Category Archives: Israel

Israel: A Nation is Born

Title: Israel: A Nation is Born

Text: The Pentateuch

Introduction: The Pentateuch is the name given for the first 5 books of the Bible. Often times you’ll hear it called the Law or as it is known in Hebrew, the Torah. It is these books that give us a foundation for understanding our faith and religion. We understand better who we are through these books. We understand how we got to where we are through these books; that is, our beginnings and our journey. The world makes more sense to us when we get this background information. These five books provide the foundation for the rest of the story.

We’re in the midst of a sermon series entitled: His Story. We’ve looked at Creation and the perfection of the Garden of Eden. We next covered life in the Fall. Last week we covered the Patriarchs from Abraham down through the 12 sons of Israel. And that is where we pick up this morning, with the 12 sons and how they grow into a nation.

Let’s walk through these five books this morning to see a nation come into existence.

I. Genesis

exp.: Genesis presents the stories of Creation, the Fall, and presents God’s plan of redemption through Abraham…

  • Abraham (had Ishmael & Isaac)
  • Isaac (had Esau and Jacob)
  • Jacob, whose name is changed to Israel, had 12 sons
  • The 12

Israel had 4 wives. The one he apparently loved the most was Rachel. She died while giving birth to Benjamin, his 12th son. The two boys she gave him were his favorites. And Joseph, the oldest of the two, was doted upon without hesitation in front of the others. Joseph’s apparent arrogance didn’t help matters either.

You see, Rachel was the wife he loved the most, but she was the wife who bore Israel no children. And for a woman who was barren – a common theme we see throughout His Story – the shame was almost unbearable. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was considered barren. Rebekah, Isaac’s wife was, too. And it appeared, Rachel was, too. So here is this man who loves this wife more than the others and when she has a son, he is most cherished. She dies giving birth to another son. You can understand why Israel might have favored these two more than the others. They were growing up without a momma.

But Israel’s favoritism and Joseph’s arrogance led to a lot of heartache. Some of the older 10 brothers wanted to kill him, but sold him as a slave to some of their distant cousins, Midianites, descendants of Ishmael, who were headed down to Egypt.

Summed up: God used the mess of their family to get Joseph down to Egypt, where the whole family would eventually come to be saved. At first he was a slave, then a prisoner. But God took him from the lowest of places and raised him up to be 2nd in command of all of Egypt. And though it seems harsh, it would be Joseph’s unfortunate circumstances of slavery and imprisonment that would provide for him a move to be 2nd in Command of all Egypt. His family in Israel would have to come to him for food during a horrible famine and Joseph would keep them there, providing for them – saving them.

t.s.: And there they would stay for 100’s of years as they multiplied and filled the land. Let me show you:

II. The Exodus

exp.: According to Exodus 1.5, there were 70 people in Israel’s family that moved down to Egypt. rd 1.5-7; this sounds like the covenant with Adam and with Noah – be fruitful and multiply… But a ruler would rise to power who did not know Joseph and was bothered by their increase in numbers. So he enslaved them. Basically, Exodus 1 covers 400 years of history. Chapter 2 covers 80 years, the 1st 80 years of Moses’ life. From Exodus 3 through Leviticus and to the middle of Numbers covers about 15 months.

At the age of 80, Moses returns to Egypt to lead his people out of Egypt as a free people. There in the wilderness they would get organized. They would learn what it means to be God’s people. They would be structured for mobility. They would be given ample opportunity to grow in their faith.

God will perform incredible miracles before them to help them come to faith in Him.

  1. The 10 plagues
  2. The Cloud by day and the Pillar of fire by night.
  3. The parting of the Red Sea; crossing on dry ground and then, drowning Pharaoh and his army.
  4. Bitter water turned into something they could drink.
  5. Manna
  6. Water from the Rock
  7. At Mt. Sinai, they beheld the glory of God in the peals of thunder and lightning, smoke, fire, trumpet blasts…

…where God gives his people his commandments and laws. For these first few months the Israelites set up camp and God would be outside their camp. They’re probably camping in their tribes and clans, but there seems to be no order or structure to their set up.

The picture was clear: God was saving his people. Now, he would do what he must to make them a people worthy of being called his people.

God called Moses to come up to the Mountain at Sinai to receive his commands – commands these people needed to learn. By the way: this was their request. They begged Moses to intercede for them. God was too ‘scary’ for them. They were too terrified to get anywhere near God. So, they begged Moses to intercede for them. He would go and visit with God and then come back and tell them what God said.

But, while Moses was up on the mountain of God, the people lost faith. Moses didn’t return for a long time and so they asked Aaron to make them another god of gold, a calf. Big mistake!

God was so angry with them that he was going to destroy them. But, Moses interceded for them and God relented from destroying them.

