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Service Archives > 41 Mark - 2013 > Mark 2:21-3:35

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Mark 2:21-3:35
Skip Heitzig

Mark 2 (NKJV™)
21 "No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse.
22 "And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins."
23 Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain.
24 And the Pharisees said to Him, "Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?"
25 But He said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him:
26 "how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat, except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?"
27 And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
28 "Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath."
Mark 3 (NKJV™)
1 And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand.
2 So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.
3 And He said to the man who had the withered hand, "Step forward."
4 Then He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they kept silent.
5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.
6 Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.
7 But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea
8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him.
9 So He told His disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for Him because of the multitude, lest they should crush Him.
10 For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him.
11 And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, "You are the Son of God."
12 But He sternly warned them that they should not make Him known.
13 And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him.
14 Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach,
15 and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons:
16 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, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananite;
19 and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. And they went into a house.
20 Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.
21 But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, "He is out of His mind."
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebub," and, "By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons."
23 So He called them to Himself and said to them in parables: "How can Satan cast out Satan?
24 "If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
25 "And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
26 "And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end.
27 "No one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.
28 "Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter;
29 "but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation"--
30 because they said, "He has an unclean spirit."
31 Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him.
32 And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, "Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You."
33 But He answered them, saying, "Who is My mother, or My brothers?"
34 And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers!
35 "For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother."

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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41 Mark - 2013

Jesus Christ is the rightful King who possesses ultimate authority. His authority is one of compassion before custom. In this text, Jesus heals and cares for people in ways that are in direct opposition to the rules and customs of the Jewish culture. Through His words and actions, He elevates the importance of relationships and compassion over religious traditions.

Jesus Christ--fully man, fully God. As we consider the gospel of Mark, we gain a greater understanding of the suffering Servant and His human emotions, His service, and His sacrifice.

FREE - Download Entire Series (MP3) (Help) | Buy series

Study Guide

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Mark 3

PREVIEW: In Mark 3, Jesus heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, which causes the Pharisees to seek to destroy Him. From among His many disciples, Jesus appoints twelve. Jesus’ family comes seeking Him because they think He is out of his mind and Jesus defines who His brother, sister, and mother truly are.

Controversy Over Sabbath-Healing - Read Mark 3:1-5

1. Jesus often taught in synagogues on Sabbath days. Synagogues were not the temple; they were not a place to offer sacrifices, but rather they were a place of study, worship, and prayer. They were not overseen by the priests but by a council of elders who elected a ruler. When a rabbi would come into the area, the ruler of the synagogue would invite him to come and speak on the Sabbath day. On this particular Sabbath day, a man with a withered hand was in attendance. Which one of his hands was withered? (See Luke 6:6.)

2. On this particular Sabbath Jesus was teaching (Luke 6:6) in the synagogue and the Pharisees (v. 6) were watching Him closely (v. 2). For what two reasons were they watching Him?

3. What do you think the Pharisees wanted to accuse Jesus of doing (v. 2)? (See also Exodus 31:14-17.)



4. What did Jesus ask the man with the withered hand to do (v. 3)? Luke includes a detail concerning the reason why He asked the man with the withered hand to do this. What is that reason? (See Luke 6:8.)



5. Jesus asked the Pharisees a rhetorical question about doing good or evil on the Sabbath. What is the answer to Jesus’ question? What answer did the Pharisees give (v. 4)?



6. After the Pharisees' response, Jesus looked around at them. What did He notice? How did that make Him feel (v. 5)?



7. Since the Pharisees kept silent (v. 4), Jesus demonstrated the answer to his rhetorical question by commanding the man with the withered hand to stretch out his hand. What happened to the man’s hand (v. 5)?


Pharisees Counsel to Destroy Jesus - Read Mark 3:6-12

8. After seeing the miraculous healing of the man’s withered hand, how did the Pharisees respond (v. 6)?


9. The Pharisees and Herodians had been enemies for years. But now the Pharisees, a religious group, and the Herodians, a political party, found themselves united in their opposition to Jesus. What was Jesus’ response to their plotting (v. 7)?


10. Great multitudes followed Jesus from every direction and all parts of the nation. Why were these people following Him (v. 8)?


11. The multitudes were numerous and the people were striving to press about Jesus to touch Him (v. 10). What did Jesus instruct His disciples to do? What was His concern (v. 9)?


12. Among the multitudes were some with unclean spirits. What two things did the unclean spirits do whenever they saw Jesus (v. 11)?


13. What was Jesus' response to the unclean spirits’ proclamation (v. 12)? Why did Jesus do this? (See Matthew 12:16 and Mark 1:25, 34.)

Selection of the Twelve - Read Mark 3:13-19

14. Jesus went up on the mountain (v. 13). What did He do before He called those He Himself wanted? (See Luke 6:12.)


15. Apparently many more than just 12 disciples followed Jesus (see Mark 2:15 and Luke 6:13). From among these, Jesus appointed 12. What specific things did He appoint them to do (vv. 14-15)?


16. List the names of the 12 Jesus appointed (vv. 16-19).


Opposition of His Friends - Read Mark 3:20-21

17. Jesus and His disciples were in a house (v. 19) where the crowds had re-gathered. There were so many people that they could not even take time to eat bread (v. 20). When “His own people heard about this,” what did they do? What did they say (v. 21)?


Scribes Commit the Unpardonable Sin - Read Mark 3:22-30

18. What did the scribes who came down from Jerusalem say about Jesus (v. 22)?

19. Jesus called these scribes to Himself and asked them a question (v. 23) and then provided them with three perfectly logical statements (vv. 24-26). In each of these statements, what causes the inability to stand?


20. What did Jesus say was required to enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods (v. 27)?



21. How did Jesus' work on the cross bind the strong man? (See John 12:31, Colossians 2:15, Hebrews 2:14, and 1 John 3:8, 4:4, 5:18.)



22. Jesus proclaims that all sins will be forgiven, including whatever blasphemies they may utter (v. 28). However, what subjects a person to eternal condemnation by not being able to receive forgiveness (v. 29)? (See John 3:17-19 and Hebrews 10:29)



23. How is forgiveness for all your sins and whatever blasphemies you may have uttered obtained? (See John 3:16-18, Romans 10:9-13, Acts 2:21, and 1 John 1:8-10.)


