Summary: Through the pages of His Word, we can look into the heart of God! -- And what a big-hearted God we have!
Take a Look into the Heart of God
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - Nov. 2, 2008
*There have been amazing advances in technology in our lifetime. MRI’s allow doctors to look inside our bodies in a way that would have boggled the mind 100 years ago. It boggles my mind today! It is amazing that MRI’s can look into our bodies. But here’s something much more amazing: Through the pages of His Word, we can look into the heart of God! -- And what a big-hearted God we have!
1. The first thing we see about Him tonight is that He grieves over cruelty and injustice.
*Vs. 13 points us to this truth, when it says, “When Jesus heard it.” (When Jesus heard the report of John the Baptist’s murder), “He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself.”
*The Lord had several good reasons for getting away by Himself. One reason must have been the Lord’s grief over the terrible injustice suffered by John the Baptist. The Lord places a high value on kindness and justice. John the Baptist had been cruelly murdered by a corrupt ruler, who went along with his scheming, vengeful wife.
*But the Lord places a high value on kindness and justice. Psalm 117:1-2 speaks of His kindness:
1. Oh, praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!
2. For His merciful kindness is great toward us, And the truth of the Lord endures forever.
*Many Scriptures speak to us about the Lord’s love for justice. Here are just a couple of examples: In Psalm 33:5, the Lord “loves righteousness and justice.” In Psalm 82:3 He commands: “Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy.”
*The Lord places a high value on kindness and justice. We see a great demonstration of this truth in Mark 3. Jesus went into a synagogue where there was a man who had a withered hand. Some self-righteous Pharisees were there, and they watched Jesus to see if He would heal the sick man on the Sabbath. Then in vs. 3-5:
3. Jesus said to the man who had the withered hand, "Step forward.’’
4. And He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’’ But they kept silent.
5. So when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand.’’ And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.
2. What a big-hearted God we have! He grieves over cruelty and injustice. And He takes care of His followers.
*Jesus always takes care of His followers. This is another reason why the Lord got away in vs. 13. But we have to look at Mark’s Gospel to see this part of the story. Just before John the Baptist’s disciples came to tell Jesus about John’s death, Jesus had sent out His own disciples to preach the gospel and heal the sick. *Mark 6 tells us that:
12. They went out and preached that people should repent.
13. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.
*Later on in Mark 6 we read:
30. Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught.
31. And He said to them, "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’’ For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.
32. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.
*At about the same time John’s followers brought Jesus the news of John’s death, the Lord’s disciples returned with the good news from their ministry. The Lord’s disciples were tired and needed a break. On top of that they must have also been grieved over the death of John the Baptist. (John 1 tells us that Andrew and another of the twelve were followers of John the Baptist before they met Jesus. In fact, John the Baptist had first introduced these men to the Lord. So naturally they would have been saddened at the Baptist’s death.) For these good reasons the Lord wanted to give His disciples a time of rest and refreshment.
*Jesus wants to do the same thing for you. As He said in Matt 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
*Christopher Nerreau once compared it to his son, saying, “The other day I saw my son Matthew outside playing. He has cerebral palsy and is slightly handicapped physically. Matthew grows tired when he plays too hard. And I could see this was happening. He wanted to keep playing with the other kids. He wanted to continue to please his friends. -- But I could tell he was burnt out.