Summed up: In the book of Exodus the people are set free and brought out to the Wilderness of Sinai. There God gives them the 10 commandments and establishes a place for Him to dwell in their midst. The rest of the book is filled with instructions for constructing the place where God’s presence would dwell among the people. This place is called the Tabernacle. In this book, the tabernacle is built and the Glory of God moves into the Tabernacle.

t.s.: There is still so much for them to learn, though. A lot is happening here and very quickly. Which brings us to the book of Leviticus

III. Leviticus

exp.: The book of Leviticus is basically more instruction. The Laws that would make them different and distinct from all other people are given in Leviticus. God gives them his precepts, laws and commandments to follow so that they would become more like him and image him to the world… they would be distinct and different from all other people in the world. Then, they could be with him: he would be their God and they would be his people.

You see, up to this point there was just one problem preventing him from dwelling in the midst: their sin. You see, God is perfect and holy. They are not. And the two don’t mix.

The one thing the laws of Leviticus would demonstrate to them was their sinfulness and their great need for atonement.

Think about this: since the beginning of creation man has rebelled against God and done things his own way. From the first bite of the forbidden fruit to Abel killing his brother to …. Man’s standard has been to rebel against God. Man’s standard is sin. God’s standard is holiness. When I say ‘holiness’ think: perfection, clean, uncommon, unblemished, unmarked, pure, and righteous in every way. The law was given to show his people that they were sinners, imperfect, common and unclean, blemished, marked, impure and unrighteous in every way. – They were the antithesis of Him. To be with Him, their sin would have to be removed – it would have to be atoned for.

So, laws were set in place to show the standard of perfection. The punishment for rebellion against God’s law was death. But, to demonstrate God’s great love for his people, he gave them the sacrificial system to pay the penalty and take the punishment for them. The idea was that they didn’t have to die; a substitute could be sacrificed on their behalf. Then, through faith in God through that sacrifice, they could be holy and have a relationship with Him.

God instructs them to build a ‘place’ for him. Really, no place can contain him, but they need something to demonstrate the presence of God. So instructions are set for a Tabernacle to be built. This Tabernacle will be a holy place and the inner part where God dwells will be the most holy place (holy of holies). This is all very new to them. Their whole lives have been spent in slavery. They’ve only known what has been passed down through oral tradition. Now, God has saved them and set them up so that He might dwell with them; that He might Tabernacle with them, that He might pitch His tent in the midst of theirs.

So a standard is set and a redemption policy is put in place to accommodate their failure. We read about this in Leviticus 16 – it is called the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). Their sinful state is described in 17-18. And by the time we get to 19, we see the holiness of God and the call for His people to be holy. Rd 19.1-2; 1And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. And the call is repeated throughout Leviticus: Be Holy as I am Holy.

Transition: Once God teaches them of his standard, then he moves to set them in place so that He might dwell in their midst. And that leads us to the book of Numbers.

IV. Numbers

exp.: It is here in Numbers that they get organized. God has taught them that He is holy and they must be holy to be with him. And then to demonstrate this, he moved them around Him. No longer was he outside of where they camped – or I guess better understood, no more were they outside and away from him…now they were around him…literally, surrounding him.

Let me show you what I mean:

  1. Exodus 33.7-11: The Tent of Meeting

Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise up, and each would stand at his tent door, and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. 10 And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door. 11 Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.

  1. Numbers 2
    1. East: Judah, Issachar, Zebulun
    2. South: Reuben, Simeon, Gad
    3. Levites around the Tabernacle
    4. West: Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin
    5. North: Dan, Asher, Naphtali

And by his commands, sin was to be taken outside the camp. They would take a shovel with them outside of the camp to go to the bathroom. If someone was sick or unclean, they would be sent outside the camp.

Once everything was set, they celebrated the Passover – for the 2nd time. So, they’ve been out there for a year, learning about what it means to be God’s people. After the Passover, God said it was time to move out and head to their new home – The Promised Land! And he gave them specific instructions on how they would travel.

And they do, just as God had established. From now on until they enter the land, they would move this way; they would camp this way with God dwelling in their midst. Look at Numbers 9.15-23; And in Chapter 10 they take off. By the next chapter they’re complaining again! Even Miriam and Aaron get in on dogging Moses in Chapter 12. By Chapter 13 they arrive just outside the Promised Land. Finally, freedom from slavery and the opportunity to experience Eden Restored, God dwelling in their midst, and a land flowing with milk and honey. All they have to do is follow God into the land.

Then God does something very interesting: he orders Moses to send in spies to spy out the land. One man from each tribe. I’m sure you know the story by now: the 12 came back with the most wonderful stories, but 10 of them had fear in their eyes. We can’t do it. They’re too big! Remember the Nephilim of Genesis 6? Well, they’re here in Numbers, too. 10 of the 12 Spies told the people to turn back and surrender to Egypt. If they go into the Promised Land, they’ll all die. Better to take their chances in the desert – to die trying to get back to Egypt by way of the desert. If they continue into the Promised Land, their children will become prey to these Giants in the Land.

