Sermons

Summary: Jesus paid an awful price to wear His mask for us. Are we willing to wear a mask for Him?

There is an old story called the magic mask. It is about a

powerful lord who ruled over a great domain who became so

hard and cruel that ugly lines deepened into his face. On a

tour of his country one day he saw a surprisingly beautiful

girl, and he longed to take her as his wife. But he was

appalled as he looked into the mirror and saw the hard and

cruel lines in his face. He could never win her love with such

a face, and so he called for a magician to make him a mask of

thin wax that would make him look kind and loving. The

artist agreed to do it if he promised to pray daily to the God

of love to change his heart and make him loving toward his

subjects. He said he would and the mask was made. The

lovely girl became his wife, and they enjoyed a remarkable

period of peace and prosperity. He became a truly loving

ruler, and the people marveled at the change in him.

He finally became so bothered by his deception of the wife

he loved so dearly that he begged the magician to remove the

magic mask. It was with fear and trembling that he then

went to the mirror. But to his delight he did not need the

mask any longer because the ugly lines on his face were gone.

His changed heart and spirit had changed his face, and he

had a loving face even without the mask.

We all have to wear a mask at times to hide the ugliness of

our negative spirit. If we let people see all that we are all of

the time, it would not be a pretty sight, and so we mask

ourselves and put on a good front that is pleasant and

acceptable. In contrast to many Halloween masks that are

put on to scare people with their grotesque faces, we put on a

mask to protect people from the real scariness in us. Only

God can see us totally naked in our soul and still love us. We

need to mask some of who we are to be acceptable on the

human level. So wearing a mask of some sort is very

common.

The proof of this is that Jesus Himself, the sinless Son of

God, wore a mask. Jesus hid His identity as long as He

could, and did so in a very conspicuous manner. The first

thing we need to do to get to the bottom of this mystery of the

Master's mask is to establish that there is, in fact, a mystery.

Let's begin by looking at-

1. THE REALITY OF THE MASK.

The first hint we have of this mask is the encounter Jesus

has with the demonized man in the synagogue. When the

evil spirit in this man cried out at Jesus, "I know who you

are-the Holy One of God," Jesus did not say, "Speak up, this

is just the kind of publicity I need right now." Instead, He

said, "Be quiet!" Other translations have it, "Shut up!" He

stopped this positive testimony to His identity, and cast the

evil spirit out. Now if this was just an isolated incident we

could ignore it and not try to read anything into it of

significance. But this was just the beginning of a pattern

Jesus followed.

Notice verse 34: "And Jesus healed many of various

diseases. He also drove out many demons, but He would not

let the demons speak because they knew who He was." I can

see if He would not let them speak because they didn't know

what they were talking about, but it says He would not let

them because they did know what they were talking about.

The demons could identify Jesus, and so He stopped them,

for He was not ready to take off His mask and be known for

who He was.

Even two such mysterious incidents could be over looked

as a possible idiosyncrasy of Mark, but when we see Jesus

going out of His way many times to protect His identity, then

we have to face up to the reality of His mask. Look at verses

43-45. Jesus had just cured a man of leprosy. It was a

marvelous miracle, and one that could bring a lot of

publicity. But note the response of Jesus. "Jesus sent him

away at once with a strong warning." Note, it was not a

polite suggestion, it was a strong warning. And the warning

was, "See that you don't tell this to anyone."

You would think that whatever His reason for trying to

keep His identity a secret, that those whom He healed would

be grateful enough to cooperate with Him. But one of the

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