Summary: A sermon which seeks to interpret what it means that Jesus is the Christ.
“A Case of Missing the Point”
A Chapter before this one, Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?,” and Peter, speaking for the group got it right: “You are the Christ.”
But what does that mean?
I would imagine that, most of us this morning would give Jesus the same answer.
But what does that mean?
It takes a lifetime to try and figure it out, does it not?
And a lot of mistakes.
At the beginning of Mark Chapter 9 we see that Jesus takes Peter, James and John up a high mountain where Jesus is “transfigured before them.”
And then, they watch in amazement as Jesus is joined by Moses and Elijah.
When they come down the mountain, they find the other disciples trying to drive a demon out of a boy, “but they could not.”
But when Jesus “rebuked the evil spirit…the spirit shrieked…and came out.”
And in verse 38 of Mark Chapter 9 an outsider is casting out demons in Jesus’ name.
So, we come upon our Lesson for this morning.
Jesus says to His disciples, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.’
But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.”
Instead, as they are walking down the road, they were arguing among themselves…
…and what they were arguing about?...
“Who will be the greatest?”
“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve” to Him.
Which is an indication that, “This is important.”
“This is central to what it means to follow Jesus.
It goes to the core of the meaning of life, and what it means to live in the Kingdom of God, and to be the Church.”
It also shows how radically revolutionary Jesus’ teaching is.
It is one of the greatest over-turnings in all of history!!!
All of our assumed ideas about importance and greatness become dust.
All the boasting and the pomp and circumstance of power are irrelevant.
Jesus stops the entire human parade and puts it in reverse!!!
Indeed, what Jesus says so upsets the way society views things that we might literally stagger at the thought of accepting it as our Way of life.
Clearly, Jesus’ disciples had thought of their calling to follow Christ as an opportunity for privilege, power and position.
At this point, discipleship meant service, but service to them!
The last thing they can think about is the kind of sacrificial outpouring of self that Jesus is about…that the Cross is all about…
…that being a Christian is all about!!!
And this confusion, this case of “missing the point” has continued down through the ages.
How hard it is for us to accept a crucified Lord instead of a conquering King!
How reluctant we are to accept the Cross of Jesus as the supreme revelation of God.
But if we do make a detour around the Cross, we miss the Way to God entirely!!!
Like the disciples, how many of us have been afraid to ask for the meaning of Christ’s death…
…afraid—because of what the answer might be: that we might get in too deep!!!
Because the answer makes the acceptance of the Cross the law for life.
The answer means that everything must change!!!
It points to the extreme.
It upsets everything!
It isn’t comfortable.
It is about living life as a sacrifice, of giving our minds, hearts, time and strength as a ransom for others.
In a world in love with itself where we are told that its okay, actually it’s great, to promote ourselves, the disciples look pretty normal.
For millennia, people have thought or fought about, “Who will be the greatest?”
And these arguments have moved from the bow and arrow to nuclear bombs!
And because of this, nations and people stand in ruins.
All of us are continually bombarded with advertising meant to bring to the surface and legitimize envy, covetousness, pride, vanity, and greed.
Education is often just a means to sharpen our claws in the battle of competition.
And the urge to be “the greatest” can even get inside the church with the desire for material prosperity and social prestige.
Think and shudder at how these things often displace the desire to seek and save those who are lost!!!
A poll of tithers in a mainstream denomination revealed that 90 percent of those who gave expected something in return.
They mentioned snappy sermons, rousing choir anthems, and a full range of programs for the family.
There is nothing wrong with these things.
We should, and we do seek to be the best we can be—but very few of the people in the poll mentioned service and no one mentioned suffering.