Man, they upset God one time too many. He told Moses once again, Get out of the way. I’m gonna kill them all! I’ll raise up a new nation with you. But Moses pleads with God and intercedes for the people once again. We pick up where Moses has interceded for them. Look at Numbers 14.20-23; 28-35;

So God gives them just what they asked for. They will all die in the desert and their children, all of those alive 20 and under will enter the land. Only Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who encouraged obedience and trust, would enter into the land.

app.: And that is just what happens. One by one, beginning with the 10 that led the people astray, they all die.

t.s.: Over the next 40 years all will die who were in the Census – that is, 20 years old and older. Only Caleb and Joshua will enter the land.

V. Deuteronomy

exp.: Deuteronomy means 2nd Law. This book is about this 2nd generation preparing to enter into the Promised Land that their parents and grandparents rejected. Moses presents the Law to them again and leads them to make a covenant with God.

Application: there are so many points where we could apply this story to ours.

  • The Holiness of God. How often do we forget how awesome and great God is in His Holiness? How often do we treat Him with contempt by making Him common in our eyes?
  • The sinfulness of man and the need for forgiveness and atonement. Do we realize the wickedness of our hearts? Do surround ourselves with so much of the world and sinfulness that we become callused to our own depravity?
  • We as God’s people are to image God to a lost world just as they were supposed to do. How are we doing in that?
    • Do the leaders lead people astray because they’re scared or don’t like what they find as God is leading? Leader: are you more like Joshua and Caleb or more like the 10 whose names we don’t remember?
    • As a follower, are you pressing onward in faith? Or, do you find yourself grumbling and complaining against the leadership, the ministry, or God himself? How are we doing with that?

I worry, though, in pressing for application, that we would forget the point of these stories all being tied together; it is too easy to forget about the Snake Crusher and the Lion from the Tribe of Judah who would be King when you get lost in the stories, chapter after chapter and book after book. But really, God is reminding them all along; they’re just not listening. And the same goes for you and me.

Conclusion: It truly is amazing to see this storyline being written throughout all of history. Here today we’ve seen a nation come out from Egypt and be set free from their slavery. Moses led them. But this Moses was not the Snake Crusher. He’s not the lion of Judah, but rather a descendant of Levi.

Look at Deuteronomy 18.15-18; yes, there will be many prophets who will rise up and lead them, sharing God’s Word with them. But here is a prophecy about the One who is coming. A reminder that He is the one who will crush the head of the serpent and is Abraham’s son, and is the lion from the tribe of Judah and will be a prophet like Moses – a rescuer, ruler and redeemer, as Stephen calls him in Acts 7. Don’t miss that now. Stephen is reminding them that they have been looking for this Promised One… ‘the Prophet’ as he is known. Peter does the same thing in Acts 3.22 when proclaiming Christ in the Temple.

Each Gospel points out that the Israelites were looking for this Promised One (Mt 17.5; Mk 9.7; Lk 9.35) Jn 1.1-25; 5.45-47; Jesus is very plainly telling them right here that He is the One they’ve have been hearing about all of their lives. He is the one they have been waiting for.

If you’ve not heard, let me share with you, his name is Jesus. He fulfilled all of these promises and more we’ve not even looked at yet. He is the one this story is all about.

Let’s pray…

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Filed under Deuteronomy, Exodus, Genesis, Israel, Leviticus, Numbers, Sermon

Mark 7:24-30

Title: The Gospel to the Gentiles: Part 1

Text: Mark 7.24-30

Introduction: We’re in the midst of a sermon series on Mark: Jesus, the Bread of Life. This section is in Mark 6.30-8.21; it is the extended ministry of Jesus, beyond the Sea of Galilee. Here in chapter 7, Jesus has rebuked the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and their clinging to the traditions of men, above even the Word of God. In that passage, Jesus declared all food clean. And then, he does something amazing: he gets up from there and enters into Gentile territory. Now, the Jews wouldn’t eat or fellowship with Gentiles. If someone went into the home of a Gentile, that person would become unclean. Now, that is nowhere in the Law of God, but it had simply become one of their own traditions or standards.

Listen, setting standards can be a good thing. I think you should set standards for yourself. In order to help you live a holy and godly life, set some standards. But, don’t make those the requirements for getting into heaven! That standard has already been set!

  • Let’s say you decide you’re never going to go out on Saturday nights, but instead, you’ll be home by a certain time and get ready for Sunday. There is nothing wrong with that. However, when you begin to judge others who don’t live the same way – then, you’re wrong.
  • Let’s say you decide you’re always going to look your best on Sunday mornings. You want to present your very best to God. Great. Iron you clothes, polish your shoes, Get your hair cut or done on Saturday. Whatever it takes. But here is where you might mess up: when you judge the brother or sister who isn’t in their suit and tie, or in their nicest dress.

Yes, set standards to help yourself – just don’t make them the requirement for salvation!

Jesus is going to step outside the standards set by the traditions of the elders…again. He just did it in 7.1-23. He’s going to do it again by going into Gentile territory.

