Sermon Manuscript – Mark 3:7-19

The Famous One

Mark 3:7-19

-Think back to your friend group from High School. What kinds of nicknames did you have? I never had anything that stuck with me (apart from “Mike the Spike” from my aunt that stopped when I was about 5)

-I love giving people nicknames! It was an especially helpful gift when I was a youth pastor, and it drove the High School students NUTS! Maddy became Maddy-line, Clay became Clayton, and I stuck with it until they graduated. But something funny happened after they graduated: every student who claimed they hated their nicknames suddenly started using them as their social media handles TO THIS DAY!

-Our friends help provide a sense of identity and purpose to our lives, yet they also have the potential to hurt us in ways we never would have thought we could be! The same was true of Jesus and his friends. 

READ/PRAY (489)

-Before we dive into today’s text, I want to take some time to highlight some big picture ideas that we’ve already been seeing in Mark’s Gospel. I’m intentionally going through big sections so we can get through it in a timely manner, but this week’s text gives us a little breathing room and time to contemplate some of the bigger focuses Mark is bringing.

-First, remember how Mark begins, his prologue to the story: The gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

-This was very intentional! Shows his whole hand before anyone else has been dealt. The reason Mark wrote this book was to tell people about Jesus, to spread the gospel message as far as he possibly could! 

-This signifies to us us that everything Mark is telling in this story is to communicate to us that specific reality: Jesus is unique among all human history. He is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One. He’s the one that all the law and prophets pointed to, and the only person who perfectly obeyed them all. But He didn’t stop there, He also fulfilled every prophecy God had made, He divides human history (and the human heart!). Everyone will bow the knee to Him, either willingly or by force, and He invites us to join with Him in His mission to seek and save the lost.

-As Jesus’ ministry starts, John the Baptist prepares the way for Him, points to Him, and even sends at least 1 disciple over to Jesus! After this preparation has taken place, Jesus is commissioned by the HS to go into the wilderness to be tempted. Not a fair fight! Not equal in power or authority, but as we’ll see in today’s text, Jesus is making a new Israel. Where the first Israel (and our first parents) failed, Jesus survives temptation, time in the wilderness, and then comes back to begin His ministry

-However, His ministry doesn’t look how people expect it to! Remember the tagline I shared from ‘The Chosen’ (kinda cheesy) “Get used to different”

-Changes expectations about rituals, He heals with a word, and people can’t get enough of it!

  1. Expanding Fame (7-12)

-After the showdown between the Pharisees and Jesus, He runs away. Remember last week we saw the final of 5 confrontations between Jesus and the Pharisees. First was the forgiving of the paralytic’s sins (who was lowered into Peter’s home from 4 friends), then hanging out with “scum” like Matthew/Levi, then Jesus is confronted for not fasting on the regular, then His disciples are found picking grain as they walked through a field, and the final straw was the healing of a man with a withered hand at the synagogue on the Sabbath.

-Need to admit: this wasn’t a fair fight to begin with, but Jesus still soundly defeated them. Jesus confronts their hard hearts at each step of the discussion. He calls out their sinful thoughts, He engages their sinful questions, and then is angered over their lack of compassion toward the poor and marginalized.

-As we’ve been working through these various stories, I hope you have been thinking through who these people would be today! Part of the point of these stories is to help us be drawn to someone and repulsed by someone else. That’s really the point of every story! They’re trying to make a bigger point than just an entertaining story (at least good stories!). What ideas has Jesus turned upside down in your life? We so often want to tack Jesus onto what we already want to do instead of submitting everything we have and are to His Lordship in our life. Our aim (assuming you have put your faith in Him), is now to do everything we can to bring Him honor and glory. Part of the way we do that is by working to imitate Him. The reason we’re called “Christians” is because we’re supposed to be “little Christs” (within reason, none of us will be called to atone for the sins of the world!) But we are commissioned, sent by Him to go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations. This is the greatest adventure anyone could ever be called into! God wants to use you to accomplish an eternal mission! This isn’t just a Sunday morning affair, this is an entire life encompassing journey where God can use normal ordinary people like you and me.

-Back to the text: we are starting to see a pattern emerging for Jesus: major event happens, He isolates Himself. He’s not trying to create a following or build a big crowd, that’s not why He was sent to Earth. His aim is to accomplish His Father’s will, to seek and save the lost. Or as he said in 1:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Despite regular distractions or shifts from his primary focus, He continues to go back to His primary ministry: preaching. But He can’t do it indefinitely, He needs time to recharge and pray.

-But those crowds once again serve as a foil to Jesus’ plans, He can’t escape them!

-These crowds are coming from all over now. It’s not just Capernaum trying to get to Jesus. Look at all the various places that are listed: Galilee (been there) Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond Jordan, Tyre, and Sidon isn’t even on the map! Jesus thought it was bad after the leper, but it just got worse! Can’t hide, can’t get a moment to Himself (next week we’ll see He doesn’t even have time to eat!), the crowd keeps following Him everywhere He goes.

-What draws them to Jesus? “Heard all that he was doing” (8)

-What does that look like? So desperate to get something from Him that they’re on the verge of crushing Him. This is people who are just using Jesus to achieve their purposes. Not interested in hearing what He has to say, not interested in learning from Him, just want their interests met. 

-The crowd grows so large that He has his disciples create an escape route for Him, but even that may not be enough to get away! People can still swim, at least a little distance. 

-Remember, we’ve already seen that Jesus doesn’t get sidetracked or give into demands, but He still heals many people, such that anyone who was sick is desperate to get to Him.

-Imagine if you had a debilitating disease and had it for years. What would you do to take care of it? How desperate do you think you’d become? Think of the woman who was bleeding for 12 years (we’ll get there in a bit, in Mark 5). The Bible tells us she had been to as many Physicians as she could, to the point that she had spent every penny she had on trying to be healed, but it only got worse. As she hears about the unbelievable number of healings that were taking place because of Jesus how desperate do you think she would have been? How desperate would YOU have been? Imagine if you were struck deaf right now. What would you give to hear again? 

-Every so often there’s a new video that goes viral of something like a child  getting cochlear implantsturned on for the first time. They tug at the heart strings, don’t they? Or maybe you’ve seen similar videos where someone who was colorblind gets special glasses to see color?

-“You guys can see this everyday?” And that’s just with color! Imagine not being able to see, or hear, or walk, and in an instant you’re healed.

-The reason I share a video like that is because it’s easy to leave these stories as text on a page and forget that it’s referring to real people. If you’d been blind your whole life wouldn’t you stop at nothing to get to the healer?

