Loosing Our Wonder
Good morning! Welcome to New Life Online. We want to thank you for being with us today. Lord willing, we plan to be back in our building next Sunday, but we will also be bringing the messages to you live online as well.
My name is Pastor Hilton, I’m one of the Pastor’s here at New Life.
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Let’s open in a word of prayer this morning as we dive into God’s word.
PRAY - Father, we ask that today you would be with us, speak to us and change us. In your name we pray, amen.
Scripture: This morning I want to read a lengthy passage from the Gospel of Mark. If you’ve got a Bible or an app, we will begin reading in Mark 4:35 and continue through Mark 6.
35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” 1 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3 He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4 for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. 7 And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 8 For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea. 14 The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled. 21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24 And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” 35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. 1 He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.
The Gospel of Mark is a fast-paced account of the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. It is the shortest of the four gospels and it doesn’t spend any time at all on the birth of Jesus, Mark just sort of thrusts us into the story.
It’s like the difference between a 747 taking off and a helicopter. The 747 needs a long runway and eases into the air. A helicopter just lifts right off.
Mark, in his gospel, just takes off. It’s a dizzying and fast account of parables and miracles and conflict.
In our passage that we read, there are several miracles that Jesus performs that would have reminded Mark’s readers and that remind us that Jesus is in control of whatever situation we face.
First, we notice that Jesus has power over nature.
Jesus calms the storm on the lake.
With just the word of his mouth, Jesus deals with nature!
Second, we notice that Jesus has power over demons.
This man was demon possessed and the Bible tells us that No one could hold him.
He’s has an “unclean” spirit in him. He would have been considered unclean by the Jews here for several reasons:
The demons Inside Him
The fact that he was probably a Gentile (he’s living in Gentile Territory)
He lives among the tombs
I Don’t know his story or how he got to the place where he’s so messed up, But I do know that no one could control him
He was out of his mind
The Bible tells us he would constantly cry out and cut himself with stones.
He didn’t just have one demon - he had many
Everyone else just wants to manage or control his problem - but Jesus comes to fix it!
No one else could hold this man - But Jesus sets him free!
There is such a change in this man, that everyone is scared of Jesus.
With just the word of his mouth, Jesus deals with these demons that had been tormenting this man - for days, weeks, maybe years.
There is power in the name of Jesus!
Third, we see Jesus has power over sickness.
Here we have another case of someone who would have been considered “unclean.”
She’s an outcast because for the last 12yrs she’s been bleeding.
She had suffered for twelve years
I imagine that all her trips to the doctors began to get tiring
She would come home with the same story
When you come from a dr. visit, everyone wants to know how it went. For twelve years, every time she comes back from the dr., she hangs her head in despair and says, “They can’t figure out my problem. They want to try a different approach.”
Eventually she exhausts all her means trying to get better - and she keeps getting worse.
She’s tired, she’s broken, and she is over it and she’s probably going to die soon.
But she heard about Jesus - and something in her began to hope again
She thinks to herself - If I can just get close to him.
If I can just touch the hem of his garment.
One encounter with Jesus does what twelve years, her lifetime savings, and all the best doctors could not do.
The idea here in the original language (in verse 29) is that her problem stopped - Stopped completely. It was done, finished.
What Doctors could not do in 12 years time, Jesus was done with, finished with - In an instant!
Finally, we see that Jesus has power over death.
This synagogue ruler Comes to Jesus with a request that he come heal his sick little girl.
Interesting to note - The little girl is 12, the women we just discussed bled for 12 years.
The child is at the point of death - Much like the woman.
While Jesus is on the way to heal the little girl, this incident with the woman occurs. Notice that Jesus isn’t in a hurry. He always has time to stop and deal with the needs of those around him.
Somewhere, during his journey to reach the little girl, she passes away.
The servant of Jarius shows up and says, “Listen, don’t trouble the teacher any longer.” Translation: She’s dead, it’s over. done. No hope. People don’t resurrect.
But Jesus says to them, “Don’t fear, just believe.”
Jesus goes to the girl and He takes her by the hand - This would have made Jesus unclean. Notice a pattern here:
Jesus deals with the unclean demoniac man
Jesus deals with this unclean woman who’s been bleeding for 12 years.
Jesus deals with the unclean dead body of this little girl.
Jesus is willing to touch things and people that no one else will touch!
Jesus touches the little girl and she get up.
Notice again Mark’s use of the word “immediately.”
Immediately the lady’s blood flow stopped
Immediately, the little girl gets up.
Jesus is able to do things “immediately.”
Jesus resurrects what is dead.
Plot Twist: But there this is not what I where I want to land this morning.
I want you to notice something - Jesus does all of these wonderful miracles, yet there are several instances in the story where people struggle with faith in him.
In fact, the miracles in chapter 5, are bracketed, if you noticed, by stories of unbelief - not by outsiders - but by those closest to Jesus.
Jesus’ disciples failed to trust him in the storm
Jesus is asleep in the boat and they get scared.
He wakes up and silences the storm.
He asks them - Why are you being such cowards? You’ve been with me all this time and you still don’t trust me?
They had seen Jesus do some amazing things - Yet they didn’t trust him in the storm.
Jesus’ hometown failed to recognize who Jesus really was.
This is, perhaps one of the saddest moments in the Bible.
Jesus gets to his hometown, and they can’t get over what they know about him - He’s just Joseph’s boy.
The text tells us that he couldn’t do anything there except heal a few sick people.
He marveled at their unbelief.
In both instances, it was those closest to him or most familiar with him, who lost their sense of wonder.
We can be in danger of losing our sense of wonder, our sense of awe for Jesus.
The God of the miraculous can be in our midst and we can miss him because we become lazy and familiar with him.
How do we keep from this?
Embrace the mystery
If you think you’ve got God all figured out and that you have all the answers, you don’t
We often think of God as a math problem to solve. 2+2=4. I do this, God always does that, etc.
But God is not a math problem to be solved, he is more like a relationship waiting to be entered into.
Relationships are mysterious. Those of us who are married our have kids - You may know your spouse or your kids - but people are complex and there are new things to learn every single day.
How much more with God! There are new things to discover and learn about God every single day! You will never figure him out! His ways are beyond our ways. Instead of trying to have all the answers, lets embrace the mystery of our faith.
Sometimes, we don’t know. Sometimes we don’t understand. Sometimes we don’t have an answer. This means that God is free to move however he sees fit.
This can feel dangerous…and it can be. So what keeps the mystery in balance?
Remember what God has done
We must hold the tension between the mysterious and the familiar.
We can trust this mysterious God because we know he is faithful.
We know he’s loving. We know he’s powerful. We know he’s trustworthy!
There have been moments in my life when I have wondered where God was and I wasn’t sure what he was up to. In those moments, I remember the times he led me. The times he spoke. The times he directed.
If you get lazy and familiar with Jesus - Remind yourself that he is bigger and more mysterious than you can imagine. This Jesus is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all you can ask and imagine. And remember that this Jesus has done miracles in the past and he will do it again!
This morning, I simply want to remind you, don’t loose your sense of wonder at who Jesus is and what he has done and will do for you! Don’t become so familiar with him that you let your faith in him die.