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Summary: This is the question the disciples, the Pharisees and the man on the street had to answer, it still must be answered today. In the 1st chapters of Mark... Jesus is answere the "six most important Jewish questions": how are sins forgiven, pious practices,

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In Jesus Holy Name June 10, 2012

Text: Mark 1:1; 3:20-30 Pentecost II Redeemer

Who Is Jesus?

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Who is Jesus? That is the question that must be answered if you have heard his name. Who is Jesus? That was the question in the first century when he lived and it is still valid today.

Generations ago, most people inherited rather than chose their religious faith. The great majority of people belonged to one of the historic mainline Protestant denominations or Roman Catholic Church. Today many people are opting for a non-religious life, a non-institutional, but personally constructing and creating their own form of spirituality. So our culture is growing both more religious and less religious at the same time. It is a paradox.

Last week the question asked was: “Who can be saved?” The answer was a choice: “self-salvation” based on what you do to earn God’s blessings now and the hereafter. Or. Jesus, based on his death and resurrection.

This question: Who is Jesus? This is the question that the ordinary man on the street, including the disciples had to answer. The religious Jewish scholars had to answer this question. That is why in the Gospels we read about the Sadducees and Pharisees always watching and listening and questioning Jesus.

So let’s open the Gospel of Mark and see how this question plays out.

The first thing we need to know is that there are six major issues in the Jewish religious world in the first century.

1. How are sins forgiven?

2. Acceptance or non-acceptance of people who have dubious jobs, dubious behaviors, certain diseases having various requirements, or people who are non-Jewish.

3. Food regulations preparing food on the Sabbath, etc.

4. Table fellowship (Luke 19:7 – Zacchaeus) (Acts 10 where Peter states: “It is against our law for a Jew to enter the house of a Gentile.” We had laws like that here too… drinking fountains for whites only etc.

5. Pious practices: prayer, fasting, Sabbath rules (we have them here too… blue laws, stores closed on Sunday, Christmas, Easter, Good Friday. Even my father and other mid-west farmers struggled with whether or not it was permissible to work on Sunday.

6. Table fellowship with outcasts…. Rules for people with specific diseases like leprosy.

Who is Jesus? This is how the great Indian teacher Gandhi answered this question: “I could accept Jesus as a martyr, and embodiment of sacrifice, and a divine teacher. His death on the cross was a great example to the world, but that there was anything like a mysterious or miraculous virtue in it, my heart could not accept.”

Walk with me. Mark 1:1 Christ is not his last name. In the Jewish world… Christ = anointed one… messiah.

A. Son of God…. Exodus 4 & Hosea 11:1 Every Jew knew that the “Jewish nation” for 1000 years was considered “The son of God” this is a change….Mark…read the rest of the story and tell me what you think.


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