1st Peter 3:15-17
We have two somewhat connected stories in today’s passage. We will learn some things that pertain to all who would be a ‘Disciples’ of Christ. We will learn somethings about being called to leadership of Christ’s body.
As followers of Christ we need both the healing & teaching of Jesus. As followers of Christ we all will be called to lead in some way, shape or form. Balanced discipleship prepares us to play the role God has for us, whatever that is. God’s Word guides us and points us.
Last week, during a visit to a synagogue, Jesus healed & taught…He healed someone, [no demonic component] & taught on the heart of the sabbath. He declared: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” As Christ confronts the legalism of the Pharisees, they begin to plot with the followers of King Herrod to get rid of Him…
7 Jesus withdrew to the sea with His disciples; and a great multitude from Galilee followed; and also from Judea, 8 and from Jerusalem, and from Idumea, and beyond the Jordan, and the vicinity of Tyre and Sidon, a great number of people heard of all that He was doing and came to Him.
- Back to Capernaum: Home base
- Masses flocked to Him because He had been traveling, visiting synagogues
- They heard of what Christ had done, [healing] not so much the message
- Serious distances coved by seekers…
9 And He told His disciples that a boat should stand ready for Him because of the crowd, so that they would not crowd Him; 10 for He had healed many, with the result that all those who had afflictions pressed around Him in order to touch Him.
- He knew many were realizing a need for connection to God
- This is perhaps before He preaches from the boat..
- There were people who believed they would be healed if they touched him
- Christ wanted to teach as well as heal [long term spiritual healing vs quick fix]
- The implication is that not every affliction was the result of unclean spirits
- When demons were the cause, they were compelled to bow & confess
- Christ did not want the demons to communicate in any way to seekers
- Demons obeyed Jesus’ command not to tell better than some people
…Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. ~ Mark 1:43-45
13 And He went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. 14 And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach, 15 and to have authority to cast out the demons.
- The idea of the mountain was similar to Moses going up on Mt. Sinai
- God called those He had a specific purpose to fulfill…He still does!
- When Jesus gives one of His followers a call to leadership they they come
- They would be with Him [Disciples] AND He would send them [Apostles]
- God gives people He calls to be His leaders some of HIS Spiritual Authority.
16 And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter), 17 and James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means, “Sons of Thunder”)
- ‘Appointed’ them to a place of leadership and Mission
- ‘The Big Three’ [Peter, James & John]
- They were called to be leadership for the leadership
- ‘Son’s of Thunder’ was tongue in cheek AND serious at the same time
- The other 9…Each had a special role
- Andrew was Peter’s support
- Philip was a disciple of John The Baptist [Sound Meta-Narrative]
- Bartholomew [AKA Nathaniel] was un-jaded and without guile
- Matthew / Levi was to one day write one of the ‘Spirit Breathed’ Gospels
- Thomas: We all have doubts God wants to address
- James the lesser: took the Gospel to Persia [Not Levi / Matthew’s brother]
- Thaddaeus [also called Judas / Jude] He questioned God the way we all should
- Simon The Zealot: brought radical religious cachet; following Christ is radical
- And Judas Iscariot…
- Always mentioned with Iscariot to distinguish him from Thaddaeus
- Judas is reminiscent of another character in Scripture… Saul
Our church wide 1st Samuel Study… Some heavy theology… often overlooked
Clear parallels between Saul & Judas: Both were selected by God for a specific role but it was not to obey and believe in God as God. Both appear to be part of God’s redeemed but end up proving they are not…
These two and others in Scripture do not ‘lose’ their place as belonging to God, they never did belong to God. Important theology regarding what the Bible teaches about salvation…We are all about what Scripture has to say about salvation / eternity
Biblical Gospel: ‘Once saved, always saved’
Jesus wants to connect us to God through healing and teaching; healing for now and teaching for on-going connection.
Jesus reveals Himself through His teaching and His healing, not through demonic proclamation.
God calls exactly who He wants to lead what He wants led. There are numerous roles in leadership of the Body of Christ, the scriptural model is a team of ‘role players’.
People can appear to be serving as leaders of God’s people when they have not fully surrendered their life to The God of The Bible. Such people, like Judas Iscariot and Saul, will ultimately betray the Lord.
Is your Christ discipleship a balance of Spiritual Healing and Scriptural Teaching? Do you see the need in your life for both? What adjustments could bring more balance?
What is your process for making certain there is no demonic influence in your relationship with Jesus Christ? Do you recognize the need to closely & biblically scrutinize influences?
Are you available to be called into some form of leadership in Christ Body? Are you willing to play whatever role Christ gives you as well as you can?
What criteria do you use to evaluate leadership of Christ’s Body? How much do you value consistent, time proven surrender to Christ’s Lordship, versus talent and style?
Today we have two separate instances of Jesus talking about the sabbath. We do well to understand what Christ tells us about the sabbath.
What is the heart of the Sabbath?
On my pastoral Renewal Pilgrimage to The Holy Land in 2009 I learned a lot about the biblical principals we, as Christ followers, should apply to our ‘remembrance’ of the Sabbath. Let’s start with the commandment itself:
Remember The Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. ~ Exodus 20:8-11
- The 4th commandment, 1st one after the big 3 directly about God
- 7th day of the week, Hebrew week started on Sunday.
- The word ‘Work’ has always been understood as essential activity to survive
- As an example to mankind He completed His work [Creation] and THEN rested
- That pattern; completed work, and then rest, is blessed and holy
- When the work is done, the rest is now blessed…it ‘Re-Creates’ us
Our goal is to emulate the principals God has revealed to us about the Sabbath. But we also have to emulate God by having grace for those who differ in practice…
“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath” (Colossians 2:16)
Not as crucial as salvation by grace, but important in our relationship with Christ
We seek the heart God in the gift of the Sabbath, not the sabbath rules. Jesus takes us directly to the ‘Heart of The Sabbath’ because it is God’s heart 4 U!
