- My God Is So Big (Great)
- Beautiful One
- Celebrate The Lord Of Love
- Behold Our God
- IntroductionGood morning and welcome to Dishman Baptist Church’s online service. It is a blessing that you would join with us today. We’re going to be continuing our journey through the sixth chapter of Mark so if you have your Bibles go ahead and turn there with me.I would like to take a moment to say happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there - we are so grateful for you and appreciate you every day but especially today. But I also want to take a moment to say thank you to three special women. Many of you have expressed your gratitude to us as pastors for all that we are doing during these days. I can assure you we have the easier of tasks on Sunday mornings. There are three special women who are at home watching (in different households) 11 children that allow us as pastors to come here each week and serve you and serve Christ well. So I want to express my gratitude to Tricia Harrison, Becky Evans and to my beautiful wife Rebekah for all that you ladies are doing to support us and care for our children while we are here serving and preaching the Word of God. And I will also confess that this sermon may be a bit shorter than usual so that Kyle, Chuck and I can get home to serve and support them today. May be…we’ll see.Now that that has been said - how do you handle interruptions in your life? I’m not talking about big interruptions like the one all of us are weathering right now. I’m talking the small interruptions of a phone call from your boss on a day that you took off. Or your child running into the kitchen while you’re trying to prepare dinner. What about the moment when you sit down to enjoy your favorite show and the baby starts crying - maybe that only happens in our house. I can remember an interruption that happened to us when we were in the Navy. It was our second Christmas in Japan and we planned to take a family vacation to Guam. We were going to have Christmas on the beach. We just wanted a break, a chance to rest and this seemed like the perfect plan.Well, world events happened and I had to get underway. It looked like I was going to miss Christmas and so my wife and I discussed it (in code since it was over facebook messenger) and decided to cancel our trip and instead we would fly my mother-in-law out for Christmas so at least she and the boys would have some family there. Our plans had been interrupted and we were trying to make the best of it.The reason I mention this is that Jesus and His disciples (now apostles) just, as Southwest would say it, wanted to get away. They had returned from their first preaching missionary tour and were worn out. Jesus invites them to take a time of rest and rejuvenation with the Holy Spirit (a much better and healthier respite than Bekah and I had planned in Guam). But they’d been tracked. They’d been followed down the shore line by a huge crowd who was waiting for them when they pulled in to shore.How would Jesus handle this interruption?When he went ashore, he saw a large crowd and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things.Notice something here - Mark only tells us how Christ responds. He doesn’t even mention the disciples exiting the boat. Just as Mark does with the demoniac no the other side of the lake, he focuses all of the action around what Jesus does. He is seeking to elevate Him and we will seek to do the same this morning. We’re going to look at four attributes or characteristics of our phenomenal Savior this morning as we move through this verse.A Present SaviorMark writes that when He went ashore, He saw a large crowd. Stop there for a second. This may sound like an elementary observation but do you realize how amazing it is that Jesus was present to see these people? This is God made flesh who came down to dwell with His people as John writesThe Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.This is unheard of in any major religion - that God would subjugate Himself to the confines of a human body and walk among His people, experiencing what they experienced, feeling what they felt, being where they are. In most religions the object is not for God to become like man but for man to transcend limitations to become like God. Even those modeled after another human - that person was extraordinary and set a standard to be aspired to, not one who condescended to come down to the level of the common people and live life as they lived. And yet Jesus comes down as a man and walks among us. He tires. He weeps. He gets hungry and thirsty. He is with them.We live in a day where it could be easy for us to question this about God. We look around and we see things like Darren Patrick, the pastor who recently passed away from a gunshot wound. We see men like Ravi Zacharias diagnosed with untreatable cancer and sent home. When a young man goes out for a jog and is hunted down by two other men because of the color of his skin. When we are quarantined away from those we love and spend weeks on weeks in isolation. When our emotions are spent because of the strain of living in confined areas. When our finances are thin because we’ve been laid off because businesses are closed down. It would be easy to say as the Psalmist so often does “God where are you? Why is this happening to me?”And those are only events that have happened to us or in our world in the last 4 months. That is not to mention the lifetime of events that take place and happen to each and every one of us that make us wonder “God where are you?”The answer is that He is in the same place that He is during the bad times as He is during the good. He is holding you in the palm of His hand because He is a God who sees His people and is present with them. He is not the deist god, the watchmaker who spun up the planet and creation, winding the spring and now is sitting back with a big bucket of popcorn enjoying the show. He’s not the open theist god who is as surprised as you are by the events that are taking place and is scrambling just as much as you are to try and get ahead of them.He is the God who is present with you and sees your struggles and has experienced all the same things you are.For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin.He has been tempted in every way as we are but he also can has experienced life as we have. He has felt our weaknesses. Because He is present with us. But there’s more to this.It says that He saw a large crowd. This is a simple verb