John The Baptist: A Role Model

Thanks to everyone who played a part in enabling me to take this break! I am humbled and blessed to be part of the team leading this church, Christ’s church!

My Sabbatical: Family / Rest / Travel / Connection with old friends / Listening to God. Laban has been doing a great job connecting Mark’s telling of the Good New about Christ to the Hebrew Scriptures. God’s Word tells us about Him and about us! Study Scripture for understanding…

John The Baptist: Jesus’ Redneck Cousin. John was the greatest of all humans according to Jesus of Nazareth. John’s role was foretold in Scripture (Isaiah 40:3) John played an amazing, one of a kind role in HIStory…but so can you!

If we are willing to face our natural tendency to be corrupt and evil (SIN) and fully submit to God’s plan, even when it confuses us and costs us things, we can fulfill our God given role in the story HE is telling…

Our Text this Week: Jesus is only briefly mentioned…But you and I are…

Last Week: Jesus is rejected in His hometown AGAIN!… His family the 1st time, now everyone…

And He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. ~ Mark 6:5-6 (ESV)

Then Jesus sends out the 12!

So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them. ~ Mark 6:12-13 (EVS)

Now we get this story that Jesus is not really involved in…

Mark 6:14-29 (NLT)

14 Herod Antipas, the king, soon heard about Jesus, because everyone was talking about Him. Some were saying, “This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead. That is why He can do such miracles.” 15 Others said, “He’s the prophet Elijah.” Still others said, “He’s a prophet like the other great prophets of the past.” 16 When Herod heard about Jesus, he said, “John, the man I beheaded, has come back from the dead.”

  • Spiritual state of the nation of Israel is al an all time low
  • Illegitimate priesthood, Illegitimate king / kings
  • So little Idea about God he thinks ridiculous things

17 For Herod had sent soldiers to arrest and imprison John as a favor to Herodias. She had been his brother Philip’s wife, but Herod had married her. 18 John had been telling Herod, “It is against God’s law for you to marry your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias bore a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But without Herod’s approval she was powerless, 20 for Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him.

  • Herodias was said to be exceptionally beautiful…and entitled
  • Herodias was a social climber, Antipas had a better kingdom than Phillip
  • Herod Antipas found a way to make his wife happy (kinda) and not kill John
  • While John was imprisoned he asked Jesus if He was the Messiah

21 Herodias’ chance finally came on Herod’s birthday. He gave a party for his high government officials, army officers, and the leading citizens of Galilee. 22 Then his daughter, also named Herodias, came in and performed a dance that greatly pleased Herod and his guests. “Ask me for anything you like,” the king said to the girl, “and I will give it to you.” 23 He even vowed, “I will give you whatever you ask, up to half my kingdom!”

  • Herod Antipas is trying to impress
  • Herodias the daughter, was originally named Salome
  • She was not Herod Antipas’ daughter, she was Phillip’s daughter he adopted

24 She went out and asked her mother, “What should I ask for?” Her mother told her, “Ask for the head of John the Baptist!” 25 So the girl hurried back to the king and told him, “I want the head of John the Baptist, right now, on a tray!”

  • Her loyalty was to her Mother…blind loyalty
  • Herodias (Mother) was a opportunist!
  • Both women were incited to evil because they gave it place (corrupt lives)
  • The daughter, having been raised in the corruption was fine asking for murder

26 Then the king deeply regretted what he had said; but because of the vows he had made in front of his guests, he couldn’t refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner to the prison to cut off John’s head and bring it to him. The soldier beheaded John in the prison, 28 brought his head on a tray, and gave it to the girl, who took it to her mother. 29 When John’s disciples heard what had happened, they came to get his body and buried it in a tomb.

  • He is regretful…but it is more important to save face in front of his guests
  • Herod was more fearful of man than he was of God
  • He was so desensitized to evil, he kills someone on a bet…

In 39 AD Herod Antipas was betrayed by his brother in law / nephew, Herod Agrippa, to the Roman Emperor Caligula, which resulted in Antipas & Herodias being exiled to Gaul (Southern France).


Don’t be surprised when corrupt leadership is manipulated by satanic influences to enact evil that was not necessarily intended.

John The Baptist is an example for all who follow Christ. We can imitate his speaking out against corrupt leadership, his courage and trust in God.

God’s sovereign design for events is not in any way effected by demonic interference. John had completed his mission in life and death. He decreased that Christ would increase (John 3:30)

If you live trying to please other people you will not be able to focus on pleasing God. If you focus on pleasing God (like JTB), you will not please most people.


