Category Archives: Mark

Mark 16.1-14

Title: The Resurrection: What did it do?

Text: Mark 16.1-14; 1 Corinthians 15

CIT: Paul presents 4 elemental truths of the Resurrection

CIS: To present these 4 truths and challenge the believers to a changed life.

Intro: I’m not much on Topical sermons. I preach them from time to time, but my preference is to preach through books. Oftentimes, it is hard to narrow down all of the information in a certain topic, so problem #1 is that you just have too much material. 2nd, I like knowing on Monday morning what I’m preaching next Sunday. Besides, preaching through books makes it where I must cover every doctrine at some point. You just can’t avoid it. But, the downside of not being prepared to preach a topical sermon on special days can create a situation where a preacher is presented with an awkward situation.

            CJ Mahaney is a preacher I always love to hear. Whenever he is on the schedule at a conference, I make sure to get a good seat! CJ tells the story of how he concluded a three-part sermon series about the afterlife. That last sermon in the series just happened to fall on Mother’s Day. He had not connected the special day with his topic nor with his sermon title. That Sunday morning, mothers came dressed in their pretty dresses, some with hats, some with gloves, some with a corsage. CJ was totally caught off guard, as were many of his moms when the time came for CJ to present his message, a sermon in the afterlife series which simply read: Hell!

Things have worked out well on my calendar, as I have done my best to be at this particular place in Scripture on this particular holiday. I decided to start there and move out from there to another passage on the resurrection. There is a question that I’d like to answer and, today is a great way to spend some time looking at that question: We all know what Christ’s death accomplished, but, what about His Resurrection? Was the resurrection even necessary? He died for our sins, and paid the penalty required in his death; so, why did he need to be resurrected?

            Our text is Mark chapter 16. We’ll also spend some time in 1 Cor 15; take a moment to mark those places with a bookmark. This morning I’d like to present four theological truths about the resurrection as presented by Mark and Paul. Here they are:

  • The Resurrection is an essential part of the Gospel Message
  • The Resurrection is validated by a tremendous body of evidence
  • The Resurrection offers us the hope of a resurrection
  • The Resurrection will impact how you live your life

Transition: let’s look at the 1st truth

I. The Resurrection is an essential part of the Gospel Message (16.1-6)

exp.: rd v 1-2; the word gospel, and the word evangelism are basically the same word; the difference is that one is a noun, and the other is a verb; it is the word Ευαγγέλιον; From which we get evangelism; So, what is this good news? Rd v 6; He is not here, He is Risen! Check it out… the place where he lay. And the 2nd part, evangelism…rd v 7; I love that the angel places an emphasis on Peter. I wonder if he was having a tougher time because he had denied his Lord.

Paul makes this point to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 15; rd v3f;

app.: Paul and Mark are establishing a very important point: without the resurrection, there is no gospel! The Resurrection is an essential part of the Gospel message. Had Jesus simply died – then he would have been like every other man who has ever died. But, Jesus proved his divinity by being raised from the dead!

t.s.: The 2nd Theological Truth presented is found in this same sentence; 1st – he died; 2nd, he was buried; 3rd, he was raised (Pft. Pass. Ind.); 4thly, he was seen; this is the 2nd theological truth…

II. The Resurrection is validated by a tremendous body of evidence (4-34; Mark 16.7-14)

exp.: There, in 1 Cor 15, we just read “in accordance with the Scriptures: 

  1. The Scriptures; rd v 3-4; Jonah; Isaiah; Jeremiah; David; Psalms; Genesis; Exodus; Numbers; Deut.; etc., etc., etc. Read v.5-8;
  2. The Appearances of Christ to so many; Cephas; the ‘12’; Jn 20.19-29; 500+; James (prob, his brother); Paul; In Mark 15, we see the Mary listed first in v9; and v12. One of my favorite passages on this is in Luke where Luke gives us more information on this story. In that passage, Luke says, “27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
  3. There is a third group listed in 1 Corinthians: The Martyrs: Death of the Witnesses v 29-34; 1st, what do we know about Scripture and Salvation? Baptism cannot save you; ὑπέρ; NASB/NIV trans.: for; because of; So, who are the dead? They are the martyrs: those who preached in spite of persecution and even death; why? Because they knew death is not the end, no – there is the resurrection;

In fact, each of the disciples here will die for their faith. Why would they do that if these testimonies here were lies? Who is going to die for a lie? And, even if you could find one person foolish enough to die for a lie, how could this overwhelming group of witnesses all be willing to die for a lie. Someone, at some point, would have said, “hang on, it’s not true, I don’t want to die.” But that didn’t happen. One by one, each gave up their lives because they knew of a greater hope!

app.: the resurrection: that’s what they knew, that’s where their hope was placed! Acts 1.15-22; 2.32; 3.15; 5.32; 10.39-43; That’s more evidence for us to view…

t.s.: Truth #1: The Resurrection is one essential part of the Gospel Message. Truth #2: The Resurrection is validated by a tremendous body of evidence. Truth #3

III. The Resurrection offers us Hope that one day we, too, will be resurrected. (35-57)

exp.: The Resurrection is explained in a simple fashion. There are two prerequisites to being resurrected: Death and Faith. 1. Death: You must die in order to be resurrected.  2. Faith: You must have faith.

  1. Death: Two bodies; one must die for the other to live; (rd v 50); The perishable must perish, in order that what is imperishable may inherit eternal life.
  2. Faith: Paul says that it is a mystery; rd v 51-57;

t.s.: Truth #1: The Resurrection is an essential element of the Gospel Message. Truth #2: The Resurrection is validated by the tremendous evidence. Truth #3: The Resurrection offers us hope that we’ll one day be resurrected. Truth #4:

IV. The Resurrection will impact how you live your life (58)

exp.: In our text in Mark, he records miraculous signs that accompanied those believers in the Apostolic Age. We see in our text that many lives were changed and impacted such that, they were willing to die for what they knew to be true! Listen to what Paul says in 1 Cor 15.58:  “Therefore”; Marker of result; Because of this; For this reason; Because you have received the Gospel, Because of the tremendous body of evidence, Because of the hope you have of your resurrection, then you should – One imperative vb: to be; become; γίνομαι; two adjectives to describe; two participles (verbal adjectives) to describe;

  1. Become steadfast; this info, the gospel message, the overwhelming evidence, and the hope of your resurrection, as well as those you love who’ve gone before you, should plant you firmly where you are; and
  2. Become immovable – this info should not only plant you firmly but also make you immovable; there is a 3rd description of what this does to you;
  3. Abounding in your Work; always; every day of your life characterized by the Resurrection; your job, raising your kids, loving your neighbor, serving your brothers and sisters! Christians do their work, because of this last ptc mentioned: we know
  4. Knowing your work isn’t empty; κενός; Phil 2.5; I love this word knowing – this is faith in action! Heb 11.1

t.s.: When you gain an understanding of the resurrection, not just of Christ’s, but even your own: The Resurrection will affect your life and how you live. – and might I add, how you die.

Conclusion: Show the 7-minute video of Padina (

            I began with the question: What did the resurrection accomplish? It completes the gospel story and is validated by a body of evidence. But even more, it gives us hope and impacts our lives to live for him. I hesitate to show videos like this because I don’t like it when they are used to manipulate people. That’s not my goal. I shared this video because.

  • I want to challenge you over this next year to consider adopting a UUPG somewhere in the world.
  • I want to challenge you to pray! Pray for God to lead us step by step. I honestly don’t know what that will mean… what will it cost us? Will some of you go and give your lives so that others may know? That burdens…
  • I want to challenge you to prepare, research, acquaint, and yield.
  • I pray Christ’s resurrection inspires you to live your life for others.

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, Easter, Mark, Scripture, Sermon, The Gospel

Mark 15.37-47

Title: The Son of God Part 2

Text: Mark 15.21-39

Introduction: We continue our message from last week in Mark 15.37. You can see from the PP that the message is entitled “The Son of God” Part 2

I’ve outlined the message this way:

  1. The Crucifixion of the Son of God
  2. The Rejection of the Son of God
  3. The Death of the Son of God
  4. The Burial of the Son of God

Transition: I think Mark’s story is simple, brief, and restrained. He doesn’t try to move us to sympathy for Christ as he is tortured and punished; Nor, does he try to make us angry at those who we consider Christ’s enemies. So, let’s pick up in Mark 15, v21 Where we see…

I. The Crucifixion of the Son of God (21-28)

exp.: The crucifixion is a process of execution. An agonizingly slow process of execution.

ill.: Dr. Mark Kubala, Outreach Magazine, April 13, 2017: To envision the pain and emotional stress Jesus endured, it may be helpful to share an analogy.

Imagine your family has allowed you to go by yourself to see some old friends you haven’t seen in many years. They live in a remote, desolate area of the Texas desert. You want to surprise your friends, so you don’t tell them you’re coming.

You turn off the main highway and travel for miles on a dusty dirt road, then fail to negotiate an unexpected sharp turn. Because of the heat, you neglect to buckle your seat belt. The car rolls over, and you are thrown out of the car. As you fall out of the car, your scalp is cut by the edge of the door.

You land on your back in a bed of prickly cacti. You suffer multiple cuts to your back. The back of your leg lands on a sharp rock which cuts the artery behind your knee. You cannot get up because the door of the overturned car has your legs pinned. You can’t find or reach your cell phone. Your suitcase has fallen on your chest, and you can’t move it. You have trouble breathing. Every time you try to move, the pain becomes excruciating. You are literally abandoned. You see your blood seep out of your body and over the next few hours you become faint, as you slowly go into shock. You know you are dying, and there’s nothing you can do.

exp.: Pilate commissions his Roman soldiers to carry out that execution. Mark is very matter-of-fact about his storytelling. He almost lists these moments and actions as bullets.

So physically taxing was this process for Christ, that he failed to carry his own cross to Golgotha. The Soldiers are tasked with the action to keep the process going. Jesus has been so mistreated that he can’t keep going. So, (rd v 21) they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.

Consider what Mark has done in our text:

  1. He’s dropped a name they would know, a witness to what had happened. This is probably someone they knew.
  2. He’s told them where it happened. A place that would have been familiar to them. They probably knew what he was talking about.
  3. He’s quoted to them or referenced to them Old Testament Scripture, demonstrating that this was foretold in times past.   

t.s.: First, The Son of God is Crucified, and 2nd, he is rejected.

II. The Rejection of the Son of God (29-36)

exp.: Jesus is rejected while hanging on the cross. There are people who pass by and mock him on the cross. The religious leaders also continue mocking him (29-32). This mocking continues until the end. Rd v35f; then in v 37, we read that Jesus died… That’s point #3, where we pick up this morning.


III. The Death of the Son of God (37-39)

exp.: Jesus cries out and breathes his last breath. Rd v 37; Two of his 7 Statements come to mind: Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. And, It is finished. He is dead. The penalty for sins has been satisfied. But something absolutely incredible happens at this moment. Rd v 38: the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

Many have asked if this could be true. Well, for the believer, we have God’s word. But as for secular history, the answer is yes. Listen to Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah:

“And now a shudder ran through Nature, as its Sun had set. We dare not do more than follow the rapid outlines of the Evangelistic narrative. As the first token, it records the rending of the Temple-Veil in two from the top downward to the bottom; as the second, the quaking of the earth, the rending of the rocks, and the opening of the graves… while the rending of the Veil is recorded first, as being the most significant token to Israel, it may have been connected with the earthquake, although this alone might scarcely account for the tearing of so heavy a Veil from the top to the bottom. Even the latter circumstance has its significance. That some great catastrophe, betokening the impending destruction of the Temple, had occurred in the Sanctuary about this very time, is confirmed by not less than four mutually independent testimonies: those of Tacitus, of Josephus, of the Talmud, and of earliest Christian tradition. The most important of these are, of course, the Talmud and Josephus. The latter speaks of the mysterious extinction of the middle and chief light in the Golden Candlestick, forty years before the destruction of the Temple; and both he and the Talmud refer to a supernatural opening by themselves of the great Temple-gates that had been previously closed, which was regarded as a portent of the coming destruction of the Temple”

I think it is wonderful when we have external evidence of Biblical recorded history. But we shouldn’t need it, but it sure does feel nice when we do! Well, all of these miraculous, supernatural events take place as bulleted notes by Mark. Rd v 39; Then, the centurion, who has charge over the detail, stood facing Jesus. As he witnesses the death of Jesus he remarks, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”(37-39).

app.: this statement is in line with what we’ve been reading in Mark for a year now. In chapter 1 Mark tells us this in the first verse. Then, in v 13, God says, this is my son! The demons recognize him as the chapters roll by. In Chapter 9, on the Mt. of Transfiguration, God once again declares the identity of who this is: His Son! Not once does a human acknowledge this, until now. And Mark closes out his book with this revelation. Theologians call this a melodic line. There is a phrase that echoes through the book called a melodic line.

t.s.: And for Mark, it is this: Jesus Christ is the Son of God. So, we have the Crucifixion, the Rejection, the Death, and now, the burial of the Son of God.

