August 24, 2014
Mark: God’s Servant
Secrets from God’s Servant
A secret is something that you tell one person at a time.
- We all love a good secret.
- One writer in the Readers Digest explained a secret this way:
“The difference between private enterprise and government: The formulas for making Coca-Cola and Kentucky Fried Chicken are still secrets. How to make a hydrogen bomb is on your newsstand.”
From time to time, Jesus shared special “secrets” with His disciples.
- In our text this morning we will read of three “secrets” that He told them
- Christians today need to understand and apply these spiritual secrets if their our lives are to be all that God wants them to be.
34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. Mark 8:34-35
Jesus had been preparing His disciples for this private meeting at which He intended to reveal to them what would happen to Him at Jerusalem.
- He had given hints along the way, but now He would explain matters to them more fully.
- For the site, He selected Caesarea Philippi, a town about twenty-five miles north of Bethsaida, sitting at the foot of beautiful Mt. Hermon.
- The town was named after Augustus Caesar and Herod Philip, and it contained a marble temple dedicated to Augustus.
- It was a place dedicated to the glory of Rome, and that glory is now gone.
The secrets that Jesu are about the share have these themes in common: glory, faith, and honor.
- As the glory of the once flourishing Rome is gone...the glory of Jesus Christ remains and will go on eternally.
Let’s examine some of the secrets that are revealed to the disciple and that we too can learn from!
Suffering Leads to Glory
Just making this statement it is hard to understand.
- Nevertheless this entire narrative begins with a CONFESSION.
- First, Jesus asks, “What do people say about me?”
- What difference does it really make what people think or say about us?
- But what people believe and say about Jesus Christ is important, He is the Son of God and the only Savior of sinners!
- “Well, Jesus some say that your John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the other prophets.”
- “But who do you say that I am?”
- This confession that is about to be made is important...its a matter of life and death!
- “You are the Christ!”
- You are...“the Anointed One, the promised Messiah.”
- This confession leads to them being CONFUSED by Jesus
- The disciples were ready for the “secret” Jesus wanted to share with them.
- From this point on Mark will focus on Jesus journey to the cross.
- Jesus tells them of His suffering and His rejection.
- True to form, Peter is the first to voice His rejection.
- One minutes he is making a strong confession of faith them He’s rebuking the one whom he has faith in.
- When Jesus rebuked Peter, He also “looked on his disciples.”
- Jesus tells them the true cost of discipleship!
- If there was a cross in His future, there would be one in their future as well.
- Jesus identifies 3 conditions for discipleship:
- SURRENDER to Him
- IDENTIFY with Him in suffering and death
- FOLLOW Him obediently
- If there any reward for such a life:
- Satan promises glory but it ends up as suffering.
- Jesus promises suffering but it ends up becoming glory!
- Jesus took Peter, James, and John to the top of a mountain, and there He revealed His glory.
- This event was a vivid confirmation of His words as recorded in Mark 8:38, as well as a demonstration of the glory of the future kingdom.
- The message was clear: first the suffering, then the glory.
- Moses and Elijah were present on the mountain.
- Moses represented the law and Elijah the prophets, both of which find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ
- While on the mountain Jesus is transfigured.
- This describes a change on the outside that comes from the inside.
- It is the opposite of “masquerade,” which is an outward change that does not come from within.
- God allowed His Son’s glory to radiate through His whole being, and the mountaintop became a Holy of Holies!
- CONSIDER - Peter, James and John were asleep and almost missed this!
- Peter’s suggestion reflects again human thinking and not divine wisdom.
- How wonderful it would be to stay on the mountaintop and bask in His glory!
- But discipleship means denying self, taking up a cross, and following Him, and you cannot do that and selfishly stay on the mount of glory.
- Discipleship is not built on spectacular visions but on the inspired, unchanging Word of God.
Power Comes from Faith
With every mountain top experience there comes a valley of service.
- In one day disciples go from the glory of heaven to the valley of unbelief.
- When Jesus and the 3 return to the others they find a lot problems
- The sick boy and the scribes debating/taunting them.
- Jesus had given His disciples authority to cast out demons (Mark 6:7, 13), and yet their ministry to the boy was ineffective.
- No wonder the Lord was grieved with them!
- He must be grieved with us when we fail to use the spiritual resources He has graciously given to us.
- Since the disciples had failed, the desperate father was not even sure that Jesus could succeed.
- “But if you can do anything…”
- The father was being honest about his own faith.
- Jesus did cast out the demon and restore the boy to his father.
- The main lesson of this miracle is the power of faith to overcome the enemy
- Why had the nine disciples failed?
- Because they had been careless in their personal spiritual walk and had neglected prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29).
- Our faith must be cultivated through spiritual discipline and devotion.
Service Leads to Honor
As they went along Jesus reminded them of His future...and the resurrection.
- The text says that this sorrowed them.
- But they were not grieved enough to set aside their personal dispute over which of them was the greatest!
- You would think they would have forgotten their own selfish plans and concentrated on Him.
- To teach them (and us) a lesson, Jesus set a child before them and explained that the way to be first is to be last, and the way to be last is to be the servant of all.
- The unspoiled child is an example of submission and humility.
- True humility means knowing yourself, accepting yourself, being yourself—your best self—and giving of yourself for others.
- At this point, John felt it necessary to defend the disciples (Mark 9:38–41) by pointing out their zeal.
- We stopped people from doing your work!
- Imagine telling a man to stop casting out demons when the nine disciples had failed to deliver the deaf and dumb boy from Satan’s power!
- Jesus says, “No, don’t do that!”
- “The one who is not against us is for us.”
- It is not necessary to perform great miracles to prove our love for Christ.
- When we lovingly receive a child or compassionately share a cup of cold water, we are giving evidence that we have the humble heart of a servant.
- This solemn message about hell carries a warning to all of us to deal drastically with sin.
- What He is teaching is that sin is to the inner person what a cancerous tumor is to the body, and it must be dealt with drastically.
- Some people are shocked to hear from the lips of Jesus such frightening words about hell.
- Jesus believed in a place called hell, a place of eternal torment and righteous punishment.
- How essential it is for sinners commit to Jesus Christ in baptism and be delivered from eternal hell.
- How important it is for believers to get the message out to a lost world!
- The Jews were not allowed to put leaven or honey on their sacrifices, but they were required to use salt (Lev. 2:11, 13).
- Salt speaks of purity and preservation.
- The disciples were God’s salt (Matt. 5:13), but they were in danger of losing their flavor and being worthless!
- Be careful!
- Once you have lost that precious Christian character, how will you restore it?
The three lessons Jesus taught in this section are basic to Christian living today.
- If we are yielded to Him, then suffering will lead to glory, faith will produce power, and our sacrificial service will lead to honor.
In spite of being overzealous and making occasional mistakes, Peter got the message.
- He would later and write:
10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10-11