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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.

B. V 9-11 at the baptism…. The voice from heaven verifies who the “son of God” is.

C. V 14 Jesus calls a few men to be disciples…they too will have to answer the question… after watching Jesus perform miracles… they find themselves in a little storm. (Matthew 8:23-27)

D. The teaching of Jesus….Mark 1:21 and note the response of the demons. Did they know who Jesus was!

E. Healing of a man with Leprosy

F. Now the BIG Question: “Who can forgive sins?” For over 1000 years where and how are sins forgiven? Exodus; Leviticus 17:11; the tabernacle; the temple in Jerusalem, “for without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness”. So… who are you Jesus? You have no right!!!!!!

G. Questions about Sabbath laws and fasting! Mark 2:18ff

H. Who is Lord of the Sabbath?

I. Mark 3:1 Healing on the Sabbath would be work!

What was the result? “The Pharisees went out and plot to kill Jesus!

J. The Pharisees seek to “discredit Jesus before the people” Mark 3:20-29

He is not the Messiah… he is tricking you… he is casting out demons by the power of Satan, not God.

The earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus was surrounded by constant controversy. Nearly everyone He met misunderstood Him and what He came to this world to do. Nearly everyone was guilty of misrepresenting His words and His works. The things He did and said in love were used to attack Him in hate!

The scribes and Pharisees cannot deny what Jesus is doing; too many people have experienced it, too many people have been helped. So their strategy is to turn the people against Jesus by saying that He is ministering by the power of an evil spirit.

But it’s not just a smear campaign that the Teachers of the Law are engaging in; they actually believe it. They are convinced that Jesus is in league with the devil because they can’t see how it lines up with how God has worked in Israel in the past and how they understood the Law.

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