-The difficulty is that everyone needs healing of some sort, but some people are better able to hide it than others. And the spiritual healing everyone needs is often viewed as less important than the physical healing. However, Scripture tells us that the angels in heaven throw a party, get more excited than this guy who saw color for the first time, whenever someone puts their faith in Jesus. 

-But sick people aren’t the only ones taking notice of Jesus. There’s a certain level of irony in vs. 10. Everyone wants something from Jesus EXCEPT the unclean spirits who just want to be left alone.

-Each story we’ve been studying serves to validate Mark’s first verse and is meant to force the reader to answer the question: who is Jesus? The evil spirits already know the answer to that, but they hate it! People have ideas about who Jesus is, but he keeps subverting their expectations, turning them on their head! People are hoping, they’d been anxiously waiting, but is this really Him? The demons don’t question it, but they’re upset about it!

-Why does he continue to silence them? Remember Jesus’ primary mission is to preach, and everything else serves to validate the preaching. It’s not the right time for His glory and identity to be revealed. Not that it’s stopping the news from traveling (once again, a bit of irony here). His fame keeps spreading, there’s nothing He can do to stop it! Which leads Him to this repeated pattern of withdrawing, spending time alone. Well, not always alone, as we see in the next section:

  • Shrinking Focus (13-19)

-Mountains have a special place in God’s story.

-Abraham went up to a mountain to offer Isaac (same mountain where Solomon’s temple would eventually be built)

-Moses goes up to a mountain to meet with the Lord and establish the rules for relationship between God and His people (Exodus)

-Mark is signifying that God through Jesus is re-establishing His people here

-It’s important to note how this is taking place. All God’s work, nothing the people did “called to him those whom he desired” and 14 literally states “he made 12” Not great English (and most of this isn’t great Greek writing either) but Mark is making a point that this is Jesus’ doing, not the apostles.

-Where the first Israel failed, this new Israel will not! Where the first Israel was meant to be a light to the nations (Isa. 49:6), this new Israel will go out into all the nations. Where the first Israel was meant to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:6), this new Israel are all priests and a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). 

-Mark makes an additional note about these 12: Jesus calls them apostles. Not used many times in the Bible, but denotes the idea that these are meant to be messengers or representatives. Which makes sense when you look at their mission:

-3 fold mission: be with, sent, preach and have authority (preach with authority like Jesus did)

-Be with: marked by time being close to Jesus. Following His ways, learning His methods, becoming a student of Him. Same call for us today! One author I’ve read states that we are to apprentice ourselves to Jesus.

-Sent. We aren’t meant to live in isolation, Jesus has commissioned us and sent us out to be His ambassadors to the world, representing and pointing to Him. This is why at the end of our service, instead of dismissing, we are sent to go out and represent Jesus to the best of our ability to the world.

-Preach and have authority: we can’t represent Jesus without preaching! “Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words” doesn’t fit with what Jesus sends His disciples to do! The authority comes from all the previous things: being with, sent as his representatives, and preaching. One note – in this context it’s not preaching as referring to what I’m doing now. All of us are called to preach the gospel at all times, and it’s necessary to use words! Brothers and sisters, our words are meant to point people to God. Do yours?

-Same 12 throughout all the Gospels. Not everyone who followed Jesus during his earthly ministry (otherwise there would have been no Matthias to replace Judas)

-Simon first, Peter translation of Cephas “rock” Have you ever been given a nickname? That’s what Jesus apparently does with his friends too! Rock is a bit of a misnomer here, because we all know what happens to Peter during the rest of Jesus’ ministry! Denies Jesus 3 times, tends to be the most outspoken one, hardly tempting to call him a “rock.” But Jesus sees something the world doesn’t see in Peter, and he winds up preaching what is probably the most impactful sermon ever done. Just so happened to be his first sermon too, 3,000 people are saved because of his first sermon! It’s all downhill from there.

-James and John, brothers whose nicknames were “sons of Thunder” Either strong reaction, maybe they were big dudes, did something that when we get to heaven we can find out about that got them referred to as “sons of thunder.”

-Peter’s brother Andrew (not sure why Mark has them split up, but Peter, James, and John serve as Jesus’ “inner 3” so that may be why) 

-Don’t know much about the rest of the disciples with the exception of 3: Matthew/Levi, the second Simon and Judas Iscariot.  

-Remember what Levi/Matthew’s occupation was before Jesus called him? Tax collector. The second Simon is described as what? Zealot, actively working to overthrow the Roman rule. How do you think those 2 guys got along? I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these 2 men were brought together as part of Jesus’ reformation of the people of God. You couldn’t have 2 more politically diverging groups. And they lived and ministered together for 3+ years! 

-The church offers friendship based on alien standards. The world tries to copy the sense of comradery and depth that Christians have, but it’s built on a fault line and won’t endure the realities of the world. We in the church in America have too closely wedded politics and our faith for too long, and we need to reassess our priorities to remain faithful to the Bible. Dear friends, we need to evaluate people according to God’s standards, not political standards (I’m grateful it’s not another election year!). Politics have become many people’s religion and litmus test for orthodoxy, but it provides overly simplistic solutions to a much bigger and deeper problem. That’s why we need the gospel.

-Keller: “The gospel is this: we are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared to believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” 

-Politics only vilifies one side and only commends their side. What happens if you question or doubt? You’re cast aside! Jesus not only welcomes people in, He brings on their questions and draws near when you feel furthest away. Not only that, He doesn’t allow you to continue operating by the worldly standards you used when you first came to Him. All worldly standards fall short in some way, only the gospel is strong enough to endure under the weight of reality. It takes the messiness and brokenness of people and instead of blaming others, it deals with all of it on a cross. And that cross needs to remain true of us today. Jesus says we’re supposed to take up our cross DAILY and follow Him. Do you think it’s supposed to be easy? It’s not easy, but God gives us Himself to help us work through it. But it’s not just Himself, He brings us into a community.

-One of the difficulties in our world today is finding community. The hardest transition point in my life was college to post-college. How do you make friends? And then people add expectations and desires that no group can meet! Enter: the church!

-Tweet from a number of years ago.

-One of the things I’ve learned in ministry is people tend to complain about not being “connected” to a church in August and January. What’s the lead up to those months? And then when you ask: what have you been putting into the church? Oh nothing, people are supposed to pursue me! Yes, up to a point. But if you don’t engage, if you don’t let others in, if you don’t reach out no one is going to engage with you. All relationships are 2 sided (except God towards us, we can’t contribute anything to that)

-And the church is supposed to be a supernatural community that gets along where the world can’t. Where people from different ethnic backgrounds, different generations, different economic realities can gather together because we’re a part of something much bigger than the world we live in. And Jesus has the audacity to use us as his messengers. Isn’t that crazy?