IV. The Burial of the Son of God (40-47)

exp.: more witnesses; rd v 40;

  1. Women: the men have abandoned him. At this point, only the women who were a part of his ministry remain. John records that he himself was there and was given the responsibility to care for Mary from now on. It turns out that these women had been faithfully serving Christ for some time. Look at verse 41; I’d like to note that Mary of Magdala, is always mentioned first when listing the women. She takes some prominence. Salome is listed, as well. Matthew identifies her as the mother of James and John. Likewise in Matthew, we see that she is the source of the request that one of her sons sit on the right hand of Jesus and the other, on the left. Mark lists these three and uses them as representative of a group of women who serve the Master (rd v 41).

These women serve an important role, in that, not only are they witnesses to his death, but they’ll also serve as witnesses of his burial and the location of that burial plot. The role of women in the first century was considered insignificant. We really haven’t seen too much of them throughout this book. It is only now that we find out about their significant role in Christ’s ministry. In other gospels, we learn that some were wealthy or prominent women.

  • The evening hours are upon them and Jewish custom required that a dead body be buried before nightfall. Read v 42f; Added to this stress, Mark tells us it is the day of Preparation. The Sabbath is upon them. They wouldn’t be able to work on the Sabbath. All preparations for his burial must be completed before sundown (I have found conflicting information here).

Joseph of Arimathea steps forward and requests the body of Jesus – to bury him properly. I can’t stress to you how important Joseph turns out to be. Their customs, practices, mores, and understandings would have made this situation difficult for the family. If they were from Nazareth, what would they do with his body? It should have been dumped outside of Jerusalem in the Valley of Hinnom or the City Dump. This action by Joseph would work so nicely, and it would serve the family well. It is really a remarkable gesture.

His body would then be hastily prepared because of the late hour. The women could return to this tomb first thing Sunday morning and finish the task of properly burying Jesus’ body. It could remain in the tomb for a year. And then after that year, the bones could be collected and placed in an ossuary. Then, they would be transported back to the family plot – wherever that might be. Joseph has a tomb nearby and volunteers it. Again, incredible.

A Couple of thoughts:

  1. Joseph’s actions are evidence that not all the Sanhedrin were allied against Christ. Added to this, John tells us in his Gospel that Nicodemus also participated in burying Jesus. So, more evidence that not all the Sanhedrin were against Jesus. Furthermore, the text says that Joseph had to gather up his courage to go to Pilate and ask for the body. It’s like he was counting the cost of making public his decision to follow Christ publicly. Other Gospels tell us that he was a secret follower and that he was wealthy. I’m guessing from this point forward, that it isn’t much of a secret! And it doesn’t look like Joseph wanted it to be a secret.
  2. Rd v 44f; Pilate is surprised by the death of Jesus – that is, that he died so quickly. He needs confirmation from the Centurion and gets it.
  3. Some have argued that this brevity and concern of Pilate offers evidence that Jesus wasn’t ‘really’ dead. There are a couple of stories in history that tell of crucified individuals who lived. One is a fictional satire written by Petronius. The story goes that the family brings their own member down off the cross while the Roman guard is away. But again, it is fiction. The second story is from Josephus, who finds out that three of his friends are being crucified. Josephus petitions Titus for their release and is granted his petition. Two of the men died, but one recovered from his injuries. But again, these stories aren’t anything like ours, where it was erroneously assumed by some that the Roman Centurion misdiagnosed the victim! BTW: there is no record of a Roman Guard ever misdiagnosing the death of an executed criminal.

Exp.: Mark then gets back to his story. Rd v46; Jewish custom would require him to wash the body and add ointments and spices. This was a temporary fix and would be remedied come Sunday morning when the women returned to the burial site.

Many such tombs have been discovered through the years and are available for tourists to visit. I visited one such site, the site not too far from the Golgatha, considered to be the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, the tomb Jesus will borrow for three days.

Well, we kind of have a Markan Sandwich again, as Mark circles back around to the women in v 47; you see them in v 40f and then again here; rd v 47’ – identifying them as witnesses to this event. We’ll pick up with this on Easter Sunday morning.

Conclusion: so, let me wrap this up.  Let me leave you with a couple of thoughts to take home with you.


  1. What are we to make of the foreigners in our story? Most of the Jews hated the Romans and their presence in Israel. The reality is most of them detested all foreigners. That was never their calling, though. They were supposed to be a light to the Gentiles. Interestingly, now, God uses foreigners in our story – and Mark reminds us. Simon from Cyrene – probably a Jew by birth, but from the African continent. More importantly, a 2nd foreigner, the Centurion was used to make the declaration Mark has been impressing on his readers since Chapter one. “Surely this was the Son of God.” This is a reminder to me that when I detest certain people – I’m not likely to share Christ with them. I want the foreigner out. He’s making things harder on me. Whether it is an illegal immigrant or a transgendered militant, Jesus died for their sins, too. Just as he did for me. Am I no different than the Jewish leadership who I rail on? Am I evangelistic, as I’ve been called to be to everyone? And, if I don’t share this incredible message of hope with those who are different than me, who will share with them? Or, should I say, if WE don’t share this incredible story, who will?
  2. What are we to make of the darkness in our story? And also, What about the torn Veil? In Genesis 15, there is a beautiful story about God’s faithfulness. He promises Abraham a heritage. And then, God cuts a covenant with Abraham. The animal is killed and cut into two pieces. God then passes between the two pieces of the sacrifice. This is huge. God invokes a curse upon himself should He ever fail in this regard, (which He won’t ever do because it isn’t in his nature,) then that death is what should happen to Him. So, in this story in Genesis, there is beauty and tragedy. Gen 15.12ff.

There is this darkness that is ‘dreadful and great’. I think about this moment when I consider our text, and how darkness covered the land for 3 hours. I think also of the plague of darkness in Exodus. I think there is a connection here for us. Darkness is a theme of judgment – Jesus refers to Hell as being ‘cast into outer darkness. There is beauty and hope and fear and tragedy all at the same time!

What hope is there for us? It is only through Christ and what he has accomplished on the Cross. That was all put on him at that moment. Without Christ – that is the judgment waiting for you. I would be remiss if I failed to tell you that.

Added to this, the veil being torn in two demonstrates that the separation between God and man has been removed. We now have access to God through Christ.

  • There is a planned baptism next Sunday. Wednesday night, I’m going to talk about baptism and why we do it. Why is our baptism different than that of say, Catholics or the Church of Christ? Why do we call new believers to baptism? Is it really that important? This Wednesday night.

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Filed under Evangelism, Genesis, Judgment, Mark, Scripture, Sermon

Mark 15.21-36

Title: The Son of God

Text: Mark 15.21-39

Introduction: We’ll be in two texts this morning: here (Mark 15) and Psalm 22.

Let’s review the events leading up to where we are and to the crucifixion –

  • Our series began in Chapter 14.1 where Jesus was anointed for burial. That event caused quite a stir among some, especially Judas who was so offended, he betrayed Jesus into the hands of those who wanted him dead.
  • Jesus celebrated the Passover Meal with his disciples – including Judas – on the night before his death. It is sometime during this meal that Judas slipped out and went to the religious leaders, having already agreed to betray Jesus into their hands. Just as the Passover had been instituted by God to be remembered and observed by the Jewish people, so also, at the end of the Passover meal, Jesus instituted for us the Lord’s Supper. These events that occurred at the crucifixion are what we remember every time we partake.
  • There is the prediction of the falling away of all the disciples and of course, Peter’s denial – which of course, he ended up doing. Jesus takes the disciples up to the Mount of Olives and then his three to pray with him in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is here the three who were adamant about their faithfulness cannot watch and pray for one hour with him.
  • Judas comes to the camp bringing a mob. Jesus is then arrested and led away to the High Priest. Jesus will spend the night before an informal gathering of the Sanhedrin. They will accuse Jesus falsely, but in the end, get him to say what they need to condemn him. Peter will be just outside in the courtyard denying he knows or is a part of Jesus.
  • In the morning, the Council (Sanhedrin) will gather and officially charge Jesus, but then take him to Pilate to deal with this issue of Jesus being the ‘King of the Jews’. 
  • Pilate, of course, will find no fault in him.
  • Pilate appealed to the crowd to release to them Jesus, as was the tradition he had begun some years before at this time. But instead, the crowd chose Barabbas, a man who had committed murder and was a revolutionary. The crowd’s desire was to have Jesus be crucified.
  • So, Pilate had him scourged and turned over to the soldiers. That is where our story picks up this morning… we begin in v 21; however, the language dictates that this section actually starts in v 16

I’ve outlined the message this way:

  1. The Crucifixion of the Son of God (21-28)
  2. The Rejection of the Son of God (29-36)
  3. The Death of the Son of God (37-39)
  4. The Burial of the Son of God (37-47)

Transition: I think Mark’s story is very simple, incredibly brief, and wholly restrained. He doesn’t try to move us to sympathy for Christ as he is tortured and punished; Nor, does he try to make us angry at those who we consider Christ’s enemies. So, let’s pick up in Mark 15.21, Where we see…

I. The Crucifixion of the Son of God (21-28)

exp.: The crucifixion is a process of execution. Pilate commissions his Roman soldiers to carry out that execution. Mark is very matter-of-fact about his storytelling. He almost lists these moments and actions as bullets. For example, he begins each sentence with And they… did such and such. Notice, Mark begins this for us in v 16 and continues through v 24; “and they”;

Mark is making it clear to us that these soldiers are the ones acting here. In our section, their first action is to keep the process going. Jesus has been so mistreated that he can’t keep going. He is just too weak. It was customary for the victim to carry his own cross. It is most likely that he didn’t carry the whole thing himself, but rather just the traverse beam. He fell beneath its weight and needed someone else to carry his crossbeam. So, (rd v 21) they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. It is amazing that Mark includes some interesting information here for us.

  • Simon is a Jewish name – so we assume that this man was a Jew. Of Cyrene means he was from North Africa, making him a Jew of the Diaspora – i.e.: the Exile.

The question would be why? Why would Mark add this to his story?

  1. I believe he wants us to see there are witnesses to what is happening. Sure, the disciples wimped and ran, but not others. In a moment, Mark will add to these folks, some women who were present.
  2. It is highly possible that this Rufus, probably just a child here, is the same Rufus mentioned in Romans 16.13. Consider, Mark served in Rome under Peter. This Gospel is considered written to those people. This would be a natural tie. However, with that said – it doesn’t make it so. But, if that is the case, it would make sense that Mark would add witnesses who they would know.
  3. In 1941, an Israeli archeologist unearthed a burial cave used by a family from Cyrene. This burial cave was used just before the destruction of the Temple and was found on the western slope of the Kidron Valley. The valley that links the Temple and the Mt of Olives. What got the attention of these scholars was an inscription on one ossuary. It was written twice in Greek: Alexander, son of Simon. To be sure, these were common names by people of that day. I’m sure there were other Jews from Cyrene who had moved back to Israel. But it is interesting, nonetheless.

So what is Mark doing? I think he’s just dropping names. Here are the witnesses and you know them or can easily find them and ask them yourselves!  

ill.: If I were to tell a story about the past and I dropped the name Bob Padget, most folks in these parts would say “I know him.” I might get beat up, too, but most folks know the name. And I could mention his kids. All of the sudden, there is credibility to my story.  

exp.: Well, they (the soldiers) brought him to Golgatha – the place of the skull.

ill.: Show Pictures. The 1st one is from the early 20th Century… the 1900s. the 2nd is a pic from modern times – probably in the last 30 years. Now, look at this photo from 2014. Should Jesus tarry in his return, our grandchildren will only be able to see old pictures. The decay is occurring at an alarming rate – and because it is Arab-owned, there is nothing that can be done to preserve it. 

exp.: So, they offer him some wine mixed with myrrh. Rd v 23; I was taught growing up that this was probably used as a painkiller. There are stories of women who would mix frankincense with wine and offer it to the condemned. However, consider that those who offer the wine aren’t the women, but the soldiers. Because of this, it is possible that this is more of the mockery they have been pouring out on Jesus – offering him the finest of wines for a King.

