A VIEW OF MINISTRY
At this point in Jesus ministry He is just several months from the cross. We have seen Jesus take Peter, James and John up to Mount Hermon and they saw Jesus transfigured in glory before them. And with Jesus, they saw Moses representing the Law, and Elijah representing the prophets. And they were discussing with Jesus His departure, His coming death in Jerusalem.
And now from Mount Hermon in the north, they are going to be traveling southward towards Jerusalem. This is His finally journey, and He is heading to Jerusalem for one thing, the cross. And now He is going to pour into His men lessons He wants them to carry with them. And one of the things He was trying to teach these guys was humility, servant hood. And we are going to see that again tonight.
1. Heading southward to Jerusalem they went through the region of Galilee. And it says that Jesus didnt want anyone to know it. Why? Two reasons. First of all His focus is His men who would carry on after His death and resurrection. The second reason is born out of the first. In Luke 9:43 we are told "And they were all amazed at the majesty of God. But while everyone marveled at all the things which Jesus did..."
They were amazed at what Jesus did, healing the demon possessed boy. They are thinking kingdom, power, putting down the Romans. And it is out of this response that Jesus speaks of His death and resurrection. He doesnt want His men to fall prey to this worldly, self-centered attitude. In fact, His men already felt that way, and Jesus did not want them to move farther from the truth with these thoughts. They had enough problems already!
2. That word "taught" in verse 31 is in the imperfect tense, which speaks of constantly doing it. He was now preparing His men for what was ahead. He is going to be delivered into the hands of those religious leaders, and then be put to death. Then on the third day He was going to rise from the dead, but they did not understand it!
Why do you think they had such a difficult time understanding this simple concept that Jesus kept telling them about? Think about it, if anyone would read verse 31, they would plainly see what Jesus was saying. So what was the problem?
I think the problem they had is what many people struggle with today. Many have preconceived ideas what God, the Messiah is all about, as did these men. And it was a stumbling block to their seeing the truth. People today do the same. They carry with them things they have learned, things that are not found in the Word of God, and they refuse to let it go. And thus, like these men, people will ignore the truth, refuse to hear or see the truths of God. It is a stumbling block to them!
3. Even after His death and resurrection they still had a hard time believing. They are thinking kingdom, Jesus is thinking cross. They are thinking power, Jesus is thinking death. And this was so ingrained in them that we read in Mark 16:11-14, "And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either. Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen."
4. There was a group of people who may have not totally believed that Jesus was going to rise from the dead, but they were concerned by what He had said. They heard these things, while the disciples only heard death, nothing about the resurrection. Do you know who this group was? The religious leaders, the Pharisees! We read of this in Matthew 27:62-64. It says "On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, After three days I will rise. Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, He has risen from the dead. So the last deception will be worse than the first."
5. Look at Luke 9:45, "But they did not understand this saying, and it was hidden from them so that they did not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this saying." If it was hidden from them, was it fair for God to come against them? You bet! God was not hiding this from them, nor does God try to hide things from us. It was hidden because they refused to see it. How much clearer could God speak? He said He was going to Jerusalem to die and on the third day He was going to rise from the dead. You see, it was their unbelief that kept them from seeing the truth.
6. One more thing before we move on, and this is important. You dont decide what you are going to believe and then go to the Scriptures to support your preconceived ideas. You let the Scriptures speak for them self, for it is truth. And if it goes against what you believe, you are wrong and the Scriptures are right. Now, tragically, these men were sorry to hear what Jesus was saying, and we will see why in the next few verses.
1. As they head southward, they enter Capernaum, the base camp for Jesus Galilean ministry, and they probably entered the house of Peter. And as they were traveling, the disciples of Jesus were arguing about something. Luke tells us that Jesus knew their thoughts. He may have been out of hearing range, but He knew what they were thinking and He is questioning them about it. And there was this embarrassing silence before they had the courage to tell Jesus what this conversation was all about.
2. Once again their minds are focused on the kingdom and power, who would have the best position, the position of power in the kingdom. No wonder no one wanted to tell Jesus what they were discussing, they were embarrassed!
1. At this point it seems like these guys were slowly moving away from Jesus, and He calls them back. Why? Because He is going to once again try to teach them a spiritual principle to follow. What was to be manifested in their lives, which is different, in fact the opposite of what they were doing.
1. This is just the exact opposite of what the world tells us. They say you have to look out for number 1. That you have to fight, and claw your way to the top, doing whatever it takes to get to the top. It doesnt matter who you step on, because if you dont look out for yourself, you will be the one trampled over and you wont amount to anything!
2. Jesus turns this around and says to them, "Dont look out for yourself, but for others." If you want God to lift you up, you must become a servant of all. You must meet the needs of others. The Greek word for "servant" is not DOULOS, which speaks of a bondslave, but DIAKONOS, which is a person who attends to the needs of others freely. And these guys had a hard time understanding this. Even at the last supper, as Jesus is preparing to go to the cross, they are arguing who would be the greatest in the kingdom. Paul, in Philippians 2:3-4, said "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."
3. Now this is not a very difficult teaching to understand, but the difficulty comes when we have to apply it to our lives. We tend to be self-centered, and Jesus wants us to be others centered! And this goes against the flesh nature, to put others first. And thus, it can only be accomplished by submitting our will to the Holy Spirit and following His will for our lives. Look at society, and you will find a pecking order wherever you go, except in the kingdom of God. How are you doing? Can you rejoice when others are promoted ahead of you? Can you serve without all the applause, the thanks, the praise of men? God wants you to, He wants you to be a servant of all!
1. Children were not to get in the way, they were to be seen and not heard. They were not to bother the adults, especially these holy men of God, or so the disciples thought. And Jesus is showing them, and us, that there is no partiality in the kingdom of God. All are important. If you can reach out to all, care for them, then you are doing these things unto the Lord. And that is what He was trying to teach His men and us.
1. Jesus just got done speaking of being a servant, reaching out to all, and then John steps in and comes against this man for freeing a man of his demon possession. You see, he was not a card carrying member of the Apostolic Troop! This is how they saw ministry. It was very narrow minded, intolerant, selfish, exclusive, and selective.
And Jesus steps in and says that He is working with us, because no one can cast out a demon in the name of Jesus without knowing Him. Too often we feel we are alone, and if you are not part of our ministry, then you are not of God. You have to join our group. And Jesus is saying just the opposite. God uses a variety of different ways and people to work through, people who love Him. Dont limit Him and dont be exclusive or so narrow minded, as John was being.
And think about this for a minute. The other 9 tried to heal this demon possessed boy while Peter, James ane John were with Jesus on Mount Hermon, and they couldnt do it. Maybe there was some jealousy involved here. But again, if the kingdom of God is growing, if people are being healed, dont frown, but rejoice in the Lord! And we will continue to see this as we finish up in chapter 9 of Mark next time!