-Friends, even when we get to lists of names in the Bible, they’re important for us to slow and contemplate exactly what’s being said! Jesus intentionally modeled for us what relationships in the church are supposed to look like. They’re not easy, there will be betrayal, we’ll need to get over some of our preferences and ideals, and all of this is good because it’s a reminder that it’s not about us! We’re not supposed to come to church to BE served, we’re supposed to come to church to serve, and everything we do is meant to represent Jesus to those we rub shoulders with.

Mark 2:18-3:6 – Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: these are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube video.

-Slacklining, walking across a flat webbing tied between two anchors (usually trees) Micah informed me it started as a way to help rock climbers with their balance and core strength! But now people have taken it to a whole new level!

-The only way slacklining works is if you have tension in the webbing. If it’s too loose it won’t work, if it’s too tight you don’t have any fun! 

-We as Christians are called to live a life of tension. We’re living between Jesus’ 2 comings, we’re in the world but not of the world. We’re going to see today some of what that looks like in the life of a believer.

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-We’re smack dab in the middle of 5 showdowns between Jesus and the religious leaders of his day.

-Last week we saw that Jesus forgave sins and hung out with “scum” (NLT)

-Scum according to whom? Pharisees were seeking holiness isn’t that a good aim? That’s literally what the Lord commands of us (“Be holy as I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16Lev. 11:44)

-The tension is when the pursuit of holiness focuses on the small issues, but ignores the bigger issues.

-The law was meant to lead to flourishing. It wasn’t in place to force people to be miserable rule followers, it was in place to help people act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly (Micah 6:8). But the prophets looked forward to a time when the law of God would be written on our hearts instead of stone tablets. God’s desire is our hearts, not mere external obedience or mentally thinking correctly. God wants to redeem all those things, even our desires. Have you ever thought about that? Through the Holy Spirit, God can change even our deepest longings! Which is exactly what He’s trying to do. That’s what the Pharisees (and let’s be honest, many of us) keep missing today. 

-So many people today are driven by their desires, or what they claim are their desires, but the difficulty is those desire keep changing, don’t they? If you become addicted to food it slowly takes more and morI e food to feel full. If you become addicted to power it slowly requires more power to feel adequate. If you become addicted to stuff you’re constantly looking for the next thing to buy to ensure you’re feeling satisfied. If you become addicted to recognition you’ll do anything to ensure people still like you.

-The reality is nothing this world offers us will satisfy. There’s no relationship that will fix you, but Jesus provides a new way. The difficulty is that the Bible doesn’t always provide us clear cut answers, instead in many cases we’re forced to live in a tension between 2 seemingly contradictory poles. Think of men/women relationships and what the Bible says: do not lust, treat each other as family. Yet that’s a theme of Scripture: life in tension, isn’t it? 

-If you want to find your life you must lose it. 

-Whoever wants to be first must be last. 

-True leadership is service. 

-It doesn’t make any sense from a purely human perspective, which is part of the reason I find Christianity so compelling!

-As we work through today’s text, be thinking about what ideas Jesus has challenged or needs to challenge in your own life! Because I can guarantee if He hasn’t challenged or pushed you in some area, you haven’t paid close enough attention to His demands!

  1. Over Fasting (18-22)

-What is fasting and what is it’s purpose?

-1st of the spiritual disciplines listed in this section, and something that I think we need more understanding and awareness of today. Had the privilege of studying some of these things in more detail at college and seminary, but it’s a whole lot harder to implement these ideas than it is to study them! Fasting (at least in the 1st century) was abstaining from food and drink for a set period of time. One fast was demanded of all Jews once a year, but in order to prove their piety and obedience, the Pharisees fasted 2 a week (Monday and Thursday). 

-It seems that John’s disciples followed a similar pattern, but remember John’s role: he came to prepare the way for someone far greater than Him! So fasting is part of the preparation for Jesus’ coming! 

-Why do other disciples fast, but Jesus’ don’t? Are they less obedient? Are they more hungry than other disciples? 

-Jesus compares the current state of affairs to a wedding! Think of the joyful celebration that a wedding entails! 2 families become one, good food, good conversation, mediocre dancing. 

-Weddings today can’t hold a candle to weddings in the 1st cent. They were a week-long affair where people descended upon the house with the expectation that a great party would be taking place! And the family getting married had to provide the food for the feast. This is where Jesus’ first miracle recording in John is so significant! Does anyone remember what it is? Water into wine during a wedding. It would have been unthinkable and completely embarrassing to have run out of wine for the guests at the wedding, so Jesus’ first miracle shows that He brings joy instead of mourning, plenty instead of lacking.

-This doesn’t mean there’s no place for fasting, look at vs. 20:

-Once again we find ourselves in a point of tension. The fact that we are no longer dead in our sin should lead us to feasting and rejoicing! But the fact that Jesus hasn’t yet returned should lead us to fasting and pleading for His return. It’s not either/or, it’s both/and. We should take time to feast and praise God for His provision for us, but we should also take time to fast and plead with God for the realignment of our desires and the ability to continue fighting against our sin.

-Jesus talks about this tension with 2 examples: clothing and wine

-As clothing is worn, it changes, doesn’t it? Stretches in new ways, I continue finding snot rubbed on my clothes from my kids! Maybe like me, you’ve had clothes shrink in the wash that would only fit a child! Imagine that shirt has a hole in it that you’ve patched. What would happen if you had patched that hole with a different kind of cloth? Not a pretty site! Pretty much only useful as a rag, it’s completely nonsensical!  

-In a similar way, think of someone making a wonderful wine. In the 1st cent. Brewers would use the skin from animals (usually a goat) to store the wine in, because as alcohol is made, the fermentation process gives off gas that needs some place to go! If the unfermented wine was placed in a brittle, old skin it would continue expanding until the skin breaks, ruining the wine AND the wineskin. Once again, it’s a nonsensical idea! 

-Jesus is making a point here: His arrival means things are completely different. You can’t continue operating under and old mindset or way of living. Think of it like a software update! God’s rules are the same, the goal is still the same, but there’s a completely new way of going about that goal.  

-Jesus ushers in something new, how do we ensure we’re not trying to force God’s plan into our own rules? How do we ensure that we’re not trying to force God’s work into old wineskins that can’t contain what He’s doing?

-Churches are notorious for this! I grew up during the bloody battles now known as the “worship wars” 

-It’s so easy for us to assume our way is the best, or act as if everyone else must be just like us in order to be a Christian, but we forget where we used to be. The older I get, the more grateful I become for people who put up with my dumb tendencies when I was younger. But that also means that in 15 years, I’ll probably look back at myself today and think of how dumb I am now!

