Summary: KIngdom thinking is upside-down thinking.
SERIES: WALKING WITH JESUS
“THE SERVAN’TS KINGDOM”
Anybody here a comic-book fan? I used to be. One of the comic book characters I used to love was Superman. One of the characters who would appear every so often in the Superman series was a fellow known as Bizarro. Bizarro was from a place referred to as Bizarro World.
Everything in Bizarro World was completely backwards from earth. The real name of the planet was Htae (earth spelled backwards). Everything in Bizarro world was the complete opposite to anything on earth. Instead of being round, Bizarro World was a cube. The Bizarro Code says, “Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!” We would say, “That’s upside-down!”
That’s how people viewed the kingdom that Jesus taught about. The theme of Mark’s Gospel is the work resume of the Servant. Servants do not rule over kingdoms but Jesus was the Servant King. It was upside-down to even consider a servant as a king. Yet, we spent a about 3 months last year going through Jesus’ guide for kingdom living. It’s called in popular terminology The Sermon on the Mount.
God’s ways generally seem upside-down to us. The apostle Paul said in 1 Cor. 1:27 that God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, that he chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 2 Cor. 8:9 says about Jesus “that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” 2 Cor. 12:10 says, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Let’s look at some of the principles of the upside-down kingdom. As we do so, let us together ask God to show us His way more fully and to give us strength to live life upside-down.
TWO BECOMES ONE
Mk. 10:1-12 – “Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again
crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them. Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ ‘What did Moses command you?’ he replied. They said, ‘Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.’ ‘It was because your hearts were
hard that Moses wrote you this law,’ Jesus replied. ‘But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will
become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.’ When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, ‘Anyone
who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her
husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.’”
Remember that Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem. The time has come. The cross awaits. Jesus had been with his disciples in the region of Caesarea Philipi. They then go to Capernaum – Jesus’ home base in Galilee. When Jesus leaves “that place” (Capernaum), He never returns. Instead, He comes down into the southern region into Judea and then crosses the Jordan to a region known as Perea.
Perea was a region of Palestine under the control of Herod Antipas. Remember, he was married to Herodias and it was under his rule that John the Baptist was beheaded. The reason for John’s beheading had to do with John’s stand against Herod Antipas and Herodias divorcing their spouses and then marrying each other. It was in this context that the Pharisees confront Jesus with the question of divorce.
Jesus asked the Pharisees, “What did Moses command you?” Notice the Pharisees answered with what was “permitted” and not with what was “commanded”.
In the 1st century, divorce was quite common. The Pharisees had two basic schools of thought. One said that divorce was only permissible because of moral uncleanness. The other said divorce was permissible for any reason.
The primary scripture passage that was used in the debate came from Deut. 24:1-5. The passage is about more than just getting a divorce. But the debate for the Pharisees had to do with the wording in vs. 1 – “If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her…” The debate for Pharisees had to do with the words “something indecent.”
To the first group, that phrase referred to moral indecency. To the other group, it referred to anything – including burning dinner.
Jesus said to them, “You’ve got it upside down!” Jesus said the discussion isn’t about Deut. 24. It goes back further than that. It goes all the way back to creation when God made man and woman. The command is found in Gen. Chapts. 1 & 2. God created marriage and He has the right to establish the rules of marriage.