New Relationships are Defined - Read Mark 3:31-35

24. Jesus and His disciples were still in the house with a multitude sitting around them. Who came to see Jesus? Why were they calling for Him (v. 31-32)? (See Mark 3:21.)


25. Where were Jesus’ mother and brothers in relation to where Jesus was (vv. 31-32)? (See also John 7:5.) How was their physical location significant?


26. The multitude sitting around Jesus informed Him that these visitors were calling for Him, seeking to speak with Him (Matthew 12:46). How did Jesus answer the multitude (v. 33)?


27. Jesus looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him and declared, “Here are My mother and My brothers!” (v.34). What made Jesus consider those around Him His brother, sister, and mother (v. 35)? (See John 6:29 and 1 John 3:23.)


28. Earlier in Mark 3, Jesus said to a man, “Stretch out your hand” (v. 3). In Matthew’s account, it is recorded that Jesus stretched out His hand. Toward whom did He stretch out His hand (see Matthew 12:49)? Why is this significant?


29. How can you be certain that Jesus considers you one of His brothers, sisters, or mothers (v. 50)?




Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
  2. F
    1. Erma Bombeck wrote about a time she was in church, "Stop that grinning, you're in church"
      1. Religious legalists, the Pharisees
        1. Negatives—what they don't do
        2. The worse you look, the holier you are
      2. Skip's friends mourned for him when he became a Christian
    2.  Jesus had a discussion with the Pharisees about why His disciples didn't fast
      1. Why should they fast?
      2. This was a time for them to rejoice
      3. The time would come when they would fast and mourn
  3. The parable of the unshrunk cloth on a new garment (v. 21)
    1. The truth behind the argument of fasting
    2. The new fabric of faith in Jesus can't be interwoven with the old religious systems
  4. The parable of the new and old wineskins (v. 22)
    1. Wine stored in animal skins
    2. Strength and elasticity would be able to handle the fermentation process
    3. Afterward the wineskin became brittle—inflexible
    4. Jesus didn't come to polish up the old system
    5. Jesus came to fulfill the law
    6. Don't pour the new covenant into an old system
    7. Apply personally also
      1. Jesus comes in
      2. You have an expanded new life
      3. God wants to stretch you
      4. You can become hardened, brittle
      5. People can refuse to expand
  5. Pharisees caught Jesus' disciples plucking and eating grain on the Sabbath (vv. 23-24)
    1. The Sabbath was a big deal
    2. Two things set Judaism apart, the Sabbath and circumcision—outward observances kept from generation to generation
    3. According to the law, it was okay to pluck heads of grain by hand (see Deuteronomy 23:25)
    4. The Sabbath law was very complicated and very detailed
      1. Not in the Bible
      2. As Judaism went on, they picked up traditions and wrote rules
      3. In the Mishnah there are no less than 12 tractates, 39 different prohibitions—things that can't be done on the Sabbath
        1. Four deal with this situation
          1. Could not reap
          2. Could not thresh
          3. Could not winnow
          4. Could not prepare a meal
          5. The Pharisees believed that these four were broken in this instance
        2. It was hard work keeping a day of rest
    5.  Jesus responds (vv. 25-28)
      1. "Have you never read?"
        1. Nine times, throughout the New Testament, Jesus said this to His enemies
        2. Shows how important Jesus thought it was for leaders to know what the Scriptures said
      2. Skip as a young, Catholic boy snuck the host and ate it when he was hungry
        1. He had years of guilt
        2. He read this passage as a new believer at age 18 and had so much relief, "Thank You Lord!"
      3. David and his men ate the holy bread (see 1 Samuel 21)
        1. David and his men had a need
        2. It superseded the ritual
        3. David was an exile, though not his fault
        4. He was appointed as the next king of Israel
        5. Parallel with Jesus, the rightful King of Israel
      4. Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath
        1. Jesus' authority is greater than the authority of the Sabbath over His people
        2. Compassion must come before custom
        3. Relief before ritual
        4. How many of your traditions have you found it difficult to overcome?
          1. Traditions are some of the most difficult things for people to break
          2. Ask: "Is this scriptural?"
          3. We have a tendency to "strain at a gnat and swallow a camel" (see Matthew 23:24)
          4. We make it about the outward and not the inward
          5. There was a time in church history that you had to sign a pledge to not do certain things in order to attend church
        5. Come to Jesus just how you are and He changes your inside—your heart first
  6. Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath (vv. 3:1-5)
    1. The man's hand was withered, xeros
    2. Discrepancy between what Mark and Matthew wrote about this
      1. Matthew says "they [the Pharisees] asked to him" (Matthew 12:10)
      2. Mark says "He [Jesus] said to them" (Mark 3:4)
      3. Both could be true—they knew Jesus was restless around suffering—they set Him up
      4. They asked the question, Jesus repeated the question to emphasize
    3. Matthew expounds by telling about helping animals on the Sabbath (see Matthew 12:11-12)
    4. Jesus tells the man to stretch out his hand
      1. His hand was withered, hardened
      2. The Pharisees had hardened hearts, which was far worse
      3. Cruel?
        1. Jesus gave an impossible command
        2. He gave the power to fulfill the command
        3. Jesus' command is always His enablement—do it
        4. Jesus commanded Peter to walk on the water (see Matthew 14:22-33)
        5. There is power in His command—His Word
  7. The Pharisees immediately went out and plotted against Jesus (v. 6)
    1. All of the gospels describe this
    2. They want to kill Him because of all the things He has claimed to be
      1. Lord of the Sabbath
      2. He could forgive sins (see Matthew 9:2)
      3. He hung out with riffraff, they saw Him as a dangerous person
  8.  A great multitude came to Jesus (vv. 7-8)
    1. Dense population in Galilee
      1. Thousands of people
      2. Hundreds of visitors
      3. They were intent to get something from Him
      4. Lots of people with lots of needs equals lots of pressure
    2. Jesus withdrew Himself—He got away from the crowd
    3. He needed to get recharged in prayer with His Father
    4. Keep a small boat ready (v.9)
    5. Jesus has two sources of pressure: natural and supernatural
      1. The people were pressing around Him for healing
