We’ve been walking through the Gospel of Mark and we’ve reached a turning point and now we have entered the week of passion. As Pastor Sam told us last week, Jesus has made his triumphant entry. Messianic hopes are at a fever pitch. This is a buzz that is so much bigger than any election. This is hope that the Jewish people might be rescued from Roman tyranny. This is the idea that there is a messianic King in the line of David, which is why they would say, 'Hosanna', and that 'He would come on the throne of our father David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.' People are beginning to wonder. Could this rabbi from Nazareth- Is it possible for him to be the Messiah? Is it possible that this is gonna change everything? They wanted a king but they were looking for a different kind of king.
Sermons in: The Misunderstood King
In Mark 11:1-19 we see Jesus as Prophet, Priest, & King. As a Prophet, he is a truth-teller. We are called to listen to him. As a Priest, he opens the way to God for us. We are called to trust him. As a King, he loves us and intends to rule over us.
We use faith in many ways, and it can be confusing. We say.“just have faith,” or “have faith in your leaders,” What do we mean? We speak of faith-based programs or faith-based projects. We may even give the impression that every religion has an equal claim on the truth - if people just have faith. When we turn to the Bible, we discover faith - the faith that saves and heals - is trusting a particular person. The story of Jesus healing a blind beggar’s eyes gives us a clear picture of what faith looks like, and what it does.
In 1987, the band U2 released an album called The Joshua Tree. One of the songs is "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." Bono calls it, "a gospel song with a restless spirit." The lyrics speak of trying to find satisfaction and salvation in all kinds of different experiences, but the conclusion is that the search continues because something is still missing. People are looking to find peace for the restless soul. Augustine wisely states that our hearts are restless until they find rest in God through Jesus. The search usually includes religion, relationships, or release, but the search can only reveal that we still haven't found what we're looking for. Jesus is confronted by a wealthy man of influence who seems to have the same question asked by U2, "How do I know if I have eternal life?" This encounter reveals the desperation and the realization that being a disciple of Jesus Christ means finding life also means losing everything. Most people are looking to feel better with no cost, and the primary aim seems to be comfort. We may find some temporary relief for our souls through wealth, power, popularity, or religion, but unless we surrender to Jesus, the song remains, "but I still haven't found what I'm looking for..."
In Mark 10:13-16, Jesus shows us that the Kingdom of God is for the weak, the broken, and the unimportant. If true compassion equals action, then it begs us all to ask the question, "What will I do to help bring others to Jesus?".
As a Christian, the gospel changes how we think about everything in life. In Mark 10:1-12, Jesus warns about the hardened heart. A hardened heart can keep us from seeing and living out the true gospel of Jesus, ultimately leading to grief, anger, bitterness, pain, and sometimes even divorce.
Have you ever been in a place where someone said something so shocking that the whole room went silent and people couldn’t decide how to feel? Not just an awkward silence, but a stunned hush. Words so strong and offensive that it was difficult to wrap your head around what was said and there was no way to take the sting out of it. Direct, uncomfortable, and in your face. Jesus is a Misunderstood King. Even today we find many who will speak positively about Jesus, but they don’t want to hear talk of sin and hell. Following Jesus is sometimes reduced to good intentions, religious activity, and just being nice. These ideas are out of step with Jesus and his gospel. If anyone wants to follow Jesus, they must be willing to die to themselves daily and practice self-denial. Nothing is better than entering eternal life and the kingdom of God, but nothing could be worse than choosing sin and self over following Jesus. Sin is so serious that Jesus is about to say some things that will oppose the very idea of comfortable Christianity because souls are in danger.
There are all kinds of people in the world. We're all different. We all have different interests. But there's one interest that we all have in common. In fact, everyone struggles with it... Call it self-interest, but it's the "me-first" mindset. This is the mindset that forces every action and every decision to ask one question: "What will this do for me?" Join us today as Pastor Sam Shaw looks at four different passages and shows how the Son of God himself confronted and dealt with the "me-first" mindset.
The struggle is real. The world around us seems to be devolving into absolute chaos and on the brink of consuming itself in disease, violence, and pain. Many are facing mental, emotional, physical, relational, and financial difficulties. The brave front you show others has been overrun by the horde of despair and unbelief. For some, the pain inside is so intense that surviving another day raises dark questions that we dare not admit. Have you ever been to the edge or reached the bottom? Are you there now? Does your life feel like you have been underwater too long with lungs ready to burst or give up if you don’t get some relief? This text reminds us that life is not always a mountaintop experience. The valleys are always waiting with difficulty, confusion, arguing and doubt. Jesus explained his purpose, but it was not well received. He explained that following this Misunderstood King means taking up a cross. However, the disciples, like most of us, begin to doubt when life is hard. They are joined by a despondent dad who is losing what little hope he had in light of over-confident disciples and a suffering child.
The disciples had a problem, and it might be the same type of problem many of us have: They underestimated who Jesus was. And because of that, it shaped the way they thought, the way they acted, and the way they lived. Jesus chose twelve men, and he trained them to pick up the work of the Kingdom, and he did it in two ways. He exposed them to situations that were beyond their strength or wisdom or courage and would require more resources than they had. Then he would display his glory and resolve the situation, to teach them that he was enough. But they never seemed to grasp it. When they should have had peace, they had fear. When they should have had faith, they had doubts. Or to put it a different way, they had a glory problem. Other glories had captured their hearts. And those glories can never quite fill us. They underestimated the glory of Jesus. So, he is going to create a situation where his glory is going to be revealed and their lives will never quite be the same after this experience.
