Sunday, September 28, 2014

September 21, 2014 - Mark: God's Servant: The Future Revealed

September 21, 2014

Mark: God’s Servant
The Future Revealed
Mark 13

(Advance Slide #1)

Two weeks ago in our text Jesus arrived in Jerusalem.

(Advance Slide #2)

  • He triumphantly entered the Holy City.
    • His authority was challenged, and He was questioned by the Sadducees.
    • And He warned against the pride of the scribes and the Pharisees.
  • Jesus ended this chapter with a lesson by a widow offering everything!
(Advance Slide #3)

As Jesus walked and taught around Jerusalem the Temple loomed in the background
  • The Jews were proud of their temple.
  • The Jewish leaders had defiled it; Jesus would depart from it and leave it desolate (Matt. 23:38); the Romans would destroy it.

Jesus’ warning against the destruction this ‘holy monument’ shocked those that heard it!

(Advance Slide #4)

1 And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” 2 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” Mark 13:1-2

The text that we will study today begins with a double question following these verses.

(Advance Slide #5)

  • “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?”
  • The question was concerning Herod’s temple.
    • Still lacking it’s original splendor in the days of Jesus it was concerned the most beautiful building in the world.
    • For sure it was the largest and could be seen from a great distance.

As the disciples gaze upon the beauty of this temple Jesus shocks them!
  • He predicts that this massive, beautiful structure will soon be destroyed.
  • They naturally want to know when this is going to happen.

(Advance Slide #6)

Many read this chapter as an ‘end of the world’ chapter.
  • Jesus will use cosmic language talking about the future.
    • This should not leads us to a large scale future predictions.
    • The main subject remains the fate of the Temple in Jerusalem—and of Jesus’ followers in the time leading up to the Temple’s demise.


(Advance Slide #7)

Preparing the Answer - vs. 3-13
Jesus prepares His disciples for the answer He is about to give concerning the Temple.
  • They are assuming a great catastrophe will destroy the temple, and before that His followers will be at risk.
    • The truth is that they WILL FACE what He has faced and what He will shortly face.
  • He needs them to continue on after He’s gone.
    • Because of this He does not want them to become scared:

(Advance Slide #8)

      • At the rumors of wars that might start.
      • Neither will an earthquake in one place necessarily mean that another one is about to strike Jerusalem.

Jesus’ uses this to again teach them about patience.
  • False teachers, frightening rumours and natural disasters will all tempt them to panic.

(Advance Slide #9)

“These are but the beginning of the birth pains.”
  • The picture of birthpangs had been used for centuries by Jews as they reflected on the way in which, as they believed, their God was intending to bring to birth his new world of peace mercy and truth.
  • From the great prophets through the Jewish writer of Jesus age...they wrote of this hope.

The particular crisis would take place in 70 AD.
  • However, His warning to His followers was still important.
    • The hatred towards Christians would be felt by the vicious persecution by Nero.
    • The history of the church will show that the warning was necessary.

What about us?

(Advance Slide #10)

  • Jesus told us we would need patience to hold on and see the thing through.
  • We should not be surprised if we are called, through whatever circumstances, to practice this ‘fruit’.

(Advance Slide #11)

“Let the Reader Understand” - vs. 14-27
Have you ever seen a movie, read a book, or heard music you couldn’t understand?
  • It’s not until you understand the backstory before you understand the meaning.
    • This is the same problem here in Mark 13.
    • Mark’s writings are so obscure that he adds the note “Let the reader understand.”
** REMEMBER - what we’ve just covered

In vs. 14 there is a change of mood.
  • Up to this point they are to stand firm, but there is going to be a time when they need to run!
  • The disaster will make all the previous woes of the world, and all that will ever be, look tame.

What is Jesus talking about?...What sign?
  • We have historical hindsight, so we know that this is when foreign armies will take over the temple.
    • The historian Josephus wrote of the horrible scene that took place.
    • As the Romans invaded Jews were even killing Jews!

(Advance Slide #12)

  • The sign is “the abomination of desolation.”
    • The text behind this is Daniel 11:31 and 12:11.
      • It speaks of pagan armies invading Jerusalem, stopping the regular sacrifices in the Temple, and setting up instead ‘a desolating abomination’.
    • Josephus also writes that there were would-be messiahs and prophets promising signs and wonders but nothing happened.

The fall of the Temple would be the sure sign that God had vindicated Jesus as the true representative of His people.
  • Now Mark gives a final echo from Daniel 7:13.
    • This text is about triumph and vindication, and about simultaneous judgment falling on the system that has opposed God’s call and God’s gospel.
    • From Mark’s point of view, it is about the complete vindication of Jesus.
      • His resurrection, his ascension, and the outworking of his prophecies against the Temple as sealing the whole process.