      2. There was an increase in demonic activity in the New Testament
        1. Jesus is the promised Messiah
        2. He is the seed of the woman who will crush the head of the serpent (see Genesis 3:15)
        3. There is a reaction in the demonic realm
        4. We don't see as much demon possession today perhaps because of the way we
          1. Relegate it
          2. Deal with it
          3. Avoid it
          4. Diagnose it
        5. Commentator Ray Stedman told of a girl who played with a Ouija board and began to hear demonic voices in her head
  9. Jesus called to Himself those He wanted (vv. 13-15)
    1. They were with Him as disciples, learners
    2. After only three years, Jesus sent them out, and they became apostles
    3. He appointed 12 men
      1. They are listed in four places: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts
      2. Similarities:
        1. Always three groups of four men
        2. Peter is always mentioned first
        3. Judas Iscariot is always mentioned last
        4. James always appears before his brother John
      3. Simon who Jesus renamed Peter
        1. He was impetuous
        2. He confessed Jesus is the Christ (see Matthew 16:16)
        3. He protested Jesus' death (see Matthew 16:22-23)
          1. "I am Peter! I'm going to protect God!"
          2. Jesus puts Peter in his place. "Get behind Me, Satan!"
        4. He was the guy who cut off the ear of the high priest's servant (see John 18:10)
        5. Jesus rebuked him, "if you live by the sword, you will die by the sword" (see Matthew 26:52)
        6. Peter denied Jesus (see Matthew 26:59-74)
          1. Jesus restored Peter (see John 21:15-17)
          2. Peter went on to become a great leader
        7. It's encouraging that Peter is always listed first
          1. Shows God's patience
          2. Shows His insight into what He is going to do with that person
      4. James and his brother John
        1. Sons of Zebedee
        2. Jesus called them the Sons of Thunder—thunder boys
        3. It is hinted that they were very outspoken
        4. They wanted to call fire down from heaven to consume a Samaritan village (see Luke 9:51-54)
        5. They found people casting out demons and told them to stop (see Luke 9:49-50)
        6. John had a special designation, "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (he wrote that about himself)
        7. John wrote the book of John, also 1, 2, and 3 John, and the book of Revelation
        8. James became the first martyr of the church (see Acts 12:1-4)
      5. Andrew
        1. Peter's brother
        2. Once a disciple of John the Baptist
        3. Andrew brought his brother Peter to Jesus (see John 1:40-42)
      6. Philip
        1. Observant but slow to comprehend truth (see John 6:5-7)
        2. He had a calculator for a brain
        3. Needed to just trust Jesus
      7. Bartholomew (Nathanael), the first to doubt Jesus as the Messiah (see John 1:46)
      8. Matthew (Levi), the tax collector
      9. Thomas
        1. He was the pessimist
        2. Sometimes referred to as Doubting Thomas
        3. He was loyal
        4. "Let's go with Him, that we may die with Him" (see John 11:16)
      10. James, the son of Alphaeus
        1. Also known as James the Less
        2. Younger than the first James
      11. Thaddaeus
        1. Matthew called him Labbaeus
        2. Luke called him Judas the son of James
        3. We don't know a lot about him
      12. Simon the Canaanite
        1. Luke called him Simon the Zealot
        2. The Zealots were a religious, political group sworn to assassinate enemies of Judaism
      13. Judas Iscariot
        1. What does Iscariot mean? Man from the little village of Kerioth
        2. He betrayed Jesus
  10. His own people went out to lay hold of Him (vv. 20-21)
    1. Could mean friends, associates, or family members
    2. It seems that it was His own family trying to rescue Him
      1. His stepbrothers
      2. They thought He was delusional because He said He was the Son of God, the Son of Man, able to forgive sins
  11. The scribes accused Him of being in league with demons (v. 22)
    1. Beelzebub was the Canaanite god (see 2 Kings 1)
      1. Original name was Baal-Zebub
      2. Beelzebub became a derogatory term to refer to Satan—a code name for the devil
    2. Jesus confronted the scribes (vv. 23-26)
      1. Their accusation was absurd
        1. If Satan was casting out his own demons, that's civil war
        2. Civil war weakens any nation
      2. Parable of the strong man
        1. The strong man is Satan
        2. The house is the area where he holds sway
        3. Jesus is stronger than the strong man
        4. He's saying, "One must be stronger than Satan to enter his house, bind him, and set free those who are bound by him"
        5. The binding of Satan
          1. Takes place in stages
            1. It began during Jesus' public ministry
            2. The binding was guaranteed by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
            3. The binding will be experienced in the 1000 year reign of Christ (see Revelation 20:1-3)
            4. The binding will be eternally true when he is cast into the lake of fire (see Revelation 20:10)
          2. Satan fell from heaven
            1. Lucifer, light bearer, became the devil
            2. He was kicked out of heaven as a resident
            3. He still has access as a visitor (see Job 1:6, Revelation 12:10)
      3. The sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit (vv. 28-30)
        1. Some say this sin can't be committed any more since Jesus was only referring to His public ministry
        2. Pharisees continually denied Jesus—ascribed His miracles to Satan
        3. It's not the words they said but the attitudes of their hearts
        4. Their hearts were hardened
        5. "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20)
        6. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit "will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (John 16:8)
        7. The role of the Holy Spirit is to convince people: "You need Jesus Christ"
        8. The deliberate, perpetual, willful denial of Jesus Christ is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit
  12.   Jesus' mother and brothers came to see Him (vv. 31-35)
    1. Jesus had brothers?
    2. Skip, as a boy, was taught the perpetual virginity of Mary
    3. Jesus was not renouncing His family
    4. He's not saying not to honor your parents
    5. Spiritual relationships can be deeper and stronger than family relationships
    6. Jesus said, "Those who do the will of God…" –there's a relationship
    7. What is the will of God?
      1. Have a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ
      2. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins
      3. Invite Him into your heart


