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Preparation for Sermon_Matt_21DEC03 Selection, Adaption, Arrangement

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Preparation for Sermon

Dec 21, 2003

1. Ask the question of who, what , when, where, why?

2. Understand the author’s intent, audience, historical context.

During the church’s early days in Jerusalem ( ca. a.d. 33-47) Mark no doubt became familiar with Peter’s preaching. Later he went to Antioch and accompanied Paul and Barnabas (Mark’s cousin; cf. Col. 4:10 ), as far as Perga on their first missionary journey ( cf. Acts 12:25 ; 13:5 , 13 ; ca. a.d. 48-49). For an unstated reason he returned home to Jerusalem. Because of this desertion Paul refused to take him on his second journey. Instead Mark served with Barnabas on the island of Cyprus ( cf. Acts 15:36-39 ; ca. a.d. 50=?). Sometime later, perhaps by a.d. 57, he went to Rome. He was a fellow worker with Paul during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment ( cf. Col. 4:10 ; Phile. 23-24 ; ca. a.d. 60-62). After Paul’s release Mark apparently remained in Rome and served with Peter on his arrival in “Babylon,” Peter’s code word for Rome ( cf. 1 Peter 5:13 ; ca. a.d. 63-64). (Some, however, take Babylon to refer to the city on the Euphrates River; cf. comments on 1 Peter 5:13 .) Probably because of severe persecution under Emperor Nero and Peter’s martyrdom, Mark left Rome for a time. Finally Paul, during his second imprisonment in Rome (a.d. 67-68), requested Timothy who was in Ephesus to pick up Mark who was presumably somewhere in Asia Minor and bring him to Rome because Paul considered him useful in his ministry ( cf. 2 Tim. 4:11 ).

3. Matthew was writing to the Jew.  He was Levi, called of Jesus, as he was a tax-collector, rejecting Jewish law, and being rejected.

      - Mark is written to the Roman around AD 60; and appeared in Rome during a time of suffering for the church.  Mark emphasizes a suffering-servant Messiah.

      - Luke is written to Theophalus, to inform him of what transpired in history under God’s control to bring salvation to the Gentiles.  Luke covers the transitional things of the Kingdom of God.

      - John is written for the purpose that you might believe and have eternal life (Jn 20:31).

4. Each writer of the Synoptic gospel (all under the inspiration of the H.S.)

      - selected the stories and quotations of Jesus

      - adapted these selected sections for their purpose in writing

      - arranged these selected sections for their specific purpose.

5. We must be careful in trying to bring these 4 gospels together in trying to come up with some sort of historical account of Jesus, for this is not why the Gospel writers wrote these books under the guidance of the H.S.  Avoid the cross-reference mentality.

6. The revelation of the Kingdom of God was transitional.  We see a generation caught in the end of one age, and the beginning of another.

For best results, in studying each Gospel account, it is important to

-         read over and over

-         ask the question as to who the author was

-         what was the author’s purpose in writing

-         what was the occasion/setting for each event

-         who were the audience at each particular event

-         what questions were being asked

-         what is the outline?

-         What is the flow

-         Where is this taking place?

-         What is the particular life setting?

Why did Jesus speak in parables?  (Mk 4:11)

1) to reveal truth to His followers and

2) to conceal truth from “those on the outside”

Now we will study Mark 3:13-6:13

When we have determined that we have a section to study, we must

1) read this section many times at one sitting

2) Make an outline, see the flow

      - Mark 3:20-35 are the occasion and setting for the miracle  stories

      - Mark 6:1-6 are the conclusion to the miracles.

      - the 4 miracles are framed by the calling of the 12 disciples (3:13-19) and the commissioning of the 12 (6:7-13)

      - the miracles are also framed by the rejection and attacking of Jesus (3:20-35 and 6:1-6).

      - Mark precedes the miracles with parables of the Kingdom of God.

3) answer the questions

- What is the occasion that gives episodes to these miracles

- What is the setting of each of these miracles?

- How do these miracles answer Jesus’ critics from earlier verses?

- what commonality tie all these miracles together?

In ad 64 much of the city of Rome was destroyed by fire. To divert the suspicion that he had started it for his own entertainment, Nero accused another party about whom the public were also prepared to believe the worst. Having forced a conviction for arson against certain Christians he conducted mass arrests, and among other tortures burnt his victims alive in public (Tacitus, Ann. 15. 44).