Is there a message for us?

(Advance Slide #13)

  • Where human societies and institutions set themselves up against the gospel and its standards, there is a place for God’s people to denounce and to warn!
  • If we do not find ourselves in that position, we should be grateful; but we should remember to pray for those who do.

(Advance Slide #14)

Watching and Waiting - vs. 28-37
Unlike the fig tree two chapters earlier, which suffered from having leaves but no figs, Jesus now uses the image of a fig tree in leaf.
  • This signals that summer is almost here, and is an illustration of how His hearers are to react.
    • Watch for crucial events in the Holy City.

Jesus seems to be clear that these events will take place within a generation.
  • The generation that rejects His message must be the generation upon whom the end will fall.
  • This warning is backed up with one of Jesus’ most solemn assurances…

(Advance Slide #15)

    • “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus doesn’t even know the exact hour, but the Father does!
  • Jesus knows a great deal, but He doesn’t know this detail.
  • The command from Jesus is not to sit down and come up with a time table.

(Advance Slide #16)

    • It’s, “Be on guard, keep awake.”
      • The 2st cent. Christians were not encouraged to to settle down and assimilate itself either to the Jewish or the pagan world.
      • It must constantly remind itself that great events are happening.
    • Paul’s writing also echo this need to be alert.

What does this mean for us?
  • For us, who look back on the events of 70 AD as a distant tragedy, a historical event?
    • We should absorb this as a significance of the moment in history when this great transition took place.
    • Christians increasingly need to realize that unless we understand the first century we will not understand our own times...
      • Or what sort of people we ourselves are called to be.

The judgment that fell on the Temple was a small portion of the judgment that will fall on the whole world.

(Advance Slide #17)

  • There will be a final judgement.
    • This time there are to be no signs, and no advance warnings.
    • Just the ongoing command to God’s people in Christ to be faithful to Him.
      • To not to compromise with the standards and fashions of the present age.
      • To keep awake, watching, and working.

Mark: God's Servant: Suffering Servant

September 28, 2014

Mark: God’s Servant
Suffering Servant
Mark 14-15:20

(Advance Slide #1)

Someone asked C.S. Lewis, "Why do the righteous suffer?"
  • "Why not?" he replied. "They're the only ones who can take it."

(Advance Slide #2)

During the Passover Week the pilgrims to Jerusalem were preparing themselves for the joy and excitement of the weeks events.
  • However, amid the excitement Jesus was preparing for a great ordeal.
  • He was committed to do the will of the Father.

(Advance Slide #3)

    • “...he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Phil. 2:8

(Advance Slide #4)

“It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him, 2 for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.” Mark 14:1-2

As far as the Jewish authorities were concerned that the Passover would not be a good time to arrest Jesus.
  • They were, understandably, afraid of a riot.
  • That’s why they were looking for a way to make off with him by stealth.
  • In a city whose every corner was crowded with it would be difficult to find Jesus and lay their hand on Him.
  • That is what Judas undertook to do.

As we go through this text we can follow Jesus’ footsteps during the days and hours of the last week
  • We will be amazed to see the responses of various people to the Lord Jesus Christ.

**REMEMBER - the reception that Jesus received upon entering Jerusalem.

(Advance Slide #5)

ADORED - vs. 1-11
The placement of this part of the story is interesting.
  • You find a contrast between the deceit of Judas and the loyalty of Mary.
  • While Mark does not name the woman John does...she is the sister of Lazarus.
  • Mary is mentioned 3 times in the gospel stories and each time she is sitting at the feet of Jesus...LISTENING!

(Advance Slide #6)

Mary’s offering was an expensive one.
  • The cost was the equivalent of a common labors annual pay.
    • She was not ashamed to give to Jesus lavishly and lovingly.
  • We find 3 consequences of her actions:
  1. Filled the house with a beautiful fragrance.
  • There is always a ‘spiritual fragrance’ when Jesus is worshipped and praised.
  • 2 Cor. 2:15-16
  1. The disciples criticized her for wasting money.
  • Isn’t it interesting that Judas was the one leading this.
  • He accused her of wasting money...he wasted his life.
  1. Jesus commended her and accepted her gift.
  • Jesus knew her heart and defended her.
  • She loved Jesus and gave Him her best!

(Advance Slide #7)

BETRAYED - vs. 12-26
For the Jews, the Passover feast was a memorial of a past victory.
  • In the midst of this Jesus would institute a memorial to commemorate His death.
  • This was Jesus’ last Passover and He would fulfill the Passover by dying on the cross...the perfect spotless Lamb of God.