Greek terms:ξηρός; xeros, dry
Figures referenced: Erma Bombeck, Ray Stedman
Cross references: Genesis 3:15, Deuteronomy 23:25, 1 Samuel 21, 2 Kings 1, Job 1:6, Isaiah 5:20, Matthew 9:2, Matthew 12:10-12, Matthew 14:22-33, Matthew 16:16, 22-23, Matthew 23:24, Matthew 26:52, 59-74, Mark 3:4, Luke 9:49-54, John 1:40-42, 46 John 6:5-7, John 11:16, John 16:8, John 18:10, John 21:15-17, Acts 12:1-4, Revelation 12:10, Revelation 20:1-3, 10

Topic: Jesus

Keywords: Jesus, Pharisees, Holy Spirit, blasphemy, healing, relationship, hardened heart, Sabbath, Satan, disciples, quiet time

Transcript

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Introduction: Welcome to Expound our weekly worship and verse by verse study of the Bible. Our goal is to expand your knowledge of the truth of God as we explore the Word of God in a way that is interactive, enjoyable, and congregational.

Skip Heitzig: Let's pray. Father, we have decided that breaking up our week with its work, responsibilities, its hardships, its joys, to break it up with a gathering together where we meet with one another, sing to you, and in fellowship together share the mutual truths of the written revelation, the Word of God through the author Mark.

Father, we pray that as we do that, that your Holy Spirit who is the ultimate teacher, and the One who brings unity in body of Christ would not only instruct us, but that he would not only inspire us, encourage us, but motivate us to be the kinds of people that would be classified as disciples, apostles, ones who follow, learn, and are sent out.

Because we're reading the life of Jesus Christ in the gospel of Mark, and we're seeing how enemies dealt with him, the establishment handled him, but also how those who were with him and followed him, how they responded, how they learned, how they became great leaders eventually. And so we can relate to these guys, and, Father, I pray that though we're separated by a couple of thousand years, that the truth would bring us ever closer, not only to them, but to the Christ whom we serve. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

Erma Bombeck was quite an author; very clever with a pen. She once wrote that she was in church one Sunday morning, and sitting in front of her was a little child, a little girl who turned around and just started smiling, grinning. She was in the pew turned backward looking at her and everybody else and just started grinning, made no noise, just smiling.

Her mother noticed that and gave her a swat and said, "Stop that grinning—you're in church!" [laughter] And when the girl straightened up, she said, "That's better!" Erma Bombeck went away from church that Sunday morning and she said, she wrote, after the experience that: "Some people come to church looking like they've just read the will of their dead aunt who gave everything to her pet hamster." [laughter] That's how they live their lives, like: "I can't believe what just happened. What a bummer! I'm in church, I gotta look miserable."

Well, I share that story because there was a group of religious legalists who were known as the Pharisees whose religion was all in negatives: "What I don't do. It was a solemn affair. It was a drab affair." And we even told you in past studies in the gospels of Matthew and Mark that in church history there was a time when the worse you looked, the holier people thought you were. If you wore black clothes and you never smiled: "Oh, you must be a religious person."

And I remember the reaction of my friends when I told them I'm now a Christian, and it was just like pity for me: "I'm so sorry. What happened to you? What trauma in your life brought you to this point?" And so Jesus has this discussion, we read last week, with these leaders in the gospel of Mark. And they were a little bit miffed that the disciples of Jesus didn't quite fast or observe days of fasting like they did.

And Jesus' response was classic. "Why should they?" he said, "This is time for them to rejoice. I'm the bridegroom in the midst of the bride. Just like a bride and a groom celebrate, they're not in mourning, they're experiencing joy. As long as the bridegroom is with the bride, these are the days of rejoicing for my followers. The time will come when they'll be able to fast and mourn." That would be speaking of his crucifixion, his death. "There will be plenty of sorrowful days ahead, but now is a time for them to not only learn, but to rejoice." So we covered that last time; now Jesus goes deeper to a deeper truth, the truth behind the truth by use of an analogy in verse 21.

"No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse." This analogy, this illustration, this parable would be known to all. It would be easily understood that you wash your clothing—it shrinks. If you have a tear in it, you don't put something unshrunk, something brand-new over the tear, because it's going to shrink causing the place where you have made the stitches, the sewing area, to also pull and you'll make the tear bigger than the original tear itself. So you would use preshrunk cloth.

"No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment." What's he getting at? He's getting at the truth behind the whole argument of fasting and the previous discussion; and that is that the new fabric of faith in Jesus Christ can't be interwoven with the tired threads of the old religious system.

He gives another analogy, "No one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins." In those days wine was stored in animal skins. In fact, when they would kill a goat and skin a goat, they would try to pull off the skin almost in one whole piece, and tan the hide slightly sewing it up, and they would place the wine inside of that.

Because of the strength and the elasticity of a new skin, it would be able to handle the fermentation process that would take place within it. It's going to move, it's going to expand, it's going to stretch. And so the elasticity of the skin was needed to handle the fermentation process of the wine.

However, after a while, after you stretch that skin a bit, it becomes brittle. So you don't—after the old wine has fermented and stretched the skin, you don't put new wine back into that old bottle, that old wineskin, because now it's lost its ability to stretch. It loses elasticity. It becomes unyielding. It becomes brittle, inflexible.

And so what Jesus is talking about in this truth behind the truth of the conversation their having about fasting is the system of Judaism: "I didn't come to polish up the old system." Even though Jesus did go to the synagogue, even though Jesus honored the Torah, honored the Sabbath day according to the law of Moses, he didn't come to do anything except to fulfill the law.

And part of the law said that a new covenant is coming that God would make with the house of Israel. The old is passing away; he's going to do a whole new thing. You don't pour the new wine of the life of Christ into an old system; it'll break, it's too brittle, it's too hard, and it's too set in its ways.

Now, I find that analogy not only to be applied like this institutionally, but also personally. You see, when, when Jesus comes inside of you, and there is the new life of Christ that you're experiencing as a believer, your life is expanded. The Lord wants to stretch you beyond your otherwise futile limitations, but you can become hardened.

You can also become brittle, just like any church or any religious system. In this case, ancient Judaism, have become too brittle. People individually refuse to expand: "Well, we've never done it that way before." And they become hardened when the Lord my want to do some new revolutionary thing in their lives.