Then, after this processional, v 24 tells us that Jesus is crucified. Rd v 24; I think this is much more important to Mark in the storytelling – Jesus is fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies concerning him. Here, Mark quotes from Psalm 22 – Specifically, v 18. Turn there. Mark makes clear references to:

V1:        My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

V6-8:    But I am a worm and not a man,

scorned by mankind and despised by the people.

   All who see me mock me;

they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;

   “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;

let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

V15-16, 18: 15            my strength is dried up like a potsherd,

and my tongue sticks to my jaws;

you lay me in the dust of death.

16    For dogs encompass me;

a company of evildoers encircles me;

       they have pierced my hands and feet—

18    they divide my garments among them,

and for my clothing they cast lots.

app.: Truthfully, you can read so much more into Mark from Psalms, especially when you know this story through the eyes of the other Gospels. Mark’s intent is for us, the reader, to see that Jesus is fulfilling what was spoken of him through the Prophets and the Writings.

Consider what Mark has done:

  1. He’s dropped a name they would know, a witness to what had happened. This is probably someone they knew.
  2. He’s told them where it happened. A place that would have been familiar to them. They probably knew what he was talking about.
  3. He’s quoted to them or referenced to them Old Testament Scripture, demonstrating that this was foretold in times past.

exp.: Mark gives us a timeline in v 25 – 9 am when he was crucified. They place a placard – an inscription with this charge: King of the Jews. And they crucified him between two thieves. 

t.s.: First, The Son of God is Crucified, and 2nd, he is rejected.

II. The Rejection of the Son of God (29-36)

exp.: Jesus is rejected while hanging on the cross. There are people who pass by and mock him on the cross. The religious leaders also continue mocking him (29-32). But something very interesting happens about noon: Darkness. Man, I wish we had time to spend talking about darkness.

  • Not a solar eclipse: it lasted 3 hours – vs. 2min and 25 sec. 
  • I think of the 9th plague: darkness: a Darkness to be felt! I think of Isaiah 9: 22 And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.

For unto us a Child Is Born

But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time, he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time, he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

   The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light;

       those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,

on them has light shone.

That famous passage on the promised coming Messiah…

What is going on here? Well, I believe it is a demonstration of the Father’s reaction to the sin of the world. This becomes clearer for us as Jesus cries out “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” You probably noted this earlier when we read Psalm 22. At this point I can’t help but think of the song:

How deep the Father’s love for us– How fast beyond all measure

That he should give his only son– to make a wretch his treasure

How great the pain of searing the loss– The Father turns His face away

As wounds which mar the Chosen One– Bring many sons to glory

 Psalm 88.14 – 14 O Lord, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me? If you’re having a tough time with this – the actions of God – Can I let you in on a little secret? There in Psalm 22.24, we read, All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! 24 For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. God sacrificed his Son for our sins. But he did not abandon him. I think that is important.

exp.: I believe the mocking continues as someone grabs a sponge and offers Jesus a drink, but hesitates to see if Elijah will come to his rescue (33-36).

app.: I picture this ‘someone’ with the reed in his hand as Jesus dies…

t.s.: The Son of God is Crucified, is rejected and finally, he dies… This is our third point and we’ll pick up here, next week…

Conclusion: so, let me wrap this up.  Let me leave you with a couple of thoughts.


  1. The Christians of the early church who were suffering persecution would have been encouraged by this story. Persecution, suffering and death are not necessarily a sign of God’s absence, but rather his active work in our lives and in the lives of others.
  2. There is irony here:
    1.  In how Jesus is treated; what they call him and who he really is.
    1. They call him to save himself, but by staying on the cross he will make it possible for them to be saved.
    1. Although all rejected Christ, he will not reject anyone who comes by faith.
  3. God judges sin and the penalty for sin is death. Therefore, all sinners must die. However, Christ died for the unjust, giving us hope. Let Christ pay your death penalty and set you free today.
  4. Observance of the Lord’s supper.

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Filed under Mark, Messiah, Psalms, Scripture

Mark 15.1-20

Title: Who Killed Jesus?

Text: Mark 15.1-20

Introduction: Who killed Jesus? Don’t answer too quickly and don’t give me a Sunday School answer! You probably have some ideas, but it isn’t as easy as just blurting out an answer. You blame one person or group and there are answers to clear them and shift the blame to another group. So, who killed Jesus?

This question has caused many throughout the last couple of millennia to cast accusations and stir up hate. Certain people rise to power and use that power to persecute and discriminate against others. People have gone to war over such things. Even before the holocaust in the ’30s and ’40s, which I’m sure you’re familiar with…

In our text this morning, there are four different groups who have power – at least to some degree in one way or another. Let’s look to see who these folks are and how they wield their power. Let’s observe if we can see how they play a part in killing Jesus:

  1. The Jews
  2. The Romans
  3. The People
  4. The Soldiers

Let’s begin with this first group.

I. The Jewish Authorities (1)

exp.: rd v1;

  1. As soon as it was morning; Their work was done in during the night hours; from this text, we actually get a timeline;
    1. 15.1: as soon as it was morning
    1. 15.25: it was now the 3rd hour
    1. 15.33: the 6th hour to the 9th hour
    1. 15.34: the 9th hour
    1. 15.42: and when evening had come;
  2. …the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole counsel (Gk: Sanhedrin);
    1. Many have argued that these are responsible for putting Jesus to death and that has caused anti-Semitism to spread down through the centuries. As early as 66 AD; massacres occurred in the Nile Delta in Egypt; in 113-115 AD another report of massacres. Repeated ad nauseam to the Holocaust of the early 1900s; This has led others to rise up in their defense of the Jews. Genesis 12.3
    1. Many other scholars have reported that the Council couldn’t put Jesus to death, so you can’t blame them. They say it would have been illegal for the Jews to put anyone to death. Carl Walls presented this argument to us last Wednesday night as we walked through each of the three mock trials (cf.: Jn 18.31). And he makes a great point, but if that is truly the case, explain why they could put Stephen to death in Acts 8; They put Stephen to death by stoning him and Saul was there holding the coats of those who cast their stones and giving approval. One guess is that they couldn’t put him to death for the charge they laid against him.
    1. No, I think they held their consultation with the whole counsel for the purpose of determining a specific charge of Jesus being “King of the Jews” (rd v2). If Jesus claims to be King, well, then that’s high treason, punishable by death. I think that is why they didn’t kill him themselves. They could get someone else to do that – and that’s just what they did. Besides, a Roman death would be so much more public and humiliating. With the holidays upon them, they wouldn’t have to break their own laws by executing someone during the festival. And, they wouldn’t risk upsetting the crowds who loved Christ. There were just too many good reasons against their putting him to death and getting someone else to do it.
  3. Two words stick out in our text and guide our study, and these words are repetitive as we continue reading v1. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him; (14.53, 15.1, 10, 15, 16, 20); these two words direct us through the timeline and the process;  

app.: these two words will help us identify that none of these folks wanted Jesus – so they led him away and delivered him over to someone else.

t.s.: So, Did the Jews kill Jesus? To be sure, these religious leaders started all this, but they didn’t actually execute the charge. Instead, they delivered Jesus over to Pilate; we see that in v2ff

II. The Roman Authorities (2-5)

exp.: rd v2a; King of the Jews; I think Mark is giving us some direction here; this term King of the Jews is another repetition we see; after not appearing in Mark at all, it now appears 6x’s in this chapter; here in v 2, 9, 12, 18, 26, and as King of Israel in v 32; So, this is probably the charge the religious authorities present to Pilate; rd v 2b; now in English, we cringe! Did he just condemn himself? Well, in the Greek it is so ambiguous that you’re just not sure what he said; The English translation try to convey that, but it just doesn’t work: you say

  • ESV: You have said so…
  • NASB: It is as you say… this is so far from a literal translation I don’t know where to begin. If you have a NASB, you’ll note the first three words are in italics, meaning those words have been supplied.
  • NIV: gets even further away… Yes, it is as you say.
  • CSB: You say so… closer than the others, but still not correct.
  • KJV: Even the King James Version adds words to make a sentence. Thou sayest it.

Why? Because Jesus is ambiguous in his reply: Subject: You; Verb: say, It’s like an incomplete sentence – an incomplete thought.

Now the Religious Leaders throw accusation after accusation, but Jesus doesn’t respond – to Pilate’s amazement; rd v 3-5.  

There is something else I’d like to note: the other Gospels tell us of how Jesus was sent to Herod, but Herod didn’t want him either; Mark doesn’t tell us this part. I guess for him, it wasn’t necessary to tell us this story. But something I think, that is important about that detail is that it shows Pilate really didn’t want to deal with this. Pilate didn’t want Jesus either.

app.: And, with the help of the other gospels, we know that Pilate found no guilt in this man. So he sought to pass this problem on to Herod; and then, he sought to release him;

t.s.: We find out something very interesting by the way that Mark presents this release and it’s found in this third section…

III. The Crowds (6-15)

exp.: I think the way this works actually begins in v 8, but Mark fills us in on the details in 6-7, so v 8 will make sense; they initiate a release, not Pilate; A question you might have is: who is the ‘crowd’? v 11 tells us the religious leaders have worked the crowds, but who made the request?

  • Was it followers and supporters of Barabbas? We often think of him as a criminal and a murderer, but there are those who love that he was zealous and rising up against the Romans.
  • Did Pilate offer Barabbas to the crowd, thinking to himself that they would never vote to release such a horrible criminal?
  • The ‘crowd’ could have been the high priest’s henchmen who started this up. It might have just been circumstantial or situational as the religious leaders see it – you know, an auspicious occasion in their eyes. So, in v 11, they begin working the crowds for Barabbas’ release.

Now, v 10 lets us in on Pilate’s thinking – that he perceived this whole circus was orchestrated by the religious leaders and they did all that they were doing because of envy or sometimes translated jealousy. I love the Gk word, its’ spelling beings phth – φθόνος; Isn’t it funny, I mean ‘odd’ or ‘peculiar’ what jealousy can lead us to do to others?

t.s.: There is one last group here… you could add them to the list of those we might accuse of killing Jesus.

IV. The Soldiers mock and persecute Him (16-20)

exp.: they’re the ones who would drive the nails; they’re the ones who weave a crown of thorns; at this stage of our story, Jesus is mocked, beaten, and ridiculed by those entrusted with his execution; they humiliate him repeatedly.

*We’ll pick up here next week… I just want to add them to this section to say, many actually blame the soldiers for killing Jesus.

t.s.: So, who killed Jesus and why did they kill Jesus ?


  1. The Jewish leadership pushed for Christ’s death at the hands of the Romans. It was their plan from as early as Mark 3.6 to destroy him. They may have instigated it all, but they didn’t pull the trigger.
  2. Pilate clearly found no fault in him and wanted to release him. When he found a way, the crowds rejected his proposal and asked for Barabbas’ release. You could add Herod here to the list of Roman Authorities. Although Mark doesn’t add that part of the story, the other Gospels let us in on it. Herod was interested as far as observing Jesus as a sideshow, but nothing more.
  3. The crowds may have been worked up into a frenzy; however, their call for his crucifixion wasn’t as if they pulled the trigger either.
  4. The Battalion cruelly mistreated Christ, but only a few will actually carry out the orders to crucify Christ. And I’m not so sure these guys are all on board, even though they’re obedient, for we will see next week the Centurion standing at the foot of the cross proclaiming, Truly this man was the son of God (v39).

So, which one of these killed Jesus?

  • I think they all did. Not one is more responsible than the others. No one is less guilty than any of the others. Furthermore, the Bible teaches us that it was God’s Will to accomplish this. Let that sink in – these people all acted within their own free will to exercise their jealousies, their hate, their power, but God was in charge the whole time. And, I guess added to this you and I killed him. It was because it was for your sin and my sin that Jesus died.

Transition: I think it is interesting how each one wielded what power they had to do their deeds. And that brings me to the application for this morning.

Application: Power is a scary force.

  1. The Religious Leaders use their power to bring Jesus before Pilate. They use their power as influence over the crowd.
    1. Pilate uses his power as authority to execute Jesus.
    1. The crowd uses its power as a vote to release Barabbas and vote to crucify Jesus.
    1. The soldiers use their power to humiliate and mistreat Jesus.

