Expanded Sermon Notes for Feb 2

Due to a technical problem, the sermon audio and video recordings for Feb 2, 2020 are not available. We apologize for this inconvenience. Instead, Pastor David McNeely produced an expanded set of notes below to address the content covered in his message that day.

History is filled with ruthless rulers.

Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Caligula, Nero, Atila the Hun, Genghis Kahn, Vlad the Impaler, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot.  Each of them is seen as leaders who did horrible things as a result of their seemingly unlimited power.  While each man may not have started out with such cruelty, the power they attained was not used for the benefit of those under them.  It has been said that typical leaders use people and care greatly for power.  Great leaders use power to care greatly for people.

We rule for the benefit of self
Jesus rules for the benefit of others

I. Unbelief in Nazareth(1-6)

The friends and family of Jesus had a stubborn unbelief

The rejection of Jesus by the people of his hometown stands in stark contrast with his triumphs in the preceding miracle stories. Contrast the faith of the woman and Jairus with the unbelief of the residents of Nazareth.
Brooks, J. A. (1991). Mark (Vol. 23, p. 97). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

The hostility of Jesus’ townspeople toward him comes out … in the rhetorical questions in this verse. “Isn’t this the carpenter?” i.e., Isn’t he just a common ordinary fellow who makes his living with his hands like the rest of us? How is it that he’s parading as a rabbi and miracle-worker? The second question, “Isn’t this Mary’s son?” seems also to be derogatory since it was not customary among Jews to describe a man as the son of his mother even when the father was not alive (cf. Taylor, pp. 299–300). 
Wessel, W. W. (1984). Mark. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke (Vol. 8, p. 665). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

The statement should not trouble contemporary Christians. God and his Son could do anything, but they have chosen to limit themselves in accordance to human response. Even in the present instance Jesus healed a few, perhaps some who did have faith or who were too sick to have an opinion about him. The statement clarifies that Jesus was not the kind of miracle worker whose primary purpose was to impress his viewers.
Brooks, J. A. (1991). Mark (Vol. 23, p. 100). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

II. Training the Twelve(7-13)

How does Jesus respond to rejection?  By training men who could later reach the very ones who rejected him.

The four items required of the Twelve are, in fact, identical to the belongings that God instructs the Israelites to take on their flight from Egypt: cloak, belt, sandals, and staff in hand (Exod 12:11). 
Edwards, J. R. (2002). The Gospel according to Mark (p. 180). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos.

Even in the Promised Land there will be those who reject the Promised One. “Not all who are descended from Israel are Israel” (Rom 9:6). Nevertheless, as v. 12 indicates, the purpose of the warning is not to damn but to induce repentance.
Edwards, J. R. (2002). The Gospel according to Mark (p. 181). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos.

Although they had been appointed to preach and cast out demons (3:13–19), they had been little more than witnesses, sometimes mere spectators, to Jesus’ ministry. Here they moved into the spotlight and began to do the things that Jesus had been doing. In this transition from witness to preacher, their faith would be put to the test.

Kernaghan, R. J. (2007). Mark (p. 120). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

III. The Death of John the Baptizer(14-29)

Only two passages in the gospel of Mark are not about Jesus.  They talk about Mark and foreshadow Jesus.

Mark’s reference to King Herod is ironic. This Herod desperately wanted to be king, but the cruelty of his grandfather Herod the Great so disturbed the Romans that they took the title away from the family. He never rose above the rank of tetrarch, and the juxtaposition of these two stories suggests that he might have been vexed by anyone who challenged or threatened his authority.
Kernaghan, R. J. (2007). Mark (p. 121). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

John, like Jesus, was executed by a secular ruler. Herod, like Pilate, did not want to execute his prisoner but caved in to pressure from others. Herodias, like the chief priests, schemed to bring about the execution. John’s disciples, like Joseph of Arimathea, tenderly buried the body of their leader.
Brooks, J. A. (1991). Mark (Vol. 23, p. 103). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

IV. Feeding the Five Thousand(30-44)

Jesus shows His compassion for the “sheep who were without a shepherd.”
The feeding of the five thousand is the only miracle of Jesus recorded by all four Gospels
Brooks, J. A. (1991). Mark (Vol. 23, p. 107). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

In the Old Testament the desert was the place where God met, tested, and blessed his people. Specially important was the experience of Israel in the wilderness following the Exodus. After the testing involved in that experience, “rest” was promised. Note how Mark introduced that idea (v. 31). 
Brooks, J. A. (1991). Mark (Vol. 23, pp. 107–108). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

V. Walking on Water(45-52)

This is not so much about Jesus’ ability to walk on water as much as it is about Jesus’ care for his disciples.

The disciples are not unsusceptible to the messianic contagion of the crowd. The Gk. verb ēnankasen suggests that the disciples are reluctant to leave. The apparent sense is that Jesus must expeditiously remove them from the scene in order to persuade the crowd to disperse peaceably and thus avert a revolutionary groundswell.
Edwards, J. R. (2002). The Gospel according to Mark (pp. 196–197). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos.

Only when Jesus joins the disciples in the boat does the storm abate. They are not only “completely amazed,” but they are bereft of understanding and “their hearts were hardened.” Hardened hearts last appeared at the synagogue in Capernaum when Jesus healed the man with a deformed hand (3:5). There it occurred with reference to ostensible “outsiders”—members of the synagogue, Pharisees, and Herodians; here it occurs of “insiders,” of Jesus’ own disciples. Mark again (3:20–21) reminds us that faith is not an inevitable result of knowing about Jesus, or even of being with Jesus. Faith is not something that happens automatically or evolves inevitably; it is a personal decision or choice. 
Edwards, J. R. (2002). The Gospel according to Mark (pp. 200–201). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos.

The statement that “he was about to pass by them” (“intended to,” NASB, NRSV) is perplexing. The Greek reads literally, “He wanted to pass by them.” It may reflect nothing more than the disciples’ impression at the time, but more likely the verb “pass by'' should be taken in the sense of “pass before” or “pass in view of” rather than “go beyond” (cf. Exod 33:19, 22; 34:6; 1 Kgs 19:11).
Brooks, J. A. (1991). Mark (Vol. 23, p. 111). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

VI. Healing the Crowds(53-56)
This serves as the summary for his work and ministry in Galilee.  The same kind of summary in 1:32-34 and 3:7-12

We rule for the benefit of self
Jesus rules for the benefit of others

The question of the morning is this:
“Will I trust God enough to give Him the right to rule over me?”

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