"Now it happened," verse 23, "that he went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees said to him,"—evidently they must have, like, secretly followed him and ducked down below the grainfields. And then as their walking and talking on the Sabbath, and plucking the grain—Pop! Up pop the Pharisees: "I saw that!"

"And said to him, 'Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?' " Now we have noted before that the Sabbath was a huge deal to them, and so some people, even to some Christians today it's a huge deal. There were two things that really marked, that denoted Judaism, that set them apart: one was circumcision, and the other was the Sabbath. Those were outward observances that were to be kept from generation to generation.

So they were very guarded about how they kept the Sabbath. Now, here's what you need to know: according to the law, according to God's Book, Deuteronomy chapter 23 verses 25 and following, it said it's okay for a person to walk out in the grainfields and pluck heads of grain, as long as they don't bring a sickle into the field and start cutting down the heads of the grain, because that's, that's work. You don't do that on the Sabbath day. You can pluck it for yourself and satisfy your own personal need, but you can't bring a sickle in, because that denotes you're taking home more for later; you're not just eating what you need at the moment.

Also in the same passage you could walk into a vineyard and you could take grapes as long as you don't bring a basket with you to carry some home with you. But this was a Sabbath day, and this was what the problem was all about. Any other day they would not have engendered this kind of a complaint, but it was the Sabbath day, and at that time the Sabbath law was very, very complicated and very detailed.

Not God's law, not in the Bible itself, not in the first five books of Moses, not in the Torah—but as Judaism went on they picked up certain traditions and they wrote certain rulings. And in their law the Mishnah was books that were written about the law. In the Mishnah there are no less than twelve tractates with thirty-nine different prohibitions, thirty-nine different things you can't do on the Sabbath day.

Among those things which couldn't be done on the Sabbath day, there were four in particular that deal with this situation. Number one, you could not reap on the Sabbath day. Number two, you could not thresh on the Sabbath day. Number three, you could not winnow on the Sabbath day. And number four, you couldn't prepare a meal.

In the thinking of the Pharisee the disciples had just technically broken all four. In plucking with their hands the ears of grain, they were reaping; in rubbing the grain with their hands like this, they were threshing; in going [blows], so that the chaff would go away from the wheat, they were winnowing. And all of those three things together constituted they were preparing a meal, because then they ate it afterwards.

See, this is how insane keeping—it was harder to keep the Sabbath, I mean, you needed a day after the Sabbath just to rest from keeping the Sabbath. It was work keeping a day of rest. So they had become so bogged down with this thing, "Jesus said to them," verse 25, " 'Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those that were with him?' "

By the way, did you know that nine times in the New Testament it is recorded that Jesus said to his enemies, "Have you never read . . . ? Didn't you read this? Don't you read that?" And the fact that it's mentioned that many times shows me how important Jesus thought it was for leaders to know what the Bible actually says, to know the Word of God. "Uh, don't you religious leaders ever read the Bible? Be great if you did."

" 'Have you never read what David did?' " Verse 26, " 'How he went into the house of God,' " that's when the tabernacle was erected, " 'in the days of Abiathar, the high priest, and ate the showbread which is not lawful to eat except for the priest, and also gave some to those who were with him?' And he said to them, 'The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.' "

I think I told you before when we we're going (several months ago or a year ago) through the gospel of Matthew how this verse of Scripture in particular gave me great comfort, because I remember the days when I was raised a Catholic boy and went to Catholic school. And it was the month of May where we were having mass every day in the school auditorium, and one day I forget my lunch. Either I forgot to bring it, or my mom forgot to pack it, but I'd carry a little lunch box. I didn't bring it with me that day, and I was hungry, and nobody would share.

So I remember sneaking into the auditorium where mass was said and finding a plastic bag of the hosts, which would be like equivalent of the showbread, though I didn't know that at the time. And, you know, having enough guilt as a young Catholic boy was a dilemma for me because I thought, "I'm so hungry, but this is, like, the hosts. You know, this is what people take for communion." But again I thought, "But it hasn't been consecrated yet. So technically it's just bread, and certainly God would be okay with me just satisfying my need." So I took a handful, like chips, and just started eating on it, like half a bag of hosts.

And I remember feeling for days, for weeks, for months, just so guilty. I mean, and how do you go to confession and like say that? [laughter] You know, you think that the FBI is going to come. You know, it's like: "You did what?" [click, click] But I went on and I lived my life. And I remember reading this right after I'd become a believer in Christ, around age eighteen.

And I was reading through the New Testament and I found this and I went, "Wow! This is awesome! This is Jesus saying, 'Yeah, David had to eat showbread which is only lawful for the priests to eat, but he did it to satisfy his need.' " So anyway, I read this passage and I just closed the Bible, "Thank you, Lord!" I felt so relieved after years of—well, it was meaningful to me. [laughter]

Here's the story in the Old Testament in the book of First Samuel, um yeah First Samuel chapter 21, David is running from King Saul. King Saul has his eye on him. David has been anointed as the next king. Samuel has already said, "The kingdom has departed from you, Saul, and gone to another." "A man after my own heart," the Lord said through that prophet.

But when David was running from Saul, he went to a little village just a couple miles north of Jerusalem, the village of Nob. And he was there with a priest by the name of Ahimelech. And Ahimelech saw David and he got worried, like: "What are you doing here?" And David said, "Well, I'm on a special assignment from King Saul. He sent me here." "Well, what kind of assignment?" "Well, I can't tell you, it's secret, and nobody knows about it. But I got my men with me and we have a need, and we're really hungry, and could you give us some bread?"

And the priest said, "Well, there is no bread except the holy bread, the showbread, which is only lawful for the priest to eat." David said, "Well, technically it hasn't been consecrated yet, so it's really not all that holy yet. So technically we can eat it." And the priest said, "Well, you're right about that David, but you have to at least be sure that you have gone through certain things; like you've kept yourselves from women." And he said, "We have done that for three days. We've been on march for three days." So the priest gave him the food, the bread.

Now, David was not a priest. None of his men were in the priesthood. He simply had a physical need that at that point superseded any of the ritual, any of the ceremonial law; that was the point that Jesus was making.

