Summary: "Embracing the Priorities of Jesus" is an exposition of Mark 2:1-12 that teaches that Jesus always prioritizes the eternal over the temporary.
EMBRACING THE PRIORITIES OF JESUS
Jesus was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth. But Capernaum was his home and headquarters during his Galilean ministry. Simon Peter, one of the initial disciples, also lived in Capernaum. In Mark 1, Jesus healed the sick – including Simon Peter’s mother-in-law – and cast out demons. But these miraculous acts distracted from the teaching ministry of Jesus. So he left Capernaum to preach and teach in the neighboring cities along the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Now Jesus has returned to Capernaum. And the news spread quickly that he was at home. When they found out were Jesus was, they packed the house. There was standing room only. People huddled around the doors and windows to see and hear Jesus.
But not every one was there for the right reasons. Some were there because they believed Jesus to be the long-awaited Messiah-King. Others were not sure and wanted further evidence. Still others were just there to see the wonder-worker do his thing. Verse 6 tells us the scribes were there. Luke 5:17 adds the Pharisees were also present. They hoped to catch Jesus saying or doing something they could use to discredit him. But the competing motivations of the crowd did not move Jesus. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. Yet the last thing many us know is what to put first. And we are prone to impose our mixed-up priorities on Jesus. But the priorities of Jesus will not and cannot change. Jesus always prioritizes the eternal over the temporary.
A cathedral in Italy has three entrances, each next to the other and each having an inscription above it. Over the left entrance is written the words, “All that pleases is but for a moment.” Over the right entrance is inscribed, “All that troubles is but for a moment.” In the center is the larger main entrance over which is the statement: “Nothing is important except that which is eternal.”
I have good news and bad news. The good news is your bad days will not last forever. The bad news is your good days will not last forever. All that pleases and troubles is but for a moment. Nothing is important except that which is eternal. Jesus always prioritizes the eternal over the temporary. And the priorities of Jesus are to be the priorities of every Christian, every church. Mark 2:1-12 affirm the priorities of Jesus in four movements.
I. JESUS RESPONDS TO THE PRESENCE OF THE CROWD.
Verse 1-2 reports: “And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door.” This is they way it ought to be. The presence of Jesus ought to be our drawing card. Unfortunately, the church often tries to draw people by unworthy means. Church advertisements spotlight charismatic preachers, excellent music, multiple programs, impressive facilities, and fun activities without mentioning Jesus. These things may have their place. But if Jesus is not obviously present and actively in charge, people will not experience transforming grace. Nothing we do in church matters if it is not about Jesus. Let me state what the church should be about in five words: Jesus only and only Jesus. In John 12:32, Jesus said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” May this be the report published about this church: Jesus is here!
How did Jesus respond to the presence of the crowd? The end of verse 2 says, “And he was preaching the word to them.” Jesus did not put on a show for the crowd. Indeed, there were those who were there to be entertained by the wonders Jesus performed. And by the time the crowd left, verse 12 says they were all amazed. But that was not Jesus’ agenda. Jesus wanted those who were present to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. So Jesus preached the word to them.
In Mark 1, Jesus healed the sick and cast out demons. Then he went to a desolate place to pray. Simon and the others hunted him down. When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.” They were church growth specialists consulting Jesus on how to do ministry. The name of Jesus had become prominent. The works of Jesus had become publicized. And the ministry of Jesus had become popular. Jesus should strike while they iron is hot, build on his momentum, and take advantage of the opportunity. Instead, Jesus wanders off into the wilderness to pray. Simon and the boys were dumbfounded. “Everyone is looking for you,” they said. “Where have you been? What are you doing? Why are you letting this opportunity slip away?” In Mark 1:38, Jesus answers, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” The priorities of Jesus are exercised through biblical preaching.