-It’s also easy to look back with rose colored glasses and ignore the difficulties and realities of growing up in the church. I’ve been reading a new book about the life of Timothy Keller (pastor in NYC) who attended college/Seminary in the late 60s/early 70s and the culture wasn’t exactly conducive to Christian virtue AT ALL! Free love movement, hippy ideals, protesting of the Vietnam war, Watergate scandal. Today really doesn’t look so bad when you read about some of what was going on back then!

-Just as people needed Jesus to redirect and refocus their aim, so each culture we live in, we need to allow Jesus to redirect and refocus our aim. 

-Maybe you’ve been hearing/seeing videos of what’s been going on in Asbury over the past week and wondered about it. When you look at the Pharisees in the 1st cent. and us today not much has changed! It’s far easier to sit in judgment than it is to allow the Spirit to blow where He wishes and follow where He leads!

-But this isn’t the only religious practice Jesus challenges!

  • Over the Sabbath (23-3:6)

-Sabbath was ritualistically observed by the Jews, Friday sundown to Saturday sundown (saw this in chpt. 1 when everyone waited until sundown to bring their sick to Jesus)

-Sabbath has a long history with God’s people, literally one of the ten commandments! Lots of debate throughout history as to whether it’s still binding on Christians today. I’ve even argued with people about the extent of Sabbath observance (which came about because a friend did a sermon series he titled “The Forgotten Commandment” which assumes it’s still binding). How do we interpret the Sabbath observance on this side of the cross when Jesus tells us the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, when Paul tells us in Rom. 14:5 “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” Or the author of Hebrews tells us “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” Through all this we see that even Sabbath is meant to point us to Jesus! We now can rest because of His work finishing the work we could never have completed on our own anyway.

-I’ve wrestled over the years through this idea, and will continue to wrestle into the future I’m sure! But one quote I found that I think is helpful says:

-“If we violate his normative structure, there will be consequences that spiral through all dimensions of life.” (Dan Allender Sabbath

-It’s normative, not mandated. This means it’s foolish to act as if we’re God and need no breaks. Have you ever read about the French Republican calendar? Late 1700s France tried to change the week to a 10 day week instead of 7 attempting to de-christianize even time! Do you know what happened? Injuries, exhaustion, illness saw a sharp increase, and even work animals died at a much higher rate than before. After 12 years of failure, they went back to the 7-day week. It’s almost as if that’s baked into the created order! 

-Let’s work through this text to see what Jesus says about this practice, and then think about what that means for us today.

  1. Provision (23-28)

-Allowed to eat on the Sabbath, even plucking grain, the disciples are only disobeying the manmade additions to the rules.

-They were so concerned with holiness they had determined exactly what counted as “work.” That’s why if you’re in a largely Jewish area today if you try to use an elevator on Saturdays you’ll be waiting for a while! They stop at each floor because it’s considered work to push the elevator button. In Jesus’ day you couldn’t pluck heads of grain because they counted as harvesting. You also were allowed to take up to 1,999 steps, but that 2,000th step put you over the limit into work! Can you imagine how much work it would have taken to keep track of all these rules on your day of “rest”?

-Jesus goes on to point out that even David, the greatest king in all of Israel’s history, didn’t obey the laws! The bread was saved especially for the Priests and the Levites! Jesus here is pointing out the reality that there’s a difference between the letter and the spirit of the law.

-Think of Jesus’ answers the question: what is the greatest commandment? This would have been a common debate at the time! When we’re faced with a choice between obedience to 1 law or another, which do we pick? Do you remember Jesus’ answer? Love God supremely, and others sacrificially. That’s the sum of the law! And I’ve heard some people argue that by obeying the first, you’ll naturally live out the second! If that’s the summary of the law, how are the Pharisees acting here? They’re 0 for 2: not loving God supremely OR others sacrificially! So in their appeal to the OT, Jesus’ ups them with another OT story:

-If David can eat sacred bread, can’t David’s greater Son eat on the Sabbath? Isn’t a 1 for 1 correlation, David wasn’t eating on the Sabbath, but he was disobeying a rule! 

-Then Jesus makes quite a statement about the Sabbath and Himself: Sabbath isn’t meant to be an onerous chore, it was created to help people orient their lives around God, serving, worshipping, and loving Him. And even that is meant to bring Him glory, so Sabbath is meant to be used in worship of Him. And Jesus doubles down on this in the next story:

  • Doing good (3:1-6)

-Synagogue (his home base for ministry, Saturday meeting)

-“they watched” They is referring to the Pharisees again. Some translations have “watched closely” to signify that they were actively looking for ways to judge Him and hold Him in contempt. But notice that they don’t doubt whether or not Jesus is able to heal this man. They’ve seen or heard enough miracles at this point to know exactly how Jesus operates, his MO has become pretty clear! So Jesus goes right for the heart of the issue:

-“Come here” literally “Stand up into the middle” Everyone would see! Nothing hiding, no tricks, no questions, and no doubts. 

 -Then He turns his attention to the Pharisees and asks them a question: Which is the more important law: doing good, or hurting someone?

The Mishhah (written down oral tradition) says that “whenever there is doubt whether life is in danger this overrides the Sabbath” We’re back to Jesus’ summary once again: love God and love others! Loving ALWAYS takes precedent over ritualistic obedience (defining love correctly)

-What’s their response? They know the right thing to say! They don’t think of a response this time, they know Jesus will know their thoughts. They don’t try to answer back because they know he’ll spin it right back around to them. They remain silent. 

-Why was Jesus angry? We saw him angry in the healing of the leper too. Jesus’ anger isn’t directed toward sinners, but toward those who think they’re in the right standing. He wants people to see what He sees and wants them to live life to the fullest extent possible, but they refuse. 

-How did Jesus heal the man? Did Jesus do any work? All he did was talk, which was supposed to take place on the Sabbath! There’s no work done! But that’s not how the Pharisees see it. This is the 5th instance they’ve seen blasphemy taking place, this is their last straw, it’s time to get down to business!

-Pharisees choose strange bedfellows. The Herodians were pro-Roman occupation. Yet in their anger, they’ll look for anyone to partner with! 

-The irony of Jesus’ question in vs. 4 toward them: they start working on Sabbath to kill Jesus.

-Jesus wants us to live life to the fullest extent we can, which means we must submit every area of our lives to His oversight. 

-The rules are put in place to help us understand how we can love God and love others. It’s once again a tension because God has designed the entire world, and individually, each one of us! So if we want to live this full life, it means we must die to ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow after Him. It means we’re going to live lives that look RADICALLY different from the people around us, but in the end it’s the only way to find true life.

-We must live in this tension point between seeing and believing, between Jesus’ first and second comings, between the flesh and the Spirit. It’s hard, it takes practice, it takes other’s helping you to see, but it leads to life to the full!

