A Divine Interruption
Luke running down aisle – love my son but unwelcome interruption. Welcome vs. unwelcome interruption – SNOW – Welcome – BAMA/CLEMSON fans – unwelcome
· The Gospel of Mark is the story of Divine interruption as the God of all creation steps into history to completely changes our direction, our desires, and our destiny. For some of us, the story of the Gospel is an UNWELCOME INTERRUPTION – For others, a WELCOMED INTERRUPTION – we’ve embraced the change.
· As we study Mark we’ll see how the desperate embraced the divine interruption while those satisfied with the status quo rejected the divine interruption.
· Mark is the shortest Gospel; action packed. Immediately used repeatedly in first few chapters. Mark is Peter’s Gospel – Peter’s recollection of the life of Jesus told to Mark who records it for us. Written from Rome before Peter’s execution to believers who are beginning to suffer for their faith. The message: follow the King – even when your life is on the line, because this man from Galilee is the Son of God.
· Why study Mark at NW? We are a Jesus people. We need to immerse ourselves in His life, death, and resurrection to know Him and know what He wants from us.
· Beware: Mark’s Gospel is a story of Divine Interruption. As you consider what Mark teaches us in this Gospel, your life will be turned upside down. This What happens when you embrace a Divine Interruption:
1. You see yourself for who you are.
· Unique introduction when compared to other Gospels. – No birth narrative, nothing about childhood, etc. Instead an announcement: “Beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” – From outset, Mark wants us to know the identity of Jesus – God in the flesh.
· That God has come to us in the flesh is Good News! (Gospel) – Common Greek word used to make an announcement of a military victorey. Or, when an emperor gave birth to a child – Good News.
· Mark opens with a declaration of Good News – a declaration of a long-awaited victory – He’s here!
· Starts just before Jesus’ ministry. OT prophecy from Is. 40:3 and Mal. 3:1 – Some expected Elijah to return before the coming of the Kingdom – but nope – an odd man instead.
· Redneck John – not like other religious leaders. If he were a pastor, he would pastor the Baptist church in the backwoods. Duck Dynasty his favorite show. Wears camel hair and eats locusts and honey. Reminiscent of Elijah – they had the same taste in clothing (2 Kings 1:8)
· Ministering in a strange place – the wilderness. And, performing a strange act in the wilderness: baptism.
· Wilderness = place of grace, new start, and repentance. Come back and start again!
· New beginning required repentance. Their way of life – rituals and religion wasn’t making them right with God. Repentance = change of direction – a complete turning.
· New beginning symbolized by baptism – a symbol of cleansing – new beginning. (Ritual cleansings not uncommon – but this was different – being baptized BY someone.) John’s baptism = looking forward. (vs. 7-8) Preparation for the coming Messiah who would immerse them (baptize) in the Spirit. Our baptism = looking back.
· To see Jesus for who He is, you need to see yourself for you who you are. Who are you?
o I am not good. (Mark 10:18) We think we’re relatively good people, but we’re not.
o I am a sinner. I am a hardened rebel and at the same time overwhelmingly loved.
o I am invited to a new beginning – a grace-filled beginning.
· You won’t embrace the Good News until you understand the bad news about you.
· Ill. – Bald Spot – need to see truth to know what to do – hard truth – I’m almost 40!
2. You see Jesus for who He is.
· The baptism of Jesus gives us a picture of who Jesus is – Jesus comes to the Jordan, and John says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29) Another claim that Jesus is more than a man – who can take away sins but God Himself? Luke 1 tells us John from the lineage of Aaron – the priestly line. A priest offered sacrifices. John, from the priestly line of Aaron, presents Jesus to the world as the ultimate sacrifice – the Lamb of God.