eidon but the meaning here is so very important. One of the meanings of this verb is to perceive by sight of the eye. We’re not a very perceptive people any longer. It’s true that we see one another but do we see one another to the level that Jesus does here? He looks at this crowd and He instantly perceives that they have desires, needs, wants, hurts, pains. They have left their homes and followed this boat out here to the edge of no where because they were seeking something.Do we see people with those kind of eyes? Or are we more often wrapped up in our own self-made worlds encased in a little 3x6 inch box that feeds our own needs but prevents us from seeing the people around us. Really seeing them?Brandon Heath, a Christian recording artist, released a song called “Give me Your eyes”. The chorus says these wordsGive me your eyes for just one second Give me your eyes so I can see, Everything that I keep missing, Give your love for humanity. Give me your arms for the broken-hearted The ones that are far beyond my reach. Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten. Give me Your eyes so I can see.Now I’m not talking about seeing people in some sort of social justice mode - where we see their hurts and only seek to deal with what is on the surface because that is not seeing with the eyes of Jesus. He always perceived the person’s deepest need and the fundamental truths. In John 9 when the disciples look at a blind man all they can see is the current social narrative that he or his parents must have sinned because he was blind and clearly under the judgement of God. But how does Jesus respond?“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. “This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him.Jesus sees beyond the surface. He sees what is underneath the most obvious hurts. And of course we think - but He’s God. You just spent 5 minutes telling us how amazing it is that the God of the universe, the very Creator condescended to become one of us. Of course He can see beyond the surface. And that is true - He created the faces of each of those people who sought Him out intricately designing every expression and facial tic. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t see people the same way He did - we have just, in many cases, stopped trying. There are only two things we have to do - we have to be present and we have to really see the people right in front of us.This doesn’t have to wait until the quarantine is over and people can gather again - it can begin today. It can start with the people that we most often miss because of familiarity. Sometimes the people we need to be present with most, those we need to see most are those who reside right in the same home that we do. We should make it a practice to unplug from everything and be with our family - really be present with them on a regular basis.And it starts and ends with compassion.A (Com)Passionate SaviorJesus saw the crowd and He had compassion on them. The word here for compassion is a special word that, when used in the New Testament, is only used with reference to Jesus. The word is splanchnizomai and it carries the meaning of deep feelings, it literally means “to be moved in one’s bowels”. This is a reference to the very seat of our emotions which the ancients believed was deep within the stomach area of a person.Seeing such a great crowd in such great need moved Jesus and He responded to them. He very easily could have sent them away or He could have told His disciples to turn the boats around and they could have sailed for another location. Yet He has put them ashore here, He steps out of the boat takes stock of the crowd as He sees them and takes compassion on them. Matthew expands on these feelings that He has sayingWhen he went ashore, he saw a large crowd, had compassion on them, and healed their sick.As He had done in so many other locations Jesus expresses His compassion by healing the sick. As Christians part of our responsibility to the world is to meet pressing needs of food, shelter, clothing. I think I may have given the impression that I’m against those activities, against taking care of people’s physical, emotional or mental needs focused only on the spiritual need. We certainly should be taking care of the basic needs of people when it is within our power to do so but even while Jesus was taking care of these physical needs, He was still always focused primarily on the spiritual needs of the nation.This is compassion is a result of seeing people as they are, seeing below the carefully constructed veneer that we each try to show the world, to the real heart of who they are. It should move us to compassion to act on their behalf - and the deepest need of any person is the spiritual bankruptcy of their soul. We may not come across a homeless person or someone who is crippled, blind or needy by the world’s standards in our regular travels - but we do come across those who are spiritually crippled, blind and needy every day. And our compassion for them should be just as great as it is for the man on the corner who is carrying an upside down American flag signifying a veteran family in distress.Charles Spurgeon said this regarding the type of compassion we should have
184Love your fellowmen, and cry about them if you cannot bring them to Christ. If you cannot save them, you can weep over them. If you cannot give them a drop of cold water in hell, you can give them your heart’s tears while they are still in this body.The one time slave trader turned preacher John Newton said it this way