So, let me ask you:

  1. Where is your power and how do you use it?
  2. With your family? – over your wife or husband, over your kids, or your adult parents. Sometimes one of the spouses holds the purse strings and lords it over the other. Spouses us their power to withhold favor – sexual favor, getting their husband or wife to behave or do or act or… Sometimes, the oldest in the family use their power to get what they want. Maybe it is money they have and they use their money to get their grown up kids to do and act and (story of young woman whose grandparents told her that they would pay for her medical school if she lost weight… I’ve even seen little children run a family – using their power over their parents.
  3. In your work or business? – over other employees or coworkers? Do people have to come to you to get things done? Do they need your permission and you hold it over them until they perform or do or act or behave…
  4. What about at church? Elders, Deacons, Teachers, Pastor and staff…we all have power through position and influence. Where do you use your power and how do you use it?

Here is the point: you do have power. I think of little children at school, even, who use their power as influence over other children.

Ill.: years ago I was taken a group of children to Children’s Camp. There were a group of three boys in the group of children. One of these boys would play the other two against each other, wielding his power like a mob boss. On the trip, he pulled out a bag of candy. He then proceeded to give one of the boys some of his stash. The 3rd boy asked for some and was refused. This little boy who had been refused began to offer money for a piece of candy. Eventually, the little boy offered all the money he had brought for the week for just one piece of candy. That little mob boss refused to sell his candy to the other boy at that inflated rate.

Pause: This sinful nature never seems to leave us does it? It will rule over us, unless of course, there is a change.

You see, the one person in this story who doesn’t execute the power he has – and he has the ultimate power – is Jesus. I think of Phil 2: although Jesus had the right of heaven, he let go of his rights to the throne of heaven and became a man – a simple man, a humble man. Through his obedience to his father, he humble himself and became obedient to death. That’s what we see going on here.

In that passage in Philippians, Paul urges his readers to become more like Jesus – to take his attitude in all things. And his plea to take on the mind of Christ comes from his plea in v1-4; 2.So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Paul’s talking about relationships within the church. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Let’s pray…

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Filed under Mark, Scripture

Mark 14.53-72

Title: A Tale of Two Stories

Text: Mark 14.53-72

Introduction: Mark 14.53; Psalm 88; Daniel 7; I’d like to begin by looking at an outline of the overall story we’re following in Mark and where we’re headed over the next few weeks leading up to Easter:

His Arrest leads to the following events:

  1. He is brought before Caiaphas, the High Priest
  2. The Inquisition before The Sanhedrin
    1. Lack of Witnesses
    1. Lack of agreement between Witnesses
    1. Before the frustrated High Priest once again
    1. His testimony condemns him
  3. The Trial before the Sanhedrin the next morning where he is found guilty and sentenced to death
  4. Sent to Pilate
    1. Found not guilty
    1. Pilate brings him before the Crowd who find him guilty
  5. He is Delivered to the Battalion to be Crucified
  6. He is Crucified between two thieves
  7. His Death
  8. His Burial
  9. His Resurrection

In our text this morning, two events are occurring simultaneously: Jesus remains silent while he is being falsely accused by the religious leaders and Peter is blatantly denying any connection to Christ while being accurately identified as one of his followers by a servant girl.

We see this in the form of writing Mark employs. His introduction is in v 53-54 – first Jesus, then Peter; then the two stories are told in 55-65 and 66-72. This is how we’ll divide up the message this morning, into these three parts: The Contrast between the Two Stories, The Integrity of Christ throughout his Inquisition, and the Failure of Peter during his.

You might remember that Mark likes his stories in threes. Here, in our simultaneous two stories, each has three parts. Jesus before the Religious leaders in some fashion three times. Peter was questioned three times and he denied Jesus three times.

Transition: Let’s begin with verses 53 and 54…

I. A Contrast of Two Responses (53-54)

exp.: rd v 53f; v 53 tells us two events; He is brought before the High Priest. The High Priest summons the Council. The events we’ll be looking at took place over many hours in the dark of night. In the time in between his trials, Jesus was probably held in a cell – something more like a dungeon. When I went to Israel in 2014, we went to the place where Jesus would have been held. He would have been brought out before the High Priest and then again, with the Council. And each time they wanted to deliberate, they would have sent him back to the dungeon. The group I was with went down into this dungeon, this holding pit, and we read Psalm 88.

I believe there is so much more that goes on between these sentences. I’m sure, the religious leaders are scrambling – but what to do with a prisoner waiting to stand before them. He would have been held here while the members of the Sanhedrin are summoned. According to their rules, they only need 23 of the 70 members to form a quorum. So, they don’t have to get every member – just the ones they want.

In the times between, Jesus would have been lowered into this holding pit. He would have been alone. It would have been absolute darkness. Maybe they hung a torch above, but why waste that resource? He might hear other prisoners crying out in agony. But, other than that, he would have only his own heartbeat and breathing. I wonder if Psalm 88 crossed his mind.

Take yourself there in your mind. It is damp, the silence is deafening. Read Psalm 88.

exp.: at the same time, Jesus was going through his struggles, Peter was outside waiting and watching. Rd v 54a; I’m having a moment here because I can picture this; Jesus is in the pit and Peter is right outside – waiting and watching. I’m guessing as Jesus is brought in and out and back and forth, Peter saw him. rd v 54b;

app.: So, Mark has set us up using a form of writing that indicates for us that these two stories are to be understood in light of each other: Two different responses to each situation – Jesus, before the religious leaders and Peter outside by the fire.

t.s.: Let’s look first, as Mark has outlined it for us, at Jesus …

II. The Integrity of Christ (55-65)

exp.: rd v 55; 1st, I don’t think whole indicates all 70 were there; I think it indicates that there was enough to have a full quorum. Enough is there to conduct business as it were. Their business is focused – to fulfill the goal they’ve set way before – killing Jesus.

It’s interesting how they do this – how they skirt their own laws and rules. You see, it was against their own law to meet at night like this. This is why they repeat the whole thing in Chapter 15.1; rd 15.1; So, it is after they’ve done all this work that they ‘make it all legal’ as it were.

So, according to Scripture, the only way to do this is with enough witnesses who can verify that he is guilty. But they found none!

  1. First of all, they were lying. Rd 56; So they found some other liars; rd 57-59;
  2. 2ndly, they couldn’t get their testimonies to agree. Remember this is all taking place during the night hours.

So it all ends in frustration. They are unable to find 3 witnesses who have the same story. So, the high priest stands up and takes over; rd v 60-61a; silence; rd 61b; Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” That’s a loaded question!

  • Christ: the anointed one; the messiah; this is something only God can confer upon someone. We’ve seen it in the book of Mark already (this is my beloved son…);
  • Son of the Blessed: The Blessed One is God. i.e.: are you God’s Son.

And Jesus answered quite simply: “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

The High Priest tore his garments; that means he probably isn’t wearing his priestly garments; these guys finally have what they’ve wanted; you see, Jesus says some pretty bold statements here:

I kind of picture the High Priest responding like Tom Cruise at Jack Nicholson’s confession to issuing the Code Red. But instead of stepping aside and saying; if it pleases the court, I suggest the members be dismissed so that we can move to an immediate Article 39a session. The witness has rights. This high priest tears his clothes and cries Blasphemy. Why? There are two verses of Scripture Jesus alludes to when he speaks. The 1st is Psalm 110.1: The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” Which is a clear reference to the Messiah. Probably, the most quoted verse in the OT! I don’t know that for sure, but it has to be in the top 10. 2ndly, he quotes from Daniel 7. Turn there and let’s read that together.

Rd 7.9-14; Jesus isn’t claiming to be an earthly king – he’s claiming to be part of the Godhead. When he says, sitting at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven, He’s making a definitive statement about who he is and, the High Priest gets it – as does everyone else in the room. Rd 63b: “What further witnesses do we need? Rd 64; 64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death.

Now it gets ugly. It’s one thing to despise a man because you think him an idiot or you hate his politics or theology. It is another to physically abuse him because you don’t like him. Rd v 65: so these godly, humble men…spit on him! They cover his face and hit him! They deliver him over to the Temple guards and they beat on him, too.

t.s.: I’m guessing some of this is even seen by Peter. Remember he’s right there.

III. The Failure of Peter (66-72)

exp.: rd 66-68; Jesus is peppered with questions and accusations that are false. Peter is hit with questions and accusations that are totally true. But, Peter denies it. In v 70 the same girl speaks up.

  1. The 1st time it was to him alone.
  2. The 2nd time she speaks to the bystanders
  3. The 3rd time one of the bystanders speaks up – according to another Gospel, it is his accent that sticks out.

ill.: note the contrast between these two men:

  • Peter is accused by a servant girl; Jesus, by a mob.
  • Peter is faced with true accusations; The accusations against Jesus are all false
  • Peter lies to his crowd but is left alone; Jesus tells the truth and is condemned for it

Rd v 72; Luke’s narrative has always intrigued me. If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to read what Luke writes:

60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

This verse moves me because I can only imagine what the eyes of Jesus communicated to Peter. Were his eyes blackened? Swollen? Bloodied? Here is a man who has been more than a friend. The look; the rooster crows; the remembrance of the prediction – all of these culminate in a moment of realization for Peter. And in that moment and in those eyes were the compassion of a messiah whose heart is filled with forgiveness for those who reject and deny him, even this fallen apostle.

Conclusion: Oh, the countless times I’ve failed or denied my savior. And Oh, the gravity of his forgiveness that haunts my mind, as I understand I am so undeserving of his mercy.  

Application: Well, what do I want you to remember from this message? Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Son of God. He rules and reigns in power. He alone will stand as judge over the earth. In light of this, I want you to know:

  1. The actions of his life demonstrate perfect faithfulness and truth.
  2. The promises in his words are perfectly sure and trustworthy. ‘then Peter remembered how Jesus had said’…What he has said will come to pass.
  3. Because of these two truths:
    1. Restoration is now our hope.

Oh sure, we can live in failure, but why would we want to? It is interesting that Mark records neither Peter’s restoration nor Judas’ suicide. If we were left with, ‘And he broke down and wept’ But never heard anything of Peter again, those would be sad words indeed. But we have been left with more… the hope of restoration!

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Filed under Humility, Loyalty, Mark, Psalms, Scripture, Sermon

Mark 14.27-50

Title: The Abused Shepherd-King

Text: Mark 14.27-50

Introduction: We’ll be here in three different texts this morning: Mark 14, Zechariah some; Psalm 118. Bookmark Mark 14 & Zechariah. Psalm 118 is a handout and we’ll read that together as Responsive Reading. As for Mark 14 and Zechariah, go ahead and bookmark these places for convenience.

My outline this morning will follow the movements of these men geographically across the map:

  1. As they move out to the Mt. of Olives (v26), Jesus offers The Prediction: They will all fall away
  2. Then, Jesus & the 3 move to Gethsemane (v32), The Garden Prayer: Alone, because the others are sleeping
  3. Finally, Jesus and the 3 move back to the Mt. O w/ the disciples and are joined by Judas and the Mob (v42), The Prediction: It is fulfilled as they all flee!  

rd v 26; I wish I knew the hymn; we can safely assume it was one of the hymns of the Hallel; at this stage of the Passover celebration, they were probably at Psalm 118 – which would be sung antiphonally; (Read it together); then the mood changes as Jesus tells them plainly in v 27;

I. The Prediction: Fall Away (27-31)

exp.: As they walk and sing, the mood changes when Jesus, and the reality of this night and tomorrow, hit him hard in v 27: You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ Now you might expect Peter to pull Jesus aside and tell him once again not to be so negative – but that didn’t work out so well the last time that happened! Maybe, with the song, they’ve just sung, and the teaching they’ve experienced, maybe, just maybe, they’re starting to get it.

This verse Jesus quotes from the Old Testament, specifically, from Zechariah; Zechariah is filled with prophecies about the Messiah; we learn a lot about the Messiah from Zechariah. One characteristic, in particular, is Zechariah’s emphasis on the Messiah as the Temple Builder. In this regard, Jesus is like the shepherd-kings:

  • Moses, who as the shepherd-king built the 1st Tabernacle which traveled with the children of Israel.
  • David and/or Son of David: I say ‘David’s son’ because he is the Son of David. David, the shepherd-king was not allowed to build the Temple, but instead that task was given to his son. (Song: these are the days of Elijah)
  • Zerubabbel: He, too is a pattern, a type of Christ; he, too is a Temple builder; he came and rebuilt Solomon’s Temple after the devastation of the exile. The sheep were scattered abroad and he served as a ‘shepherd-king’ re-building the Temple. The Word of the Lord came in Zechariah 4.6-10;

Mark seems to be very familiar with Zechariah, taking from the 2nd half of Zechariah some of his prophecies and adding them to the storyline for us to follow. For example, in Zechariah we see:

  • The Messiah’s Character – we see this future figure filled with righteousness and yet displaying deep humility (9.9); His Reign is Universal (9.10); In 9.11, you see his willingness to sacrifice himself – to die for his people. This unique combination of humility and sovereignty is seen in the imagery of an abused shepherd-king;
  • The Shepherd-king Pattern: When I say, “Shepherd-King”, Can you see Moses? Can you see David? Zechariah continues to build on this imagery of this shepherd-king who is one who is abused; rd Zech 12.10; 13.7; the Lord speaks to the sword: Strike the shepherd;

Jesus is quoting from this text where Yahweh says to the Sword: Strike the Shepherd. This is the Lord’s doing; Isaiah: Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him. But Jesus doesn’t end with this statement: you’ll all fall away. Look at what he says next: rd v 28; I’m going to die, you’ll be scattered, but I will be raised up and we will be brought back together. And, I’ll meet you in Galilee.