We have reached the tipping point, the continental divide in The Gospel of Mark. To this point, people range from misunderstanding to open opposition. The disciples have been slow of understanding and demonstrated hardness of heart. True responses of faith have been sporadic and from unexpected people– an unclean woman, a Syrophoenician woman, and a Gentile who was both deaf and mute. The disciples are headed to an unlikely place where for the first time the disciples will begin to see somewhat just like the healing in the previous verses. This text is the place where the disciples begin to identify who Jesus truly is and Jesus begins to teach them that Messiah has come to suffer and that salvation will come through his suffering and death. Those who would follow Jesus must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow him. This is the way.
Today we are going to look at a condition or occupational hazard, as Pastor Sam calls it, that every Christian faces. It doesn’t matter your age, your ethnicity, whether your a man or a woman, a young Christian, or mature Christian, you will face this occupational hazard. It goes by many names, but it is the root cause of things like fear, bitterness, worry, lust, greed, selfishness, and hatred. This root springs forth many nocuous weeds. Jesus addresses it. He names it. He warns against it. And he tells what to do about it in Mark Chapter 8.
Jesus was misunderstood by his disciples, and after a heated episode with the Pharisees over what makes one ceremonially clean, he withdraws to an unexpected place. The region of Phoenicia was gentile and pagan, so going into the area of Tyre and Sidon was an attempt to go somewhere a little less conspicuous while providing some privacy. However, Mark tells us that he could not be hidden, and the crowds keep coming. Jesus travels through Sidon, and the crowds keep coming as Jesus engages these unclean people. The text today reveals an encounter Jesus had with a man who could not hear and was incapable of verbal communication. Contrary to the religious and social norms of Jewish leaders, no one is too unclean for Jesus, and it’s astonishing. This Misunderstood King does all things well.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a list of disinfectants to protect against the coronavirus spread. According to the EPA, products on the list have "qualified for use against COVID-19" through the agency's Emerging Viral Pathogen program where manufacturers provide the EPA with data that "shows their products are effective against harder-to-kill viruses." Our text today helps us understand how to be made clean before God. Many struggle with the sense that they will never be able to do enough to be clean before God, and that is a legitimate fear. Religion and legalism only frustrate; they can never save. Do you struggle with feeling like you will never be good enough for God? Is it really possible to be loved and accepted by Jesus? Even after all our struggles and failures? Jesus is A Misunderstood King, and as we will see today, His Gospel is often misunderstood as well.
Messianic hopes are reaching fever pitch. Jesus, the compassionate shepherd, has miraculously satisfied thousands with food, and the people are beginning to think about this Rabbi from Nazareth in terms of politics and power. This text will be familiar to many, but if we are not careful, we may miss something beyond the miracle of walking on water. This text reveals so much more than just a miracle, and Mark directs us to a self-conscious theophany by Jesus himself. There are many truths contained in this rich passage, as well as pain points and struggles we all face. Glory is revealed. Compassion continues. But confusion still surrounds the Misunderstood King. Could it be that we still misunderstand Jesus today?
There are only two times recorded in the New Testament where Jesus is impressed by faith. One is a Roman centurion who trusted Jesus to heal his servant without coming to the house, and the other is the miracle recorded in Mark, Chapter 7:24:30, where a Gentile woman begged Jesus to heal her daughter. Everything in the story of the woman seemed like it was against her. The disciples were against her. Satan was against her. It seemed Jesus was against her. She was not of the chosen race. Her gender was against her. Her ethnicity was against her. She knows, according to the standards of the day, she is unclean, and disqualified to approach Jesus. The one thing she had going for her, was her faith. Jesus said to her, "woman, your faith is great" because she persisted in asking and trusting when everything seemed to be against her.
What in your life appears impossible? What keeps you awake at night? Why did Jesus ask his disciples to feed five thousand men, with wives and kids, with just the food for a little boy? This sounds impossible, but nothing about this is unusual with Jesus. Jesus regularly calls people to tackle impossible tasks with incredibly limited resources. Throughout the gospels, Jesus did not hesitate to tell people to do what they could not do: He told a crippled man to stand up and walk. He told a girl who was dead to wake up. Yet, a crippled man stands and the dead come to life. Miracles happen. Following Jesus is a life of impossible commands. hopeless situations, and God doing what seems impossible. What miracle do you need in your life today?
This text from the Gospel of Mark contains everything needed to write a script for an over the top melodrama. Political intrigue, family scandal, marital infidelity, malice, opulence, wrongful imprisonment, outrageous behavior, and murder. You name it, and it seems to be there. However, if we are not careful, we may miss what this teaches us about Jesus by getting caught up in the salacious and gruesome details of the story. There are only two accounts in Mark’s gospel that are not about Jesus, and this is one of them. The other can be found at the very beginning, and both of these accounts are about John the Baptist. Misunderstanding when it comes to Jesus places the eternity of the soul in jeopardy. Ignoring conviction and conscience is deadly serious. Following Jesus is not about one’s comfort; it is about the understanding of the cost.
Today we cover a tragic and painful experience in the life of Jesus as he faces personal rejection. The text picks up after a beautiful event in which a twelve-year-old girl is given life again by Jesus. Jesus and his disciples make their way back to Jesus’ hometown which one would think would be a joyous occasion where the people he grew up with would welcome him back and ask him about all the miracles he had performed. However, after Jesus teaches in the synagogue on a sabbath, the people acknowledge that his teaching and wisdom are extraordinary but instead of celebrating Jesus, his own community ridicules and rejects him. Jesus was a Misunderstood King.