The Story of Christmas Through the Eyes of Mark Mark 1:1-20. December 9, Dr. Steve Horn

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1 The Stry f Christmas Thrugh the Eyes f Mark Mark 1:1-20 December 9, 2012 Dr. Steve Hrn Text Intrductin: This mnth we are cnsidering the Christmas stry as tld by the authrs f the fur Gspels. Last week, we lked at Matthew s accunt; tday we cnsider Mark s accunt. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Jhn all give us a little bit different versin. This is nt cntradictry, understand, but cmplementary. Sme like Luke, give us a lt f detail; thers, like Mark, d nt give us much. Actually, if it is the traditinal Christmas stry that yu are lking fr with Jseph, Mary, the baby, a stable, shepherds, yu will nt find it in Mark. But, when we really understand what the Christmas stry is all abut the incarnatin f Jesus the cming f Jesus int ur wrld and the implicatins f such yu will certainly discver that stry here. Text: The beginning f the gspel f Jesus Christ, the Sn f Gd. 2 As it is written in Isaiah the prphet: Lk, I am sending My messenger ahead f Yu, wh will prepare Yur way. 3 A vice f ne crying ut in the wilderness: Prepare the way fr the Lrd; make His paths straight! 4 Jhn came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism f repentance fr the frgiveness f sins. 5 The whle Judean cuntryside and all the peple f Jerusalem were flcking t him, and they were baptized by him in the Jrdan River as they cnfessed their sins. 6 Jhn wre a camel-hair garment with a leather belt arund his waist and ate lcusts and wild hney. 7 He was preaching: Smene mre pwerful than I will cme after me. I am nt wrthy t stp dwn and untie the strap f His sandals. 8 I have baptized yu with water, but He will baptize yu with the Hly Spirit. 9 In thse days Jesus came frm Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jrdan by Jhn. 10 As sn as He came up ut f the water, He saw the heavens being trn pen and the Spirit descending t Him like a dve. 11 And a vice came frm heaven: Yu are My belved Sn; I take delight in Yu! 12 Immediately the Spirit drve Him int the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness 40 days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and the angels began t serve Him. 14 After Jhn was arrested, Jesus went t Galilee, preaching the gd news f Gd: 15 The time is fulfilled, and the kingdm f Gd has cme near. Repent and believe in the gd news! 16 As He was passing alng by the Sea f Galilee, He saw Simn and Andrew, Simn s brther. They were casting a net int the sea, since they were fishermen.

2 17 Fllw Me, Jesus tld them, and I will make yu fish fr peple! 18 Immediately they left their nets and fllwed Him. 19 Ging n a little farther, He saw James the sn f Zebedee and his brther Jhn. They were in their bat mending their nets. 20 Immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the bat with the hired men and fllwed Him. Intrductin: We assume that the authr f this Gspel is the Jhn Mark f Paul s missinary travels. This was the view f the early church and has never been seriusly challenged by evangelical schlars. Peter referred t Mark as his sn (1 Peter 5:13). One cannt help but think that Mark learned much f the details abut the life f Christ frm the memry f Peter. While we assume that Matthew was written t a Jewish audience, mst assume that Mark was written with a Rman audience in mind. The assumptin is made because f internal evidence in the Gspel. First, Mark uses Latin terms t explain Greek ideas as in reference t a Rman cin in 12:42 and t the curtyard in 15:16. Secnd, Mark tk the time t translate Aramaic expressins, which Rmans wuld likely nt understand as in 5:41 and 7:34. Als, Mark ccasinally explained Jewish custms such as the washing f hands befre eating as in 7: The ther visible factr that distinguishes Mark is the bvius brevity. One stry that is absent is the entire birth narrative and genealgy. Fr a Rman audience the genealgy wuld nt be imprtant. I m nt sure that there is a real thelgical reasn fr Mark s brevity. His purpse like ther Gspels is t tell the Gd News abut Christ. Mst schlars speculate that Mark is the earliest f the fur Gspels. They reasn that Matthew, Luke, and Jhn had access t Mark s Gspel as they wrte their accunt. They added details t Mark s already established utline. An Imprtant wrd in Mark: Immediately! Sme have attributed Mark s brevity t a sense f urgency in the message. Fr example, his abrupt beginning lends itself t the thinking f getting t the heart f the matter. The wrd immediately is used ver 40 times, while the same wrd nly ccurs 12 ther times in the rest f the New Testament! 2 S, let s let this wrd immediately guide ur thinking tday. An Immediate Reasn fr Jesus Cming (1-11) Gd News! Indeed Mark gets right t the pint. The beginning f the gspel f Jesus Christ, the sn f Gd. Perhaps yu have heard many times that the Gspel means gd news. Jesus cming was and is gd news. I m always struck at Easter time that we cannt adequately celebrate Easter withut celebrating Christmas. That is, we d nt understand His cming apart frm His death, burial, and resurrectin. A little later in Mark, Mark describes the reasn fr Jesus cming in quite specific terms. Mark 10:45, Fr even the Sn f Man did nt cme t be served, but t serve, and t give His life a ransm fr many. I intrduced this idea last week, but let me g a little deeper this mrning. Jesus takes the disciples aside t tell them f the plan f His death. We knw this stry rather well, but this is the first time that the disciples are hearing f Jesus death. Based upn their reactins at His death and resurrectin, it is clear 1 An Intrductin t the New Testament, D. A. Carsn, Duglas J. M, and Len Mrris, 95, Walter Elwell, ed. Baker Encyclpedia f the Bible.

