Summary: Today is an ordinary day! And the power of God is ready to burst through in our midst! The question is: Are our eyes open to see it? Are our hearts open to receive it? Are we ready to be amazed at the ways that God chooses to work!?!
Just Words: Power
Scripture Text: Mark 1.21-28
Scripture Reading: Psalm 111
Read Psalm 111.1-4, pref NLT
[This sermon was preached on SuperBowl Sunday…]
Tonight, most of America will be tuned-in… watching a game. Sports-fans anticipate that the game w ill be good; …and-we-hope to-see some amazing-plays. Maybe a spectacular, one-handed catch; …or a running-back diving six-or-seven feet in-the-air ~ over-the-top of the line-men ~ …to reach the promised-land; …or a defensive-back coming outta-nowhere to snatch the ball away-from a would-be-receiver. I’ll-admit… there are times when I jump-to-my-feet, …and hoot-and-holler when someone does-something amazing.
But, I’ll tell-ya what’s really-and-truly amazing: What’s absolutely-mind-blowing …when you stop-and-think-about-it, …is-that all-powerful-God uses His power in the ways that He does! It’s surprising. It’s amazing. It’s really something-to-see! ~ …and-honestly, …it’s so-much-more-amazing than anything a football-player can do on the field!
Earlier we read from Psalm 111, …and it begins with offering praise to the Lord… Great are His works! Amazing are His deeds! His glory and majesty never fail!
I think that most-legends of the sports-world want the same-thing ~ …they wanted-to hang-it-up while their glory still shone!
But the psalmist says that the glory and the majesty of the Lord never fades, …never diminishes, …His righteousness never fails! How’s-that for longevity! When we’re-talkin’-about the awesomeness of-what the Lord can-do, and has-done, and is-doing ~ …there’s no sadness that someday His greatness is eventually gonna fizzle! …That-someday, he just-isn’t-gonna be-able-to-produce like He did in His heyday! …that-there’ll-come-a-time when our Lord-God is just-another “has-been”! No! The glory and majesty and the-awesomeness of the Lord will continue to shine throughout eternity!
But-remember… The ways that all-powerful-God uses His power ~ and displays His awesomeness ~ …the ways that God uses His power is different from what the world might-expect! There are times-when He surprises us. And what-He-does, …and the way that He does-what-He-does ~ …sometimes it’s not-what we-were-looking-for!
And, if you’ve ever been confused, befuddled, or disappointed when God didn’t do what you were praying for Him to do ~ …then you know that there are times when God’s glory can be clouded by our perceptions and expectations.
God doesn’t use His power to show-off, …or to demonstrate brute-strength, …to bully, …or belittle. If you remember life-on-the-playground, …you remember that there were some-kids who physically-intimidated other kids. That’s-not the way that God uses His power! Instead, …God uses His power to create and to build, …to restore and rejuvenate, …to redeem and to love!
And those-uses-of-power are just-not-what people are expecting! Looking at our world, …living in this world, …growing up in this world, …we’ve come to expect power to be shown in certain ways: Show of force. Intimidation. Steam-rolling. Tearing-down. But, that’s-not-how God uses His power.
Now, I’m speaking generally, here… Because I know there are times when God destroys what is evil.
I read again this week about the plagues that God sent upon Egypt… Definitely a display of God’s power! But, those-kinds-of-examples are the exception! When you look at Jesus’ life ~ …and the ways-in-which He displayed power ~ …it’s a different picture ~ …and I think that’s some-of-the-reason why he was misunderstood, …and-why so many of His own people didn’t believe that He was the Messiah! They wanted a conquering-hero, …a warrior to take-down Caesar!
But, rather-than just-talking about-it, …let me give you an example of what I mean. In the first chapter of Mark, Jesus started picking-out-disciples, …then he went to the city of Capernaum. And in verse 21, we find-out-what-He-did, next.
READ Mark 1.21-28
Power… Jesus demonstrates His power in some unusual ways: His power is seen in His teaching ~ …Mark says the crowds, “…were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority”. They’re talking-about power in His teaching.
The second way He demonstrates power is in healing ~ …the lunatic, …the mad-man, …the man possessed by a demon is healed. Again, the people are amazed by what they see Jesus do.
Now-mind-you, …Jesus didn’t take on the local Roman garrison; …and He didn’t give anybody a black-eye; …and He didn’t pick up a sword and breathe-out threats against Caesar! No… He was simply teaching the crowd in the synagogue, …and He helped a man recover his sanity and his soul!
If you weren’t paying attention, …you might-have missed the whole thing! But, the people who crowded into the synagogue on that ordinary Sabbath day, …their eyes were open, …and they noticed something-special happening right-in-front-of-them. And they were amazed by-what-they-saw!
I. Power in the “Ordinary”
One of the first things that I notice is how ordinary this day is. It’s the Sabbath ~ …it rolls around once every seven days; …it’s been that way since the beginning; …it’s a day to meet with believers and to worship All-Mighty God. For those who are accustomed to keeping the Sabbath ~ …there wasn’t anything-remarkable about this day. It didn’t snow in Jerusalem; …nor did the sun stand still. It was an ordinary day; …a day like any-other-Sabbath. Children went with their parents, …they got to see their aunts-and-uncles. Their synagogue was a good place. It was a safe place. The people who gathered there, loved God and loved their traditions that reached-back through King David to Moses to Abraham. They loved to hear the Scriptures being read ~ …the stories and the psalms that reminded them of who-they-were and what God had done for their people. This place… this synagogue was a sanctuary-of-hope against the backdrop-of-madness that the world was such a mean-place, …a hostile-place, …a place where might-makes-right. But, on this ordinary-Sabbath-day, …something extraordinary began to unfold. A guest teacher. His name was Jesus. Originally from the back-water-village of Nazareth, …Jesus was beginning to make his home in their-fair-city: Capernaum.