Challenges by Jesus and his cousin John

It is not religious performance and self oriented self- sacrifice that God wants from us

September 19, 1999
MARK 6:7-8:26

O.T. Lesson : Deuteronomy 1:6-8
N.T. Lesson:  Colossians 2:6-19

The Good News [Gospel] is that the Creator of the Universe has personally invaded Planet Earth. That God or some higher being exists has been known for millennia — every society, every culture has had an awareness of divinity.  What to do with it is another matter.  But that he has entered our existence — that He has made himself available and that he is on our side — that is news, Good News!!

It’s exciting, and Mark wants the message out NOW!! God wants to bring about a reconciliation between the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man.      Jesus came to set the pattern for how we can access God’s mercy and grace.  He gathered a dozen men from a cross-section of society and gave them a message and power to do the work necessary to get people to listen and follow.

The introductory event was John the Baptizer preaching in the wilderness challenging people to leave behind their evil and immoral behaviour  because God’s kingdom was coming.  Herod the tetrarch of Galilee [the son of the King Herod who tried to kill the baby Jesus] was fascinated by John and his message, had a problem because john was on his case because  of the immorality of his divorce and remarriage, to Herodias his brothers wife.  Herodias gets a rare opportunity  and engineers John’s untimely death.

Jesus goes on to take up the challenge where John had left off, challenging the religious leaders to put their ‘money where their mouth was’.       Jesus had authenticated his ministry with some rather amazing feats, and the leaders were feeling ‘the heat’ to keep up the image of respectability of religious leadership.  At every step Jesus demonstrates his own integrity and ability, and right to behave as he has.

Where the religious leaders claimed the right to define true spirituality, Jesus turns people back to the Word of God.   “It’s what comes out of a person pollutes; obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealing, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness – all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution” [7:20-23 MSG]

The religious leaders wanted signs and wonders to ‘ooooh’ and ‘aahh’ at but Jesus wanted people to “see’ with their spiritual eyes the truths of the Word of God and put their faith in what he was going to do on Calvary.

It is not religious performance and self oriented self- sacrifice that God wants from us.  God loves you and is at work around you.  He is pursuing a loving relationship with you that’s real and personal.  He is inviting you to join him.  Will You?  Will you accept His Lordship in your life, NO STRINGS ATTACHED?  TODAY?

©1999 D H Friesen