Jesus was greatly troubled and announced that there was a traitor in their midst.
  • This stunned them all except Judas who knew what Jesus was talking about.
  • Must remember that Judas was not a martyr or a robot.
    • He was a responsible person who made his own decisions and fulfilled the Word of God.
    • Judas was just as lost as million are still today.

The disciples go from debating who is the greatest to who is the vilest among them.
  • Judas was sitting at the place of honor.
  • Jesus dipped some bread in some herbs and gave it to Judas.
  • At this point Satan fully possessed him...and he left to make final arrangements.

(Advance Slide #8)

After Judas left Jesus instituted the ‘Lord’s Supper’
  • The bread and wine were common elements in practically every meal.
  • But Jesus is giving them a new meaning.
    • His body and His blood.
  • The last thing Jesus and His disciples did in the upper room was to sing a hymn.

(Advance Slide #9)

FORSAKEN - vs. 27-52
On the way to the garden Jesus warned the disciples that they would all turn from Him.
  • He also assured them that they would meet up again in Galilee following the resurrection.
    • Jesus quotes Zech. 13:7...this told the disciples what they would do when He was arrested...scatter!
    • The other will scatter, but Peter (never good at following instruction) followed.

(Advance Slide #10)

Jesus’ struggle in the Garden can be understood only in the light of what would happen to Him on the cross:
  • He would be made sin for us...He would bear the curse of the law.
  • It would not be the ‘anguish and sorrow’ that Jesus wanted to relieved from but rather being forsaken by the Father.
    • He didn’t tell God what to do...He had perfect confidence in the Will of Father.
  • The disciples slept.
    • Gently Jesus rebuked the disciples and warned them.
    • “Watch and pray” is an admonition that is often repeated in Scripture.

(Advance Slide #11)

After the third time Jesus announced, “It is time...the hour has come!”
  • Judas and the temple guards arrived...Judas betrayed Jesus with a prearranged kiss.
  • Why the large crowd?
    • They thought that Jesus would try to escape, or that His followers would put up a fight, or that perhaps He might do a miracle.
  • Peter’s actions were foolish.
    • Had Jesus not helped Malchus would he have been on a cross next to Jesus?
    • Jesus is taken and the disciples scatter!

(Advance Slide #12)

REJECTED - vs. 53-72

(Advance Slide #13)

Jesus trial can be confusing:
  • Was opened by Annas the former high priest.
  • It then moved to the full council to hear witnesses.
  • Jesus was then sent to Pilate who sent Him to Herod.
  • Herod sent Him back to Pilate.
  • Pilate yielded to the angry mob and delivered Jesus to be crucified.

(Advance Slide #14)

By the time they arrived at the high priest’s Peter was in the courtyard (perhaps even John Mark).
  • While the Lord was being mocked and abused, Peter was in the courtyard below, trying to escape detection.
  • 3 times Peter was questioned about Jesus and denied Him.
    • Was it the crow of the roster or Peter remembering the words of Jesus.
      • It is always the Word that penetrates the heart and brings about true repentance.
    • Jesus, on His way to Pilate’s hall, turned and looked at Peter.
      • It was a look of love, to be sure, but injured love

(Advance Slide #15)

CONDEMNED - vs. 15:1-20
(Advance Slide #16)

The Jewish council had convinced Pilate that Jesus was guilty of a capital crime and therefore worthy of death.
  • They were not interested in seeing justice fulfilled...they were seeking vengeance!
  • Jesus had claimed to be king and stirred up the people.
  • He was viewed a dangerous revolutionary who undermined the authority of Rome.

(Advance Slide #17)

The governor had Jesus scourged.
  • Then followed the disgraceful mockery by the soldiers, they beat Him, spat on Him, and bowed in mock homage.
  • Jesus suffered and did not fight back.
  • This is a lesson that Mark’s readers would need to learn as they faced persecution too.
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:21-24


(Advance Slide #18)

The men had not done the worst to God’s Son...the Suffering Servant!
  • He will be lead outside of the city...nailed to a cross…and die.
    • Why?
    • For the sins of the very people who were crucifying Him!

Mark’s story, we find also the deeply personal meaning.
  • The story of Barabbas invites us to see Jesus’ crucifixion in terms of a stark personal exchange.
  • Barabbas deserves to die; Jesus dies instead, and he goes free.

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” - Helen Keller

(Advance Slide #19)

  • While Jesus suffers...HE will be VICTORIOUS over death!