Brad talked on Sunday on Mark 3:7-21 and the different responses we can have to Jesus.
How many of you are Marvel fans? How many have seen at least one Marvel movie Read a comic book? Marvel has successfully created an entertainment empire, adapting their popular comic books into movies and TV shows that have been extremely popular in the last ten years. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is this massive thing, with movies and TV shows that all connect. After the movies, there are post-credit scenes that connect movies to each other. Now different people have different views and feelings about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Some people are all about it. They’ve seen the movies, they stay for all the post-credit scenes, they notice all the connections and the easter eggs, and they have even read the comics, so they know what is coming in the next movies. They get it, all of it. Then there are people who have seen some of the movies, don’t really see the whole picture, they don’t stay for the post-credit scenes. They watch the movies that look good, but only because they want to be entertained. They don’t see the big picture. There are others, and I would be one of these, who love the movies, watch all of them, love the post-credit scenes, and love the big picture connections. But I’ve never read the comics, so I don’t see the full picture or the ending, what’s coming. I almost get it, but don’t fully get it. I can see some of it, but don’t see the full big picture. Finally, there are the people that don’t like it, don’t get it, think the whole thing is dumb. They’ve seen maybe one movie, don’t get what’s going on, don’t see the connection.
In this story today, we are going to see four groups of people who see Jesus in these ways. Some people get exactly who he is, see what is coming, and get the big picture. Some people see some of it, but don’t get the big picture. Others just want to be entertained and don’t care about the big picture. And finally, there are some who think he’s crazy, and don’t get who he is at all.
Mark 3: 7-21
7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from
Galilee and Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. 9 And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, 10 for he had healed many so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known. 13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. 20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying,“He is out of his mind.”
Remember the question we are asking this year as we go through Mark. Who is Jesus?Remember right at the beginning, Mark tells us who he believes Jesus is. He said right off the bat, verse 1, Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. And then as we go through Mark we how people come to the realization, or don’t, of who Jesus is. He has been saying things and doing things telling and showing people who he is, and up to this point, people aren’t getting it. We learned last week that the Pharisees definitely don’t because they are trying to kill him. Here we get the first group that actually confesses him as the Son of God. But notice who it is. The demons cry out, “You are the Son of God.” The demons. This is intentionally ironic. The demons are the first characters in the Gospel of Mark to confess that Jesus is the Son of God. They are the ones who have seen all the movies, stay for all the post-credit scenes, and have read all the comics. They have seen Jesus’ power. They know who he is and what he is there to do. They see the end, the see the big picture. They know exactly who Jesus is: he is the Son of God.
Then there are the apostles. Jesus calls twelve men to follow him. We don’t see this in this passage, but as we go throughout this Gospel we are going to see that the apostles kind of get it, but don’t really. They are the group that has seen the movies and have high hopes for what’s going to happen in Infinity War, but they’ve never read the comics, so they don’t really get it. They think they know who Jesus is, but they actually don’t. They expect Jesus to be a certain way, but they find out he isn’t, and when this happens they are confused and dissatisfied. But notice this, Jesus knows that they don’t get it, and he knows that they aren’t going to get it for a while, but he still calls them. So if this is the place you find yourself, if you are following Jesus and you think you get it but you still have expectations that he would be something other than who he really is, remember that Jesus still wants you. He is still calling you to himself and has plans for you.Look he calls the apostles so that he can teach them and send them out to preach and cast out demons. Jesus can still use you if you are following but don’t fully understand, don’t lose heart if you don’t fully get it.Continue to follow him, and be open to let him show you who he really is.
Now, look at how his family responds.The ones closest to him, the ones you would expect to really understand who Jesus is and get the big picture, his own family, thinks he’s crazy. His family are the people who have seen one of the Marvel movies and think the whole thing is just crazy. They don’t get it at all. Now maybe this is you. Maybe you seem close to Jesus because your family follows Jesus, you come to church every Sunday, you maybe even go to a small group or to Thursday nights. You’re by Jesus all the time. Close to him in proximity, but the reality is you don’t get it. You are around Jesus all the time, but you don’t believe he is the Son of God. If this is you, I’m really glad you are here. I ask that you continue to give Jesus a chance. Consider the claims he makes, and what we have been talking about. I also challenge you to ask him to reveal himself to you, to make himself real for you in your life. Ask him to be real for you.
Now let’s look at the last group of people, the crowd. The crowd is definitely interested in Jesus, look at the way they come to him. A great crowd comes to him, and they press into him so much that they almost crush him. But what part of Jesus do they want? They don’t confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but they know he can heal their sicknesses and diseases. They go to Jesus because they think he can take away their problems and make their life better. They go to Jesus for what they can get out of it, not because of who Jesus is. They go to Jesus for themselves, not for him. The crowd is the people that love Marvel movies for the entertainment factor, but don’t care about the big picture. They just want to go watch a movie here or there because they are interested and want to be entertained, but not for anything more than that. So finally maybe you are this person. You’re the person who follows Jesus for what you can get from him. You follow him because of how you think you can benefit, not because he is worth following. It doesn’t matter if Jesus is the Son of God or not, you just want his power. You just want to be healed, to feel better, to be happier. And these aren’t bad things, and Jesus will heal you and make your life better, but not in the way you would expect.
Jesus isn’t just a genie who will grant you your wishes and make life easier for you. Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, God’s own son, the king of the world. And just like he went up on a mountain and calls the apostles to himself, he is calling you to himself as well. Not just to come see the cool things he does, but to follow him. To really truly see him as the Son of God and submit your life to him. This isn’t the last time Jesus goes up on a mountain and calls to him those whom he desires. See to prove that he is the Son of God and to show us that he is worth following, he goes up a mountain later in his life, but he goes up it to die on a cross. In Jesus’ death, he showed his love for us, taking care of our sin, and offering us hope, joy, peace, and purpose through belief in him as the Son of God. And from that mountain, from the cross, Jesus is calling out to you and to me, to those whom he desires to be with him, and asks us to follow him. To quit trying to make life work on our own, to quit trying to get to God on our own, to quit wallowing in our guilt, and to trust in him as our savior. To follow him as our Lord. To submit to him as the one true Son of God.