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Wilderness

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Wilderness

Mark 1:1-8

 

1The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

 2It is written in Isaiah the prophet:

Introduction

The Gospel of Mark was the first written account we got of life of Jesus.

Why did Mark write the life of Jesus? Why did other gospel writer write the life of Jesus down?

For about 30 years or so there were no written account. The gospel was spread orally verbally.

One of the reasons why there were no written account for 30 years is because it was very difficult of any distortions of who Jesus really was because of the presences of eye witnesses.

For example in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul writs to the church of Corinth about 15 years after the death of Jesus. He is writing to the church about resurrections and the meaning of resurrection and then he actually names the people who saw the resurrections of Jesus Christ.  And even at one point Paul states that there were 500 people whom Jesus actually appeared at one time.

And he says most of them are still alive and if you want talk to them go ahead and talk to them.

What Paul was saying within first 20 years it would be very difficult to just makeup about who Jesus was and things about Jesus because people actually saw him.

FOR example, you could not say “oh yeah I saw Jesus fly from one ministry to another because he was divine.” And others would say no I lived and saw him and he never flied anywhere.

But when the eye witness died there arosed a problem of distortion.

Illustration: Me as a legion in Philadelphia Children’s retreat.  When a little girl said to Joe, “that’s pastor james…”

About one generation after apostles have died where most of the eyewitness were dieing then arose the problem and the danger of people who could decide who they wanted Jesus to be. They could make up Jesus on their own.  They could lose touch with real Jesus.

Therefore the Gospel writers got together to pull life and stories to tell about real Jesus was.

NOW we need that desperately today.

Here is one of the reasons why, Jesus is most misunderstood person in history.

Everyone is interested in Jesus but on their own terms.

You see the Jesus you shape, Jesus you make up that fits in with your desire ironically cannot really change it cannot really transform you because its just you.  You made him up.

The Jesus you make up who does not have its own reality cannot change you.

If you want Jesus that can transform you.  You have to know the real Jesus

Mark is one of the best place to go to get striegn up Jesus

Mark is short to the point to get the actions and character of Jesus

Other Gospel talks more about Jesus.

No only you don’t have much teaching and commentary of Jesus you don’t have much teaching of Jesus.

We are going to look at mark for about a year.

Who is Jesus

Verse one he is Christ.  Now for many western world Jesus and Christ is one. 

Not originally, Christ meant the anointed King.

The real Jesus is the king, what does that mean?  He was a king the son of God. 

Even that is not precise because Bible can talk about man as sons of god and angels was also refer to sons of God.

Mark here in these 8 verse goes in-depth about who this king is.

1.     How he comes

2.     Where you meet him

3.     Where he is going

Verese 2-3

This is a bomb shell, in history in literature.

Is. 40 quotation, that someday the Lord will come to Jerusalem to show his Glory and a messenger to show the way for the Lord.

What Mark does is he identifies the messenger as John the Baptist that means Mark identifies the Lord as Jesus.

“Now what’s the big deal about this?” Well let me tell you what the big deal is,

There are two words for Lord, elohim and Yahweh (NIV identifies the difference for all capital for Yahweh).

Elohim is a general word for Lord

But if you go back to Is. 40 in its original Hebrew text.

Lord is Yahweh, it’s the personal covenant name God gave to Moses at the burning bush.  The personal name Jews consider so holy they did not speak it or write it. 

 

And Mark is saying Yahweh of Israel the creator of universe; the ruler of the world has come to earth in form of Jesus Christ.

This is big real big.

This is answer to many years of philosophy

Let me you give you nutshell of history of philosophy.

Battle between back and forth which is more important

The ideal vs. the real

Particular vs. universal

Rationalism vs. imperialism

Aristotle vs. Plato

In Jesus Christ that is all over the IDEAL has become REAL.

The immortal become mortal

Totally invulnerable has become vulnerable.

The impossible has become possible

God becoming human in Jesus is the history altering, worldview shattering life transferring event set Christianity apart from any other religions and any other view and any philosophy in the world.

WOW… you say ok but I don’t believe it

So many people have said this and maybe you feel this way. “Ok I understand primitive people where different they can believe this idea and I can understand the idea Jesus being great teacher and having divine conscience but I am modern contemporary sophisticated person and there are too many intellectual cultural barriers for me to believe that.”

Here is what the book of Mark is saying

Would you keep in mind that original believer were Jews including Mark and they have far more cultural barrier than you do than a God can be human than you do.  I said they were not allowed to speak the name or write the name of God and this is true even today with orthodox Jews.

This was against all of that… YET they did, something shattered those barriers.  And you ask what was that?  Mark says lets me show it to you.

Its what he said how he acted and what he did.

If you believe God became human in Jesus Christ and if you really take this truth it will change you.

Three ways: (quick)

1.     It can change the motivation of your heart. We all have basic motivation that drives your heart that gets you out of bed in the morning that moves us to do what we do.  I use to think it was pursue of happiness but more and more I realize that its FEAR. Fear of rejections fear of unknown.

a.     For most religion just enhances that fear.  Most religion God is out there. 

                                                             i.      buddisham says 8 fold path,

                                                           ii.      Islam 5 pillar

                                                        iii.      Jewdish says 10 commandment

b.     We always fall short of it.  But incarnation, God has come to us. And it is possible to have a heart that knows that we have God.  Therefore we live out of gratefulness and thankfulness that we have him. 