On July, 19th, 64 CE, a fire started in Rome and burned for nine days, finally destroying or damaging almost three-quarters of the city, including numerous public buildings. Rumors spread that the fire had been planned by Nero. And according to Tacitus, to put an end to such rumors, Nero created a diversion by torturing and executing Christians.

"Therefore, to put an end to the rumor Nero created a diversion and subjected to the most extra-ordinary tortures those hated for their abominations by the common people called Christians. The originator of this name (was) Christ, who, during the reign of Tiberius had been executed by sentence of the procurator Pontinus Pilate. Repressed for the time being, the deadly superstition broke out again not only in Judea, the original source of the evil, but also in the city (Rome), where all things horrible or shameful in the world collect and become popular. So an arrest was made of all who confessed; then on the basis of their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of arson as for hatred of the human race." (Tacitus, Annales, 15, 44)

Tacitus continues:

"Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames. These served to illuminate the night when daylight failed. Nero had thrown open the gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or drove about in a chariot. Hence, even for crimnals who deserved extreme and examplary punishment there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but glut one man's cruelty, that they were being punished."

Outline of this section

Matt 12:28 “if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you”

Why did Jesus come?  1 John 3:8 “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil”

At this time, the kingdom of God was like a mustard seed, small, in one person, the Lord Jesus, but soon would become a large tree on the day of Pentecost, filling the whole earth, supplying all that was needed to a dark world.  Starting with one light, then 12, then 400, then 3000 on the day of Pentecost.  Lights shinning in a dark world, pushing the darkness back.    The pouring out of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost in new covenant fullness and power occurred at Pentecost. 

Mark 3:13-19 Jesus appoints the twelve.

3:20 -35 Jesus is in a home (evidently close to Nazareth).  There was a great crowd around Him and His disciples.

      -(21) His own people try to take custody of Him, they say “He has lost his senses”.

      - the scribes say “He is possessed by Beelzebub and casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.

      Jesus’ reply (verses 23-30).  Either Satan’s house/kingdom is being overthrown by Satan himself, or someone greater/more powerful than Satan. 

      - Jesus’ mother and brothers come to take Jesus away.  Jesus confirms who His family truly is. 

(31) His mother and brothers – Jesus was the first born, Joseph was probably dead, at this time, and Jesus would have had the responsibility of providing for his family.  No wonder his relatives thought He had lost it.

But Jesus came to do the Father’s will.  Think of those Roman Christians, under persecution, their families would have the same objections.  Do you love us?  Why are you doing this?  Why would God have you forsake us for His work?  Jesus would have been misunderstood, just like those Christians.

Mark 4 – 4 parables

Parable of the sower and soils – The parable, the interpretation; why some will not understand – Satan, cares of the world, and persecution.

Parable of the lamp – Jesus is the light in a dark world. 

Parable of the seed – Good seed and bad seed grow together until harvest time.

Parable of the mustard seed – such little faith in the world at that time, but it will grow to such an extent that the world will see great things from the followers of Jesus.

4 miracles

Mark 4:35-41 Jesus calms the sea and wind:  Jesus is in control of nature, the lives of His men.  The disciples’ exclamation “who is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”  Answering the first question “He has lost control”.

Mark 5:1-20  The demon possessed man in the country of the Gerasenes.  We see the nature of one truly possessed by a demon, unlike Jesus.  The answer to the question of the scribes.

Mark 5:21-43 the healing of the woman with a blood disorder, a hopeless case, and the resurrection of a dead 12 year old girl. 

Is Jesus in control?

Out of His mind?

Possessed by Beelzebub?

Which kingdom has been entered and who is being bound and plundered?  Satan’s kingdom or Christ’s kingdom?

Mark 6: 1-6 Jesus goes to His home town and sees such little faith, and wonders at their unbelief.

Mark 6: 7-13 Jesus sends out the 12 preaching the kingdom of God, healing the sick and casting out demons.

Now there are 13 lights in a dark world.  Satan’s kingdom is being entered into and weakened.  Jesus is in control.  Jesus selects and empowers His true family.

Those who hear will see great things, others, like His home town will not see, even though the witness is there. 

What would this have meant to those being persecuted in those days? 

What about the boat incident? 

4:38 Don’t you care that we are perishing?  Yes, He does.  The world is not worth the honor bestowed upon the Children of God who suffer death for Jesus’ sake. 

The persecuted Christians – the boat incident

Nero – the demon possessed man. 


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ca. circa , about

cf. confer , compare

ad anno Domini

Ann. Tacitus, Annales

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