But Peter doesn’t catch all of what Jesus is saying. He only hears the negative statement of their falling away.

ill.: Do you ever do that? Listen to the 1st part of what is being said, but not the whole thing? It seems that Peter has done that constantly, starting back in 8.31; here, Peter has missed it again. Jesus is going to die and rise again. If Peter dies defending Jesus, he’ll miss that part!

app.: Well, Jesus leaves the sound of their voices resonating in the air. Me, too!

t.s.: So, they arrive at wherever it is they’re staying at Gethsemane.

II. The Garden: Gethsemane (32-42)

exp.: rd v 32; this word ‘sit’ has different meanings and from the situation at the end of this passage, it seems to mean ‘set up camp’ here. This word is used in the OT by God to tell David that he will set a descendant of his on the throne. So, these guys set up camp – maybe it already kind of was. Rd 33a; Jesus then takes the three others with him: Peter, James, and John.

Think about these three:

  • Peter has just declared that he would never abandon Christ. He will go to prison or even fight to the death for him. Keep that in mind.
  • These other two were the ones that asked him previously that one of them might sit on his right and the other on his left. They declared that they were able to be baptized with the baptism of Jesus and drink from the cup that he will drink from. They said so ignorantly. ‘Cup’ often times has the idea of wrath with it. It is ‘poured’ out. They just don’t get it.

And here they have an opportunity to step up. For what they don’t see – and honestly, what I’m not sure we grasp – is Christ’s moment of…. Fear? Uncertainty?

I know, I know, you’re like: what a minute Fred! This is God in the flesh. He ain’t scarit of nuthin’!

Bear with me….

Rd v 33b-34; note those three words:

  • Distressed
  • Troubled
  • Sorrowful (even unto death)

Have you ever said something like: “Man, this is killing me!” I’m not sure we’ve ever been to the state of distress and sorrow like Jesus! So, in this state of distress, trouble, and sorrow (even unto death!) he asks the three to remain here and watch. The idea is to stay awake and be alert, keep watch with me.

Then, what does Jesus do? He walks a little distance away and cries out to the Father. Rd v 36; “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

Here is Jesus asking the Father for another way, stating, “you can do anything… anything is possible for you.” And here’s his request: Remove this cup from me.

Doesn’t this just really catch you off guard? It does me. I have a tough time reconciling the sovereignty of God over the free will of man. You can see this tension here. We can talk about that at WEBS if you’d like. For now, let’s look at something unique that Mark is doing.

This is big, for a couple of reasons:

  1. Chiasm: the structure of this passage…

A. The Prediction: Fall Away (27-28)

                        B. Reply: Peter’s Denial (29-31)

                                    C. Disciples: Sit here (32)

                                                D. The Three: Watch and Pray (33-34)

                                                            E. Climax: Distress, Troubled, and Sorrowful (33-36)

                                                D. The Three: Sleeping times 3

                                    C. Disciples: joined with Judas and the Mob

                        B. Response: Peter’s Defense

A. The Prediction: Fulfilled

So, with this information, let’s take a deeper look at this passage. If, this is correct – Mark’s focus then would be this moment – Christ’s suffering emotionally, spiritually.

  • This is so… Un-Christ-like. Mark has presented to us someone who is unflappable in the Messiah. The Religious Leaders have tried to trip him up many times. Through all the healings, feedings, struggles, storms – never once does the Messiah show weakness. But take his reaction to this now and compare it with many who’ve died for the faith.

Ill.: I am always amazed at the strength and courage of martyrs for Christ. Consider the story of seven brothers and their mother, who praised God and mocked the arrogance of Antiochus the king even as they are one by one gruesomely tortured and executed. After six have died, the youngest refuses to recant and even taunts the king:

But you, unholy wretch, you most defiled of all mortals, do not be elated in vain and puffed up by uncertain hopes, when you raise your hand against the children of heaven. You have not yet escaped the judgment of the almighty, all-seeing God. For our brothers after enduring a brief suffering have drunk of ever-flowing life, under God’s covenant; but you, by the judgment of God, will receive just punishment for your arrogance (Strauss, p. 637).

Or consider Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, when brought before a magistrate and told he would be burned at the stake if he did not recant. Tim Keller records it this way:

The magistrate said in effect, “I will give you one more chance: You can reject Christianity, you can recant, and avoid execution.” Some witnesses wrote down Polycarp’s reply: “The fire you threaten burns but an hour and is quenched after a little… You do not know the fire of the coming judgment… But why do you delay? Come, do what you will.

Keller, in his book on Mark, also tells of Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer, who were burned at the stake for their faith in Oxford in 1555. They were tied side by side, and when the fire was lit, it is said that Latimer said to Ridley: Be of good comfort Master Ridley, and play the man: we shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England, as I trust shall never be put out (Keller, p. 191).

But Christ is struggling at this moment. You know the story already, don’t you? He returns and pleads with them to stay awake and pray. Do they? No, these men who in their arrogance tried to instruct Christ – wimp out.

app.: Isn’t that so like most of us as humans? We speak boldly of a faith in Christ and if called on to die, we’d march right up to the stake and volunteer our hands to be tied. Die for Christ? Yes, and we’d sing praises to God as we burned at the stake. But ask us to watch and pray for one hour and what is our response?

We are wimps when it comes to praying. You and I are not willing to give up sleep.

As a church, I hear you say – we should be praying – we need a time of prayer about this matter. We have one: every Wednesday night.

So what is it about this struggle that is different than these Martyrs? Well, Christ isn’t being martyred. He is going through something quite different. He is about to bear the sins of humanity. He is standing on a precipice that overlooks the flames of hell. He is standing before the open gates of hell and he feels the rush of heat blow past his soul. He is about to bear the penalty for your sin and my sin.

t.s.: The wages of sin is death…but the free gift of eternal life would not be a possibility today if he hadn’t paid this price. He returns a third time to find them sleeping in v 41, but it is too late to prepare in prayer now – rd v 42:  Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

III. The Prediction: Fulfilled (43-50)

exp.: display the chiasm; Jesus returns to the place where he left the disciples earlier in time to meet up with Judas and a mob that has come to arrest him. Judas betrays Jesus with a greeting and a kiss.

This event, which occurs in all four Gospels, is the shortest version in our Bibles. Mark mentions only that some individual struck with a sword, cutting off the ear of the high priest’s servant. But here’s what we know from the other gospels:

  • John identifies for us the attacker, who he says is Peter.
  • And John says the servant’s name was Malchus (John 18:10).
  • Both Luke and John identify the severed ear as the “right ear” (Luke 22:50; John 18:10).
  • Mark does not mention any response by Jesus to the man (He does, however, rebuke his opponents; see vv. 48–49).
  • In the other three gospels, Jesus calls for the men to stop,
    • While Matthew adds the proverb that “all who draw the sword will die by the sword”
    • And that if he wished, he could call twelve legions of angels to his defense (Matt 26:52–53).
  • Luke alone lets us in on the miracle of Jesus healing Malchus’ ear (Luke 22:51).

So, taking from the other gospels, These men lay hands on Jesus and Peter decides now to act in defense. He cuts off the ear of Malchus, but Jesus stops it all. Rd v 48-49; and the prophecy comes true in v 50 – they all left him and fled. So quick to get away, one young man who had stripped down to his towel, probably cleaning himself up for the night, when someone grabbed him….rd 51-52;

t.s.: And the prophecy is fulfilled.

Conclusion: I wouldn’t say that Christ was depressed in our story. But, he sure was hurting, struggling with all that he was going through.

Application: Christ was distressed and troubled as his soul became very sorrowful, even unto death. While at his lowest point, entering into the suffering and persecution he would face, all of his friends – and enemies, would abandon him.

Many scholars, authors, and composers believe that God abandoned his Son, as well. That is why they say he cries out: My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me! Eloi, Eloi, Lema Sabachthani. They say that is why the sun did not shine, etc.

We sing: How great the pain of searing loss; The Father turns His face away; As wounds which mar the Chosen One; Bring many sons to glory.

I’m not so sure that this is true, though. In spite of the fact that so many teach this. I know, I know, who am I to question what has been taught throughout the ages. But this one verse caught my attention once: Ps 22 – the whole Psalm is contextually aligned with the Scripture: in v24 For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.

It appears, in spite of Christ’s struggle and the Father’s will to crush him, The father did not turn away and hide his face from his son.

Therefore, in light of this:

  1. When we endure the hardest of times, there is one who understands far better than we know! Tim Keller writes: “there’s a gap between the desires of your heart and the circumstances of your life, and the bigger the gap, the greater the suffering.” I think the trick then is to close the gap between our desires and our circumstances. I know that’s not easy. I’m not saying it is. Maybe I’m saying just try to be more realistic and genuine in where you are. And Remember, as the writer of Hebrews reminds us that God has promised us that he will never leave or forsake us. Let us then hold on to the promise of God.
  2. Let us be cautious and not so glib in our commitment to Christ. Sure, we stand and say, I’ll not abandon you, I’ll go to prison for you, I’ll even die for you! But, what are we like when he asks us to watch and pray for just one hour with him? Is the commitment of your faith displayed mostly in your activity with others? Or, can you honestly say you fight and defend the faith on your knees before the Father in prayer.
  3. Let us be cautious when we handle the Word of God – not to take part or even some, but the whole counsel of God. Peter heard the part about Jesus going to die, but he missed the wonderful part about their planned reunion.
  4. As you consider Christ facing Hell in all of its horror and terror, do you know that without Christ, that penalty is still yours? Won’t you trust him this morning as your Passover Lamb?

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Filed under Faithfulness, Judgment, Mark, Numbers, Prophecy, Psalms, Scripture, Sermon

Mark 14.12-26

Title: The Lord’s Supper: Celebrate and Remember!

Text: Mark 14.12-26

Introduction: We’ll be in two different passages this morning: Mark 12 and Exodus 12. Take time now to bookmark them, so that you can move back and forth between them if you’d like.

Can you remember special Christmas mornings growing up? Maybe you’ve got some memories as an adult with your own kids. Maybe some of those special memories go back to when you were a kid. I grew up opening presents on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning was reserved for presents from Santa Claus. Others grew up opening just one present on Christmas Eve and then diving in early Christmas morning for all the rest of the presents.

Christmas is special for us all in some way. Traditions have been established and you love them. Lisa and I have some friends, the Baker’s, who open a present on Christmas Eve, and every year, it’s the same thing: a new set of PJs! They wear them that night and avoid the world the next day – staying in their pajamas all day long on Christmas day. That’s sweet!

Hopefully, as I’ve just mentioned Christmas and Christmas Traditions, you’ve been taken back to a time or place and your heart rejoices at what you remember – and who you remember.

Our topic today is that way for many Jewish people who celebrate Passover. It is a very special holiday – a holy day. For them, it was the very 1st one established by God. To understand it, we’d have to go back to Exodus 12 and see what they did and when they did it. In many ways, the Passover celebration is no different today for our Jewish friends and Messianic Jewish brothers than it was for Jesus and his disciples.

Sure, there are some differences, but as to the basics – those traditions have been around for … well, thousands of years!

Rd Mark 14.12; what is Mark talking about? Let’s turn to Exodus 12 and see if we can gain some insight into their celebration.

You know the story: Abraham; Isaac; Jacob; 12 sons; Egypt; 400 years and enslaved; God has yet to reveal who he is to them; Moses; to lead them out of slavery and Egypt to freedom and to become a nation – a people; There have been 9 plagues – all a part of what God has been doing to show the people his power. Now, the time to lead them out has arrived – and it will come when the 10th plague hits – the death of the 1st born.

We pick up in v 1 of Exodus 12 where we see God establishing the Institution of The Passover.