Do YOU believe that by giving evil a place in any part of your life you then open yourself up to be manipulated by it?

Do YOU believe Jesus’ followers should speak up against corrupt leadership and then trust God for what happens?

Do YOU believe Christ has given each member of His body a mission for this life?

Where are you with discovering and enacting that mission?

As we continue to read the Gospel of Mark, see yourself in the characters…

And be honest about who you can be and what you are capable of (we all are)

And see Jesus for who He is: God among US!

Ask Him to give you total submission to His will

Then you can say: ‘The Lord gives and takes away…blessed be the Name of the Lord’!

Something Greater is Here Part IV
Jesus Rejected
Mark 6:1-13 (ESV)

After two weeks of long cuts of text, we get to a shorter passage this week. Still just as dense though, very rich. We are looking at Mark 6, verses 1 to 13.

We can split our text in to two parts this morning. The first part is Jesus being rejected in Nazareth, and the second is Jesus sending out his disciples to evangelize.

Jesus leads the group back home. I am sure Jesus was excited to take his disciples to his home town

But it is weird to see how people change over time. Sometimes it is for the better. Sometimes worse

The first story we’ll read this morning is about how the people of Nazareth didn’t recognize Jesus. Not physically, but his spirit.
Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

we are going to compare this story of Jesus to someone in the Old Testament. This morning I want us to look at Joseph, the favorite son of Israel.

Joseph was the son of Jacob and Rachel. He was beloved by his father, but his brothers, his own kinsmen, hated him. They attempted to murder him and leave him for dead. They ended up selling him into slavery. In Egypt Joseph was wrongfully accused, but remained faithful and God went on to place him in a position of power, at the right hand of Pharoah.

It’s an amazing passage that shows how God uses even terrible situations like his brother’s hatred to display his mighty power.

6 He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

•       As was his custom, Jesus heads to the synagogue and starts teaching on the Sabbath.
•       Immediately we hear from people who knew Jesus before he started his ministry, and the text tells us they are astonished at what they see.
•       they think they know the real Jesus.
•       Have you ever met someone who doesn’t really take us seriously as new creations? Maybe someone from our past who knew us before the holy spirit began its good work in us.
•        They might think that our old selves are our real selves, more authentic.
•       That’s the trick sin plays

4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.

•       Seems like Jesus intellectually expected this. He could be thinking of any number of God’s messengers that came before him who were ignored, maybe even Josephs dreams ignored and ridiculed. He understands this was going to happen.
•       This is the puzzle of Jesus being man and God. It must have hurt a little bit to have people that he grew up with scoffing at him, dismissing him. It could have been old friends.

Joseph is one of the best Old Testament examples we could look at. He was faithful to the Lord, and did what was asked of him. Our last few Jesus comparisons have showcased how the human nature made our heroes flawed, but with Joseph the task is harder. He is one of a few people in the bible that sin is not recorded. We know he sinned because he was human.

Romans 3:23-24
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

God used this hatred. Because of the persecution of Joseph by his own brothers, God used Joseph to store up food in Egypt and provide an escape from famine for the whole region. He used the hatred of Joseph to save his special family, the people who would become the nation of Israel.

As righteous as Joseph was, Jesus is greater. The hatred that Jesus’ own brothers had for his righteousness was greater. We get a taste of it here in Nazareth, but this is only a preview of how much his brothers hated him. That great hatred would eventually bring about a greater deliverance than that of Joseph. This time salvation would be for the entire world, not just from physical famine, but from spiritual death.

Now we’ll look at the next section of text, where Jesus sends out his disciples to preach and evangelize.

7 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.

•       He sends out his disciples. They have been with him for some time now, and he empowers them, gives them authority.
•       The point of his instructions for this mission is for them to put trust in God. They aren’t able to lean on their own earthly possessions or provisions.
•       A as far as I can tell Jesus is telling them not to go out and buy things to get ready for this trip. Just go.

10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”

•       Jesus says there will be people that will not listen, and it’s an uncomfortable fact sometimes
•       We want people to like us, and it’s a challenging aspect of ministry that not everyone is going to listen to Gods message. A dangerous result occurs when we aren’t OK with that truth.
•       We start trying to entice people with things that are not the gospel. We think, maybe if we have great kid’s programs, great cookouts, etc…
o       Matthew 9:37 “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few”
•       On a practical level, it’s hard to tell who those people are. The ones that won’t ever listen, versus the ones that need to be hit by a bus, maybe metaphorically.  Some people need time, the seed needs to grow.

12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.

