Missing the Christ in the Room

Pastor Jay continues the series “The Question, Mark” with this week’s sermon “Missing the Christ in the Room” from Mark 6:30-56.

Mark 6:30-56 (ESV)

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

Jesus Walks on the Water

Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

Jesus Heals the Sick in Gennesaret

When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

A disciple can miss the Christ in the room.   

  • A disciple can feel like a rock star.
  • A disciple can feel perturbed with Jesus.
  • A disciple can have a hard heart toward Jesus.
  • A disciple can bear fruit even when still immature.
  • Four take-aways:
    • Beware of self-importance.
    • Beware of pride.
    • Pursue a deeper knowledge of Christ
    • Take heart.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • What does it mean to be selfish?
  • How can you choose to put others first?
  • How can you grow closer to Jesus and get to know Him better?
  • Who is there for you when times are tough?

Ending in Glory

Pastor Jay continues the series “The Question, Mark” with this week’s sermon “Ending in Glory” from Mark 6:14-29.

Mark 6:14-29 (ESV)

The Death of John the Baptist

King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her. For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.

But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. For when Herodias’s daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.


Witnesses to Judgment

Pastor Jay continues the series “The Question, Mark” with this week’s sermon “Witnesses to Judgment” from Mark 6:1-13.

Mark 6:1-13 (ESV)

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 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? 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. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.

And he went about among the villages teaching.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles

And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.

The witness of the gospel will minister judgment to some.  

  • The immediate witness of Christ was often a judgment.
  • The witness of Christ’s followers will often be toward judgment.
  • We should keep preaching, because even in judgment, God is glorified.
  • We should keep preaching, because even in judgment, we are obeying God.
  • We should keep preaching, because even in judgment, we experience the fellowship of His suffering.
  • We should keep preaching, because even in judgment for some, others will come to eternal life.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • Have you ever been judged or made fun of?
  • What have you been judged or made fun of for?
  • How could other people judge you or make fun of you for talking about Jesus?
  • How is God glorified when we choose to talk about Him when we are judged or made fun of?

We’re Going to Need a Bigger Bucket

I do love it when my sermon prep leads to spiritual growth in others, but a big personal bonus is when it sticks with me. Last week I was preaching on the parables of the Kingdom, (Mark 4:1-34) and then I taught on it again this week in my adult bible fellowship.

The passage was lengthy and familiar. But the little verse that has meant the most to me this week was the verse, “And he said to them, ‘Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.’” (Mark 4:24 ESV)

When it comes to learning about and having an investment in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, we are given a measure according to what we bring. If I come to him with a thimble, it’s a thimble’s worth I’ll receive. If I go and grab the largest container I can find, that’s the measure I’ll receive.

Think about it, if you were stranded in a desert and without water, what would you do if it started to rain? You’d look for something to fill with water.  Picture yourself running into a deserted shack (why there is shack in the desert I don’t know, but go with me). There are some old tin cups and a rusted-out bucket, and then your eyes land on one of those old-fashioned stand-alone bathtubs like the cowboys used. It’s not plumbed in, so you can easily drag it outdoors to collect a tub full. What are you going to take outdoors?

You could tell yourself, “Well, no need to be greedy. It will probably rain again sooner or later.” But you won’t. You’re thirsty and desperate, and you want as much water as you can get. You’re going for the tub.

There is something joyfully hope-filled and something convicting in this truth for me. If I am running on empty, spiritually, it suggest, I’m bringing a small measure to be filled. I’m not thirsting for God, not running to His Word, not desperate for the Spirit filling me with the presence of Christ.  My meager portion of the Kingdom is most attributable to my lack of enthusiasm and desire. Ouch!

But, I’m very excited when I think of how I will take up Christ on His promise. I want to come with a larger measure, a bigger bucket. I want to seek Him enthusiastically for Kingdom graces, purposes, fruits and joys.  What I’m realizing is that I need to curb my hunger for the old husks of the world, and save my appetite (read room on my plate) for a heaping portion of the gospel.

This is the thought that has stuck with me the most as of late, and I wonder if it strikes you the same.

The Scary Greatness of Jesus

Pastor Jay continues the series “The Question, Mark” with this week’s sermon “The Scary Greatness of Jesus” from Mark 4:35-5:20.

Mark 4:35-5:20 (ESV)

Jesus Calms a Storm

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 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?” 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. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 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?”

Jesus Heals a Man with a Demon

They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 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. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. 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.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 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.

The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 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. And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 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.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

Our Lord is so great in His power that He can rightly scare us. 

  • We may fear he doesn’t care.
  • We may fear His overwhelming power over His universe!
  • We may fear that Jesus is here to torment us.
  • We may fear that Jesus is here to destroy our way of life.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • What are you afraid of?
  • How did Jesus demonstrate His power in each of today’s Bible stories?
  • How have you seen Jesus demonstrate His power in your life?
  • How can we believe that Jesus has the power to help and heal us?