Sunday, April 14, 2013

For Whom Jesus Came

For Whom He Came
Intro.: I expect that most of us are familiar with the questions that a good journalist is expected to answer ...

1.     The five 'W's and one 'H':
·         Who is it about?
·         What happened?
·         When did it take place?
·         Where did it take place?
·         Why did it happen?
·         How did they do it?
2.     It might be fun sometime to take a look at the life of Christ with that perspective.
3.     But today, I want to focus only on the first of these questions - “Who?”
4.     Who was it that Jesus would be reaching out to for the next three years? Whose lives would be challenged by Jesus' words and life?

Read: Mark 1:14-39
Trans: These verses set the tone for the entire book.
1.     Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
2.     This is the message John wants his readers to understand – it is the message he wants us to understand.
3.     The kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe.”
4.     It was an urgent message for Jesus, it is a message that is urgent for us grasp for ourselves.

T.S. As we move through the book of Mark, we don't want to forget those God seeks to reach out to. Mark 1:14-49 illustrates three of those groups -

       I.            Jesus came for the ill.
                           A.            Too often I look around a church and see people who seem to have it all together. They have answers for everything.
                           B.            Yet, even here at the beginning of Jesus' three years of active ministry, it becomes obvious that He had a heart for those who had pain – whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual.
                           C.            Jesus was there for Peter and his mother-in-law, He was there for the man with leprosy – in fact, Mark tells us He healed many.
                           D.            There seems to be an unwritten rule that only the perfect can be used by God. Yet, over and over again, we see Jesus reach out to those with blemishes – with pains, with hurts and marks, that let the world know that they are definitely no perfect.
                                                     1.            It might be their health that yells out to the world, “There is something wrong with me.”
                                                     2.            It might be their behavior that lets those around know that they are hurting on the inside in ways they cannot put into worlds
                                                     3.            Or it may be their words – either as they describe themselves or as they interact with others – that let the world know the seriousness of the pain they have experienced and still carry with them.

(Ill.) Nicolas Herman was born in what is today Eastern France. He felt God's call at the age of 18. He joined a Carmelite monastery where he spent most of his life serving the church as a cook. Late in life he left the kitchen and spent his time repairing shoes. Most of us do not know Nicolas Herman, but as a Catholic, he chose a different name when he entered the monastery. The name he chose was “Lawrence of the Resurrection.” You may know him better as Brother Lawrence. As best I can tell, he wrote one book in his entire life which goes by the title “The Practice of the Presence of God.” He learned that the most mundane of activities were opportunities to serve God – whether it was mopping floors, peeling potatoes, or praying for others – he was serving God.

Now, why have I spent a brief period of time introducing you to Brother Lawrence – it is because he made a very astute observation that speaks to the role of illness in the life of the believer, “God is often (in some senses) nearer to us, and more effectually present with us, in sickness than in health.... He often sends diseases of the body to cure those of the soul. Comfort yourself with the sovereign Physician of both the soul and the body."
             E.            I don't know where you will find yourself this week, but I do know that God will be there waiting for you, ready to stand beside you. He came for those of us who are ill, those of us who are weak, those of us who feel empty. He did not come for the full, he did not come for the strong, he did not come for the well. He came for you and for me.

    II.            Jesus came for those who he is sending
                           A.            In the remaining verses of chapter 1, we see Jesus calling Peter, Andrew, James, and John, to follow Him into ministry.
                           B.            Sometimes it is easy to sit back and listen to Bible stories – it may work in young children; but as we age, we must be willing to follow Jesus' example, we must be willing to follow His commands.

(Ill.) Have you ever watched a small boy follow his dad through the snow. He stretches to step where his dad stepped. Not an easy task. His small legs extend as far as they can so his feet can fall in his father’s footprints.

The father, seeing what the son is doing, smiles and begins taking shorter steps, so the son can follow.

It’s a picture of discipleship.

In our faith we follow in someone’s steps. A parent, a teacher, a hero—none of us are the first to walk the trail. All of us have someone we follow.

In our faith we leave footprints to guide others. A child, a friend, a recent convert. None should be left to walk the trail alone. Jesus is the one we are to follow.i

                           C.            But if we are to follow Jesus – there are some prerequisites:
                                                     1.            I need to know the one I will be following – now simply knowing about Jesus, but know Him.
                                                     2.            I need to know what he wants of me – that means being in His word, listening to what he wants from us
                           D.            Am I willing to be prepared to follow?

    III. Jesus came for us all
                           A. Jesus did come for those who are sick
                           B. Jesus did come for those he is sending
                           C. But we must remember, Jesus came for one other group
– He came for the world.
                           D. John 3:16 says it all, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
                            E. In our passage today, we find Jesus preaching in Galilee. And what is He doing, He is preaching the gospel, the good news. Twice in this first chapter of Mark, we find Jesus preaching.
                            F. And the people are amazed – not my word, but that is the word that Mark used. Those who heard Jesus are amazed – he spoke as one with authority.
(Ill.) Authority is one of those words that defines the book of Mark. We will see this word again – nine times it is used, of Jesus, of His teaching, He even used the word of himself. We all live with authority—whether supervisors, professors, parents, police. And depending on how that authority is exercised, we feel either put upon, trapped, used, or we feel secure, free and useful.ii
              G.            Jesus spoke to His world, and to our world, with authority.
                           H.            As we continue our walk through Mark, we must remember that we are studying Jesus – a man who speaks with authority and who has authority.

iRowell, Edward K., ed. 1001 Quotes, Illustrations, and Humorous Stories: For Preachers, Teachers, and Writers. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2008. WORDsearch CROSS e-book. Originally published as three books, Quotes and Idea Starters for Preaching and Teaching (© 1996), Fresh Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching (© 1997), and Humor for Preaching and Teaching (© 1996, with coeditor Bonne L. Steffen).
iiLifeGuide Bible Studies – Mark: Follow Me.

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