And here is where we pick up the storyline in v 24 – I’ve divided this passage into three main parts:

  1. Jesus withdraws from that region into the land of the Gentiles.
  2. A desperate mother discovers his whereabouts and petitions him to save her daughter.
  3. Jesus responds to this mother in a very uncharacteristic way.

Transition: Let’s begin with this 1st point…

I.      Jesus withdraws from that region (24)

exp.: rd v 24; the fact that he didn’t want anyone to know where he was demonstrates for me his desire to be hidden – to get away from people.

Ill.: I’m sure you remember Southwest Airlines commercials from a few years back – back before there was DVR? You want to get away? I love the one where the delivery man is headed back to his truck after dropping something off at this house. The couple who lives there is working in their garden by the driveway. He sees a basketball and decides to be cool and take a shot. The couple watches as he picks up the ball and ‘air balls it’, missing the rim but shooting the ball right through the glass windows on the garage door. The couple looks at him – he looks at the couple: you want to get away?

Well, Jesus wanted to get away and so he gets up and heads northwest toward the region of Tyre and Sidon.  Now, a great question to ask for discussion later would be: why? Why did Jesus need to be hidden or want to be hidden? Maybe he was tired and needed rest? Maybe he wanted to demonstrate further about what is truly clean and unclean?

Transition: It’s the last part of this verse that lets us in on the story – though he wanted to be, Jesus couldn’t be hidden! This desperate momma finds out about him and makes an appearance. So, point #1, there is this need to get away. Point #2 –

II.     A Desperate Mother Discovers His Whereabouts (25-26)

exp.: Now, we know very little about this woman, but look at what Mark does tell us:

  1. Her problem: rd v 25;
    1. A demon possessed daughter; That’s what this means; I think Mark uses this word, unclean because it fits with his theme. What is clean and unclean: what is unclean is the demon inside this little girl – not the girl. So, desperate is she that she comes and falls down at his feet. What humility! Surely she knows he Jewish. Surely she knows he’s a man. Middle eastern behavior would frown upon this. Mark down this character trait: humility. Rd v 26a;
    2. A Woman, not just a woman, but a Gentile woman! And, if this were not enough, she is Syrophoenician by birth! Talk about unclean in the eyes of the Pharisees. When you read this, a certain woman should pop into your minds. Can you name a king who married a Syrophoenician woman? Can you name that evil woman?

Ill.: I read somewhere that the Jewish men pray daily a prayer of thanks – that they weren’t born: Women, slaves, or Gentiles.

That’s just how poor of a view the Jews had toward Gentiles. Maybe they still do – I don’t know.

app.: for some reason, this doesn’t matter to her. She’s desperate. Her daughter needs help and she believes Jesus is the only one who can save her daughter. Now, this really comes out in the last sentence of v 26; here we see…

  1. Her persistence: rd 26b; this word translated begged is really more of an interpretation, I think. You see, the word actually means asked or requested. If you translate it straight out – word for word, you lose something. In the original language here, there are two ways of describing past tense: aorist, is simple past tense (she asked); imperfect tense shows action in the past (she kept on asking); That’s the picture here: she wouldn’t leave him alone.

app.: So there is a persistent request from a desperate mother in spite of the fact that Jesus desires to remain hidden. And, why not? What really does she have to lose? At this point, an odd thing happens…

III.    Jesus responds to this mother in a very uncharacteristic way (27-29)

exp.: Jesus answers her in a way that shocks even the most hard-hearted of people. Rd v 27; this is strange or odd because Jesus uses…

  • A Strange Illustration: Jesus uses what is called the ‘Family Table’ illustration to refuse her request. Now, we could go so many places from here, but I’ll just save that for your Bible Study time. For now, I want you to just note that there is a theme in Mark about eating and eating at the table. There is the idea of fellowship, and more importantly, fellowship with Jesus. In this illustration, Jesus speaks of Children and their eating of bread. It isn’t that the dogs aren’t to be fed, but that the children are to be fed first. It isn’t odd that Jesus uses a ‘Family Dinning Experience’ as an illustration – that’s not odd. The odd part is that…
  • Jesus compares or relates exorcism to the family dining table. Now, that’s just weird. Let that sink in: Jesus, I have a daughter who has a demon in her. Will you cast it out of her, please? How in the world does he get to the dinner table from there?

Remember this trick: when you aren’t sure of what Jesus is doing, try to figure out the easy, obvious answers.

