February 19, 2017
Servant King – Week 7 – Unbelief, Partnership and Provision
Servant King – Week 7 – Unbelief, Partnership and Provision
As we left off last week Jesus has been training His disciples to carry out the mission he has called them to. He has spent time teaching them through the parables, He has taken them on a field trip to the gentiles called the storms and cast out demons, He has returned healed a woman no one else could, and raised a child from the dead. He showed them that fear and faith are incompatible and all this time he has been telling the disciples you are going to go out and do what I do, and say what I say. Think about that? Put yourself in their shoes, or should I say sandals. Are you ready? Do you feel prepared? Do you have questions? Are you concerned with what if people do respond the way you think they should? Well that leads us to the last few lessons Jesus teaches before he send the disciples out to try out their calling. Lets follow Jesus on his next trip.
Mark 6:1 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples.
That last phrase is important to set the time line. You see Jesus has already been home once. He was there just before Jesus called the disciples to follow Him. And the last time he was there it did not go so well. (Luke 4) In fact after His first “sermon” in the synagogue they decide to kill him by throwing Him off a cliff. Talk about a rough crowd. So Jesus knows what He is getting into. In fact I can only imagine the conversation on the way to Nazareth Jesus has with the disciples.
OK guys, here’s the deal, before you guys go out and start preaching there is one more lesson you need to learn. We are going back to my home town. Now let me warn you, this is not what you think it will be like. First I come from Nazareth, It’s not a big town, if fact there might not be more than 400 people who live there and they are pretty set in their ways. In fact don’t be surprised if we don’t get the warmest of welcomes. In fact many of you have heard the say “can anything good come out of Nazareth” well that’s where we are going.
2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.
“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
So Jesus after He arrives on the next sabbath He goes to the synagogue (the same one where they wanted to kill Him). He begin to teach and the people are dumbfounded. But maybe not for the reasons we think. They begin to ask a series of questions that explain more and more what they are thinking.
Where did he get this wisdom?
How can he do these miracles? (we find out he could not do much)
Isn’t He the handyman? (Tekton)
Isn’t He Mary’s son? (why not Joseph?) Maybe (probobly) Joseph is dead, Do they know the origin story? This is where the angel showed up and told her she was pregnant out of wedlock.
James, Joseph – Named for patriarchs
Judas and Simon – Named for Jewish revolutionaries did they run out of J names for Simon?
Sisters here with us? At least 2 probably more, married (with us)
They took offense. (Skandelon) To fall into a trap – to be indignant
4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.
So Jesus calls them out. He tells them their problem is they are stubborn. And then the scriptures say something strange in fact almost unbelievable. He could not do any miracles there. Wow, I thought God to do anything. The one thing God cannot fix is unbelief. Could he? Yes I believe He could but He won’t. God will not force you or anyone to believe and have faith. He will not violate our will. And He will not try miraculous feats to convince of His power. HE simply calls and loves.
Notice Jesus is perplexed by their lack of faith. Jesus knows it will be this way with some. But it still hurts.
Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.
Jesus in this simple act teaches the disciples what to do. In the word of Dory “just keep swimming” He didn’t let it discourage Him, He didn’t let it get Him down. He just keep going about His fathers business. He knew his calling and he knew he had only a given period of time to do all that His father wanted. so He just moved on. Now if I am honest, that is a hard lesson to learn. I have family and loved ones that don’t know Jesus. But I know that God has called me to do what I am doing and if I spent all my time absorbed on trying to save them I would not be here right now with you. Cool part of that idea is some of my relatives have come to know Jesus outside of my influence. That is so cool to me. Because that means God can and does work outside of my efforts! God is in control of His work.
7 Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.
Here we see one of the secrets of successful ministry. Jesus sends them in out two by two. One of the values I believe in very strongly is that ministry should always be done in partnership. There are many practical values to this idea. First when you partner with others discipleship happens, Second, training happens, third, encouragement, forth, perpetuity. But beyond all those things this is what Jesus instituted, and the disciples followed in the book of Acts. No one should do ministry alone. If there is one thing I wish everyone would do that serves at this church it would be to have a partner in their ministry.
