Sermon

On January 14, 2014 by OREC

The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Sermons

 

Introduction:

You get better reception if someone influential introduces you to an employer. When you are hired you will be than

kful to the one who introduced you to the manager or owner.

Mark immediately gets into the subject matter of his gospel. His subject matter is Jesus Christ: the Son of God.

Son of God: is repeated 7X a significant number for a Jewish author though he was writing to a gentile audience.

Audience: Roman Christians, he explains Jewish customs (7:2-4, 15:42) translates Aramaic (3:7, 5:41, 7:11, 34, 15:22) special interest in persecution and martyrdom (8:34-38, 13:9-13).

Mark  emphasizes  on what Jesus did than what he said. He moves from one episode in Jesus’ life and ministry to another using the adverb, immediately.

The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ comprise the “beginning” of which what the church does today beginning from Pentecost is the continuation.

Mark limited quotation from the OT. The reason is that his audience the Roman Christians did not have knowledge of the OT Scriptures.

He introduced Jesus as the Son of God in one breath. He did not tell us who John the Baptist was. He did not explain how he was born as Luke did or introduce him as John and Matthew did.

A baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin, is not a Christian baptism.

John’s baptism did not have word of institution.

It did not have a name by which it was baptized.

It did not have continuity (John 4:1-3 only transiently). It was done only while John was alive.

John’s baptism was inferior to Jesus’ baptism or the baptism Jesus does. Jesus never baptized while he was walking the earth. John’s baptism was by water for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus’ baptism is by the Holy Spirit to identify with Jesus himself (Rom. 6:1-4, Gal. 3:23-29).

John’s call was to introduce Jesus the Son of God to the Jews. He lived as a hermit, in the desert to fulfill his call. By his uniqueness he attracted audience. Once he won audience, he did not use his influence to augment himself. He used all his rhetorical power, his popularity to point to Jesus. People were confused. They were looking for people who can save them. People asked him if he was the Messiah (John 1:19-28.)  He said he was not. They asked him if he was Elijah or the prophet. He said he was not. He said he was only a voice. Who would want to be only a voice today? He did not choose a pulpit in the temple. He did not choose a court in Jerusalem. He went out to the desert. His voice that God gave him to ring in the desert cried in the desert saying, “Prepare the way, the Lord is coming. Repent from your sins…” He pointed to the Messiah. They asked him “Why do you baptize…?”  They concluded that he was nobody. To call people and baptize them you have to be the Messiah, or Elijah, or the prophet. Why do you baptize if you are nothing? He did not debate that he was somebody. He did not count his genealogy. He did not say I am the son of a priest called Zechariah. He did not tell them that an angel talked to his father before he was conceived. He did not tell them that he was filled by the Holy Spirit in his mother’s womb.

No he moved the focus from himself to the one who is greater than him: the Messiah. He said, “I baptize you with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me. I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal!” The fact that you are focusing on me has distracted you from the one who you do not know, whom you were supposed to know. Take your eyes of off me.  I am not even worthy to untie the thongs of his shoe. There is a bigger revelation: Jesus Christ the Messiah.

Jesus called us to be nobody in order for him to be somebody in people’s lives. He did not call us to be somebody. It is hard for a somebody to make another person known. If a somebody introduced another person, the second person will be known because of the first person who was a “somebody”. This is not only American culture it is worldwide. But the issue is that the second person will owe the first person something. Sara Palin owes John McCain a big deal. Barak Obama owes John Kerry a big deal. But Jesus owes nothing to anyone. He wanted us to be in the desert. He wanted to put a yoke on each one of us. He wanted us to be broken in order to make him known. He wanted to be introduced by a nobody, that finally people will remember only him and not the one who introduced them to him. That was the case to the Samaritan woman.   

People want to tell us what they did. They want to tell us their credentials. They appear on the pulpit and tell us how many churches they started. There are many false prophets. They want to point to themselves. One cardinal sign by which we know false prophets is that they point to themselves. They use the name of God to augment themselves. Their speech looks like this, “God used me, used this clay, God used me at this place, God talked to so and so through me,..) When something is mentioned they are quick to point out their involvement in that activity.

Jesus was the hope of that society. Many prophets have failed them. They have followed many people who said they would free them from bondage. Some were genuine zealots. Others were liars. But both did not help them, because they could not. But John who knew he too could not, pointed to Jesus who could. Jesus opened eyes of people who have never seen light in their lives.

There is no impossible situation. Jesus comes when all looks like impossible. There is hope for us. There is hope for our ministry and our future. Faith is hope against hope. We are in Kensington-Wheaton. We are called to be the John the Baptist of Kensington-Wheaton. The Lord is coming, repent, prepare the way! Accept Jesus Christ. People need Jesus. If we have a clear reason for our church to exist in this neighborhood we will keep preaching, we will keep reaching out. People are lost without Jesus. If we believe this we have significant reason to open our doors as church every Sunday and every day. The most powerful person is the person with no power. The most powerful person is the person with nothing to lose.  But with a commitment, conviction, urge to accomplish something he/she can save many people through the preaching of the gospel. Do you want to be a nobody, someone with nothing to lose to call people to Christ?

May the Lord help us to proclaim his gospel.

Amen

 

Comments are closed.