  • Children – The Children of Israel. The OT uses this comparison repeated. I think it is safe to assume these children in his analogy are the Children of Israel; They are fed first; 1st means priority. It doesn’t mean that no one else within or outside of the family won’t eat! It’s just that the children in our illustration have priority. So, 1st answer we have is
  • Fed – lit.: to be satisfied, or to eat their fill; This word appears 2 other times in the Mark; both are when Jesus feeds the 5,000 and the 4,000; The beatitudes: Matt 5.“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. We see this also in the parable of Lazarus, who desired to be filled or satisfied by the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. At this stage, I think it is safe to say that the Gospel is what satisfies and it is to be presented to the Children of Israel first. It’s a matter of timing. This demonstrates the Priority in the Gospel; as Paul writes 3x’s to the Romans: to the Jew first, and then the Gentile. Still, pretty straight forward. Next,
  • Bread – v 27; the children’s bread; here is another example of Bread being used by Mark in these three chapters (6-8); now because of our previous work on this topic, we know that the Bread is Jesus. We will probably see it each week until we reach the halfway point of Mark; in each analogy, we see that Jesus is the Bread of Life (27); To be sure, it is a lot of work to get there, and I’ll refer you to last week’s sermon to study up on the Bread of Life But, there is no doubt that Jesus is the Bread in this illustration: he is the one who fills and satisfies the soul. His priority is 1st to the Children of Israel. Here is where it get’s ugly…rd 27b
  • Dogs – that’s a harsh word. There is no way to clean that up in translation. So, before we talk about this word, can I say a word about my Savior? Again – remember, when you don’t understand something, go with what you know – what are the obvious answers.
    • He is good and merciful. He isn’t mean and hateful. So, I know right away, that he doesn’t mean what I might think it means in the 21st century; this isn’t Jesus being mean and hateful. He is perfect and no sin dwells in him. He isn’t selfish or even rude. He isn’t being ugly to her because she found him when he was trying to remain hidden.
    • 2ndly, He knows everything. He knows what I need before I even do.

ill.: I’ve seen him have someone in another county or another state write a check to cover my needs before I even know I’m going to need it. The need appears and then, so does the check, which was written last week.

This is what I know about Jesus: He knows what this woman needs! And what he says to her is what she needs to hear. It may not be what I’d say. It might not be the thing to say in western culture. But, it is what she needs to hear.

  • The word ‘dog’ or ‘dogs’ appears 9x’s in the NT; Over 40x’s in the Bible; This particular word from the Gk only appears 4 times. That caught my attention. It turns out there is another word translated dog. These two words come from the same root; however, this word here, is slightly different. It means a small dog, a housedog or even a lap dog. This would be common for Gentiles, because Jews would not have dogs. The other word is for big, wild dogs that roam freely. It is a euphemism for the immoral and/or evil people. That word isn’t this word. Jesus uses a word that she is culturally familiar with. I don’t know this, but I’m guessing that Jesus uses a word that is close to her situation – a word that she will take to heart; a word that she will understand and connect with. That changes the meaning for me. I couldn’t find a translation that made this distinction. But it is there – and that changes so much for me. Jesus isn’t using a word to describe the immoral and perverted (cf. Ps 22.16: 16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet—).

So, here we have this strange confrontation. Jesus answers her repeated request with just what she needs to hear. He’s taking her somewhere in this conversation. There is something he wants to see from her. And, it looks like he gets what he’s looking for in her; rd 28; I love this!

  • A Witty Response: Lord, even the little, house dogs under the table eat from the crumbs of the children.

Take a moment and check out her demeanor: We’ve already seen that she is showing humility in her posture and desperation. Now we see her wit and wisdom in her response. She could have gotten offended and walked away, leaving her daughter to continue suffering. But there is something more. And it is her faith. She wants this bread, and even if it’s just the crumbs from the bread – it is enough.

Wow! Oh, to have this kind of faith in Jesus. So great and mighty is he, that all she needs is just a crumb and it will suffice to save her daughter.

Now, you don’t see this here, but it is clearer in Matthew’s gospel: Jesus is impressed with her.

Ill.: I kind of had this experience once. Kind of… Stephen was 16 years old. He hadn’t had his license for very long and he came and asked if he could drive out into the Bad Lands with his friends and build a bonfire. I didn’t even give him a chance to explain what they were doing, who was going, etc. I just shut him down by saying NO! He didn’t even hesitate. He simply said yes, sir. No sadness, No disappointment, just, simple obedience. Yes, sir. Then he turned to leave.

I said, wait. Aren’t you going to debate this with me? Aren’t you going to argue with me until you get your way? He told me no. He asked and I gave my answer and that was enough. I was blown away. I asked him to tell me more about this bonfire out in the middle of nowhere. Then, I let him go.

Jesus is moved somewhat like that. He’s caught off guard by this woman’s wise and witty response. So impressed with this woman’s humility and faith, that he grants her request for her daughter. Rd v 29;

  • A Timely Grant: On account of the word, depart (imperative); The demon has come out (perfect) of your daughter. Now, you don’t see this in the English translation, but the Gk verb here uses the perfect tense. The perfect tense means a current state, based on a past action: meaning, as Jesus is saying the words, the demon has already gone. The girl is no longer possessed. Rd v 30

Application: So, what will we take home with us today?

