Join us as Pastor Sam walks us through Mark 15:33-39, detailing four events that explain why Jesus died, and what his death means.
Sermons in: The Servant King
The cross, is the most recognized symbol in the world. It is roughly analogous to an electric chair. How strange is it that a cross became the symbol of Christianity? Join us as Co-Pastor Sam Shaw walks us through Mark 15:1-32, and sheds light on the King and His cross.
Co-Pastor Sam Shaw makes a passionate plea to avoid the dangers of a wasted life, calling us to do what we can, to do all we can, and to do it while we can for Jesus.
There is nothing quite like a closely contested game at the end, and if one of your favorite teams is involved, it can be exhausting. The running joke in our house includes the effects of the game on hearing, and no one can even begin to fathom how long a game will last with less than two minutes on the clock. We obsess over the details, strategizing around personnel, the clock, and game management. Our voices get louder, and everything takes on more weight in the hopes that our team will be victorious. Some days we experience the thrill of victory, and other days, the agony of defeat. The clock is ticking as the most significant event in human history nears. Jesus is hours away from giving his life and rising from the dead. The disciples seem to be utterly oblivious to what is taking place around them. Coming out of the seemingly endless conflict in the temple complex, one of the disciples takes a moment to wonder at what for them was the height of human achievement, the religious center of Israel, and the great symbol of what it meant to be Jewish. They had no idea that one comment about the temple complex's beauty would release an unsettling and unthinkable reality. Jesus provides a prophetic glimpse of things to come, which raises more questions and devastates the disciples.
Jesus answers the questions from the intellectual and religious elite publicly while the crowds look on and listen with great delight. The Chief Priests, scribes, Pharisees, Herodians, and Sadducees have all asked their questions and have been publicly humiliated. Jesus is on their turf answering questions at the religious center of Israel. This thirty-something-year-old itinerate rabbi who didn't attend the right schools is schooling the Jewish leaders. A scribe who seems impressed has one more question, but his approach is very different from the previous attempts to publicly humiliate Jesus. It has been a day for questions, but Jesus is about to turn the tables and ask the question of the day. The question Jesus asks will raise the stakes and then He will follow it with a full-scale verbal assault against the current religious authorities. The conflict continues to escalate. The cross is three days away and a moment of truth has arrived. Religion can’t save you, the Messiah is not what you expect, and the heart is the most important thing when it comes to following Jesus.
Jesus stuns the Pharisees and Herodians with his answer to the questions about politics and taxes, but the parade of opponents continues as the Sadducees confront him. The Sadducees were the wealthy aristocracy associated with the priesthood, and they wielded significant political and temple influence. They dominated the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:17) and were sympathetic to Hellenism, the Herods, and Rome. Politically, they were very liberal and were happy to cooperate with the Roman occupation authorities to preserve their favored position. Theologically, they only considered the books of Moses as authoritative, did not believe in angels and demons (Acts 23:8), and that at death, the soul perished along with the body. For the Sadducees, there was no resurrection, so there were no future rewards or punishments. Undeterred by what had just taken place, they take their shot at this upstart rabbi from Nazareth. The fuse is lit on a theological conundrum as they toss it to Jesus in the hopes that he will be embarrassed and publicly humiliated. These Sadducees present an absurd scenario meant to show the foolishness of believing in a future resurrection, and just when they think they have Jesus cornered...
Martin Luther once said, “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved. And to be steady on all the battle fields besides is merely flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.” At The Orchard Church, we believe that faith is profoundly personal, but not private. To follow Jesus means he will shape every area of our lives. And every passage of scripture can have deep political, social, and personal ramifications. So we do not want to flinch or shy away from one of the most divisive and disruptive topics of our time: politics. Co-Pastor Sam Shaw walks us through Mark 12:13-17 and details what Jesus says about politics.
Jesus, the Servant King, is making his way to Jerusalem. The disciples still don't fully understand what Jesus has come to do. He has told them that he would suffer. He has explained that he did not come to be served, serve, and give his life as a ransom. In a matter of days, Jesus would change everything and accomplish salvation. The atmosphere was electric as thousands of pilgrims from around the world gathered in Jerusalem for the Passover feast. The news and rumors about a thirty-something itinerant rabbi, prophet, and healer from Galilee had spread, and everyone wanted to see what he would do next. The crowds were like a powder keg, just waiting for the spark. Messianic hopes combined with Roman hatred had the city ready to explode at any moment. The winds of revolution were blowing in Palestine, and the people were prepared. Questions swirled as people speculated about the possibility that Jesus might be the long-awaited Messiah. Sunday, he arrived with shouts of Hosanna. Monday, he cleared the temple and cursed a fig tree, so the crowds show up early on Tuesday morning to see what Jesus will do next. However, another group emerges from the shadows to confront Jesus as he enters the temple this time. This coalition is made up of chief priests, elders, and scribes demand to know who gave Jesus the authority to do these things. In their minds, they were the only ones who had authority over the temple and its activities. Jesus needed to understand his place, and they intended to humble him and show him who was in control. They asked where he got his authority, and Jesus turned the tables on them just as he had turned the tables over in the temple. Jesus asks them to answer whether John the Baptist's baptism was from heaven or man? This group of religious leaders was afraid to answer because either way, they would be incriminated. Jesus is winning the people's support and approval while at the same time exposing the failure and hypocrisy of the ruling Jewish leadership. This parable speaks of judgment and is aimed at the religious leaders who will not take direct action because they fear the crowds.
We are walking through the biography of Jesus. In the gospel according to Mark we see that Jesus presents himself as an authoritative, compassionate, powerful savior. The man with evil spirits knew it. The people he healed knew it. The people listening to his teaching knew it. His disciples knew it. The leper knew it. Do you?
Once upon a time, our first parents lived in a garden where God was the King. This was no ordinary garden. This was the place where relationships were whole physically, socially, and psychologically. There was no loneliness, fear, or shame. The King would dance with his creatures face to face. But one day, Adam and Eve encountered a dragon who whispered, “God cannot be trusted. He is not a good King. He doesn’t love you; he doesn’t even understand you. He is afraid of you because he knows that you should be the king. Rebel against him, and you will be truly whole and free.” Surely Adam and Eve would not fall prey to this liar... but they did, and everything changed. Creation fell apart physically, socially, spiritually, and psychologically. Humanity plunged into the dark tower of death where groaning and locked away; they struggled with all their might, but could not rescue themselves. The results were catastrophic as violence, murder, family breakdowns, self-centered relationships, wars, and suffering became the norm. The ancient dragon just knew that he had won until the King announced the good news or the gospel of God–He would rescue his people. The world waited and waited and waited to see the King. Hope gave way to impatience, which gave way to despair because it seemed that God had forgotten His promise or that He had changed His mind. Time kept passing, but when it finally filled up, something historic happened... The Servant King appeared, and He began his ministry by proclaiming the good news.
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”” (Mark 10:45, ESV) Mark does not read like dull history. It is a fast-paced narrative that will startle you by how abrupt it can be and leave you out of breath while you try to keep up with the narrative. Jesus entered into this broken world to be The Servant King and this startling reality changed everything forever. Mark presents Jesus' life and ministry in two acts (chapters 1-8 and 9-16), exploding right out of the gate with words that would be unmistakable for a Jewish audience. He provides specific events in rapid-fire succession to show that Jesus is the Servant King who served, suffered, died and rose again conquering sin and death. He alone saves those who will repent and believe. Jesus is not some historical figure, he is a living person who rescues people who will reorient their lives around his Gospel and it is clear that an immediate response to Jesus is required. So let's start at the beginning...