition, like Catholic. Some of you might even be experiencing some of that opposition right now. Jesus understands what you are facing. Jesus had to make the determination that nothing was going to keep Him from following the path God had for Him. When Jesus get a hold of your heart and life many will look at you strange and think you are crazy. But that is not something that should discourage you. It should embolden you to follow Him more fully. You are becoming like Christ.
22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
If Jesus did not have enough pressure, enough opposition the very people who claim to be following God attack Him and say He is in league with the Devil.
23 So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”
30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.”
Jesus addresses here what is commonly called the “unforgivable sin”. Many people wonder about this and ask, “Could I or have I committed the unforgivable sin?” Notice in vs 28 Jesus says, “people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter” This is a definitive statement. Then he goes on to say those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit can never have His forgiveness. Jesus reminds us when we reject the Holy Spirits work in our lives when we resist His work and instead claim that it is evil, we place ourselves outside of the very thing He has given us to forgive us. He is not saying that you can say a bad thing about God and it sends you to hell. It is saying if you don’t receive His forgiveness sent through the Holy Spirit into your life. You reject the very thing that is given to save you.
31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”
33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.
34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
Jesus’ family shows up they have traveled probably a day and a half to come get Jesus and straighten Him out. They feel the need to stop Him from all this crazy talk. I am sure that in some sense they were trying to protect Him. Remember Mary knows who he is. She believes He has a destiny and a purpose. She loves Him. She only wants what is best for Him. But she does not understand what He is called to do. So Jesus says, if they are not willing to follow what God has called me to do, then they are not my real family.
Here it is. Are you willing to to follow Jesus no matter what? No matter the opposition? No matter the cost? No matter what people say about you? No matter who might betray you? No matter what that means for your relationships? It could cost you everything to follow Him. That is the cost of Discipleship. That is what Jesus calls each of us to. How about you today?
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