· A request John wasn’t expecting from Jesus, “Baptize me.” John questions Jesus. (Matt. 3:14) Jesus didn’t need to be baptized – no sins to repent of. Why does Jesus request baptism?
o Validates the ministry of John. Jesus approves of John’s message.
o A preview of what’s to come – Romans 6 – a picture of His death and resurrection.
o To show us that He’s one of us. He identifies Himself with fallen humanity. He wasn’t guilty, but He placed Himself among the guilty – ultimately, taking the guilt of all people. We needed a Savior who was one of us – who could live the life God wanted us to live on our behalf because of our inability to do so.
o To show us that He’s God – heavens open up, Spirit descends on Christ and God speaks: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” The Father speaks to the Son directly twice in Mark’s Gospel – here and at the transfiguration. “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.” (Mark 9:7) – Notice, at the baptism of Jesus – all three persons of the Trinity. A reminder of Genesis 1 – the Father Speaks, the Spirit hovers the waters, Gen. 1:26, “Let us make man…” Col. 1:16, “For by him all things were created…” The Trinity together at the beginning, and the Trinity together at this New Beginning. If Jesus was just man He could not bear our sins because He would be a sinner. He could not defeat death. He could not rise from the dead. At the beginning of Mark’s Gospel, we see Jesus for who He is.
· The words spoken over Jesus our spoken over us: “You are my beloved child, in who I am well pleased.” God is pleased with you not based on what you have done but because of what the God-man has done for you. Good News: If you belong to the One who is fully man and fully God, on your best days, God is pleased with you, and on your worst days, God is still pleased with you.
o But, I feel so guilty. You’re not!
o But, I feel so unworthy. You are, but doesn’t matter!
o But, I feel so insignificant. You are made in His image, loved and saved by Him, and empowered by His Spirit.
· Ill. – Georgia’s victory is my victory – even though I haven’t done anything! When we read the Gospel – root Jesus on. Cheer! Celebrate! He’s doing this for you!
3. You see you cannot live without Him.
· After Jesus’ baptism, you’d expect Jesus to get right to His ministry – to begin teaching and healing, but He doesn’t. Instead He’s driven further into the wilderness.
· Wilderness = a place of exodus and a place of testing. Hebrews repeatedly tested in the wilderness and failed. Now Jesus tested in the wilderness by Satan himself. The test is limited to 40 days, but Jesus’ life would be a life of constant spiritual warfare.
· Important statement: “And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.” (Mark 1:13)
· Mark writes to believers in Rome under the rule of Nero. First emperor to sponsor state persecution against the church. Peter and Paul both martyred under the reign of Nero. In the future, Roman empire would kill Christians by throwing them to wild animals as a savage crowd looked on.
· Comfort to early Christians: Jesus has been where you’ve been – and He’s overcome. He’s overcome for you. He overcame the attacks of the enemy for you. He’s been thrown to the wild animals and came out victorious. More than that, He has overcome sin and death for you. He suffered the wrath of God so you wouldn’t have to. Whatever life throws at you, you can know that Jesus has overcome for you and He will sustain you through any and every trial you experience.
· Reality: You cannot live without Christ. You need Him to save you from your sins. And, you need Him to empower you to walk through the dark days of life. You need His grace to sustain you when you are under attack.
· Truth: Jesus’ strength is your strength.
· Hebrews 4:15-16: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
· In our weaknesses, we best see the strength of our Lord as He ministers to us. In your most difficult day, fix your eyes on the one who has gone through testing and trial much greater than you will ever experience, and who was completely victorious so that you might be victorious as well.
· Unbeliever: Respond to the Good News of the death and resurrection of Jesus by placing your faith in Him. Come out to the wilderness and experience a new beginning.
o Return to the wilderness. You’re a follower of Jesus who has lost your way. Grace is interrupting your life this morning. Jesus is calling you to return to Him. To renew your intimacy with the One who gave His all for you.
o Rest in your identity. God is pleased with you. We too quickly beat ourselves up because we don’t feel like we measure up, or because we don’t feel like we’re good enough to be called a child of God. Constant theme: “I’ll never be good enough.” You’re right, and you don’t have to be good enough. God is pleased with you not because of who you are but because of grace. He chooses to love you and embrace you in spite of who you are.
o Renew your worship. Romans 12:1-2 – The God of all creation has interrupted your life to give you abundant and everlasting life. He is worthy of you living your life for Him. Are you?