Chapter 2:23-28 [The Sabbath Is To Bless People]
23 And it happened that He was passing through the grain fields on the Sabbath, and His disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees were saying to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
- Travel not for commerce but for pleasure, ‘Old School Road Trip’
- Wheat or barley [raw grain]
- They wanted Christ to enforce THEIR nitpicking legalism!
- They were defining work incorrectly, what the disciples are doing is not work
- It is not ‘work’ to work on your golf game or a new recipe or your yard…
25 And He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry; 26 how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?”
- Jesus uses Scripture to answer [they consider themselves scripture experts]
- He used the example of eating the bread to talk about rule worship in general
- Because it’s recorded in Scripture as positive we must assume God is ok with it
- The curse made work wearisome…God gave us a day of rest and ‘re-creation’
- The commands about the sabbath are meant to create relationship
Chapter 3:1-6 [The Sabbath Is For Doing Good]
1 He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. 2 They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3 He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!”
- Another Sabbath, another synagogue
- Jesus understood the set up, that the legalist were looking to cause trouble
- He makes sure everyone sees what is is about to do
4 And He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5 After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
- He uses the term ‘lawful’ because that is what they are so intent on
- He goes right to the heart of the matter: ‘what is the sabbath for?’
- God is both angered & saddened when His creation misses His love for them
- Jesus wants everyone to know he can restore all that is not as it should be
6 The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.
- The Pharisees were legalistic scribes [law worshipers]
- The Herodians were secular supporters of the Roman backed king [illegitimate]
- That these two group would conspire together is significant [typically opposed]
- Christ threatened both groups hold on power
- There holding power was more important that their disagreements
So we see the beginning of what would result in Christ being captured & put to death. God was right there in their midst and they totally missed it…
The Pharisees practiced a religion of worshiping rules. Taking God’s law and making the rules more important than God. We must always be on guard against legalism.
The Heart of the Sabbath is the peace of having our basic needs met while resting from the things we do the other six days to survive.
The Heart of The Sabbath is doing God’s work / ministry; that was what Jesus did on Sabbaths. [Teaching & Healing]
Worshiping rules and not caring for others hardens our hearts and moves us away from God. We anger and grieve God if we focus on rules and not relationships.
How does a Biblical Sabbath flow from achievement / completion of work?
Have you considered regularly practicing a Biblical Sabbath? What would that look like?
[2 Biblical Sabbath Essentials: rest from your normal ‘work’ & ministering to others]
Why is it important to hear and apply what Jesus has to say about the Sabbath?
We got accepted to the pool / recreation club a couple of days ago… It is hard living as an outsider. The desire of each human is to be part of something / community, family
Last Week: Mark 2:10-12
…but so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic,“I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”
The big deal: The Son of Man was there to forgive sin!!! & heal…The forgiveness is the theological need we have, but how about the social need? We can be part of God’s Kingdom and feel like we are on the outside. Often we are made to think we are not good enough…but what Our Lord says is a very different message.
13 And He went out again by the seashore; and all the people were coming to Him, and He was teaching them.14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.
- Now at the seashore, his fishers of men have reeled in a crowd
- He ‘Saw’ Levi
- It took two words from ‘The Master’ for Levi to walk away from the life of luxury
- What do we know about Levi??? Tax collector / [complete outsider]
- Matthew 9:9-17
15 And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him.
- Jesus @ Matthew’s house [very well off as a tax collector]
- Matthew was an outcast of society, a pariah, ‘cuz he worked for the Romans
- There were all the others on the margins of jewish forgiveness…
- They had been told there was no forgiveness for them
16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?”
- To eat & drink with someone was a show of unity & agreement [fellowship]
- The legalism of the Jewish System: a judgmental spirit regarding social status
- The religious powers pegged certain people as unworthy of God’s forgiveness
- Everyone has the same illness: SIN
- False Religion makes us feel a part, creating an ‘in-club’ of ‘The Righteous”
- They may view themselves as righteous, they are not
- God is saying: ‘I am here to heal those who realize they are sick’
18 John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and they came and said to Him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “While the bridegroom is with them, the attendants of the bridegroom cannot fast, can they? So long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.”
- The question is: why don’t you and your followers do things by our rules?
- The Bridegroom is a title that has so much richness for us who belong to Christ
- The time had come for a new way of doing things
- This is the Gospel: The Good New is a new thing, not the way God was seen
21 “No one sews a patch of un-shrunk cloth on an old garment; otherwise the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear results.22No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”
- With somethings you can’t mix old and new
- The newness of what Christ has brought cannot be contained in the old system
- The New Covenant / The Gospel of Jesus Christ can’t be added to the old deal
- An entirely different understanding of a relationship with God that HE reveals
The ‘Kingdom Call’ is for the outsiders in this world, no particular social status required.
The recognition of the need for forgiveness [A sin problem you can’t fix] is the only thing you need to follow Jesus Christ.
Religious activity [fasting] is to be done based on the reality of who God is and to commune with Him, not to demonstrate your spiritual superiority.
Our relationship with God ‘In Christ’ is based in Judaism, but it is a whole new setup, not and add on tho the old system.
Have you heard the call to follow Christ?
How can you help outsiders become a part of God’s family?
How aware are you of your sin and the need you have for forgiveness?
Have you as a follower of Christ participated in ‘Biblical Fasting’? How might you make it a part of your relationship with God?
Are there old ideas about religion that you need to replace with Biblical ones?