  1. Jesus knows just what you need – even if you don’t! I can’t answer for your struggles. I can’t place blame or offer any defense for what Jesus is doing in your life. But this I know: Jesus knows just what you need – even if you don’t!
    1. Can I add to that? He knows what others need, too. You might think you know best for others – no matter what your intentions are – But he still knows what is best for them. It may seem harsh. It may seem unfair, But, he really does know what is best. And, he knows what he’s doing in their life.
  2. God rewards faith and humility demonstrated in him. This Gentile woman is a remarkable model of faith. Knowing God can do something and living your life in response to that knowledge are two different things altogether! It is one thing to say something, but another to live it out. Think of the woman from Zarephath in 1 Kings 17: You have a jar with a little flour left and a jar with a little oil left. But, to make a loaf of bread for your guest and feed him first means so much more than simply acknowledging with your mind and mouth who that person is.
  3. Salvation has now become accessible to all.
    1. Yes, there is a priority to the Gospel. That hasn’t changed. Israel still is God’s chosen people and I am opposed to how our government is now treating Israel. The blessings of Genesis 12 remain as true today as they did when God spoke them to Abraham. With that being said, we also know that the Gospel is universal in scope.
    2. The Gospel is for the entire world. We saw this when Jesus healed the Gadarene Demoniac. Jesus healed him and sent him as an evangelist, as a missionary to the Decapolis. Now, we see it again with this Canaanite Woman.
      1. We’re reminded in 1 Kings 17 that it has always been that way. Somehow, in their Jewish minds, they had thought of themselves as better than others.
      2. God reminded them through prophets like Isaiah who said (49.6): I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth. Let us remember this: the poor, the needy, the desperate, the single mom, the foreigner, the sinner – Christ died for the ungodly, to bring the ungodly to God.
  • Listen to Galatians 3.6-9: just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

 

 

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Filed under Discipleship, Evangelism, Israel, Mark, missions, Scripture

Mark 5.21-43

 

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Me on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee

Title: Desperate People

Text: Mark 5.21-41

Introduction: thank you, Stephen, for reading Scripture for us this morning.

1st, let me say: Happy Father’s Day, Dads! Stand.

2nd, I’m finishing off a series on Jesus and his authority as demonstrated through miracles. We’ve already looked at how he demonstrated his authority, that is, He is Lord over:

  1. The Natural Realm: when he spoke to the wind and the waves.
  2. The Spiritual Realm: when he healed the Gadarene Demoniac of his demon possession.
  3. Now, today, we’ll look at his authority over the Physical Realm

3rd, Next week, I’ll move away from Mark for a week and talk about church polity: it’s function and organization.

So, here I am in Israel on the Sea of Galilee and I find myself standing where Jesus was when these stories took place. How do I begin to tell you about Israel? It is impossible. I can show you pictures and tell stories – but that won’t really do. You have to go. You really do. I told Lisa that I should have gone 30 years ago. And I’ve should have gone back multiple times since. Every seminary student should go to Israel. It should be required for graduation.

I feel like I should apologize for some of the things I’ve said over the past 30 years. I imagined the stories taking place in my western mind. I did not realize how off I was. I’ll show you what I mean: turn to Mark 5.21.

Today we continue our study in Mark. We’re in the midst of a sermon series on miracles Jesus performed demonstrating his authority over the natural, the spiritual, and today, the physical – even death. Read 5.21 with me. 21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. Well, our context tells us that Jesus was on the Sea of Galilee in the region of the Garesenes where he healed the Gadarene Demoniac. His popularity had grown so much that he just needed to get away from all of the people. They pressed in on every side. He left the towns and villages because he could no long enter into them without being mobbed. Now, after this experience with this man and commissioning him to be a missionary to the Decapolis, he crosses back over to the north side of the SOG where he did most of his ministry.

He isn’t in town. The people have come out to him. They’ve not had to walk very far. But mind you, it would still be a hard walk, because of the terrain. It is some 700 ft below sea level. Everywhere along the north shore goes up from the water – and it goes up steeply.

  1. Show pics of the north shore. (Use Laser) – I took this picture from Tiberias, a town of Gentiles on the western side of the SOG. John 6.1
  2. North Shore…

Read 5.22a – 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name… there are actually two desperate people we’ll meet this morning: Jairus and A unnamed woman.

Read 5.22b-23; there are two parts to this man’s situation that I want you to notice in this passage:

  1. His Despair:
  • He fell: at the feet of Jesus
  • He implored: he begged if you will,
  • He persisted: earnestly is translated from poly – lit.: many or much sayings

 

  1. His Request: just come and touch her – lay your hand on her to accomplish two goals – σῴζω and ζάω; that she may be saved, rescued, or delivered. And, she may live.
  • This 1st word is a verb – Jesus said that is why he came – to save, to rescue, to deliver.
  • This 2nd word is used in comparison to death. Jesus said in Jn 10.10: I have come that they may have life.

Here we have our 1st application for the day: When you pray…pray according to the will of Jesus. If you want to know that your prayers, although they are selfish in origin, that those prayers are within God’s will – pray that way – pray God’s will over your situation. If you’re praying for someone – say your child, a friend – pray Scripture over him or her.

Jairus is asking Jesus to do just what Jesus has said is his purpose: 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. Rd v 24a; 24 And he went with him.

