Summary: Four ways Jesus speaks with authority to break through into our lives.
One of my favorite movies is the Indiana Jones movie The Last Crusade. It’s the story of Indiana Jones and his father’s quest for the holy grail, the legendary chalice that Jesus used in his Last Supper with his disciples. In one of the final scenes, the ancient temple they’ve found the chalice in is collapsing and people are running for their lives as the walls are falling and the ground opens. The grail falls into a deep crevice created by the earthquake, and Indiana Jones is hanging in the crevice by one hand, reaching with the other hand to grab the grail. He can almost reach it, as he becomes entranced by allure of the grail. All around him rocks are falling, the ground is shaking, the temple is collapsing, but he’s fixated on the grail. Finally a voice breaks through the spell, the voice of his father, who says, "Indiana, let it go." Indiana climbs out of the crevice, and together he and his father escape just as the temple completely collapses.
The power of a voice to break the spell of temptation. The power of a voice to bring us back to reality. There used to be a commercial for an investment firm that said, "When E. F. Hutton speaks, people listen." Who do you listen to when they speak? Maybe it’s the voice of a parent. Whenever my mom said, "Timothy James Peck with that certain tone, I listened because I knew I was in trouble. Or perhaps the voice of our spouse or a friend you respect. Who causes you to listen just by hearing their voice?
Jesus’ voice has the ability to break through our lives. Have you heard his voice in your life? Today we’re going to talk about Jesus’ voice. Last weekend we started a new series through the New Testament book of Mark called FOLLOWING JESUS IN THE REAL WORLD. Last weekend we looked at the prologue to Mark’s story about Jesus. We saw that Mark writes to chronicle the origin of the Christian faith for us as readers who weren’t alive when Jesus walked the earth. Today we’re going to look at how when Jesus speaks people listen. We’re going to find four short scenes from the life of Jesus where his voice breaks through in a powerful way. Along the way we’re going to explore how we can hear and respond to Christ’s voice in our own lives.
1. Jesus Announces (Mark 1:14-15)
Let’s look at vv. 14 and 15. Jesus launches his ministry after the Roman government imprisons John the Baptist, his forerunner. Jesus begins his ministry in the region of Galilee, which is the region he grew up in. As I mentioned last weekend, Galilee was a rural community in Northern Israel viewed as "the sticks." The poverty in the region of Galilee was terrible, and it was a fertile place for bandits and revolutionaries to hide out.
Jesus begins his work by "proclaiming" God’s good news about God’s kingdom. The word "proclaim" here means "To announce [something] in a formal or official manner" (Louw and Nida, Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domains 33.206). Usually this kind of announcement was given by a herald, the rough equivalent of a town crier. A herald was like the old newspaper boy, who would yell out the newspaper headline, and then say, "Read all about it." The herald didn’t make up his message, but they simply shouted out whatever message had been given to them.
Here Jesus begins his public life by heralding the arrival of God’s kingdom. The time had finally arrived for God’s Kingdom to break through in a powerful and unique way. Now we need to understand what the Jewish expectations were at this time to truly understand what this announcement would mean. The Bible pictures God as ruling heaven as the king over his creation. So God’s kingdom is God’s rule and reign in heaven. But on the earth it’s another story, because God has given the human race a significant amount of freedom to rule and reign over our own lives. We rule over our lives under God’s sovereignty, but God gives us a lot of room to exercise our own dominion, even if our way is often a destructive way. This is one reason why God allows bad things to happen, because many of these bad things happen as a consequence of our rule and reign over our own lives.
To say that the Kingdom of God has arrived is to say that God’s rule and reign from heaven has invaded our reign on this earth. Jesus’ announcement here declares that the decisive movement of God’s dominion has finally arrived, that God’s intervention in our world has finally come. Whereas before Jesus God was sovereign over the events of human history, now God has entered into human history in a new and special way.