3 that the disciples d nt fully understand what Jesus has in mind. Hwever, we d understand that the disciples understand that danger lurks. What is difficult t understand at first glance is the reactins f the disciples. Their reactins indicate several ungdly attitudes. Greed (v. 35) We are always n pretty shaky grund when we ask what James and Jhn asked. We want yu t d fr us whatever we ask. Selfishness (v. 37) Jesus has just revealed His cming death. What is the respnse f these tw disciples? They ask t sit at the right and left f Jesus in His kingdm. When all f the fcus shuld be n Him, these tw disciples shift the fcus t themselves. Selfishness. I wnder if we ever d the same. What abut when we cme t wrship? The fcus shuld be n Him, but instead, we shift the fcus t us. What abut Christmas? The fcus shuld be n Him, but instead the fcus is n s many ther things. Arrgance (v. 39) When Jesus reveals t James and Jhn that they are nt able t drink the cup and be baptized in His baptisms (bth references t His death), in arrgance, they say they are able. Jealusy (v. 41) Verse 41 indicates that these ungdly attitudes are nt cnfined t James and Jhn. When the rest f the disciples find ut abut the request, they are angry. They are nt angry that James and Jhn have made the request. Rather, Jesus respnse t all f them mst likely indicates that they are angry that they may nt be cnsidered alng with James and Jhn. The Desire fr Pwer (v ) Jesus respnse shws the disciples ungdly appetite fr pwer. These and ther similar attitudes still keep peple frm seeing why Jesus came! Jesus wn Statement as t Why He Came! t serve and t give His Life a ransm fr many A Plan (He came) Jesus came t die. This was the plan befre the fundatin f the wrld. Gd did nt panic and say, What am I ging t d with humanity? What am I ging t d with all f this sin? Listen t what Peter said in 1 Peter 1:20-21, He indeed was frerdained befre the fundatin f the wrld, but was manifest in these last times fr yu wh thrugh Him believe in Gd, wh raised Him frm the dead and gave Him glry, s that yur faith and hpe are in Gd. A Present t give Jesus gave us the first Christmas present when He gave us Himself. His Persn His Life In his bk The Life f Gd in the Sul f Man, Henry Scugal, the seventeenth-century Scttish minister, said, Gd hath lng cntended with a stubbrn wrld, and thrwn dwn many a blessing upn them; and when all his ther gifts culd nt prevail, he at last made a gift f himself.

4 A Picture a ransm The mst thelgically significant part f this phrase is perhaps in the wrd, ransm. The wrd was used in the first century t refer t releasing smene frm slavery, prisn, r a debt. Jesus referred t ur sin prblem in terms f slavery as recrded in Jhn 8:34. Jesus answered them, Mst assuredly, I say t yu, whever cmmits sin is a slave f sin. Debbie Blakeney, a Kindergarten teacher in ur Christian schl here at First Baptist, tells a wnderful stry f a few years ag. The Kindergarten classes were cncluding their Christmas prgram with singing We Wish Yu a Merry Christmas. The sng was t cnclude with the children ging t get placards with letters that when standing in the right rder said t the crwd, Merry Christmas. In rehearsals, ne student, the by with the c, kept getting in the wrng rder, and s Merry Christmas was never getting spelled. On the day befre the prgram, they finally gt it all right. But, in the prgram, the student tk his place next t the tw students hlding r s that it read t the crwd MERRCY HISTMAS. Out f rder, yes, but perhaps the little kindergarten student made mre f a thelgical statement than he culd knw Christmas is truly abut Gd s mercy! This is why He came. This is the immediate reasn. An Immediate Reality f Jesus Cming (14-15) We have cnsidered the meaning f His cming ur ransm, His frgiveness. If that is the meaning f His cming, what is the message f His cming? What is the reality f His cming? Verse 14 and 15 puts this reality int simple terms: Repent and believe in the gd news! This message frm Jesus is the same ne preached by Jhn the Baptist. Jhn the Baptist preached t prepare peple fr the message frm Jesus. What are we t d with this mercy? We are t repent and believe in the gd news. If nt, we miss the whle meaning f Christmas. An Illustratin frm Mark The entire cntents f the Gspel, stry upn stry, seek t shw that Jesus is the Sn Gd. Near the end cmes the greatest prf f all frm a Rman centurin. Having been an eyewitness t Jesus death and the surrunding events f His death, the Rman centurin exclaimed, Surely this man was the Sn f Gd (15:39). What greater prf than a Rman centurin alng with the subsequent accunt f Jesus resurrectin t give final evidence that He was the Sn f Gd? Many then and many tday miss the reality f Jesus cming, but this sldier did nt. In December 1903, after many attempts, the Wright brthers were successful in getting their flying machine ff the grund. Thrilled, they telegraphed this message t their sister Katherine: We have actually flwn 120 feet will be hme fr Christmas. Katherine hurried t the editr f the lcal newspaper and shwed him the message. He glanced at it and said, Hw nice. The bys will be hme fr Christmas. He ttally missed the big news man had flwn! S many peple tday miss the stry f Jesus cming int this wrld. An Immediate Respnse t Jesus Cming (16-20) Last, we see that Jesus gt an immediate respnse frm thse He first encuntered. What des Christmas call us t d? Christmas calls us t be

5 Fllwers We are called t fllw. Fishers Once fllwers, we are called t jin Him in asking thers t fllw. As we say arund here at First Baptist, knw Him and and make Him knwn! That is the call f Christ. That is the call f Christmas.

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