I. The Passover: An Established Institution (12.1-16)

exp.: rd Ex 12.1-2; Wow! A new beginning! You have right here the establishment of a new calendar! According to the Jewish Calendar, we are currently in the year 5782!

So the calendar is created, and what is a calendar without holidays? Rd v 3-6; So dates are given: the 10th and the 14th; get a lamb; kill the lamb; rd 7; sacrifice this lamb and take its blood and put it on the doorposts and the lintel. Rd v 8-10; Roasted Lamb; unleavened bread and bitter herbs; rd v 11; So there you have it: the Lord’s Passover; 12-13;

So, this Passover is to be:

  • Celebrated: starting in v 14, we learn that this is also to be
  • Commemorated: rd v 14-15; This is a fun time for the family as the women clean the house from top to bottom to ensure that no leaven is found in the house.  However, the wife will usually leave a small bit on the counter. The father walks through the house and finds the leaven on the counter and sweeps it away into the dustpan. A reminder to the children of what they’re doing. Rd v 16-17; So this week long celebration is instituted here, as a part of the Passover Celebration basically going from the 10th-21st.

app.: So, this is what is going on with Jesus and his disciples. In Mk 14.12 they basically say to Jesus: its time for the Passover Celebration. Tell us what to do to get it all ready. Rd 13-16;

  • A man carrying a jar (13): that’s pretty unusual.
  • Wherever he enters, say to the Master of the house (14). Now, 1st off, it is a holiday, Jesus could have very easily have made plans with a follower for this occasion. Or, this could be supernatural, and I think it has supernatural flavors about it. The point here is that a place is already prepared for these men to set up shop for the night. There are still chores to be done, food to be purchased, wine to be bought.

They prepared the Passover (16). This celebration commanded by God was about to be kept and commemorated.

t.s.: And v 17 tells us he came with the rest of the disciples to celebrate. This brings us to the 2nd part of our passage this morning:

II. Passover: An Event to be Remembered (17-21)

exp.: rd 18a; While they are eating; Jesus would be the one presiding over the celebration. It would be during this festive time while eating this wonderful meal that the mood in the room changed: rd v 18-19; from v 10-11, we know this is Judas;

app.: Something incredible takes place here. There has been all of this symbolism during the course of the meal. And all of it has been purposeful. As we read in Mark, we get the sense that Judas is dismissed to go work his evil in v20-21.

t.s.: But Jesus, the presenter, then ties the Passover Celebration together with a new institution to be recognized and remembered by those who believe. And, he gives to us, his followers…

III. The Lord’s Supper: An Institution to Celebrate and Commemorate (22-26)

exp.: As they were eating, he took the bread, and he broke it and he blessed it and he gave it to his disciples. This he said, is my body. In the Aramaic, there would be no verb. We supply it here so that it makes sense grammatically. But to the eyes and ears, Jesus would have taken the Unleavened Bread and tore it down the middle and said: this…my body.

The Passover Meal was consumed. It was a Lamb that had been sacrificed on their behalf. They knew that God had said when the 10th plague came upon Egypt: The firstborn of every household will die tonight; however if you’ll trust me, do this: sacrifice a lamb which shall die in your place. Put the blood on the door as a sign of this faith. And your actions demonstrating that faith in me will save that life.

Jesus says: this is my body which is broken for you. Like the Passover Lamb, you place your faith in me with your actions and my death will save you.

Rd v 23-24; There are 4 cups of wine that are used during the Seder dinner. Each cup represents 4 promises God made to his people:

  1. For rescuing them from Egypt,
  2. For releasing them from slavery,
  3. For redeeming them by his awesome power, and
  4. For a new relationship with Him.

Now, I’m no expert in the Seder dinner, but from what I’ve read, the third glass of wine is the glass Jesus would be holding when he came to this part of our passage. I’m standing here wondering what it would be like for these guys who know what is supposed to be said and done. They’ve heard this many times over and yet, they must be caught off guard as Jesus leaves the script with which they’re so familiar.

Rd v 24 – “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. The shedding of his blood is what will redeem them by his awesome power. And then, Jesus says something very interesting: 25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

I’m reminded of the guys in Acts 23 who wanted Paul dead. More than 40 men said something like what Jesus said here in reference to destroying Paul. They said they would eat no food until Paul was dead. Well, they had to break their vow or die! And that’s the point. A vow like this is like saying: I’m going to get this done if it’s the last thing I do. Or something like Even if it kills me, I’m going to….

Jesus is telling them here that he will give himself to die. He is going to become our Passover Lamb. His body will be beaten and whipped to shreds. His blood will be poured out as a payment for our sins.

Therefore, the one who looks to this Lamb for salvation, a new exodus will come, a new Passover will occur. And from this moment forward, he will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until it is accomplished.

t.s.: Maybe that is why he said on the cross when he was done: It is finished.

Conclusion: When we lived in Wyoming we heard a lot about the Yellowstone fire of 1988. Ashes from that fire fell down and covered our little town. Cars, houses, streets… all covered in ash.

It is interesting how life comes from death. When a tree dies, the seed is spawned and there is rebirth. You can survey a hillside of ashes just a couple of months after a devastating fire and see the seedlings of many trees rising up out of the ashes.

Tim Keller tells the story of how he read in National Geographic years ago of just such life coming out of the ashes. It seems that there were some Park Rangers tasked with surveying the damage. And as they made their way up a hill, they came to the charred remains of a bird, sitting there perfectly still. The sight of this bird bothered the ranger – it seemed so eerie and out of place. So, he grabbed a stick and pushed the dead bird over – when to his surprise, three tiny chicks came out from under the shadow of her wings.

She could have flown away, but instead faced the hell that burned around her and sheltered her chicks from the raging fire.

We’re going to participate in observing the Lord’s Supper and remembering Christ’s great sacrifice. If you’ve never trusted in the saving work of Christ, I want to give you a chance to do that this morning. Your prayer should be something like Psalm 57.1: Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.

Let’s pray.

In a worship service, we have two sacraments, two ordinances given to us by Christ. One is baptism. That is the command given to us to publicly profess Christ as Savior. This is the 2nd, to do so in remembrance of his Sacrifice or our sins.

You don’t have to be a member of Tarpley, but you do have to be a member of the body of Christ! Also, I’d like to warn you not to enter this time lightly. My caution has been that the Lord’s Supper is so often times entered into with a ho-hum attitude. My goal isn’t to be the Lord’s Supper Police, this is a deeply personal time. My goal is to just remind you of the sacredness involved.   Observance of the Lord’s Supper

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Filed under Mark, Scripture, Sermon

Mark 14.1-11

Title: What do you seek?

Text: Mark 14.1-11

Introduction: Note where we are in the story:

1st: The next three weeks will focus on Preparation. Jesus is being ‘prepared’ for what lies ahead of him. His preparation for burial – that is, he is going to die. Next, The meal we call the Last Supper, another reminder of his death – and a call to remember his death until he returns. And then comes the betrayal. We’re so close to the end because all that is left are the mock trials, the crucifixion, and His resurrection. Easter is upon us.  

2nd: Our story, the first story in what I’ve entitled Preparation, is bookended with a typical Markan Sandwich: Two separate stories with a common theme that bookend another story that is related to them. Here, the bookends deal with the desire of the Religious Leadership to arrest and kill Jesus (v1) and a disciple who is tired of how things are going and is ready to hand him over to his enemies for the right price (v11). The middle story – our focus, is the story of how a woman comes and anoints Jesus’ body for burial.

Note how all three stories relate to his impending death. (1) The religious leadership wants him dead; (2) Jesus says this woman’s actions are to anoint his body for burial (v8); (3) Judas is ready to make that happen by betraying him into their hands.

Based on this information, I’ve outlined my message into three movements or scenes:

  1. An Evil Plot
  2. An Extravagant Gift
  3. An Embittered Betrayal

I. Scene 1: An Evil Plot (1-2)

exp.: The 1st item on Mark’s agenda is to give us a time reference. Mark doesn’t do this too often in his book; rd 14.1; 2 days before the Passover.

Have you ever wondered why Easter is different each year? Like, why isn’t it the 3rd Sunday in April or whatever? – Well, from what I understand, Easter is set to coincide with the Jewish Passover. Be watching for that in the News this year, as we move closer to Easter.

Dating: Passover is at the 1st full moon after the Vernal Equinox (around March 21st) – which marks Spring. This year, March’s full moon is on the 17th of March, too soon. The next full moon after that date is April 16th – Saturday. So, Easter is April 17th, a Sunday.

V 1 tells us it was two days before Passover (Exodus 12) and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

This is important because the crowds have swelled in Jerusalem way beyond their normal numbers. 2nd, some of our theology is informed by this event. Paul helps us here by telling us that Jesus is our Passover Lamb. So, the timing here is important. Mark wants us to know what time it is. It is time for the Passover Lamb to be sacrificed and to pay the penalty for the sins of the people.

V1 continues to tell us that the religious leaders were seeking… “Were seeking” is an imperfect verb – which indicates a repeated action in the past; Mark has told us of three such incidents in the past (3.6; 11.18; 12.12); their goal was twofold:

  1. to ‘arrest’ him by stealth
  2. to ‘kill’ him. Lit.: in deceit to arrest and kill him. The word deceit means to bait or to lure.

The reason they chose not to do this at this particular time is given in v2 (rd v2): because they didn’t want to upset the crowds of people gathered for the Passover; they feared the people who loved Jesus and saw him as a man of God.

t.s.: So, be clear here: this is their goal and has been for some time; however, they’re not going to do this dastardly deed at this time. Nonetheless, life is continuing as normal. There is so much going on and these guys are busy during this time of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. There are services to be conducted. People, people, people are everywhere. And though these guys are making plans and think they’ll act on their own accord when the timing is right, God has other plans.

Transition: You might see this next part of the story as a “meanwhile, back at the ranch” kind of scenario. Let’s pick up there in v 3… I call this section…

II. Scene 2: A Extravagant Gift (3-9)

exp.: Meanwhile; rd v 3; at the house of Simon the Leper; the truth is, we don’t know who Simon is. There is a lot of speculation, but no one today really knows. Some say he is Mary, Martha, and Lazarus’ father. Others say he was a leper whom Jesus healed. Folks like to imagine him being the 10th leper who returned to say thank you to Jesus. The truth is…we just don’t know. I’m guessing that Mark’s readers know who he was. But for us, it doesn’t really matter.

So, Jesus is at this man’s house when in walks a woman. The other Gospels which tell this story, tell us that she was a woman of ill repute. A prostitute, maybe? We don’t really know her sinful behavior. My guess is that, like with who Simon is, we don’t really need to know.

I think this is wonderful. Let’s talk about us for a moment. I think it’s easier to talk about me because I know myself. But this morning, I’d rather talk about you. You’re a Sinner. I’m a sinner. My guess is that you’re a sinner like her. Maybe your sin is different than her sin, but it is still embarrassing just the same.

Ill.: Your Daily Joe, a cartoon that appears daily in the Baptist Press, this week posted a cartoon of a grandfather looking at Romans 1 with his grandson. His grandson was wearing a Mississippi State shirt and looks to be college age. The grandfather has a hand on his grandson’s shoulder and they’re both standing over an open Bible as if they were reading this together. The Grandfather says to the grandson: Wickedness, depravity, fools, impurities. Son, these do not apply only to the worst people, but to the best.

Maybe that’s why Mark doesn’t tell us what her sin is because it really doesn’t matter…because we’re all sinners in need of forgiveness!

So, Jesus is reclining at the dinner table (3) when she comes up to him and breaks an alabaster flask of perfume – a very costly perfume (5). As this is taking place, Jesus looks at her. And he sees something totally different than these guys see, who are in the same room, and observing the same action.

You know the funny thing is that we oftentimes only see the physical. Too often we’re pinned into a scenario that overtakes us in the physical realm. Physically, this should be upsetting:

  • She is a woman. That’s a big no-no.
  • She is a ‘sinful’ woman. Jesus, a man of God shouldn’t be consorting with such people.

Ill.: One morning, while on my way to class at UMHB – an 8 am class – I was singing a song I had been working on about being a servant and a witness to a lost world. I loved the chorus and was working on getting it right. Oh, how I wanted to sing a song that moved people to want to be more like Christ to those in need. When all of the sudden, this woman jumped out in front of my vehicle. I slammed on the brakes to keep from hitting her. She begged me to help her. Her face was bleeding and bruised. Someone had beaten her severely. Her clothes were nice but tattered from the fray.