The love of God, as manifested in Jesus Christ, is what I would wish to be the abiding object of my contemplation; not merely to speculate upon it as a doctrine, but so to feel it, and my own interest in it, as to have my heart filled with its effects, and transformed into its resemblance; that, with this glorious Exemplar in my view, I may be animated to a spirit of benevolence, love, and compassion, to all around me; that my love may be primarily fixed upon him who has so loved me, and then, for his sake, diffused to all his children, and to all his creatures.Oh that we would have the compassionate heart of our Savior toward our fellow man - not to see them as a burden or an irritation but as an opportunity for service and and opportunity to demonstrate the presence of the love that has so transformed us. There are so many who like sheep have gone astray and are in need of a shepherd.A Protective SaviorEven as He sees them and ministers to the crowd Christ sees their deepest need. He sees them as sheep without a shepherd. Those of you with a church background will no doubt recognize the allusion here to the nation of Israel being the flock of God. The Old Testament has quite a few passages that refer to Israel as sheep without a shepherd. In Numbers 27 Moses writeswho will go out before them and come back in before them, and who will bring them out and bring them in, so that the Lord’s community won’t be like sheep without a shepherd.”Then later in the history book of 1 KingsSo Micaiah said: I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd. And the Lord said, “They have no master; let everyone return home in peace.”The prophet Ezekiel saysThey were scattered for lack of a shepherd; they became food for all the wild animals when they were scattered.but just as the people were often referred to as sheep without a shepherd there was always the promise of God that someday a shepherd would come. Later in the same chapter just quoted from Ezekiel, the prophet promisesI will establish over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will shepherd them. He will tend them himself and will be their shepherd.The prophet Jeremiah writesNations, hear the word of the Lord, and tell it among the far off coasts and islands! Say, “The one who scattered Israel will gather him. He will watch over him as a shepherd guards his flock,And in the Numbers passage Moses is requesting for a shepherd to replace him as a leader for Israel. God answers him in Numbers 27:18-23 when He commissions Joshua to leadership over Israel.Now we have “a greater Joshua” as Joshua is Hebrew for the Greek name Jesus. Jesus, the promised shepherd of Ezekiel 34:23, the One who scattered Israel and has now gathered them to watch over them as a shepherd guarding His flock, has come. And He sees His flock and recognizes that they have been scattered.He is protective of them. He defends them against the false teaching and system put in place by the Pharisees as He teaches and guides them into the truth of the Gospel through repentance and faith. He certainly thought of Himself as a shepherd of Israel.John 10 is a comprehensive passage all about Christ being the good shepherd who calls His sheep by name and will willingly lay down His life for them.Sheep are foolish animals that need help for everything. They easily get lost. They can’t clean themselves without a shepherd. They are defenseless and, even though sheep often bite, they fall prey to predators easily. They must have a shepherd for their survival.The people on the seashore that day were no different. They had fallen prey to the Romans. They had fallen prey to the Pharisees and Sadducees. They had fallen away from God and were lost. They were pitiful.But we shouldn’t be too hard on them. Because we are the same way.We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished him for the iniquity of us all.We all went, we all go astray at every opportunity. We are right now falling prey to the conspiracy theories and other narratives that are out there vying for our attention taking our focus off of Christ and what He is doing. Some of us are more concerned about our constitutional rights than our Christian witness through all of this. How many of us spend more time following the news cycle than we do reading our Bible and praying for God to be glorified through all this? Thankfully we have a patient Savior who continues to bring us back as our Shepherd and continues to teach us through all of this.A Patient SaviorMark closes this verse by demonstrating the driving force behind Jesus ministry, the end result of His compassion and the greatest demonstration of His being the Shepherd of the sheep. Then He began to teach them many things.As usual for Mark, he does not give us the content of Jesus teaching but even in this we already know that Jesus message has not changed throughout the book. It is the same message that He first came teaching“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”On the one hand, for some of the people, Jesus must have sounded like a one-hit wonder or a one trick pony as He constantly returned to the same refrain. And this same note never got tiresome for Jesus because it is the most important message ever. And yet how patient He must have been as He was rejected time and time again. As the same crowds gathered to hear His message, really to see Him heal people, and then would disperse never to join His disciples. And ultimately one day they would be clamoring for His crucifixion. And yet He patiently taught them.How patiently He comes to us. How patiently He instructs each of us.And He has passed this necessity on to us. He gave it to His apostles as they went from village to village teaching and preaching in His name. And He gave it to us in the universal charge given in Matthew 28.But the question for us this morning is are we as patient as He? Do we patiently try to reach out to people over and over again or do we reach out to some once and then say we’ve done our duty? Is this the picture of the Savior we see in Scripture? Is this the picture of the Savior who reached out to us?ConclusionSo as we have examined our Savior today we must ask ourselves - do we really see people? Do we see those who God has placed in our lives? And if we do see them does the sight of them drive us to compassion for them? Do we seek to meet their needs whatever they may be? Do we recognize them as sheep that have gone astray and are in need of a Shepherd? We can never be that for them but do we point them to the One who can? And do we patiently teach His truths to those we come into contact with?This is a simple verse but it provides us with an image of Christ that then allows us to hold Him up as we would a mirror and examine ourselves in light of the One we serve and seek to emulate. How are you doing today?The beauty is that there is grace - we will never this side of Heaven be perfect in these things. But we should also not use that as an excuse not to try. We may not have the Creators eyes to see His people but we can see them, we can perceptively see there are things that are going on in their lives and we can be driven to a Christ-exalting compassion for them. So while the question may be hard, and we may balk at it being a bit on the unfair side because we can never completely measure up - how are you doing today?
1 Kings 22:17CSB
- Your Love O Lord
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