But I think there's another point to be made. David was in exile, and it wasn't his fault that he was in exile. David was the next king of Israel, anointed by the prophet as the next king of Israel, but he was not recognized by the nation because of its wicked leader Saul as the next king. Had he been recognized as God's choice, he wouldn't have needed to have been in exile and eaten the showbread. You get the parallel?

Jesus was the authentic king of Israel and one day the King of kings and Lord of lords. But the nation didn't also recognize the Son of David, Jesus Christ, who was in effect being exiled by the leadership. So the parallel is being drawn between David and Jesus; they didn't acknowledge him. Jesus said, and notice it, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man [Jesus] is the Lord of the Sabbath."

Jesus Christ has more authority than the authority of the Sabbath law over the Jewish people. That's quite a statement. What he is saying is that compassion must come first: compassion before custom, relief before ritual. How many of your traditions have you found it difficult to overturn after you became a Christian?

I can only speak for myself. When I became a believer, there was a process of undoing all the things that I had learned simply by tradition. And I find that traditions are some of the most difficult things for people to break. They believe in it because: "I was raised that way." Okay, fair enough. But were you raised according to Scripture? Is this a scriptural directive, and scriptural principle, or is it simply something that you are tethered to by your tradition? So Jesus' authority always supersedes tradition.

As people, and I will even say as believers, even solid Christian believers, we have a tendency to strain at gnats and swallow camels, to put it in Jesus' vernacular. We make it about the outward, not the inward.

There was a time in church history, it still may be prevalent now, where to get into certain churches you had to sign a promise, a pledge—that you wouldn't drink alcohol, you wouldn't smoke cigarettes, you wouldn't go to movies, you wouldn't dance. There was a list of things, you had to sign and promise that. It was all outward.

Yes, there are certain prohibitions that the Bible is clear about, but what the Bible is most clear about is that you come to Jesus just like you are, warts and all, sin and all, and he changes you from the inside first, changes the heart first. He forgives you of your sin first. Not like: "Well, if you want to join and be one of my disciples, you gotta sign this little card." No, "Just come. Matthew the tax collector, just come, follow me. Peter, John, follow me, I'll make you become fishers of men."

So Jesus fishes, and he always cleans his fish after he catches them. But he doesn't make the fish come to him cleaned up. You come just as you are, and he works and changes the heart.

And sometimes people will write me notes and say, "You need to make announcement from the pulpit and tell young ladies how they ought to dress in church because they dress very risqué." And fair enough, but that's not my job to give a dress code; my job is to give out the gospel. Let that person be challenged and changed from the heart, from the inside, and then you will start seeing changes on the outside. [applause] You will chase the rabbit if you try to make it all about the outward, so Jesus didn't.

Mark, chapter 3, "He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand." The word is xéros for withered, xéros. We get the word, you'll recognize it, xeriscaping, from this word in Greek. It means dry. It's spoken in this instance of a limb, an appendage on a human body that appeared to be without its natural bodily fluids; so it appeared withered, smaller than rest, dried out.

"And so they watched him closely, whether would heal him on the Sabbath, so they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, 'Step forward.' And he said to them, 'Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they kept silent. And when he looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, he said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other."

Now, stop here for a moment. It would appear, I would say to the uninitiated or the untrained eye, to be a discrepancy here between what Matthew writes and what Mark writes. And I want to bring this up because if you don't bring these things up, then some nut case is going to try to bring it up in a college class, or in a conversation you have with somebody at the mall: "You know, the Bible is full of errors and discrepancies," and they might bring this up.

And what I mean by that is if you look at the gospel of Matthew, it says that "they"—that is, the Pharisees said to him—Jesus, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to heal or to kill?" Here it says that "[Jesus] said to them," asked the question, " 'Is it lawful on the Sabbath to heal or to kill?' " So people like to go, "Aha! See, we have a, we have a discrepancy in the Bible." Do you really? Why can't both be true?

Perfectly natural for both to be true, and I believe both are true. We notice the chapter begins by saying that "[Jesus] entered the synagogue again, and a man was there with a withered hand." Verse 2, they watched closely, "They watched him closely." They saw the man with the withered hand. Could it be, in fact, that they planted the man who had this condition in the synagogue? They knew that Jesus frequented the synagogue, they knew he was Jewish, they knew he kept the Sabbath, he was always in the synagogue on Sabbath, they knew that, and they knew that Jesus was restless around human suffering. He just couldn't ignore it; they knew that.

So putting Matthew and Mark together, they said to him first, "Hey," like looking at this guy, "is it lawful on the Sabbath to kill or to heal, to save life or to kill it?" And then Jesus would have repeated the question to them, "Is it lawful on Sabbath to do good or to do evil?" He would repeat the question like, "Well, is it?"

"And then he said to them or to the man, 'Come here, stretch out your hand.' "So I don't see a discrepancy at all. They asked the question, Jesus repeated the question to bring focus to it, "Is it lawful? Come here, stretch out your hand."

Now here's what is happening: According to the Jews, on the Sabbath day you couldn't do—what? Work, you couldn't do work. What if a man is sick? What if a man broke an arm? What do you with a guy who is in a serious medical condition on the Sabbath? Well, according to their law, you could only do enough to save the person's life. You couldn't set a limb in a cast, but if he was going to die you could prevent him from dying. You couldn't put a poultice on a wound on the Sabbath day.

So there was this big debate: what can you get away with or not do? They knew that Jesus had a propensity to heal people, so they planted a guy in there: "Hey, is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" Jesus said, "Well, is it?"

Now in Matthew, Jesus says more, "Which of you, if you had an ox that fell into the ditch on the Sabbath wouldn't help it out?" You help out a stupid animal because you own it and it's your livelihood, it will bring you a profit, but you won't help out a human being made in the image of God?"

And so, "He said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand,' " Now can you picture it? He has a withered hand, a xéros hand. I don't know if it looked something like this, I'm just guessing. It was withered, it was hardened. He had a hardened hand; they had hardened hearts which was far worse. He has a hand, he hadn't been able to move the hand because of its physical condition.

