Faithlife Sermons

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Nathan works for the Post Office and his job is to process mail that has been posted with incomplete or illegible addresses.
One day, Nathan comes across a letter addressed in shaky handwriting to Hashem with no actual address on the envelope.
So Nathan opens the envelope and reads the letter inside:
Dear Hashem
I'm a widow of 79 and all I have to live on is a small pension.
Unfortunately, someone stole my purse yesterday with $110 inside and this was all the money I had left until my next pension payment.
As you know, Yom Kippur is approaching, and I have some friends coming over for a break the fast dinner.
Without money, I can't buy any food or drink.
I don't even have any family to help me out.
You, dear God, are my only hope.
Please can you help me?
Yours Sincerely,
Nathan is very touched and shows the letter to all his work colleagues.
When they read it, each one generously gives Nathan a few dollars to donate to Sadie.
Very soon, his collection reaches $100 and the Post Office workers feel very proud (and so they should) to have been able to help an old lady in distress.
Nathan puts the money carefully in an empty envelope together with a short anonymous note:
Dear Sadie
Here is some money to make up for the stolen money.
He then addresses it to Sadie and posts it.
Soon after Yom Kippur ended, Nathan comes across another letter addressed to Hashem.
So he opens it.
It reads:
Dear Hashem
How can I ever thank you enough for what you did for me?
Because of your gift of love, I was able to put together a lovely meal for my friends.
I told them of your wonderful gift and we had a super day thanks to you.
By the way, there was $10 missing from the envelope – I only received $100.
I think it might have been those shnorrers at the Post Office.
If you’re new to Fellowship, we have been on a chronological journey through the Bible.
We have transitioned recently from the OT to the NT and are in a six week mini-series on the person and work of Christ.
Last week in Matthew 14, we looked at Christ feeding the 5,000 and his interaction with the disciples on the sea of Galilee and learned six valuable truths about Jesus:
Jesus chose compassion over convenience
Jesus made the insufficiencies of the disciples sufficient
Jesus included His disciples in His plan
Jesus was intentional to walk with the Father
Jesus met His own in the midst of the storm
and ultimately that:
Jesus is Who He said He is
Following these accounts and many more miracles that Christ performed, we find an important discussion between Christ and His disciples.
Look with me please in Mark 8 - Page 595
Now, as we have talked about before, the four Gospels are written by four different men, all from different backgrounds, perspectives, and with different purposes.
Mark’s Gospel emphasizes actions and deeds.
In this account, you will find Jesus on the go—healing, casting out demons, performing miracles, hurrying from place to place, and teaching.
In Mark everything happens “immediately.”
As soon as one episode ends, another begins.
It is a narrative about Jesus and portrays Him as the Son of God with the purpose of summoning people to repent and respond in faith to the good news of Jesus.
As you make your way through Mark you come to chapter 8 and in the first 26 verses you find Jesus feeding 4,000, correcting the Pharisees and teaching His disciples, and then Him giving sight to a blind man.
And here we pick up in v. 27.
The Importance of Personal Opinion (vv.
In the midst of this jam-packed account of the life of Christ, Mark slows down for just a minute to emphasize the heart of his writing.
Following the go-go-go tempo, verses 27-30 are the turning point of Mark’s account.
Following chapter 8, the rest of the book leads to Jerusalem and the impending fate of Jesus.
But here we have a crucial question presented by Christ.
In essence, what is the popular opinion of who I am?
A. Opinion based on cultural norms (vv.
The disciples give the answers that the culture of their day would give - that Jesus was one of the great prophets who came back to life:
v. 28
John the Baptist - This is what Herod thought:
Mark 6:14
Elijah - Jews knew that in 2 Kings 2:11 that Elijah never did die, but was taken to heaven alive
One of the prophets - Some Jewish people of the Second Temple period (516 bc–ad 70) believed that prophets would return at the end of the age—particularly figures like Elijah who never died but was taken to heaven.
Many also thought that he was just a prophet in general - a messenger sent from God
Then Jesus transitions from what culture said to what they believed personally
B. Opinion based on Truth (vv.
So, Jesus turns the corner from cultural norms and asks...
Implying a different answer, Jesus turns to his disciples.
It was like playing the game hangman with kindergarteners
Joey picked a B and earned an arm
Sally “B” it’s been taken
Frank “B” - NO, it’s been taken!
Jesus, in expectation of a different answer than “just one of the prophets”, hears from Peter, the often outspoken in the group:
You are the Christ! the Messiah; the Anointed One of the OT.
You are the fulfillment of what we have been waiting for!
Remember the response of the disciples during the storm on the sea of Galilee when Christ gets into the boat and the waves and wind cease?
Matthew 14:33
In expectation of an at-a-boy, i’m sure, Peter and the disciples then are:
The Jews as a whole, and even Peter and the disciples didn’t fully understand Christ and His mission yet.
They were expecting the Messiah to come and overthrow Roman oppression, but Christ actually came to overthrow the oppression of their sin!
So, we see here the importance of personal opinion.
This question is the most important question you’ll ever answer.
You can base your answer on cultural norms or on biblical truth.
Who do you say Jesus is?
Was he a good man who healed people?
A prophet who taught about God?
Or was He who He said He Is - the very Son of God?
Now, we would expect this type of climax to continue with His plans of conquering those in opposition.
And He does, but not from a common Judaistic perspective.
2. The Impedance of Perspective (vv.
A. Christ’s teaching (v.
This is the first of three times in Mark that Jesus predicts the ensuing plan.
He highlights that he MUST suffer many things… His suffering and death were essential to God’s purposes for reconciliation between God and man.
B. Peter’s problem (v.
Peter couldn’t accept a suffering Messiah.
He was good intentioned, but intentions are flawed.
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