2.     It gives us hope in time of suffering.  There is no other religion

a.     Edward Sheloto “The other Gods did ride. thou did stumble to the thrown. to our wound only God’s wound can speak and no God has wound but thou alone.”

3.     Give us peace and justice. Jesus Christ had material body.  He was not only redeemed spiritually he was also redeem physically.  Christian is not escape from physical world but redeem of physical world.

How do you meet this king?

II. You can meet this king in the wilderness/desert

Now the whole theme of this chapter, you will see later this month is that If you are going find a king you will have to go to wilderness/desert. 

John the Baptist peaches in wilderness

You have to you to wilderness to get baptize

Jesus goes to wilderness

NIV actually translate wilderness correct with the word desert.  It is not consistent through the book of Mark but here it fits.  One of the reason why its good is because we get wrong imagery.

When we think of wilderness we think about forest.

This is not what this word is talking about.  In forest there are living things.

Wilderness as bible defines is “eramos” is often translated as wilderness or desert.  Wilderness is a place that cannot sustain life. It is a place of throne where nothing grows and thirst because all the wells are dry.  There is no bread out there because you cannot grow wheat because nothing grows in the desert. 

It cannot support life.

Now what’s important about John the Baptist preaching in wilderness is generally speaking you meet God in wilderness. 

When you look at the history of Israel they met God in the wilderness.

1.     Moses met God in wilderness

2.     Jacob wrestle in wilderness

3.     Israel did not met God in Egypt? No in sini and the desert.

Why is wilderness a place you meet God, wilderness is a place where you cannot stay alive without intervention of God.

All wells go dry so you need God to bring water out of the rock

All the bread goes moldy so you need the manna from god

And out in the wilderness you lean that God is not add-on to your life but sustainer.

You have no hope without God.  All wells runs dry except the water of God. 

What does this have to do with us?  EVERYTHING

In Hebrew it says we still meet God in the wilderness

Let me tell you what the wilderness experience may looks like; when you realize that the real hope that real thing that keeps you alive your real savor real drink was not God (and I am talking about Christians) and you find yourself inadequate lonely in the desert.

Here is what it means to find a king.  When you realize that its not the money, great husband, great job that will make me happy.  Every well will run dry except the water of God. 

Only when you realize this you will meet the king.

John the Baptist makes this really clear. Notice what the bible says.

“John baptized them.”

You say, ‘oh that’s not a big deal.”  Oh it in enormously a big deal.

Oh your saying there were no baptism before John, well let me explain.

Before John the Baptist there were always washing emersion, fusion and washing of water.  The Jews understood that they needed to wash their hands.  They understood the purification part of cleanness before God for confession.

Not only that Gentile not only has to wash their hand but they had to emerge themselves with water by pouring water all over their body.  This has been done for centuries.

Not get this, I did not realize this until I studied these passages. 

You always did it to yourself. The gentile did emersion, the Jews did self washing of their hands.  For the first time in history, no I have to baptize you.  Not only Jew or Gentiles, it does not matter if you are pastor or prostitute. 

You will have to receive your fitness for this king from a hand of another.

I will baptize you with water and later Jesus will baptize you with spirit the point is that you cannot save yourself.

There are always people who are searching because their well has run dry. Let me give you perfect example.

“You got into right school and got a right job, and then you had some financial reversal and guess what happened you thought money was nice but now you realize it was the main thing.    You start to have trouble liking yourself and communication withy people. 

“You begin to think I was not a religious person but yes you were because this was your savor.”

Now it has gone away you experience major identity melt down.  This was your bread of life.  So you realize you need something and start going to church and you start to say things like, I am going to really good and not cheat on my taxes.

AND john the Baptist say you are still saving yourself.  Your still trying to baptize yourself. You still have not change your foundation.

Let me tell you what happen when you meet the king.

Nathan Cole, “ 1740 Connecticut farmer kept a diary and many historians study it because of his referral to historical events became Christian listening to George Whitfield sermon.  Listen to what he says, “My hearing him preach gave me heart wound. By God’s grace my old foundation was broken up and realized that my rightness could not save me.”

III. Where is this king going?

People don’t like to hear him as a king because it sounds too oppressive; they like to think of him as lover, friend.

Even the language of the text sounds oppressive.

Verse 3

The word “way” hodos means highway or road. 

When a king came to a country you had to build a highway to honor a king.  Not only a road but a straight road you had to bridge the canon and that meant when king came there was slavery.

Mark deliberately uses this word road and what’s interesting is that every time the word road is used in Mark it always refers to the cross.

This king does not come to go to thrown but to the cross.

Paradoxical word of Kings cross is heart of what message of Mark is all about.

In fact Cross is the opposite of the thrown

Person dieing on the cross was not even allowed to die in private.  They were stripped naked for everyone to see.  It was ultimate form of helplessness.

Mark is saying, the greatness of Christ rather than going to the thrown when he got here he went to the cross for us.

Or put it like this

He went to the ultimate wilderness, what was in that wilderness, thorns for his head, thirst forsakenness alones.

Jesus Christ went to ultimate wilderness to be forsaken by God so that we can find God. 

Conclusion

If Jesus was not just great human but God how should you respond to him?

The only way to answer him, the only rational response to that is extreme.

John Stott in his book “basic Christianity” says

People who actually meet Jesus always acted in extreme way.

1.     They hated him and try to kill him

2.     Scare of him and ran far away

3.     You knelt at his feet

You either have to hate him or worship him.

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