Mark 2:1-17 – Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: these are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube video.

-One of my favorite TV shows has a character who is obsessed with being the healthiest human being possible. He has a quote where he says “Scientists believe that the first human being who will live 150 years has already been born. I believe that I am that human being.” 

-I don’t know anyone that doesn’t want to be healthy. But what does that look like? How would we pursue it? And how do we ensure that we’re healthy holistically?  

-I listened to a fascinating podcast this weekend that was talking about the unbelievable technological changes that have taken place over the past century. If my great grandparents were able to see our world today they would assume we must be the most grateful people in the world! We can access the world’s info at our fingertips, yet there are more suicides in our country today than ever before. It’s not enough to just have physical health, there’s some deeper angst that people have that can only be healed by coming to Jesus. That’s exactly what we’ll see in today’s text!

READ/PRAY

  1. Jesus Brings Physical Healing (1-12)

-Remember last week we saw the healing of the leper, and Jesus exchanging places with him so that Jesus had to go out into the desolate places instead of traveling openly among the people. After a bit, he snuck back into town to come home, and pretty soon the whole town knew about it. 

-Most likely the same place we saw last week, Peter’s house that Jesus stayed at while he was in Capernaum. 

-As soon as the word started to travel, people came running to see what Jesus was going to do this time. Last week Mark described it as the whole town coming to be healed, this week it sounds like the whole town has tried to force their way into Peter’s home. 

-If you’ve ever participated in Black Friday shopping (before they went fully online), or attended a concert, you know what this feels like. Everyone is crammed in together, no room to move, feel like you’re being slowly suffocated, but it’s worth it to get access to the thing you’ve most been wanting, and Jesus is the best show these people have ever seen! 

-If that feels flippant to you (and it should!) that is the way the people are treating Jesus here. Everyone wants something from Jesus, the question is what? They’d all seen the demon possessed man healed, they’d seen the leper suddenly have clear skin, what do you think Jesus is going to do next? Yet what does Jesus do, once again?

-“He was preaching the word to them.” Instead of immediately giving in to their wants, He has a specific aim and focus to his life and ministry. Healing (at least physically) isn’t his primary aim, it only serves to enforce his teachings. In the midst of the teaching, there’s a desperate group of friends who want to get to Jesus. 

-However, as had been stated by Mark up to this point, just as when Jesus was born, there was no room for them in the inn. 

-The crowd serves a specific purpose throughout Mark’s Gospel, they’re often in the way of people getting to Jesus, they often are neutral in their response to Jesus, and there’s also a unique interplay between the crowd and the home. In the Greek, those 2 words are very similar to each other: ochlos vs. oikos. In this passage the ochlos has invaded the oikos. The crowd doesn’t get the inside look at Jesus’ ministry, those in the home do.

-So these 4 friends of the paralytic decide they need to be a part of the inside group. They knew this was their chance! Their lame friend could finally get up and walk and run and play with them! They knew Jesus was both able and willing if only they could get to him.

-If only they had tried what the leper would have had to say last week shouting UNCLEAN then watch the people part in front of them (Or what you should NEVER do in a crowded room, yell FIRE!)

-Instead of pushing or force their way through, they take a slightly less conventional approach: Upstairs!

-Houses in the first century, 2nd level was like a deck for us today. Didn’t have A/C, so they’d sleep under the stars. Many times, covered with mud, which in the summer would grow grass! These men are performing an excavation to get to Jesus!

-Think of what it would have been like to have been in the house. You’re listening to Jesus when suddenly you hear the grunting and digging taking place in the ceiling.  You’d clean out your ears to make sure you weren’t hearing things, when a piece of dirt falls to the floor. Now you KNOW you’re not crazy. Everyone’s eyes are looking up at that spot as a hole appears, that hole gets bigger and bigger and you see 4 faces peering down into the hole, then you hear more grunting and heaving as a paralyzed man is lowered down in front of Jesus. There’s NO WAY Farmers Insurance had seen a claim like this before! And you KNOW they won’t cover it!

-But this act of desperation amazingly works! The friends got their paralyzed friend to the feet of Jesus, the rest is in his hands! All it would take is a word and their friend would walk! But instead:

-Son (child) your sins are forgiven. How do you think the man responded to this? Or his friends? All that work, outsmarting the crows, and he forgives his sins? Thanks, but we were hoping for something else.

-Then Mark shifts the focus from the paralytic and his friends to some specific people in the crowd: the scribes. Remember them from last week? The people who couldn’t teach like Jesus! Luke’s account of this story tells us that Pharisees were with them.

-The scribes and the Pharisees would have been threatened by Jesus’ growing fame. They’re used to being consulted on every issue, they’re supposed to be the experts of the law and how to be obedient to the law, but people are chasing after this new teacher. But this doesn’t change Jesus’ approach to his ministry. Jesus would have seen the scribes and the Pharisees in the crowd, he would have known they were there to ensure everything was as it was supposed to be. And how do you think they would respond?

-BLASPHEMY! Who do you think you are??

-I like to think they were in their “holy huddle” off in the corner whispering to each other, making sure everyone say their judging and disapproving glances

-And Jesus calls the out in front of everyone. No hiding from him!  Even their thoughts are exposed to the one who knows everything! Literally nothing is hidden from the sight of God. Just thinking something is enough for Jesus to address it.

-(9) Here is one of the places I wish Mark was a little more clear, which is easier? I’ve read scholars arguing for both sides of this. We all know it’s easier to SAY “your sins are forgiven” because there’s no empirical evidence to back that up. But it’s WAY easier to tell someone to get up and walk than it is to actually forgive someone’s sins. I think that Jesus’ point here is to remind the “experts” that he’s able and willing to do both. Last week we read the story of the healing of a leper, this week we’re reading that the healings are the easy part, the forgiveness is the hard part.

-In both of these instances, it’s a whole lot easier to talk the talk than it is to walk the walk (literally in this case)

-Priests, unable to actually heal a leper so they stay as far away from them as they can, and what does Jesus do? He brings him near.

-Priests, unable to forgive sins, they even say that only God can do it, so what does Jesus do? Forgives the man’s sins!

-Priests, unable to heal a paralytic, so what will Jesus do now?

-If you think about this, isn’t this the same message we’re bombarded with every day? Here’s how to live your best life now, this will make you happy, just think positively and everything will be ok!

-All of those are empty promises! They have all the will but NONE of the ability. As many cars as Oprah wants to give away, at some point even that car that was once brand new will break down.

-The only person alive who is able to back up everything he says with perfect action is Jesus.

