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Summary: This sermon explains the question, asked throughout Mark's Gospel: "Who is this man???!" ...and "Who but God can do these things?" -the answer, of course, is that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and no one except God can do these things. The sermon

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“The Conquering Christ” (Mark 3:7-6:52)

Opening Illustration: I feel like an overcomer… Like a real conqueror of nature, because we took Hunter’s Safety this week and yesterday we passed the test! We shot at gopher silhouettes, and demonstrated that we could safely handle the guns and now I am a great hunter. I shot 10 rounds at the gopher and some actually hit the gopher… I feel like I can really conquer nature… They gave me this hunter-orange vest to wear around town to prove I am a real Montana hunter. Don’t own a gun, but this says “Safe Montana Hunter”…

Jesus’ posture as He moves from Galilee (Mark ch. 2-3:6) into the neighboring regions (3:7-6:56) is as a conqueror. Mark presents Jesus here as the victorious One. And many recognized that; but most were very confused, because He spoke a message not of domination but of submission; not of violent victory but of reconciliation…

…yet the section of Mark 3-6 can be described as the Conquering Christ, and we’ll see what Jesus conquered, and we’ll see how He conquered. We need to see this because we are called to walk in His ways…

The image of the meek-&-weak Christ often prevails, but the title assigned to Jesus as “Lamb” is a title of function—the sacrificial lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (He seems to be a victim…gets bit by the serpent, so to speak)—but the title of Christ as victorious Conqueror is a title of character (He’s crushing the serpent’s head as He is bitten). Jesus’ function as sacrifice should not be mistaken for His character, seen ultimately by John’s Revelation, as the One enthroned, seated at the right hand of the Father; He holds the Seven Seals of the Apocalypse, and is the only One authorized to break open and reveal those seals; He is the untamed/wild Lion of C.S. Lewis’ theological analogy in Narnia; He is Gandolf the Great who calls-&-sends the Hobbits, who delivers the faithful & vanquishes the enemy in Tolkien’s theological novels…

PowerPoint images of Christus Victor mosaics, iconography & imagery in Christian religious art… The church has often highlighted this facet of Christ and the atonement; but current sentiment shies away from it. Why?

In his sermon from Revelation 5:6, the great Scottish preacher Alexander Maclaren in 1891 said,

“This is the aspect of Christ with which we must begin, if we would know Him in the full greatness of His gifts and sweep of His work… Unless we do (see Jesus Christ as the vanquishing conqueror who triumphs over His enemies), we shall have but an unworthy conception of His wondrous love, and an inadequate estimation of His all-healing power…

…The evidence of His rule (& authority) is plain to all who are not blinded by pride & spiritual antagonism… The fact of His rule should be the unalterable conviction of every Christian soul (for it is Christ alone who can conquer the noisy rebellion of a human heart)… It is of utmost importance for the (health & vitality &) vigor of Christian life to keep clear and vivid that present activity of our Lord.”

READ: Mark 5:1-20

VIDEO: “Jesus Casts Out Demon Legion” (clip from JesusFilm, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqnE3EY3BRI)

Our text sits within a broader, thematically-arranged set of stories that help us see who Jesus is. In this text, if we situate it in the broader context of His ministry throughout the region, Jesus presents himself as a conqueror who vanquishes the enemy; He is shown as victorious over His enemies; and make no mistake: there are enemies of Christ, enemies of holiness, enemies of the cross…

His initial ministry and teaching in Galilee (as we saw last week) was typified by conflict and controversies, where Jesus’ NEW WAY clashes—violently & dramatically—with the old ways of the Pharisees… but after 3:6, and leading-up to the exorcism of Legion among the Gerasene tombs above the sea at Gadara, let’s see where Mark has brought us:

• 3:7-12, Jesus draws a HUGE crowd from everywhere, and they surround him at the Sea of Galilee’s lakeside shores. They say “bad press is good press,” and all those conflicts & controversies alerted the masses to the fact that something amazing was happening. It says, “They came because they were hearing what great things He was doing.” Jesus healed many, and those with diseases & afflictions literally rushed-in upon Him, like the craziness of a mosh-pit, and those possessed by demons fell down before him, “flinging themselves down before him,” shouting, “You are the Son of God!” And everyone just wanted to touch Him for healing. To these He sternly warned them NOT to tell anyone; to keep the miracles and phenomenon a secret. Why? Because they were focused on the GIFT; Jesus was there representing the Giver. No testimony is valid or accepted by God unless it brings Him glory…

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