Hard Questions that Jesus Asked
Life is filled with questions. Many require a simple yeas or no. But some questions are hard questions and require some soul searching to answer truthfully. Jesus Christ asked hard questions three of which are recorded in the eighth chapter of Mark. They are: What do you see? What’s your opinion of Christ? What is worth losing your spiritual life?
I. What do we see?
A. Mark 8:11-13 “Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him. 12 But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.”
B. Jesus Christ had just finished performing the miracle of the feeding of the 4,000 and entered a boat and cross the Sea of Galilee whereupon they are approached by a group of Pharisees, who grieve Christ by challenge Him to authenticate Himself by asking Jesus to give them some miraculous sign from heaven. Jesus was grieved and sighed deeply by their question. He responds by asking them, "Why do you require signs? You’ve watch me. Why hasn’t the life I have lived before you been enough? You’ve seen or heard credible reports of the miracles. Why aren’t these enough? Why do you still need more?" Then he abruptly told them, "You will not be given a sign."
C. 1 Corinthians 1:22 “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom”
D. 2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
E. Too often we spend long periods of inactivity waiting for some sign from God, showing God’s approval. We have to believe and walk by faith, instead of waiting for signs from God that may never come. God is glorified when we step out in faith!
F. Mark 8:13-16 “And He left them, and getting into the boat again, departed to the other side. Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat. Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have no bread.”
G. After the encounter with the Pharisees, Jesus re-enters the boat and sails across the waters toward the shores near Bethsaida. While traveling in the boat Jesus told them, "Watch out for the leaven (or yeast) of the Pharisees and that of Herod." Leaven is an illustration of the invisible power of sin that subtly permeates and changes what it infects. While He is trying to give them this spiritual truth their mind is focused on the fact that they forgot to bring along any bread for themselves. The disciples hear the Lord’s warning and they immediately misunderstand what He is trying to say. Their minds are so focused on the material, physical world that they cannot see the spiritual side of anything. They were worried about bread to eat when they had one loaf
H. Mark 8:17-21 “But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” “Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?” And they said, “Seven.” So He said to them, “How is it you do not understand?”
I. The disciples had just seen four thousand fed with seven loaves of bread; previously they witnessed five thousand fed with five loaves. Why couldn’t they see that if Christ could feed four thousand with four and five thousand with five it was no problem to feed twelve with one.
J. We see the Lord demonstrate His power and majesty all around us. We see answers to prayer on every hand. When we look back we see that the Lord has done so much for us, but when a crisis arises or bump in the road confronts us, we react in fear instead of faith.
K. Remember what God did in the past. Then realize He's still the same God.
II. What’s our opinion of Christ?
A. Mark 8:27-30 “Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked His disciples, saying to them, “Who do men say that I am?” So they answered, “John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ.” Then He strictly warned them that they should tell no one about Him.”
B. In this section after the healing of the Blind man in Bethsaida and journeying toward Caesarea Philippi Jesus asks His disciples “Who do others say that I am? And “Who do you say that I am?”
C. Jesus knew exactly what the opinion of people of the world was about Him.
D. Seven times Jesus told us who He is with the words, “I am”
1. “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” – John 6:35
2. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12
3. "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. – John 10:9
4. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” – John 10:11
5. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” – John 11:25
6. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me.” – John 14:6
7. "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” – John 15:1
E. Who do YOU say that I am? He asks His disciples to which Peter gives his famous confession of faith.
F. But today we must ask ourselves not “What does the world’s think of Jesus”, or “What do my family and friends think?”, or “What does my church think” but “What is my opinion of Christ?”
G. We call Him Friend but have we made Him our Friend and are we His friend?
H. We call Him Wonderful Counselor but do we seek His counsel?
I. We call Him our Rock but are we anchored to the Rock?
J. There’s a popular expression, “It is what it is”. It doesn’t matter what we say He is if we do not demonstrate that it is more than just words or head knowledge that we have. We must demonstrate that what we say He is He is.
K. Luke 6:46 "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?”
III. What’s worth sacrificing our spiritual life?
A. Mark 8:34-38 “When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
B. In Mark 8:15, we saw that Christ warned the disciples of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod. Remember that Leaven is used as a picture of the invisible power of sin that subtly permeates and changes what it infects.
C. The Leaven of Pharisees consists of hypocrisy (Mark 12:13-15), legalism (Matt. 23:23-24), self-righteousness (Matt. 23:28), self-importance (Mark 15:31), spiritual pride (Luke 18:11-12), and judgmentalism (Matt. 23:34). The leaven of Herod included immorality, lasciviousness, indifference, apathy, mockery, debauchery, drunkenness, filthy speech, and the love of power.
D. Realize that there is nothing worth more than your walk with Christ. Anything that would hinder your walk with God or becomes a constant distraction is not worth losing your spirituality
E. "To lose your health is much,
To lose your wealth is more,
To lose your soul is such a loss,
That nothing can restore."—Gospel Herald