•       Repentance is the major theme in the last several passages. And the disciples pick up the mantle. They go out to preach the need to change directions.
•       There is no reason to repent if we like the direction we are going. But Jesus came to tell the world that we need to.
•       He came to face us with our brokenness and sin.
•       Amazingly, the disciples are full of power, able to heal supernaturally, restore. This is an incredible testament to the power of Christ.

So why are these passages right next to each other? How are they connected? The first story is of Jesus being spurned by his home town, and he uses that rejection to explain how we will face the same thing, for His sake. He shows his disciples that not everyone will take them in.

How can we apply this?

are you sharing the good news?

what does ministry look like in my life right now?

are you afraid of the rejection of men?
•       Don’t be surprised if we are rejected. The people who are dying will NOT like it
2 Corinthians 2:15-16
“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life.”

Josephs response to his brothers, after God has revealed his plan.

Genesis 45:5
“And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.”

God’s plan is seriously incredible. Josephs brothers rejected him, their own flesh and blood. But being God’s plan, their hatred ended up being their salvation. His brothers eventually did bow down to Joseph. And because Jesus is greater, salvation will come to the entire world, and one day all of creation will bow down to him.

Acts 7:51-52
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered”

But praise God for that betrayal, and for that murder. Through it we all have been saved. Because Jesus was rejected at Nazareth, and eventually in Jerusalem, we can have life.

The cross is offensive to this world. and it doesn’t make any sense that the cross would cause such a change in anyone’s life.

Something Greater is Here part III

Jesus Gives Life

Mark 5:21-43 (ESV)

Today’s passage focuses on Jesus a healer and more importantly as a giver of life.

when Jesus arrives back in Galilee the crowds are right back surrounding him. They cannot get enough

Our theme the last few weeks has been “something greater is here”. I want to take a minute to talk about why this theme is important.

Jesus was a fulfillment of a plan that had been set in motion long ago

It connects us Christian believers to Gods overarching story. The jewish history and our old testament

Jesus has to be greater than everyone else otherwise he wouldn’t have been needed.

Today we are going to look at the ways that Jesus exceeds a man who came before him named Elijah.

1 Kings gives us the first recorded instance of someone being raised from the dead. Elijah asks God to restore life to a widow’s dead son. It is that miracle where our main parallel lies today.

Elijah was and is to the Jewish people a very big deal. He was a prophet who was around for a particularly low point of Israels history. They were dealing with a king who did more evil than all who were before him.

He was tasked with reminding Gods people who gives life. Each miracle he performed displayed that only the LORD God himself could bring rain or restore breath to the dead. 

If there is any doubt remaining about the dominion Jesus has over nature, let it be removed this morning. We’ve seen weather, demons, disease and now death itself all subverted! Lets see how Jesus is greater than Elijah.

21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24 And he went with him.

  • it was likely bold for Jairus to ask Jesus for help. It says something about his belief. 

When we go to God with things, it’s easy to think of it as an insurance policy. But for this man, he might have been risking quite a bit to show his faith in someone the Jewish leaders didnt like

24b And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 

    • All these years, she would have been ceremonially unclean, and never would have participated with her community in worship. She is an outsider, unable to approach God (in the temple). She was a social outcast.

    • The woman is at the end of her rope. She has spent her money and exhausted her options to find a cure for her physical ailment.

27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 

  • So she touches him and for the third time in as many weeks, we see that Jesus immediately and completely remedies the situation. She is “healed of her disease”. 

30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 

  • As big and grand as he is, this small act does not go unnoticed. 

33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

    • Her faith has made her well. Begs the question, where does faith come from? 

    • Romans 10:7 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ”

    • So her God given faith allows her to be restored, both physically and in society.

35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 

    • Things have taken a turn for the worse, the daughter has died.

    • Jesus knows all things, and he knew exactly how much time the girl had left but he didn’t rush. 

  • they are being silly, making some inane distinction between being sick and being dead. I think of Jesus as capable of doing anything. But in the same breath, I can doubt Gods power. I think there is no way God is capable of giving me wisdom, providing me opportunities, of healing people in my life. Of bringing certain people to himself. 

38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40a And they laughed at him. 

  • Death is particularly difficult when it’s someone we think of as too young, or it wasn’t their time, or the circumstances we feel are unjust.

40b But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

  • I read these stories and it sometimes fails to excite me in the way it should. The girl is actually dead. She has stopped breathing. But Jesus does something beyond belief.
    • He uses the Aramaic word “cumi” or κοῦμ.
      • We see the word translated as “arise” all over the bible. In the new testament its used every time someone raises someone from the dead. But the old testament it is almost always a command from god to get to your feet and get to work. Go!
  • Even if people intellectually know that God CAN give life, the fact that he DOES shows how much he cares and the great mercy he has for us.