I’m sure Jairus was stilled scared and filled with worry, but there must be some relief. Look at the rest of v 24: And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him.

Now, with this relief that Jesus is coming to see his daughter, there has to be some frustration for Jairus. This word translated thronging here is a word that means to press. As in what they do with olives to get olive oil; or to grapes, to get the juice or to make wine. The people who are thronging and pressing all around had to be slowing them down. Jairus has his request, but now Jesus has got to get there. I’ve pictured this scene in my mind many times. So many people who’ve gathered around him to see miracles, or maybe they’ve come to get something from Jesus. I’m sure there are desperate people in this crowd, too. People like Jairus. We meet another such person in v 25 – rd 25-28;

I want to encourage you to explore this woman more in your discussions in the study time that follows in our small groups. For now, let’s look at these two people who really sit in contrast to each other:

  1. Jairus: a ruler of the synagogue, top dog on the ladder of society, probably respected and trusted. When we’re introduced to Jairus, we meet him by name and position.
  2. The woman: we don’t know her name. As for position, she has none. She’s not allowed in the synagogue, nor was she allowed around anyone in the community. What money she had that would have given her position has been spent on doctors.

Most people appear on the rungs between these two extremes. Hence, they probably represent the whole ladder. I leave that for more discussion in class.

As with Jairus, I’d like you to note her actions:

  1. Her Desperation
  • She was unclean: because of her blood disease, an outcast in their society.She wouldn’t be allowed near anyone, let alone into the synagogue and have access to the priests.
  • She suffered at the hands of those who offered her something they couldn’t provide. Time and again, placing her hope in physicians who couldn’t provide her with a cure.
  • She was poor: she had exhausted her resources of money on doctors and remedies; There have been times that I’ve thought to myself that if I had money, I could fix this problem. Then one day my mother-in-law was told by a very wealthy friend the following line that has always stuck with me. She said: if money can fix it, it ain’t a problem.

 

  1. Her Persistence: she has no right to ask. She’s not even supposed to be near him or anyone one else for that matter. The law is clear on this.

Leviticus 15.25-27: 25 “If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, not at the time of her menstrual impurity, or if she has a discharge beyond the time of her impurity, all the days of the discharge she shall continue in uncleanness. As in the days of her impurity, she shall be unclean. 26 Every bed on which she lies, all the days of her discharge, shall be to her as the bed of her impurity. And everything on which she sits shall be unclean, as in the uncleanness of her menstrual impurity. 27 And whoever touches these things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening.

But she’s thinking: if I can just get near him and touch him, he will save me and I’ll live. All the days of her impurity – for 12 long years – she’s had to avoid people. Can you imagine the disgust of those who might sit where she sat or touch what she touched? Can you imagine the mistreatment – ugly things said when someone was declared unclean for a day because of their contact with her? Can you approach her humiliation?

But He is her last hope. She truly believes that if she can just touch his garment…and she uses the same word Jairus used in v. 23 – σῴζω – I’ll be saved, cleansed, rescued, delivered! And evidently, she touches him.

I shot a photo of a painting – a mural on a wall in the museum in Magdal. This photo captures the artists impression of this moment when she is able to reach out in faith and touch the hem of his garment. Which, by the way, Matthew and Luke mention – just the fringe of his garment. And what happens? Her faith becomes real… rd v 29;

One particular moment in time and she is changed. She is healed. And, she knows it. But so does Jesus. So he asks who touched him. But of course, the disciples are like – really?

The story began by the sea. Jairus requests the presence of the Lord to attend his daughter. They move in that general direction. The village wouldn’t have been too far. The houses were stacked together. The streets were incredibly narrow. It wouldn’t take too many people to create a congestion.

I have some pictures of synagogues from two separate villages there.

This is Capernaum. I don’t know if this is the same village where these things happened. Could be, but we don’t know for sure… But these villages were all very similar. This 2nd synagogue is in Magdal. So, there you have it…

Now let’s pick up in v 46-48; Look at the words that characterize her: exposed; Trembling; Falling down before him. This is what was said of Jairus – he fell down before Jesus. You know what? That probably describes all of us. Some of us, our problems are exposed to the world and we cry out to Jesus with their full awareness. But, for others, their problems are hidden and unoticed.

Can I just stop for a moment here. I wonder if the people around knew this woman. Maybe. Probably. But, with all eyes focused on Jesus and all attention on him, no one noticed this unclean woman slipping in on Christ. In some ways this is good. For one reason, people focused on Jesus are not busy judging those around them. That could be another application for today: People focused on Jesus are not busy judging those around them.

She stands there – exposed, guilty. But look what Jesus says: rd v 34;

There isn’t time to even notice that Jesus was headed somewhere to do something for someone. If this had been me, I would have said: Ok, what was I doing? No so with Jesus – He knew. His movement was interupted. He questioned who touched. It gets quiet as everyone looks at this out of place woman. His words of forgiveness and healing haven’t even left the thoughts of those listening when messengers come to tell Jairus.