Then Jesus says something really weird, "Stretch out your hand." What do you think the Pharisees thought when he said that? They thought—or anybody else in the synagogue? "How cruel is that? To make fun of a guy—don't you think that if he could have stretched out his hand he would have done it long ago, and here you are saying, 'Stretch out your hand.' " It's like telling somebody in a wheelchair, "Let's go for a jog." That's what it would sound like to their ears. "He's making fun of the poor fellow."

But he wasn't, Jesus gave an impossible command, and whenever he gives a command, he gives the power to fulfill the command. Jesus' commandments are always Jesus' enablements.

Remember when Jesus said to Peter, "Peter, you want to walk on the water? Come on, dude. Come on out. Do it." Peter did it. Now, we all know it's impossible for water to displace the natural erect weight of a human being, but it worked; with the command came an enablement. "Stretch out your hand," he did it. He was able to do it because there was power in his command, power in his word.

"And he stretched it out, and the hand was restored as whole as the other." Man, what a great church service. "Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him." Now, all of the gospels describe this collision course that Jesus is on with the religious elite, these Pharisees. They want to kill him.

And they don't want to kill him just because he heals people on the Sabbath day, they want kill him because of the all the things so far he has claimed to be—Lord of the Sabbath, "The Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath." Last week we saw that he claimed to forgive sins. He said to the paralytic who was let down into Peter's house from those four corners by his friends, "Son, you're sins are forgiven, be of good cheer." He claimed to forgive sins.

He called that despicable tax collector named Matthew to follow him, and Jesus even went over and hung out at his house for dinner with the riffraff of the town. This bothered them. They saw Jesus as a dangerous person, not as a teacher come from God, but a real threat to Judaism. "We got to kill him, gotta get rid of him, bad news."

Verse 7, "But Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things he was doing, came to him."

Galilee was densely populated, more so than it is today in that area. And so he would have had just a crowd of locals, most scholars believe thousands of people thick. Thousands of people around just locally, as well as, no doubt, hundreds of visitors from Jerusalem a hundred miles away; Idumea, a hundred and seventy-five miles away; from Tyre, eighty-five miles away.

People made long treks, long journeys because they heard: "This is different. This is new. Who is this man?" So they came intent to get something from him—all of those people, all of those crowds. Lots of people with lots of needs equals lots of pressure. So what does Jesus do? Well, it's interesting that from time to time Jesus did what we are seeing here, he withdrew himself. He got away from the crowd to get recharged in prayer with his Father.

Verse 9, "He told his disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for him because of the multitude, lest they should crush him." So I want you to picture the scene. Most of the towns dotted the shoreline of the Lake of Galilee which is thirteen miles long by about seven miles wide. And so Jesus makes it from wherever he was at toward the lake.

Now having the lake on one side was good because there weren't crowds of people on them. But there were crowds of people from him on all the other sides, so keep a boat ready just in case. It would be like saying, "Keep, keep a car nearby with the engine running," in case he needed to get out, lest he would be crushed. It's matter of pragmatics; it's practical.

"For he healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about him to touch him. Yet the unclean spirits, whenever they saw him, fell down before him and cried out, saying, 'You are the Son of God.' " So Jesus has two sources of pressure: one is natural, one is supernatural. The natural—the crowds of people. They have needs. They want him. They want to hear from him. They want him to do something. People naturally gravitated toward him.

But he had pressure from the supernatural. There's an increase of demonic activity when we get to the New Testament. We read the Old Testament, we don't see much of it. We come to the New Testament, suddenly we find demon-possessed, demon-oppressed people everywhere, which makes perfect sense. Jesus Christ is the long-awaited Messiah.

The promise was made back in Genesis, chapter 3, that the seed of the woman will eventually be born who will crush the head, the kingdom, the dominion of Satan, and so there was reaction in the demonic world. And we comb through the Gospels and we find people who were severely demonized, physically contorted, spiritually isolated, emotionally torn apart.

We don't see, perhaps, as much demon possession today as we read about in the gospels. I say "we don't see it, perhaps," because it doesn't mean it's not around us, but it could be the way we relegate it or deal with it, or avoid it, or diagnose it. I know that if you go to other countries that are much simpler than we are, you do see many instances of demon possession. I have encountered legitimate, what I believe to be legitimate cases of demon possession.

It's interesting, I was reading what a commentator Ray Stedman wrote (he was a pastor in California), that he met a girl who had been possessed with a demon. And he knew her and in a conversation with her she was introduced to the demon world by Ouija boards, by asking questions and getting information, and the movement of the—I forget what it's called again, the little thing on the board. And she said that from that point on she started hearing voices, demonic voices in her head.

And that she couldn't go to sleep at night until these voices were commanding her to write down something on paper. And every night it was like blasphemies, filthy language, the worse kind of words, sometimes several pages of these obscenities. Until finally the voices stopped and she was able to go to sleep; that was her nightly routine until she was delivered from demons.

So these men and women in the New Testament they recognize: "Here is our conqueror, the one who is going to conquer us." And so there was that outburst of demonic activity.

"He went," verse 13, "up on the mountain and called to him those he himself wanted." I find it interesting that Jesus now wants certain people who are following him to be selected as leaders, as apostles. And he has the right to want and to choose whom he wants, and he makes the choice. "He appointed twelve, that they might be with him," number one, "and that he might send them out to preach."

So before he sends them out to preach as apostles, they are to be with him as disciples. Disciple means learner. You're going to learn from him. You're going to watch him. You're going to hear what he has to say. But then eventually, and it was only after three years—isn't that fascinating? Just three years, but what a graduate school that would be, to hang around with Jesus Christ for three years.

And then after three years Jesus said, "Okay, it's done. Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to everyone, to everybody you find." And they became apostles, he sent them out to preach, "and to have power to heal sickness and to cast out demons."

Now we're going to read this list and just make a couple of notes. The list of "the twelve" as they are called, appears four places in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, those are the three synoptic Gospels; not in the Gospel of John, but they appear again in the book of Acts. When they appear there are some similarities: there always seems to be three groups of four men, Peter is always mentioned first, Judas Iscariot is always mentioned last because he betrayed Jesus, and James always appears before John, they were brothers—those are the three things you notice in all of the lists.