-Do you remember the primary difference between Jesus’ teaching and the teaching of the scribes? Authority. Jesus picks up that idea again in this healing to show exactly what is taking place in His ministry. Regardless of what Jesus says, unless something changes he can’t be trusted, right? If this man is healed, then it means his sins have been forgiven, AND that Jesus’ has completely authority. 

-Jesus then turns his attention back to the paralytic and utters a brief command: rise, grab your bed, and go home. 

-How long did it take for the man to be healed? IMMEDIATELY! I don’t think it’s Mark’s overuse here, I think it’s pointing out the reality of what has happened. There’s no waiting, no questioning, no uncertainty, as soon as Jesus speaks it happens. And everyone saw it!

-You can kind of think of this as a Wild West shootout. On 1 side you have Jesus who’s claiming He can forgive sins, on the other side you have the scribes/Pharisees who are there to keep an eye on everything, and who emerges victorious? Jesus. Which is easier for Jesus? Yes. The man who created the universe has the authority to forgive sins AND to heal a paralytic. 

-Think of how the people responded in this story: amazement and glorifying God. 

-When God works, the proper response is to worship and glorify Him. Micah and I had the privilege of attending the EFCA Theology Conference this past week, speaking with someone with a PhD in NT who said all the mental knowledge of God MUST drive him to worship and glorification, what God has designed feels like it must be fake, it’s way too good to be true. Sins forgiven, lepers cleansed, paralytics walking and leaping and praising God!

-One of my professors from seminary calls miracles “living parables” pointing to a greater reality than just the miracle, what’s the bigger reality here? Who’s really paralyzed? 

-Those who should have seen it, who should have been preparing the way for the Messiah, who should have fallen at his feet and worshipped him, the priests and experts in the law, were the ones who were paralyzed. Their “faith” had crippled them.

  • Jesus Brings Spiritual Healing (13-17)

-Just as the healing took place for the paralytic, Jesus isn’t done bringing healing into people’s lives, and potentially trying to escape the crowds again (or to give Peter’s wife a break from the crowd!), He goes out to the sea. But who follows him (again!) and what continues? Teaching. 

-In his journey, he stumbles across Levi/Matthew who happened to be a tax collector. Tax collectors were despised by the Jewish people, I struggled trying to communicate how terribly they were viewed because tax collectors bowed the knee to Rome (political betrayal), grew wealthy off God’s chosen people (financial betrayal), and were excommunicated from the synagogue (religious betrayal). Additionally, the disgrace towards this person was also heaped on the man’s family. 

-Benedict Arnold can’t hold a candle to a tax collector! No upstanding Jew would pursue this vocation! They had to abandon everything they had been trained to hold dear. 

-When it says tax booth, don’t think of it like a CPA firm, think of it more like one of those terrible toll booths in IL. As people would pass by him, he would get to determine their taxes, and the way tax collectors would get paid anything was by adding to the required taxes. Since Jesus is in Capernaum again, Peter, Andrew, James and John all would have known Levi. And how does Jesus treat him? The same way the faithful Jews were treated, calls him to follow him. This might be the only instance where Mark missed one of his immediately!

-How does Levi respond? He’s so excited he throws a party and invites all his friends! 

-Reclining at table is a weird phrase to our ears! Remember we can’t project our 21st century ideas onto this text. Reclining was the way people feasted together. Think of it like relaxing over a gourmet meal today. Levi was most likely very wealthy, with a large house and hung out with the other social outcasts of the day. But Mark makes a very interesting note about these people: there were many who followed him.

-At this time, meals were meant to be spent with people in a similar social standing to you. So Jews wouldn’t be caught dead joining a feast with the social outcasts. On top of that, these gatherings would have been in the courtyards of the homes, which would have been visible to those passing by, there was no hiding what was going on at your house. Couldn’t drive into your garage, close the garage door and never see your neighbors!

-The scribes (same as the ones that were called out during the story of the paralytic) caught wind of what was happening at Levi’s house and came down to see if it was true. They’d just seen him heal a paralytic (and read their minds) and they’re convinced that something isn’t adding up. So they decide to ask Jesus’ disciples a question about this: “Why does he eat with such scum?” NLT

-They had learned their lesson this time! Instead of merely thinking these thoughts, they say them out loud! Their judgment was noted, how do you think Jesus will respond?

-The first part of this is a well-known and used proverb at the time: healthy people don’t need a doctor. It’s the sick who need help! Jesus is referring to the spiritual realities that the scribes are continuing to miss, but I think this idea has continued down to today too.

-The scribes, and thus the rest of the Jews viewed sin like a contagious disease. We don’t associate with “tax collectors and sinners” because we might catch whatever it is they have. The problem with that idea is we’re all born with a sin nature that can only be dealt with through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus came to bring complete healing, but our perception of healing is too temporary, Jesus wants eternal healing! Jesus came to be the perfect physician and provide the only antidote to the sin problem that the entire cosmos has been struggling through since Genesis 3.

-Let’s think about a necessary implication of this. Both last week and today we’ve seen people who were outcasts. The leper was physically separated from people, and the tax collectors were the socially separated from people. Does Jesus allow those man-made separations to define his ministry? No! And neither should we! 

-I’ve heard people describe the church as judgmental, and unfortunately some of that is earned. The natural tendency of any group of people is to create strict rules about those who are “in” and those who are “out.” You see this in social clubs, in politics, business, religion. But Jesus doesn’t play by those rules. Since someone much smarter than I brought it up in our NCC devotional this week I’ll piggyback off him and quote from The Chosen: “get used to different.”

-Friends, this is where the rubber meets the road: we cannot assume that everyone who walks through our doors has their life put together, or knows who Jesus is, and we need to reach out to them and welcome them in, just like Jesus did. But we can’t just stop there, we also need to go out to them and invite them to join us! You’re not going to “catch” their sin, you already have your own sin problems, work on yours and pursue holiness, and join others to come with you in pursuing Christ together.

-Trevin Wax in an article

“The problem for Christian parents isn’t in the desire to shelter children; it’s in the warped perspective that such sheltering can foster.

We begin to believe that sin and rebellion is a problem outside of our home, not inside.

We start thinking our kids are basically good and in need of moral direction, rather than recognizing that our kids are basically bad and in need of heart transformation.

We communicate to our kids that it’s “us” (good) versus “them” (bad) rather than helping them see our family’s role as one of service (“us” for “them”).

Then, when evil shows up on the inside of our home, we diminish its significance or hide it rather than bring it out in the open.

The reason we shelter our kids shouldn’t simply be that there’s evil outside, but also that there’s evil inside. The line of good and evil runs through every human heart, as Solzhenitsyn once said. No one is immune to temptation. No child is a tabula rasa. We’re born in sin and, apart from the grace of Christ, we’ll die in sin. That’s why we need a Savior who rescues us, not a shelter that protects us.”

