THE FIRST WORDS OF JESUS
Mark 1:21-22; John 7:45-46
INTRO: What a man says reveals what he is. Jesus said, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew. 12:34). Did you ever think of the power of words? Hitler whipped Germany into a frenzy of hate by his words and thus brought on WWII. Franklin D. Roosevelt roused America to a high pitch of patriotic emotion by his “fireside chats.” Spurgeon, Wesley, Whitefield, Moody, Finney, and Sunday led thousands into the kingdom by the use of words.
But, oh, the words of Jesus–how powerful they must have been! They have come thundering down the ages to convict and convince, to condemn and convert. One day He went into the synagogue and taught great things about God and men. The people listened intently to Him and went out shaking their heads, saying, “He taught as one having authority and not as the scribes.”
On one occasion the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest Him, and they came away empty-handed, saying, “We could not arrest Him. No man ever spoke as this man speaks.” And men of all ages have marveled at the words of Jesus. Today, let’s look at the first words of Jesus.
I. “DIDN’T YOU KNOW I HAD TO BE IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE?” (Luke 2:49).
You will remember the story. When Jesus was 12, Joseph and Mary took Him to Jerusalem to attend the Feast of the Passover. They spent several days there having fellowship with their friends and loved ones and going through the forms of their ceremonial religion. When they were ready to leave, I can imagine that Mary said to Joseph, “Where is Jesus?” And Joseph replied, “I think He is with Jacob. I saw them together last night.” Then they went to Jacob’s group, but they hadn’t seen Him.
Mary and Joseph were terrified and rushed back to the city. They didn’t look for Him as some show, game, or video arcade; they went to God’s house and found Him there having a discussion with the teachers about the great things of God. They rebuked Him and said, “Why have you done this? We have sought You sorrowing.” And He answered, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my father’s house?”
All through life He kept the same spirit. He said, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming when no man can work” (John 9:4). And He kept on working until on the cross He could say, “It is finished.”
Today His business is still the greatest on earth. For us who belong to Christ there is but one task, that of carrying on God’s business wherever we are, winning others to Him.
Today we hear much about the “NEW EVANGELISM.” But it is social, not redemptive. A prominent preacher recently said, “The church needs to be concerned with pressing human needs, such as world hunger, prison reform, and distribution of decision-making powers.” The big word is involvement–let’s get involved in all the movements around us; let’s join the picket line; let’s demonstrate. Another common word is dialogue–let’s lay aside the Bible, get together, and discuss our differences in human terms. Another saying is, “Let’s make the gospel relevant.” But it has always been relevant; it fits the need of every man.
In the “NEW EVANGELISM” there is nothing about sin or salvation, judgment, heaven, or hell. There is no word for the lost man, no strength to live by, no grace to die by. Today people say, “We must get out where the action is.” But we don’t hear of anyone being saved out there by humanistic involvement.
II. “LET IT TO BE SO NOW: IT IS PROPER FOR US TO DO THIS TO FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Matthew. 3:15).
John the Baptist was a great preacher. He did not have to go to the city to draw a crowd. The people came out in great Numbers and stood on the banks of the river to hear him preach. One day Jesus came and said to John, “I want you to baptize me.” “Oh, no,” replied John. “I should be baptized by You, not You by me.” Jesus response is recorded in Matthew. 3:15.
So Jesus went down into the water and John baptized Him. When He came out of the water, the Holy Spirit descended on Him and God spoke (Matthew. 3:17).
Christ’s baptism furnishes the pattern for every redeemed soul. What is the first desire of every convert? It is: “Now I want to follow Christ in Baptism. I want to be obedient to His holy Command.” You may never preach a sermon, but in baptism you are preaching about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ–death and burial of the old life, and resurrection to a newness of life.
Baptism has no saving grace about it. It is simply a matter of obedience. You can be saved without baptism, but you can’t be an obedient child of God without it.
III. “REPENT AND BELIEVE THE GOOD NEWS!” (Mark 1:15).
After His baptism and temptation, Jesus went into Galilee, preaching that the kingdom of God was at hand and calling on men to repent.
The question many are asking today is, “How can I get through to God?” We get to Him simply by coming to Christ. He is anxiously waiting for us to repent and come to Him in faith. He lives for that purpose. He is not a distant God.
Those who want Him can find Him when they seek Him with their whole heart. People seek Him in different ways. But all through the O. T. men were called on to repent. The same in the N. T.
Repentance is a biblical doctrine, but it is not pleasant to the natural man, because it involves turning from his sin. Repentance is a complete change of heart and life. It involves turning from sin to the Savior, coming over to God’s side and taking His side against our sin.
IV. “WHAT DO YOU WANT?” (John 1:38).
One day John was talking to two of his disciples. He saw Jesus approaching and said, “Look, the Lamb of God.” Then these two disciples of John left him and followed Jesus. What a beautiful picture we see here. The true preacher does not point to himself but to Jesus. This caused these men to follow the Savior. Jesus turned and called them to Him.
One of these men was Andrew. He immediately went after his brother Peter and did the greatest thing he could have done for him. He brought him to Jesus.
“What do you want?” What are men seeking today? Pleasure, profit, peace, and power. They go to the extremes to find these things because they are looking for them in the wrong places. Christ Himself is still the answer to man’s needs.
CONC: Where can a person find that which permanently satisfies, Not in science, in profit, in worldly pleasures, or in earthly honors. One can find satisfaction only in Christ.
ILLUS: General John B. Gordon was running for the position of United States senator from GA. One group of men bitterly opposed him and selected a man to go up to Atlanta and vote against him in the legislature. Those were the days when senators were elected by the legislature rather than by popular vote. When election day came, General Gordon was elected. The man who was instructed to vote against him voted for him instead and helped to elect him. When asked why, he said, “I had never seen General Gordon. One day as I stood in the legislative halls talking to another man, I saw a striking man come in. I noticed that he had a big scar on the side of his face. I asked my friend about him, and found out the story of his sacrifice. When I looked upon that scarred face and realized that he had fought my battles and had been wounded in my behalf, I could not find it in my heart to vote against him.”