I let her in and drove away. As we talked, I found out her pimp had beat her up. I’d love to tell the whole story to you this morning, but for now, let me just say I was so afraid. Not of her pimp! But, I was afraid of the Christians who knew me that they might see me driving around so early in the morning with a prostitute in my car!

You’re probably not thinking bad of me, because I’m telling you the story. But, would most of you not judge me if you had seen me? First, have you ever noticed that “women of the night” dress differently than most of the women who go to church here? She was young, probably about my age (early 20’s).  

Yes, I wanted to help her – and I did. Lisa and I were dirt poor, and we didn’t have money. But I tell you this story not because I’m proud, but because I look back on that time and wish I wouldn’t have been so worried about the Christians I might have been seen by – But instead, I would have had all of my attention on her and her needs. I wish I could be telling this story about a young woman who gave her life to Christ.  

App.: you see, you and I, we just can’t get past the physical aspects of our lives rd v4-5.

  • The flask she has is a very expensive heirloom. It would be something that took years to make – probably passed down from family and would have possibly been her dowry…that is, if she were to marry.
  • Its value would have been in the range of what a normal person makes in a year: a year’s wages. Let that sink in! Identify how much you make in a year. Apply that figure to this flask!
  • It’s broken and spilled out on Christ.

These guys are thinking: What a waste! A year’s wages! BTW: That’s what prodigal means – to lavishly waste something of great value.

And they scold her! You see that in v 5;

Earlier, I said it is funny…I say funny… I don’t mean ‘ha-ha’ funny, but rather ironic. You and I would probably do the same because you and I are trapped in cultural and social dimensions that we filter our experiences through. But not Jesus!

Man, to be able to see what’s going on in the spiritual realm; to not get trapped in the physical all the time. Rd v 6; And then Jesus gets to the heart of the matter; rd v 7; wow! They don’t know this, but the reader has a little insight from v. 1-2 and v 10-11; Jesus has but a couple of days left. Then, he’ll be gone. Rd v 8; burial! This must be so confusing for those listening in. And then, Jesus lets us in on a little more… rd v 9; whenever the Gospel is proclaimed!

ill.: the word Gospel means good news. Good news. Everything we’ve been reading about is good news. The deceit of the religious leaders: good news. The frustration of disciples at the extravagant waste of this sinful woman: good news. Burial means death: also, good news.

app.: That’s the advantage of seeing into the spiritual realm! It changes everything! We buried Diana Pfeiffer yesterday. Oh, that we could see with spiritual eyes!

t.s.: Well, we know from other gospels that Judas is the one who was most upset. And, from our story, his frustration spills over into life and he acts. Unable to see that God is at work here, he takes matters into his own hands. And, I call this…

III. Scene 3: An Embittered Betrayal (10-11)

exp.: rd v 10; lit.: give over; The context tells us that frustration takes over from the waste of this extravagant gift. Judas has had enough. What we learn in the other Gospels is that he’s chairman of the finance committee! He carries the money bag. For three years he has walked with Jesus and there is no sign that Jesus intends to be the Messiah that Judas has been expecting. So, for a small sum (isn’t it odd that it all comes down to finances again), Judas agrees to betray his friend.

Transition: So the stage is set. Jesus is being set up. In this story, a sinister group of religious leaders delays plans to capture and kill Jesus. They don’t want to act on their desire to arrest and kill Jesus in front of the people.

You see, they think they’re laying out plans to do away with Jesus. I sincerely believe they think they’re doing God’s will. Little do they understand, that they really are pawns being moved by the mighty hand of God. And though they think they’ll wait – God has other plans.

Then, there is this Sinful Woman who makes her way onto the scene of a dinner party. Man, oh man, she is out of place. Women aren’t supposed to be mixing it up with men. She, however, thinks she is showing a display of her gratitude for Jesus. In her heart of hearts, that is what she is up to…but Jesus lets us in on what God is doing. She’s anointing his body for burial. She is exercising her will but accomplishing God’s will. 

Judas thinks he is … well, I don’t really know what is going on in the head of Judas! He’s obviously frustrated at how things have turned out. He’s followed Christ for three years with the hopes that this really is the Messiah of God. So, he takes matters into his own hands – so he thinks. Maybe he is forcing the hand of Jesus, trying to press him to defend himself and forcefully take over Jerusalem. Maybe Jesus will then become king and things can happen the way Judas thinks they’re supposed to go. Or, maybe he has flipped sides. If you think about it, he is accomplishing the will of God, too – unbeknownst to him.

Conclusion: You see, in all of this, God is working out his plan…his perfect plan. And he’s using all of these people in his play…His Story.

As I look at this story with all of these people acting on their own accord, thinking they’re doing something according to their own plans, I realize that in all of their ‘doing’ they really have no idea what God is up to or that God is even up to something.

Application: I’d like to close with some questions for reflection:

  1. Do you know that God is up to something in your life? I have no idea what some of you are enduring right now. But can I encourage you to not see your life through the physical realm (like these guys did), but instead, to trust that God is at work in the Spiritual Realm just out of sight. My guess is that God is up to something absolutely incredible in your life that will bring Glory and Honor to himself through your circumstances. I think of Henry Blackabee’s Words: Don’t just do something, stand there!
    1. Why? Because you don’t want to work against God. 1st of all, you’ll fail! 2nd, I’m sure you want to be on the right side.
    1. Consider others – their lives. Is God bringing them into your life for you to serve them, to share with them?
  2. Do you worry too much about what others think or about what others do – and not enough about what God thinks or what God is doing?
    1. The Chief Priests and Scribes worried about what the people thought.
    1. The Disciples worried too much about this woman’s wastefulness.
    1. Judas appears to be concerned with how he thinks things should be going.
    1. As I view my own life in retrospect, I think I’m more like the religious leaders than the disciples: I’m worried about what people will think. What about you…
    1. Jesus doesn’t appear to be worried about any of it.
  3. What are you searching for? Our story is bookended with this one word: They were seeking and he was seeking. So, let me ask you again? What are you searching for?
    1. For the religious leaders, they were seeking to save their power over the people.
    1. For those listed in v 3-9, they were seeking financial gain, upset over this lavish waste poured out on Christ.
    1. Is it money or is it power, or is it more like what Judas appears to be going through? Can I encourage you to focus in on this ‘sinful’ woman? She is seeking to be with Christ. She takes what would be considered her future and destroys it – pouring it out on Christ.
    1. So, I’ll ask you one more time. Think deeply now: What are you searching for?

Let’s pray:

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Filed under Mark, Scripture

Mark 13

Title: Lord, When?

Text: Mark 13

Introduction: Where in Mark 13 this morning. We’ll be working our way through the entire chapter. Do me a favor and bookmark Revelation 6, as well. You’ll want to follow along in the book of Revelation later in the message.

The context for our understanding within the greater purview of our passage is the Temple. Since Jesus got to Jerusalem, the stories have revolved around the Temple and around the religious leaders’ failure and abuse in their responsibilities concerning the Temple and God’s people. Jesus has established that what had been given to the priests would be taken away. They had failed to serve as mediators and instead, had used and abused the people for their own personal gain. His message was clear: The Temple would be destroyed, and a new system would be put into place, with the chief cornerstone being Jesus, himself, who will now serve as that mediator between God and man.

We begin in 13.1-2; So the context for chapter 13 is the destruction of the Temple; lit.: every stone being thrown down; rd 13.3a; Mount of Olives; as they looked over at the massive, beautiful Temple, it was hard for them to imagine just what that would be like. Something cataclysmic would have to happen. It must be the end of the world. These men could not imagine what Jesus had just said without it being the end of the world.

Read 13.3-4; Two Questions: When and What? Keywords: these things; If we go to Matthew 24, we’ll find the question outlined in such a way that it helps us organize the rest of the chapter. Rd 24.1-3; As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

So, with this question by the disciples, they’ve outlined what they want to know in three parts:

  1. The Destruction of the Temple
  2. The Son’s Return
  3. The end of the age

But Jesus, knows they don’t really understand, I suppose by the way they ask their question, but of course, he knows all things. So, we outline our message today as with the restructuring Jesus does in answering their question:

  1. The end of the age
  2. The Destruction of the Temple
  3. The Son’s Return

t.s.: So, let’s put these together under the title of “A multifaceted question”

I. A Multifaceted Question

Exp.: Jesus answers their question in a specific order. Why? To be fair, as these guys heard Jesus speak about the destruction of the Temple, they know about the destruction of the 1st Temple, Solomon’s Temple in 586 BC. And they knew of Jeremiah 9 and 11 and Micah 3, which foretold Solomon’s Temple’s Destruction. If that was the case, and this Temple, as magnificent as it was, was to be destroyed, then this must be the end of time.

Do you get this? You and I know the difference. Well, because of this teaching and 2,000 years of clarity. But these guys, they would have associated all the events together (the temple being destroyed, the fall of Jerusalem, the end of the world). It would have to be. Stones in the Temple would measure, 35’L x 11’H x 17’W. What cataclysmic event could remove those stones and cast them off of the mountain top? It must be the end of the world! So, Jesus clarifies for them. These events are not one and the same. That is to say: the destruction of the temple isn’t the end of the world. That will come later.

         1a. A Multifaced Question answered: What and When and About  

Exp.: So, to clarify, Jesus answers in an order that will help us understand the difference. So, what we see in our text is an answer for these three events:

First, The End Times – Jesus outlines the end times for them (rd v 5f):

  1. They say: I am he and lead many astray; the ‘anti-christ’ or evil men; military leaders; political leaders, religious leaders who will claim to be the anticipated Christ (rd 7,8a)
    1. Wars, rumor of wars; nation against nation, kingdom, etc. (rd 8b)
    2. Earthquakes, famine; I see this as natural disasters leading to famine; (rd 8c)
    3. These ‘things’ (a combination of all, i.e., Military Leaders, Wars, Famines, natural disasters) are the birthing pains. (8c) Really, in v 8, you see a combination of them all. But this combination isn’t the end, it is merely birthing pains. Read 9-13;
    4. Persecution arising from their witness and the Gospel; we haven’t seen this yet, but they’ll be commissioned to take the gospel to the nations, and when they do, they’ll suffer for it. If you recall, he’s been telling them this all along. They’ve been thinking of fame and fortune. Christ will ascend to the throne and they’ll all reap the benefits of having been faithful to follow him. But Christ has taught them that their faithfulness to follow him will not lead to fame and fortune, but rather to suffering. Think martyrdom; rd v 12 “to death”;  verse 13 is a call to persevere;

Jesus now moves to the 2nd part of their question…

Second, When will ‘these things’ be? Rd v 14-20;

  • Great Tribulation and the Destruction of the Temple: (14-23); you could call this ‘The Fall of Jerusalem and the Destruction of the Temple’. Consider this: Mark’s Gospel was written sometime between 55AD and 64AD (Evidence Peter was in Rome; cf.: 1 Cor); Mark was written sometime of up to 15 years before the Fall of Jerusalem and the Destruction of the Temple;  if you take the latest possible date for this book and the earliest possible date for the Fall of Jerusalem, you’re talking about 3 years.

History has recorded for us that this information was used by the early church in Jerusalem and they took it seriously. When Jerusalem was attacked, the Christians were ready. Many of them fled as Jesus had warned and they were saved. The Fall of Jerusalem happened about 67AD and it was completed by 70AD when the Temple was utterly destroyed and tossed down the mountain. It was indeed horrible, as Jesus had warned.

This is why it is titled the Great Tribulation; Rd 20-22; (usage of the past tense is a prophetic way of declaring certainty); it seems to have come full circle from the beginning when we looked at evil, wicked leaders who lead people astray; BTW: it is during such suffering and tribulation that false messiahs arise. Think Hitler!

When will you return?

  • The Return of the Son of Man (24-27); v 24 gives us the timing (those meaning the last days); rd 24-25; here is some sort of celestial event; we’re told in Genesis 1.14 that the heavens are for signs; rd 26-27;

So, what are they to do with this information? What are we to do with this information? Well, he gives us the lesson of the fig tree and the Man on a Journey.

  • The lesson of the fig tree and a caution to be watchful (28-37); this last section could be divided into two sections.

         2a. A Comparison of Mark 13 and Revelation 6&7

Exp.: before we leave this section, I think it is good to visit a time-honored tool for understanding a passage. We interpret Scripture with Scripture; What Jesus has done here is that he’s given us a template for understanding what is before us – and it matches what we find in Revelation. Keep your spot in Mark, and turn to Revelation 6.

