Summary: One of God’s greatest refusals set men free.
Mark 15:23 ¡V ¡§And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.¡¨
l. INTRODUCTION ¡V THE THINGS THAT ARE MISSED
-People who read books generally find something occurring with their reading patterns. A reader will usually understand what the author says and means. But once you become familiar with an author, you begin a journey with him.
-To read an author¡¦s books, one generally gets into the mind of that writer. But to observe what the writer omits in the early stages of the book is a far more difficult process.
-One particular writer that I have read in the last few years is like that. A. J. Cronin writes his books in such a way that when you get to the end you either do not want it to end or sometimes you feel as if you have walked the whole way with the characters.
-Often the things that are left out are key elements in understanding what is written.
-Such is true with the four Gospels, we catch the high points and feel the active parts. One finds the focus on the miracles, the important sermons, the key concepts of Christian living, and the sturdy, strong, robust characters that rivet us.
-But what do we do with the times when the Lord said ¡§No!¡¨ We never work to discover the premise of His prerogatives. Do we ever think about or even consider what the Lord refused to do?
-I am preaching about: The Royal Refusals. There is a world of meaning in the silences of the Lord. There are so many royal lessons in the refusals.
ll. THE ROYAL REFUSALS
A. The Refusal to Work a Miracle
-The first refusal comes very early in the beginning of the earthly ministry of the Lord, in fact it is His first recorded refusal in Scripture. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record this in their Gospels.
-It was immediately after His baptism that the Lord was met with an extraordinary time of testing. A period of struggle is always followed by moments of spiritual elevation and decision. The inevitable testing will always come no matter what we try to do to prevent it.
-The Lord had traveled the steep road leading from Jerusalem in to Jericho. This road was called the Ascent of Blood because it was infested with robbers. He finally gained the mountain that rose out of the Judean plain, fifteen hundred feet above sea level. It is a barren place, scarred by numerous artificial caves created by both good men and bad men. Wild animals inhabited this place. The whine of the coyote could be heard during the nights, the scurrying of small rodents in the rocks could be heard, the slithering trails of serpents could be seen, and the nests of eagles high in the rocks existed.
-We find the Lord alone in the wilderness at the end of a forty day fast. His body is depleted. He is near exhaustion. Obviously, He would be very hungry. . . . and it is at that point of weakness that Satan appears to Him. One must understand that the enemy will attack you whether you are ready for it or not.
-The enemy of His soul wanted Him to turn the stones into bread. It would have been such a small, minute feat for the Lord to do this. His ministry would be marked by the miraculous but it bears our attention that the Lord came to minister to others. . . . Not to minister to Himself.
„« A day on the near horizon would come and He would feed five thousand with a few fish and a few loaves of bread.
„« He might have usurped the political kingdoms from both Herod and Pilate.
„« He might have caused twelve legions of angels to save Him from Judas and his rabble.
„« He might have allowed His cries from the Cross to save Him. . . . . . . But none of that did He desire.
-But today He refuses to turn the stones into bread.
-The lesson that comes from this refusal is this: There arises the mastery of self, of the passions of life, and the discipline of character when we refuse.
-This refusal marked the fact that He was not here for his own gratification. Bread is not always the thing that should fill us. It was an appeal to the baser element of the flesh and the despicable desires of the flesh.
-Any time the fulfillment of the baser things come into play, one has to keep returning again and again to be filled. There is no lasting satisfaction in this temporal world. Seek the higher callings of life.
Matthew 4:4 ¡V ¡§But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.¡¨