-“The church is not a museum for saints but a hospital for sinners.” This isn’t a place for you to come show off your holiness, this is a place to be reminded how much you need Jesus’ grace to cover your sin. In salvation, no one is a worse sinner than the other, and Jesus’ death is sufficient to cover every sin any person has ever committed.

-Where are you at in this story? Are you like the tax collector who needs to be called to trust in God and turn away from your eventual destruction? Are you like the scribes who are sitting in judgment instead of sharing the good news of the gospel with even “sinners” around you? Or maybe you’re like the crowd and just here for the spectacle. Wherever you’re at, you need Jesus to bring holistic healing int your life! It may not come on this side of heaven, but it will come! Put your hope and trust in him, just like the 4 friends. 

Mark 1:21-45 – Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: these are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube video.

-Last week, we looked at the beginning of Jesus ministry as Mark sets a very brief stage for Jesus’ entrance. We started with a statement of who Jesus is (Son of God), moved quickly to John the Baptizer, then Jesus enters the scene and remains the focal point of the rest of Mark’s book. Jesus is baptized by John in the Jordan River, is driven by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested, emerges refusing to give into the temptation, and begins His ministry by calling 4 disciples to follow Him: Peter and Andrew, James and John. 

-This week, we’ll see what it looks like when someone is completely dedicated to one aim. Have you ever met anyone with a drive like that? They are obsessed with that one goal, and nothing else matters. I had a friend like that in high school who was obsessed with basketball. Nothing else mattered except that. The rest of us would try to hang out and he wouldn’t until he got his shots in for the day. Even during other sports, he was still getting his shots in! He was so dedicated to basketball, that during the football season he got a stress fracture in his back from shooting too much! He was allowed to keep playing football, but not basketball, it almost killed him!

-Jesus was similar. He wouldn’t let anything distract Him from His one aim and goal in his earthly ministry. But what do you think that goal was?

-This is an important question for us to ask! We are supposed to continue Jesus’ ministry today! There’s a tendency for people to take things that are implications of Jesus’ ministry and try to move them into the center, which leads to an imbalance in how we’re living out and demonstrating the Christian faith. There are things that come out of Jesus’ primary ministry, but He always comes back to that which should be the most important. Let’s read the text and see what Jesus says is the primary purpose to His ministry.

READ/PRAY (488)

-As soon as Jesus calls his disciples, He brings them straight into ministry. There’s no waiting period! Friends, as soon as you’re saved, God brings you in to His eternal plan to draw others to Himself. The minute you’re saved (brought from spiritual death to spiritual life) is the minute you’re given a job to do: to become a fisher of men. But how did Jesus demonstrate that? 2 things come out in today’s text: teaching and healing.

  1. Teaching (21-28)

-A majority of Jesus’ ministry takes place around or near the Sea of Galilee. 70 miles north of Jerusalem, about 13 miles away from His hometown of Nazareth. Freshwater lake over 600’ below sea level. 13 miles long, 8 miles wide

-Today’s text focuses on the ministry in Capernaum, which served as Jesus’ homebase during his ministry. It was also the home of Simon/Peter and Andrew. In fact, archaeologists believe they have uncovered Peter’s home, just steps away from the 1st century synagogue. This may be the exact place where Jesus stayed when He was in Capernaum, yet another evidence of the validity of what we’re reading here today!

-Capernaum was also the “big city” of its area, gathering place from many of the surrounding cities.

-What’s the first things Jesus does? Jumps in to teach

-Scribe doesn’t quite convey their position, “teacher of the law” or “religious authority.” Essentially they served as pastors, judges, and teachers all rolled up into 1 position.

-Look at the difference between the way they taught instead of the way Jesus taught. Jesus taught as one with authority. The scribes were only subservient to other people’s authority, so they would quote from other people to build their arguments. Apparently Jesus didn’t do that! And he didn’t need to, He was with Moses as the Law was written, He doesn’t need to appeal to anyone else!

-But someone was there who shouldn’t have been! A man with an unclean spirit, someone who is possessed by a demon comes into the synagogue to try to get rid of Jesus.

-Notice what the unclean spirit calls him the first time: Jesus of Nazareth. Contrast that with how Mark introduces us to Jesus twice already! vs. (the Christ, the Son of God), 11 (Beloved Son with whom God is well pleased). 

-Also follows spiritual ideas prevalent at the time: to use someone’s name invoked some spiritual power over them. We’ve uncovered some Jewish exorcism material that started by finding the demons name to demonstrate who the authority in this situation is. Jesus wasn’t the only person in the 1st century performing exorcisms, but He had the best batting average!

-But after first trying to demean Jesus, this spirit then admits who Jesus really is “The Holy One of God” Everyone in the world at some point will admit who Jesus really is! Even the demons will bow the knee to Jesus when He returns and fixes this broken world.

-How does Jesus deal with the situation? No incantation, no chants, or magic potions. He speaks. That’s all he needs to do! God’s words carry power and are effective. The same voice that created the world out of nothing can bring healing to the broken. 

-People don’t have a category for this. But notice what is emphasized: the teaching! The primary focus people have isn’t on the exorcism, instead it’s on the teaching. The healing is only done to validate Jesus’ teaching. Then it’s out of the teaching that comes the healing. And because of Jesus can both walk the walk and talk the talk His fame spreads quickly

  • Healing (29-34)

-But Jesus (at least in Mark’s Gospel) doesn’t stay in 1 place for too long! Immediately goes to Simon and Andrew’s house. House was most likely pretty close to the synagogue (remember that house they had uncovered? That was less than 100’ away from the synagogue. Someone in their home is sick

-Really briefly want to point something out here. How does one get a mother-in-law? You can’t even argue for an alternative translation of this word, no other interpretive options. Paul even brings up the fact that Peter is married in 1 Cor. 9:5. This points to the wide variety of backgrounds Jesus called as His first disciples. The fact that Peter was married meant He was willing to give up quite a bit to follow after Jesus!

-Fever was thought to be its own unique sickness, unlike us today who view it as a symptom of something else. We also see in Deut. 28:22 that a fever was viewed as divine punishment. And how does Jesus heal her?

-Takes her hand and lifts her up. No words even needed! No magical incantations, no potions, just pulls her up and she’s healthy. The word translated “left her” isn’t quite strong enough, it has more force in the Greek, more like it was forced away from her.

-Serving doesn’t denote a lower position or status, signifies how effective her healing was, she goes from being divinely chastised, to serving the Savior!

-“That evening” Sabbath was done, observed Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown. 