Note: I was unable to insert the Table here. WordPress doesn’t transfer tables…

Summary: As we look at these things and we see that Mark 13.14-23 and we see the Fall of Jerusalem and The Destruction of the Temple. And, we call it The Great Tribulation; really, though, I think it has a double meaning – a double prophecy (for the Fall of Jerusalem and the end times, too).

Transition: We looked at the question posed by the disciples and the answers Jesus gave for clarification that the destruction of the Temple was not the end of time. That must mean that time would continue and that there would be an age between his first coming and his 2nd coming. We can look at more comparisons on Wednesday night, especially what the perspective, eschatological views are out there. And, how the seals and bowls match as well.

But, as we look at the future, how do we conduct ourselves and how are we to consider the future?

  1. A Caution against End Times Predictions (13.5, 32)

exp.: rd v5-6, 32; I find it interesting that some non-signs are: earthquakes, famines, wars, false messiahs, persecution. These things will happen leading up to the end, but they are not the end! The 1st thing Jesus does in Chapter 13 is to say you’ll see these things, but don’t be alarmed. This is not the end! These are events and tribulation that occurs in that ‘in between’ time.

ill.: Rd v 5; Caution:

  1. William Miller, October 22nd, 1844
  2. When I was in Tyler, there was this fellow named Harold Camping; he chose May 21st, 2011 And again, October 21st, 2011; However, that wasn’t his first false prophecy. He actually wrote and published a book entitled 1994,  where he predicted Christ would return in mid-September 1994. As you know, Christ didn’t. But that didn’t stop Harold. He re-caculated the date for March 1995.

Rd v 6; there have been many who claimed to be Jesus and have led people astray. Do you guys know who David Koresh was? In a sect called the Branch Davidians, he claimed to be the final prophet. He led many astray and was responsible for the deaths of 76 people: including 25 children, two unborn children and Koresh, himself. In Tyler, TX, at the Memorial Cemetery off Hwy 64, there is a small memorial where he is buried. The cemetery doesn’t publicize it because it has been desecrated so many times. After a funeral service one day, I stopped into the main office and asked if I could see it. They know me there and led me right to it.

ill.: There was a stir back in the week of September 17th-23rd, 2017. A pastor in Tyler, of a very large church, cited the alignment of some big stars and planets. I have to say, I was intrigued! Was God doing something? It all started with a major Solar Eclipse on the 21st of August 2017. Stephen and I were up in Colorado climbing 14ers and decided to take a side trip up to Wyoming to the center of the eclipse. It was awesome!

But, as far as I know, nothing happened from all of that. Guess what? There is going to be two more: an annular (ring of fire) in October 2023 and a total eclipse in April (8th) 2024, just 6 months later. And you know what is even cooler. You won’t have to travel to Wyoming! Our church is in the path of both eclipses!

app.: Does that mean Jesus is coming back on those dates? No! Read v 32  

t.s.: So, here is our concern: when will Christ return… let me close with this.

  1. A Call for Watchfulness (13.28-37)

exp.: with two lessons: The Lesson we learn from the fig tree And, the Man going on a journey. Jesus is calling on us to keep alert. I find it hilarious even, that Jesus says that not only does no human know the day or the time, not even he himself knows the day or the time (32).

Herein is the lesson: live your life – get married, have a family, work hard and be productive, and still, fulfill the mandate to share the gospel. There is supposed to be a suddenness to his return. And we’re not supposed to know when that is – it is designed to keep us on our toes, so to speak.

app.: I wonder if we knew the day and the time, would that keep us on our toes? Or would that cause us to be as we are – apathetic because we think we’ve got so much time? Hear the words of our Lord: Stay Awake! Be alert!

t.s.: So, what will we take home with us, today?

Conclusion: As I stand here today thinking of what I hope you’ll take with you as you walk away from these facilities today, I want you to know the following:


  1. People get ready! Jesus is coming! Soon we’ll be going home.
    1. If you’ve never surrendered you life to Christ, I urge you to do that right now. You have no idea if your life will end or if Jesus will return. Either way, when that happens, it will be too late! So, get that right today.
  2. Here’s what you can be sure of: Christ will return victorious. And for those of you who think I’m standing here a fool. That’s ok. Christ will come and vindicate his people. And I don’t look at that like: ha-ha, I told you. It breaks my heart to think of those who will miss out because of pride or selfishness. The Scripture teaches that one day – every knee will bow before him and confess that he is Lord. Why not do that in victory? I’m pleading with you not to do that in defeat – for then, it will be too late.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Let’s not grow weary in well-doing. Oh, I know you’re tired. I know the time seems to get long. Hang in there, my friend. The joy that awaits you is beyond what words can possibly describe.

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Filed under Eschatology, Mark, Revelation, Scripture, Sermon

Mark 10.17-43

Title: Markers of the Followers

Text: Mark 10.17-43

Introduction: Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13.5: Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.

Mark is saying something similar to us, here in our text this morning: – he’s outlining for us certain markers to identify – to test ourselves to see if we are in the faith. I think a lot of people assume they’re in the faith. Let’s look to see what markers he shares with us about Christ. Mark 10 is where we are, beginning in v 17; 17 And as he was setting out on his journey

It appears Jesus is just now turning toward Jerusalem. And, in fact, if you consider how he’s traveled around northern Israel as of late in these figure 8 outlines, you’d probably agree. I don’t, but I can see why some scholars do. I think he’s just packing up from where he is and headed toward where he’s been heading all along – to Jerusalem – to the cross. Rd 17; a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

This is a good sign that someone is searching and possibly open to the Gospel. In Acts 2, they ask Peter a similar question as they are cut to the heart: Brothers, what must we do? As in, in light of what you’ve just told us, what must we do?

ill.: There is an evangelism class I like to teach. One of the lessons in that study is about discernment. It is noted in this study, that just such a question is a clue that someone is open to the Gospel. However, just because someone is open, doesn’t mean they’re ready. We’ll see that in this passage because v 22 tells us he departed disheartened. But at least there is a sign that the Holy Spirit is at work in this person’s life.

But for now, as an evangelist – and that is what you are. Say it with me: I am an evangelist! Oh, some of you were already asleep. Say that with me: I am an evangelist!

A few years ago, I heard a preacher say: The lowest requirement of any disciple is to share his/her faith with others.

I don’t know if it is true or not, I’ve not seen some scale that marks that as the lowest. I think loving each other would rank up there with the minimum amount required. However, I think that preacher was on to something. Jesus commissioned us all to share the gospel. You don’t hire someone to do that for you. You can call a youth pastor or a worship pastor, and the list goes on. You can hire someone to mow your yard and clean the facilities. But you cannot hire someone to witness for you.

That makes you an evangelist.

So, mister and misses evangelist, what are these markers Mark is listing for us?


  1. A life that is totally devoted to Christ. There is no one or no thing that rises above him. Period.
  2. A heart that recognizes: you still have a long way to go. This is piety. Comparing yourself to someone else may make you feel like you’ve arrived, but comparing yourself to Christ leaves you way short of the intended goal.
  3. A mind that has a clear understanding of the Gospel: the suffering death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
  4. A purpose that identifies your place in the economy of God: I am a slave.

Transition: we’ll look for these markers as we make our way through this passage. They appear in this storyline of position and pride. Right? That is what all of these stories deal with: position and pride.

1st, we have a young man who thinks he’ll get into heaven because he has kept the law since he was young (20).

2nd, Peter thinks he has attained some level of recognition because, as he puts it: we have left everything and followed you (20). I suppose, he makes this statement in comparison to this rich, young man.

3rd, James and John begin bucking for position in the new Kingdom. Namely, these two wish to sit at Christ’s right and left – the two highest positions of recognition to Christ. It makes sense. I mean, other than Peter, who would you think belonged there? These three have been the closest to Jesus throughout this journey. And in case you don’t know it, it’s about to end. The triumphal entry is in Chapter 11.1.

Jesus and the disciples are coming near to the end. After the Triumphal entry, there is one week left. And, for Jesus, three of those days will be spent in the tomb!

So let’s look at these stories.

I.  A young man who thinks he’s kept the law.

exp.: rd v 18; Hold on to this question and the thoughts you’re having. I think the point Jesus is for this man not to think more highly of himself than he ought. You can see this in the next couple of verses: rd v 19-21; this 1st part covers the last 6 commandments. He ends with the 1st command in the 2nd level – honor your father and mother; and, he changes do not covet with do not defraud. My guess is that because this guy is rich, he doesn’t necessarily covet what his neighbors have; all of these commandments are concrete except coveting. And defrauding someone is the concrete form Jesus uses with this man. Many of the rich got that way by defrauding others. I wonder if this young man responds quickly and without thinking about what Christ has said. That’s the 1st part of the commandments. The young man responds: “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” Really? All of it? Well,…

The 2nd part covers the 1st 4 commandments! i.e.: go, sell all you have, give it to the poor, and follow me. And that is the problem this young man has is that he thinks being good will get him into heaven.

ill.: If you’re sitting here this morning and you think you’re good enough to get into heaven – you’d better think again. You can obey the last 6 commandments perfectly and still wind up in hell. Do you hear me? Being good doesn’t get you into heaven!

app.: Jesus basically says here – you’ve obeyed the last 6 commandments pretty well. But, unless I’m 1st in your life, you’ll never have eternal life.

t.s.: Just like the young man here, you’ll depart disheartened. Storyline #2:

II.  A zealous disciple who thinks he’s sacrificed everything to follow Christ.

exp.: In our story, the young man departs with his head down. His money, his idols, his possession mean more to him than eternal life. The disciples are blown away when they watch this young man walk away. Rd v 23-27; Peter must be inspired with this speech of Jesus. Rd v 28; I think you just missed something. Go back. Do you see it? Man, this is great staging, great drama: Peter began…to say. The NIV misses this. Peter began to brag and Jesus speaks up over him: rd v 29ff; highlight with persecutions;

ill.: Then, Jesus illustrates this with a third reminder: the coming passion.

app.: 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” “Look at me, I’m the example,” Jesus says.

t.s.: Now, We’ve seen the 1st marker missed by the young man: Markers:

  1. A life that is totally devoted to Christ. And, we’ve seen that Peter is lacking humility and piety, which is marker #2.
  2. A heart that recognizes: you still have a long way to go. We’ve seen marker #3 in Christ, who will demonstrate perfect humility and piety in the gospel.
  3. A mind that has a clear understanding of the Gospel: the suffering death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

Transition: You’d think at this moment the disciples would be on it. Remember, this isn’t the 1st time he’s said this. We’re in the midst of the 3rd cycle where Jesus has told them plainly that he will go to Jerusalem and die. You would think that they’ve got this by now. But this leads us to the two brothers vying for position and power.

III.  Two zealous brothers who think they’re able to drink the cup of Christ and experience his baptism.

exp.: rd v 35-37; rd v 38a; That should be a real attention grabber for them. You do not know what you are asking. Rd 38b; and boldly they say, yes: rd v 39a; they don’t know that his cup is suffering and persecution; they don’t know that his baptism is by fire!

ill.: Do you ever figure when you’re praying that you have no idea what you’re asking? Do you ever wonder if when you ask God to do this or to do that – you have no idea what you are asking for?

This should get our attention. Jesus identifies this last marker for us:

4. A purpose that identifies your place in the economy of God: I am a slave.

app.: your purpose is His glory! That might be through death. That’s exactly what happens here. James will be the 1st one of these disciples to die.

t.s.: Here’s the catch – here is what Mark is driving home story by story…

  1. Jesus lays out the Law for the young ruler: All these I have kept from my youth; Jesus basically says: no, you haven’t
  2. Peter says: We left everything – we’ve sacrificed everything to follow you. Jesus says: no, you haven’t
  3. The brothers ask: Let us sit on your right and on your left; Are you able to drink and be baptized … They say, “we are.” And Jesus says: No, No, No… you don’t even know what you’re asking for…

 Conclusion: So, we have these Markers…markers that help us examine ourselves, to test ourselves to see if we are indeed in the faith.

So now, let us examine ourselves. Look for these markers in your life: Do you have…

  1. A life that is totally devoted to Christ? Or, could Jesus peg you and cause you to drop your head, turn away and leave disheartened?
  2. A heart that recognizes: you still have a long way to go? This is piety. Comparing yourself to someone else may make you feel like you’ve arrived, but comparing yourself to Christ leaves you way short of the intended goal.
  3. A mind that has a clear understanding of the Gospel: the suffering death, burial and resurrection of Christ?
  4. A purpose that identifies your place in the economy of God? That you are a slave.

Prayer; Invitation;

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Filed under 2 Corinthians, Christian Living, Evangelism, Mark, Scripture, Sermon