Jesus raising the little girl overcomes the people with amazement. Something that had not been seen since the time of Elijah and Elisha is happening before them. 

Elijah ask God to intervene and raise the widow’s son. The resurrection of her child leads her, a gentile, to declare Elijah was from god.

1 Kings 17:23b 

“‘See, your son lives.’ 24 And the woman said to Elijah, ‘Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.’”

1 King 18:37

“Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

Elijah had been sent to refocus the nation of Israel on their creator. He performed many miracles of healing and signs of Gods power. Incredibly he even raised a man back to life. But he was human, weak and imperfect. His witness was insufficient in turning the hearts of Gods people back to him. 

His flawed witness was not enough. The Israelites did not turn back to the God who brought them out of Egypt. They continued to disobey his laws, blatantly worship false idols and descend into darkness and evil. 

James 5:16

“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours”

Someone greater than Elijah had to come. Israel could not be convinced to give up their false gods and turn back to the true living God, even after he used Elijah to display supernatural miracles.

It can be easy to think that sin is winning. With the pain we experience every day as collateral damage, the constant barrage of bad news and hurt. But we as Christians should take heart, that over the three thousand years since Elijah raised the widows daughter, billions more have been raised to life in Christ. Since that first gentile widow professed faith by the raising of her son, Jesus’ power over death itself  has been causing new believers to profess Jesus is Lord ever since.

So how do we apply this?

Be like Jesus, don’t be in a hurry

  • We should emulate this man. Not just in personality traits or characteristics. But in the way he lived and went about his business.

We’ve been made alive. Arise

  • Take up the call to get up and go! There is work to be done

Don’t limit Jesus’ power

Be desperate for Jesus

  • Jairus knew that asking Jesus to save his daughters life was well worth the hit to his reputation. He was desperate. 

Something Greater is Here pt II

Jesus Heals a Man with a Demon

This morning we’ll continue in Mark.

Last week we saw that Jesus demonstrated his incredible power over nature

I referenced it last week, but when Jesus explained the sign of Jonah to the pharisees he gave this answer

Matthew 12:40

“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth

…for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.”

This story does not have a direct one for one, chronological pairing with the Exodus

Jesus has come to free the world, much like Moses had freed the Israelites.

If you only hear two things today, let it be this. 

First, we human beings are insane in our sin. Sin has a large impact on our world.

The second point this text makes it that Jesus is the only way to be free.

5 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

– Right away, we are introduced to a man with an “impure spirit”.

– Their goal was to destroy the man who was made in the image of God. 

– The man is an example of all human kind. He is uncontrollable.

-I think this maps well to the Israelites enslaved in Egypt. This man was a slave to the demons. He was held captive by a mighty power. And unable to liberate himself. 

– Jesus taking them here is a preview of what was to come once Jesus left

6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”

– The demons immediately recognize his presence

– no sense of submission or worship.

– Compare this to the disciples who call him “Lord”. Similarly it is a declaration of power, but also a surrender. Recognizing not just power but authority too. 

9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

– They beg to be shown mercy

11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

– A wild image to picture

– If Jesus will no longer allow these demons to destroy the man, they beg to destroy the pigs. All they want to do is destroy Gods creation.

– This is reminiscent of God no longer allowing his people to be held captive by the Egyptians, and he frees them by running their captors in to the red sea to drown.

14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 

– Every part of this man had been restored. 

– how can we be lukewarm about Jesus? There are two reactions, terror and amazement. 

16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

– There are repercussions if Jesus is God. And they do not want to deal with it.

– This resonates with what Pharaoh tells Moses. Once God has struck down all the Egyptian firstborns, Pharaoh says he has had enough.

18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

– It’s AFTER he’s saved he’s begging to walk with Jesus. Only after he is clothed and in his right mind that he is able to desire Godly things.

– By no actions of his own was the man healed. In fact it was in the face of his opposition to healing!

– Jesus did not liberate him so the man could continue living in the tombs. 

Mark 16:15

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

Our salvation story is a tool that God has given us, we need to be prepared to use it.

Moses was called by God to free their ancestors from their captors. But it didn’t come to fruition, both physically and spiritually. 

But Jesus has come here to bring about a new exodus for mankind, ultimately defeat satan at the end of all days. 

Jesus has liberated us from our sin, we are no longer in Egypt. But we remain in the wilderness.

Something greater than the exodus has happened. God himself came down to free us, let us celebrate it.