-“All” could be a slight exaggeration (just as when you’re telling a story) or it could be literally everyone in the town who was sick was brought, just as in vs. 33 says the “whole city” (approximately 1,500 people at this time)

-“sick OR oppressed by demons” I’ve read all sorts of arguments that people in the 1st century just didn’t understand sickness the way we do today, they weren’t dumb! There is a difference between being sick and being affected by demonic powers. We often miss this today! It is tricky because it’s not always demonic forces. We are complex beings, mind, body, soul. Micah talked about the in detail last month, and we can’t just pick and choose one that we want to work on, they all interplay with each other. Carson (one of the best NT scholars in the world) says:        Don’t forget that Jesus is fully human. We have a tendency to read the NT accounts and just dismiss it as “well He’s God” which is true! But He’s also a human, just like you and me. 

-“Healed many” doesn’t mean some were left out, just that there was a LOT of healing taking place!

-Why can’t the demons speak? They prematurely knew him. Demons have better theology than we do because they see the spiritual realities that we often neglect or ignore around us. We’re only 34 verses into this book and we’re already seeing how important Jesus’ identity is! Remember, I shared that’s a theme throughout this book that the disciples constantly miss, so far the only ones who know Jesus’ real identity are the demons, and by silencing them He’s allowed to continue about His primary ministry, which we’ll see in the next section.

  • Teaching (35-39)

-After a long night of healing (have you ever thought of how exhausting that would have been to Jesus?) Jesus gets up early to pray.

-Descriptive, not necessarily prescriptive, the prescriptive reality is you should be spending time praying, talking with God. Create space somehow and some way to commune with Him.

-Sometimes it means sacrificing something good to focus on what God has actually called you to (a friend giving up fantasy football)

-“searched for him” is much more hostile: to pursue relentlessly or another stated “an attempt to determine and control rather than to submit and follow.” Once again we’re seeing the worst of the disciples! They have in their minds what the Messiah should look like, but Jesus doesn’t fit that mold.

-Jesus practices “subversive fulfillment.” Jesus subverts everyone’s expectations, twists them on their heads to cause people to reevaluate everything they think they know. But He doesn’t stop there, He goes on and provides an even better solution than the one people come up with on their own! So He practices subversive fulfillment. (subverts in that it confronts, unpicks, and overthrows the world’s stories” and “fulfils in that it connects and is shown to be worthy of our hopes and desires.”

-So often people think they know what they want, but they’re not even aware of the bigger realities taking place around them. Which is why Jesus tells so many people to be quiet, it’s not the right time or place, nor do they really know what they’re saying. It’s disconnected from reality. The way that Jesus demonstrates that He is what all these demons are saying is when He’s resurrected from the grave. We know it’s coming! His disciples don’t, they’re thinking Jesus has come to overthrow the Romans and establish Israel as THE nation on earth, but they’re thinking far too small.

-Jesus doesn’t let his newfound fame distract Him from His mission: to preach.

-Early disciples, and the crowds, thought Jesus’ primary ministry was healing and exorcising demons, and I think we see Jesus’ ministry similarly today! We see all these miraculous stories and think that’s the reason Jesus came, but notice how Jesus defines His ministry. 

-We today unfortunately separate these 2 realities: preaching and care for physical needs. We need both, but 1 has eternal significance. And this is what makes the church unique. The church has 1 thing that makes her different from any and every other organization: making and maturing disciples. The application or implementation of maturing leads to care for the poor and marginalized, but we cannot replace the primary focus with the implementation, otherwise our views will become distorted. 

-Massive differences in the way generations view evangelism. My generation is all social action, possibly in response to a previous generation that only emphasized preaching.

-Also a difference between what we as a church are called to do, and what we as individuals are called to do. Go and seek the welfare of our city! Invest deeply in your areas of influence, we pray that you will be successful in those pursuits! But not everyone has the same gifting or calling as you. That’s why we’re called a body throughout the NT, each part specializing in one area to help all of us function better together.

-“Preaching in their synagogues.” Wasn’t a rogue preacher, he was contextualized and intentional even in the places he preached. Example of why we need the church.

  • Healing (40-45)

-The last example of healing centers on an unclean person.

-Josephus, a 1st century Jewish historian recorded that lepers were regarded as walking corpses. They were just as unclean as a corpse, relegated to a life outside any community or other people. Had to dress and sackcloth, wear scraps as clothes, and walk around yelling “Unclean!” anywhere they’d go.

-As this man would have approached Jesus, it would have been like a tidal wave of people actively trying to run away from him. Think of the desperation this man felt as he disregarded all social norms and expectations and threw himself in front of Jesus. 

-“If you WILL, you CAN” It’s not a question of ability, it’s a question of desire

-Some debate about the word “pity” as some manuscripts have the word “anger” 

-Same word Paul uses on Eph. 4:26 “Be angry and do not sin.” Our anger tends to lead us to really bad places, Jesus’ anger is redemptive and restorative. Think of how frustrating it would have been to be Jesus, knowing how the world is supposed to be: a world without sin, without death, without sickness. Do you think he ever got angry at the state of the world?

-Touching was a BIG no-no. Leprosy was highly contagious, anyone who was touched immediately became unclean. But that’s not how it works with Jesus. 

-Think of it like this: what’s the best way to get rid of darkness. Light! How effective is the dark at defeating the light? Not a fair competition! That’s how any sickness or darkness is when held up to the light of the world. It’s gone! Instead of Jesus becoming unclean, the sickness is consumed in the cleanliness of the one, holy, perfect one. 

-Dear friends, this is true of all of us too. What’s that one secret sin you have, or issue you’re too ashamed and embarrassed to admit? One of the most difficult things to do is to admit we need help, to admit that we need cleansing so we don’t actually give all our needs to Jesus. Yet that’s exactly what He invites us to do. 

-Notice where Jesus ends up in vs. 45. He and the leper have exchanged places, which is what Jesus’ death on the cross has done for all of us. Don’t run away from Him, run towards Him. 

-And how do you run towards Him today? By embracing all the things He taught us. There’s an interplay between the teaching and the healing. We need the teaching to transform us, to conform us into His image. That’s why when Jesus commissioned His disciples (including us) He commanded to “teach everything He had commanded.” We now get to join with Jesus in bring teaching and healing to those we interact with, but that must begin with all of you.

-How would you summarize the primary point of Jesus’ ministry today? It begins with teaching, then works its’ way out into a transformed life. Will you listen to His teaching, and then be transformed, or will you continue to look away and try looking to the wrong solutions that Jesus wants to both subvert and fulfill? Wherever you’re at on that scale, you’re welcome here! We believe God created us as a church to demonstrate what subversive fulfilment looks like, seeking and saving the lost, being a unique people, loving and caring for each other.