So desperate was this man for his daughter that he left her there in her sickness seeking the favor of the only one who could heal her. Now, it was too late. She was gone. There comes a time when you don’t need to ask for something anymore.

Ill.: King David knew this. Do you remember the story of his sin with Bathshba and how she became pregnant? A child was born and David was told this child would not survive. 16 David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. 17 And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. 18 On the seventh day the child died. The servants feared to tell David of his son’s demise. If he acted like this while the child was alive, what would he do when he found out that his newborn son had died? David noticed his servants acting differently and knew something had happened. They told him the truth, “He is dead.” 20 Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. 21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” 22 He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ 23 But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”

She’s gone now. There comes a time to stop asking. Can I bring her back again? No. I will one day go to her, but she will not return to me.” Jesus must see this because he says, Do not fear, only believe. This is the same word he used with the woman he had just healed. Belief and Faith are the same word. One is a verb and the other a noun, but the same meaning. This woman’s actions – demonstrating her belief – had brought her healing. This man’s belief in Christ – it would accomplish the same thing.

Taking his garden buddies with them, they headed off to Jairus’ home. When they arrive, there is a commotion. Each time this word appears in the NT it is translated uproar or tumult. It is used to describe crowds that are causing trouble – getting ready to riot. I wonder why Mark used this word. Were people angry? When a child dies, it is different in many ways than that of someone much older who has lived a full life. Whatever his reasoning, we get the idea that there is a very loud commotion going on outside of the home with loud weeping and wailing.

Jesus, ever in control, tells them all that they don’t understand the situation inside. That’s why they’re behaving the way they are. They think they know – but they don’t really. And when Jesus let’s them in on the truth – And they laughed at him (v 40a); rd v 40b-43;

Mark doesn’t tell us about this mom and dad. I can’t really even begin to understand what they might be feeling. How can one express a gratitude for such a blessing? My guess is that there are no words that can communicate that kind of thanksgiving. How do you put to words, how can you describe what happens in a heart when one was at the lowest point a human can go and snatch them from such despair and grief? And what heights of joy they must now be feeling! The Gk word here is the word we get ecstatic and ecstasy. Oh, and then he says – don’t tell anyone what happened here and give her something to eat!

Conclusion: Don’t tell anyone! That would be tough!

I’d like to have a time of praise and worship and give folks a chance to respond to what God may have been doing in hearts. I’m thinking of David’s response: he cleaned himself up, went in to worship – and then got something to eat.

If there has never been a time in your life when you encountered Christ – I offer him to you today. I can’t promise you the healing these people received, but I can promise you that Christ will do in your life what you need. He cares for you far more than you’ll ever know.

 

Questions for discussion:

  1. What similarities do you find between the two stories?
    1. Ceremonial Unclean – impure
      1. The woman’s bleeding caused her to be unclean – thus isolated from the community for more than a decade
      2. The girl’s death made her unclean – you’re not supposed to touch a corpse
    2. Daughter
      1. Jesus calls the woman “Daughter”
      2. The girl is the daughter of Jairus
    3. 12 years
      1. The woman had been sick for 12 years
      2. The age of the girl is 12 years old
    4. Both involve the touch of Jesus and their faith
      1. The woman’s faith to just touch his garment
      2. Jairus is encouraged to persevere in his faith
    5. What contrast do you note between the two stories?
      1. He is one of the rulers of the synagogue – probably the highest rung in that community ladder.
      2. She is unclean and unable to participate in the community. To make matters worse, she is a woman.
    6. Discuss the differences of life in the Law and life in Christ. Discuss how through the law unclean things made clean things unclean. And, discuss how Jesus wasn’t affected like that. He made unclean things clean! Lev 15.25-27; Lev. 11.39-40 – dead things bring the same consequence as that of the woman with a blood discharge. Mark Horne: Under the Mosaic system Death spread but Life did not. But Death was not a problem for Jesus! Death and uncleanness did not corrupt Christ.
    7. This story ends beautifully, but David’s story – not so much. How does one surrender themselves to the will of God – especially when God’s will runs counter to their own? Maybe there are some personal testimonies here… be sure to direct each story toward the glory of God. There is sometimes a tendency toward sensationalism and the glory of God gets lost. Sometimes people die. Sometimes children die. Do you suppose we overlook the times that God has spared our children and loved ones and focus only on the tragedies? As a grandfather, I remember Caroline being at death’s door. I remember another family in the same hospital with their little one. Their child died. Caroline lived. How is God glorified in both stories.
    8. One of today’s applications was to pray according to the will of God. That sounds easy, but how does one really pray that way? Do you find your prayers are more self-centered than Jesus-centered? What are some ways you can change your focus?
    9. Another similarity between the two stories is the topic of faith. Jesus did what he did to demonstrate his authority over the physical, even life and death. How do we exercise our faith in both tragedy and triumph? And when we do, how does that demonstrate Christ’s authority over life and death?

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Filed under Israel, Mark, Scripture, Sermon