Summary: Jesus sought to alleviate stress and to eliminate distress by inviting seekers and followers to "come and see" - Discover Who He is, why He came, what He has done and will do for all who believe in and trust Him.
GOOD NEWS PRESENTED BY MARK
Study of the Gospel According to Mark
As you read Mark, be aware that you are reading the very first written account of the ministry of Jesus – a fact well documented by credible Bible scholars. Quite naturally, we want to know who Mark was, and we find that he is mentioned frequently in the New Testament.
What we know about him is that he was the son of a very well-to-do woman in Jerusalem; her name was Mary, and her home became the center of early church get-togethers. So, you can imagine that Mark was there when Jesus’ closest followers came to his mother’s house for a “church council” meeting. Peter the chief elder referred to Mark affectionately as “my son.”
Mark was also the nephew of Barnabas who talked Paul into letting the youngster go with them on one of their missionary journeys - which, you may recall, resulted in Mark’s falling out of favor with Paul by leaving and going back home. However, it’s interesting to note that, years later, when Paul was in prison, facing execution, he asked Timothy to bring Mark with him, “for he is a most useful servant to me.”
I suppose Paul saw in this young man a Christian who had the ability to write; and, apparently having redeemed himself, he could now be counted on to carry out Paul’s wishes. This explanation is plausible because Mark had served as Peter’s scribe and, as such, had written much of what Peter related to him about his eye witness account of the ministry of Jesus.
MARK SERMON VI – MARK 8:11-33 . . .
THE GREATEST OF ALL DISCOVERIES ELIMINATES DISTRESS
Most of us, I presume, would rather not call attention to ourselves unless we are certain of what we are talking about, or at least we are acquainted with an expert who can verify the truth of our claims. If not, we could find ourselves embarrassed or in trouble with the authorities.
Having been sent into the world by Father God, Jesus knew what He was talking about when He declared, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except by me.” However:
His speaking and acting with such divine authority got the attention of the Jewish hierarchy who wasted no time regarding Him as a political threat to their self-righteous system of perceived superiority. The religious political group that most hated the popularity of Jesus was known as “the Pharisees”.
The ruling class in Jerusalem – the Sanhedrin - set out to discredit Jesus by dispatching Pharisees to engage Him in theological arguments designed to “trip Him up” and in that way, create doubt in the minds of His followers; or at least they wanted to embarrass Him. Such a political tactic was nothing less than a form of harassment intended to stop the “Jesus movement”.
One such confrontation occurred right after Jesus had performed a second miracle of feeding a crowd that had gathered to hear Him teach --- Mark 8:11-13 . . .
Wouldn’t you think that the miracles of Jesus should have been sufficient evidence of His deity? But, no, the Pharisees demanded “a sign” of a cataclysmic kind – obviously unwilling to endorse His messianic role no matter what He did; and of course Jesus knew this and therefore He used the occasion to raise a very
important question: “Why does this generation (of skeptics) demand a sign?”
It’s as if the Lord was asking why He should demonstrate His divinity with some kind of cataclysmic upheaval when nothing would satisfy those whose minds were closed to the truth . . . whose hearts were hardened. He was not about to be drawn into “playing games” with skeptics! Neither should we! No matter what we say, some folks are not going to be swayed.
People have a choice between receiving spiritual truth and rejecting it. We are talking about a life or death choice insofar as our eternal relationship to God is concerned . . . a choice between eternal life with God and eternal separation from God . . . a choice between heaven and hell. Not a game of chance! A guarantee that one’s choice determines one’s eternal destiny!
Folks, I for one do not intend to miss the choice God has given me, through His Son Jesus Christ, to be saved and go home to be with the Lord. Others may shun God’s invitation, but I choose to accept!
Having accepted Jesus as Savior, I have no need to worry about my eternal destiny; and, having accepted Him as Lord of life, I have learned a great lesson through experience, and it is this: If Jesus is my constant companion, why should I fret about the mundane things of life?