8 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
Jesus at this point gives them specific instructions for how to do what God is calling them to do. Remember they are going around to Jewish villages. There is an expectation that they operate within the cultural context they are in. In fact later as Jesus send out the disciples to the gentiles He tells them something different as far as provisions for their journey. Then He deals with the million dollar question… What if they do not listen or welcome us? Jesus says move on and shake the dust off your feet. I our modern vernacular we might say “I wash my hands of it.” Jesus was telling His disciples that they were to preach the gospel to everyone. Where they were received with joy, they should stay and teach. But where their message was rejected, they had no further responsibility. They were free to walk away with a clear conscience, knowing they had done all they could do.
12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
The teaching is done and now they go out and do what they are told to do. They obey! This where many of us as disciples get stuck. We are called, commanded and empowered but we don’t obey. Therefore we don’t see the results (fruit) God desires in our lives. Then we see this strange little story inserted kind of like a parenthesis into the account. lets read it and we will see what it has to do with what Christ is teaching His disciples.
14 King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”
15 Others said, “He is Elijah.”
And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.”
16 But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”
17 For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, 20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.
21 Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.
The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” 23 And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”
24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?”
“The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.
25 At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
26 The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, 28 and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. 29 On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
So King Herod as we have read was the one who put John the baptizer to death. This is actually Herod Antipus. His father Herod the Great was the one who killed all the children at the time of Jesus’ birth. Herod was not actually king, instead he was a tetrarch, responsible for the area of Gallilee and Perea.
We see in this account that John preached against Antipas’ marriage to his sister in law. And it was this conflict that eventually led to the death of John. So why is this story found here? I think it is to remind us that sometimes the cost of being a disciple of Christ will cost us everything. The truth is being a disciple of Christ is not just saying a few word and nothing really changes. Being a disciple of Christ means our lives are radically changed and we being to stand on truth no matter the cost. That cost my be our reputation, or it may eventually cost us our freedom and life. We know that it is possible that we might not always have the freedoms we have right now. Standing for Jesus in a culture that increasingly does not follow him will put us on the outside. But we must realize that is what these disciples need to realize. Some would not except them. Some would eventually kill them for their faith. But that is not to stop us from the mission God has called us to. He will provide for our needs and give us rest in the midst of our enemies. Think of Psalm 23 as we read this next section.
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.
After the disciples went out they returned to Jesus to tell Him what happened.
31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Do you see the parallel to Psalm 23? I love the invitation/command that Jesus gives here. This is all about what we talked about last year, and it is one of the rhythms we desire to establish here at Grace. Rest and Recharge. Get away with God alone and have some quite time where He provides all you need.
32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.
They obeyed. Do not miss this. If we choose to not obey God we will never get to experience the miracle He wants to do in and through our lives.
33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
Once again we see another link to the 23 Psalm here.
35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”
They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”
Here is the powerful truth in this story. Jesus believed they could do this. He had confidence in them when they did not. I want you to know today the only thing that keeps you from fulfilling all that God has called you to is your unbelief. Just as we saw at the beginning today Jesus was only hindered by their unbelief. His belief in you is not because you are capable, but because He is. He has called you to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and He has given you everything you need to do what He desires. Will you obey?
38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”
When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”
I love this because Jesus asks them what they have. Then God takes what they have and He multiplies it through us. Our small resources becomes His great provision. If there was ever a story that should convince us that God is going to do something here at Grace it is this story. We might not have much, But if we are willing to follow Him he will provide all we need and more than that HE will provide all this community needs to be fed.
39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.
He make me lie down in green pastures…. We will be taking communion here in just a few minutes but it is important to see how Jesus begins to this meal. He gives thanks and breaks the bread. Just like he will do later in the last supper.
Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.
Notice that Jesus does not miraculously keep pulling bread of of the magic hat. He takes what we have, He blesses it and breaks it. Then gives it back to use to distribute to the people. What a beautiful picture of the Gospel, and how we are to share it with others.
42 They all ate and were satisfied,
Amen? When we do what God calls us to do and serve others. They are satisfied but so are we!!
43 and the disciples picked up twelve basket fulls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand..
There are 2 words in Greek for basket. The word that is used here is the idea not of a huge measure. Instead it is more like a lunch box. How many did they collect? How many disciples are there? See the miracles inside the miracle is that when we believe, and we do things the way God calls us to, when we obey Jesus then provides not only for today, But also a lunch for tomorrow as well.
Let’s have our ushers come forward to serve communion.
26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
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