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Summary: Explains why Jesus' initial ministry in Galilee as riddled with conflict & controversy. Explains the "Messianic Ministry"-&-Mission then (and NOW!).

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“Conflict in Galilee: A Controversial Christ”

Mark 2:1-3:6

OPENING VIDEO: “Jesus Intro”

The church of today has tried everything imaginable to try to portray Jesus in a positive light; to present her Lord as a gentle and nice-kind-of-guy, who is accessible and accepting of everything, the Good Shepherd who accepts everyone and who never rocks the boat… doesn’t stir the pot or upset the apple-cart… A gentle, meek Mr. Rogers-type Savior…

…I mean, don’t we want everyone to come here and have a positive, inspirational, uplifting experience?

…yet the Gospels actually portray Jesus in a more complex light. Jesus offends everyone! He is controversial and embroiled in conflict with a lot of people!

…because at some point—eventually—everyone realizes that it’s not about them. And when that happens—people get mad. I mean, that’s part of maturity: I am here, this church is here, and it’s neither for or about me, and at some point in my discipleship, in following Jesus, I need to see how I fit into this thing that’s happening that’s bigger than me, and that church is not for or about me, and I’m going to have to come to terms with the fact that Jesus is different than almost everybody believes…

VIDEO ILLUSTRATION (humor): “Jesus—Different”

I want us to see what Mark wants us to see in his Gospel; and the 1st thing we really discover about Jesus is that He brings conflict and controversy… Let’s deal with that now…

READ: Mark 3:1-6

Mark begins his Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God—right from the start—with that image of discipleship; he never even pretends that following Jesus will be a big blessing for me, personally, or that Jesus’ followers are going to have it easy, or that being a Christian is safe or even sane…

…after the introduction and showing the calling of the disciples—they leave their nets, jump out of the boat, walk-away from the old lives (from tax collecting booths and commercial ventures and sinning—and after showing that Messiah comes to baptize in the Holy Spirit, and giving us the “table of contents” (so to speak) in chapter 1, Mark’s Gospel of Jesus Christ actually begins with CONFLICT and shows that the Christ/Messiah / Son-of-God is a very CONTROVERSIAL person. The Son of God, the Messiah, is not here to smoothe things over or straighten our ways… but Messiah came to uncover, reveal, and to shine truth and light into dark places and that is not what anyone wanted… Not what they expected…

Jesus offended a lot of folks then… And Jesus offends a lot of people now…

Mark’s entire Gospel—this whole document, the 2nd “evangelist” Mark—hinges on this fact. Jesus is highly controversial; Jesus is going to bring conflict; this is what Jesus meant when He said, “I came not for peace but to bring a sword” that would cut the strings of sin and set you and me free from sin and death… but also divide-&-distinguish good & evil… Jesus’ sword exposes darkness; it reveals what so many of us wish we could hide…

POINT #1 (of 3)…

1) Peace with God = War with the World.

There’s this biblical saying: “Friendship with the world is enmity with God.” Are you a friend of God?

If you have not been offended by Jesus lately… May I offer-up for you something that you need: You need to know that the Christ is controversial and your discipleship will frequently bring you into conflict despite your quest for peace; healthy people don’t look-for controversy… The world’s religions are almost always trying to contrive a “peace-&-harmonious-spiritual-balance” in their rituals & philosophies… But healthy disciples of Jesus don’t avoid conflict & controversy at the cost of truth, either! …because friendship with God means being an enemy of the world… Onward Christian soldiers!

Mark is incredibly concerned with presenting the Christ/Messiah in the proper light… Hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God means dealing with this:

POINT #2…

2) Jesus’ Truth-Teaching Brought Conflicts & Controversies.

Jesus’ truth should set men free; but according to Mark, it also revealed their slavery to sin…

…Mark’s Gospel begins with a series of 5 conflicts & controversies; we call them “conflict narratives,” i.e., short snippets of the Jesus tradition that had been handed-down for 3 decades until written-down for you & me by Mark the evangelist; but Mark does not add a lot of editorial commentary on these conflicts & controversies; not a lot of extra detail; Mark is not crafting a good story-line or creating narrative interest here or sustaining interest or building suspense for the sake of a good read… He just sets-forth the unadorned facts…

…Mark simply re-creates (re-tells) these events, these controversies, in order to make intelligible the words of Jesus which both informed the church… and silenced Jesus’ adversaries. At the same time, by actually documenting these events as such, Mark is discipling the church (remember: Mark’s Gospel is a “discipleship manual” or “how-to textbook on discipleship that he intended for the early church to use in doing the Great Commission), and Mark is doing for the second-generation of disciples what 1st-hand witnesses had been doing for almost 3 decades: telling the stories that would build-up the church, discipling them, empowering them to believe in Jesus, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and to pass-on to others a witness or testimony of Jesus the Messiah, God’s Son…

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