Summary: How we react to Jesus will ultimately determine our response to Him.
Imagine if a background check had been done on the 12 disciples.
“Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership. The two brothers, James and John, place personal interest above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that could undermine morale. Matthew [Levi] has been blacklisted by the Capernaum Better Business Bureau; James and Thaddeus definitely have radical leanings, and they both registered a high score on the manic-depressive scale. Simon is a zealot with terrorist tendencies and is always looking for ways to attack and annihilate the Romans.
“One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of high ability and resourcefulness, is outgoing, has a keen business mind, and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious, and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right-hand man” (Adapted from “Eating Problems for Breakfast,” by Tim Hansel).
We’re continuing in our series called, “Who is This Man?” from the Gospel of Mark. Pastor Andy helped us understand last week that while we may think we’re righteous, in reality we are sick sinners. We were challenged to reach out to a “Levi,” a person we’d rather not be around.
In our passage today, we’re going to focus on three vignettes to show that our reaction to Jesus determines our response to Him. The sermon title comes from a phrase made popular by C.S. Lewis: “Lord, Liar or Lunatic?” We’ll be introduced to three groups of people -- the disciples who knew He was Lord, His family who treated Him like a lunatic, and His enemies who thought he was a liar. There are really only three choices -- Jesus is God, He is mad or He is bad. There is no middle ground. How we react to Jesus will ultimately determine our response to Him.
1. Is He Lord? We pick up the story in Mark 3:13: “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to Him those He wanted, and they came to Him.” While there were always crowds around Jesus, He called out for Himself a smaller community of followers. Do you realize that Christianity began with a small group? The Christ-life is meant to be lived out in community and relationships. Are you connected to a Connection Group here at PBC? If not, contact Pastor Andy and get in one.
When Jesus was up on the mountain...
• He called. In John 15:16 we read that Jesus chose and appointed these men. They didn’t volunteer but were selected. It’s good to come back to this truth -- God does the choosing according to His sovereign selection.
• They came. Jesus initiated and the men responded. They didn’t waffle or waver. Jesus called and they came. When I was growing up and we would be playing outside, my dad would open the back door and whistle loudly when it was time to come home. Let me just say that it wasn’t a good idea to dilly dally, if you know what I mean. He whistled and we went.