So verse 16, "Simon, to whom he gave the name Peter." Now we know Peter to be impetuous. He didn't wait for things to happen; he liked to make things happen. He didn't have a lot of patience at first. Peter was the guy who gets in trouble after he says, "I know who you are, you're the Christ, the Son of the living God."

And then Jesus says, "Oh, by the way, I'm going to Jerusalem. And the plan is I'm going to be killed, and then I'm going to rise from the dead." And then Peter steps in and goes, "Not gonna happen. Far be that from you, Lord, we're not going to let that happen. Like, I'm your God bodyguard. I am Peter. I'm going to protect God." It's just a dumb thought. So Jesus puts Peter in his place, "Get behind me, Satan!" "Whoa! Okay."

Peter was the guy in the garden who took out the sword and went after Malchus the servant of the high priest and cut his ear off. And Jesus had to say, "Put your sword away, Peter. If you live by the sword, you'll die by the sword." Peter eventually denies his Lord, but eventually is restored by his Lord, and went on to be a great leader.

So I just—I smile every time I read this section of the people he picked, and that Peter is first. It just gives he encouragement. Peter's first on the list in all four lists. Of all the people he wanted and picked from, Peter's first on the list. It gives me great encouragement because it shows me kind of patience the Lord has and insight he has into what he's going to do with that person. And Peter was so broken after they denied the Lord, and eventually he became a great witness, and he wrote a couple books, First and Second Peter.

Verse 17, "James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom he gave the name Boanerges," that's an Aramaic term, "that is, "Sons of Thunder." So they're sons of Zebedee, Jesus renames them "Sons of Thunder," Thunder Boys. Now we're not told exactly why, but it's hinted at that because they were so outspoken. And on one hand when the Samaritan village they were passing through didn't want to receive Jesus as the Messiah because he was Jewish and not Samaritan, these two boys said, "Would you like us to call fire down from heaven and consume them?"

So these are followers, these are leaders of Jesus: "Lord, is it your will that we nuke them in Jesus' name?" These were the kind of guys that would wear black leather robes if they could and spiked bracelets. Or they look like I did when I first came out here tonight. Sons of Thunder he named them, "Boys, I'm not going to call you sons of Zebedee, but Sons of Thunder."

There was another occasion when they came to him, these two boys, these two brothers came to Jesus and said, "We have found people who are casting out demons in your name, and they're not following us, and so we told them to stop." Jesus said, "Don't tell them to stop. If they're not against us, they're on our side." Outspoken, Sons of Thunder.

John the oldest of the two brothers will be designated with a special designation as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." Of course, he's the one that wrote that about himself. [laughter] But he will go on to write five books: the gospel of John, First John, Second John, Third John, and the book of Revelation. James will become the first martyr of the church, Acts, chapter 12; Herod killed him with a sword and was going to kill Peter.

Verse 18, Andrew is mentioned, that Peter's brother who was once a disciple of John the Baptist. Andrew was the one who brought his brother Peter to Jesus. He evangelized his own brother.

Then Philip is listed. Now, Philip was one of the disciples that was just—I picture him as an observant disciple, but slow. Slow to get it. Slow to comprehend truth. So when Jesus said—when the crowd came around him and Jesus said, "Hey, bring those few loaves and fish to me that that kid has. Bring that lunch to me." It was this guy Philip who said, "Uh, two hundred denari worth isn't enough to buy lunch for everybody."

He starts calculating, you know: "How many—Okay I figured out like two-hundred-days' wage for a normal labor wouldn't pay for this." He had a calculator for a brain. He didn't understand—forget the calculation, watch what Jesus can do.

Then there's Bartholomew, also called Nathanael in the Gospels. He was the first to doubt that Jesus was the Messiah. They came to him and said, "We have found Jesus of Nazareth." He said, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" So he doubted at first.

Matthew, he's Levi the tax collector, we saw last time.

Thomas the pessimist. He'd be like the Eeyore donkey of the bunch, but very loyal. I don't want to ditz Thomas too much, because we refer to him as "doubting Thomas." I like to think of Thomas as "loyal Thomas." Remember in John, chapter 11, when Jesus' friend Lazarus died and a note came to him by his sisters Mary and Martha? "The one whom you love is sick."

And Jesus said, "Let's go up to Jerusalem. Let's go up to Judea." And disciples said, "Lord, they wanted to kill you last time." Thomas said, "Let's go with him that we may die with him." Now however dour that sounds and fatalistic that may sound, that's a loyal statement. "If he's going to die, let's go with him and we'll die with him." Loyal to the end.

Then, "James the son of Alphaeus," also known as "James the less," not because he was less of a man, less of a person, or less important, simply because he was younger than James the son Zebedee who was older.

Thaddaeus is next on the list. Matthew calls him Labbaeus. Luke calls him Judas the son of James. Don't know a lot about him.

Simon the Canaanite, we know about this guy. Luke calls him Simon the zealot. Zealots were a religious political group sworn to assassinate enemies of Judaism, like Romans and tax collectors. Isn't it interesting that Jesus put on the same team a zealot and a tax collector? That's the body of Christ.

"And Judas Iscariot." People ask, "What does Iscariot mean?" Now, listen to the word—ish-Kerioth. Ish means man in Hebrew; Kerioth was a little village a few miles away from Jerusalem. That's where he was from, Judas who was from Kerioth the Judean town.

"And they went into a house," the verse says, or better yet, they went home back to Capernaum. "Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. But when his own people heard about this, they went out the lay hold of him, for they said, 'He's out of his mind.' "

Now that phrase, "his own people," could refer, and sometimes does, to one's friends, one's associates, or one's family. It would seem that it refers to his own family. They were trying to rescue Jesus, probably his stepbrothers, from the delusions that Jesus had, the claims that he was making that he was the Son of God, the Son of Man, able to forgive sins. They misunderstood him, which would be very humiliating. You have the enemies of state against you, you have your own family against you, and it's tough to get against that kind of press, to fight against it.

So, "His own people heard about this, they went to lay hold of him, for they said, 'He's out of his mind,' " he's nuts. "And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, 'He has Beelzebub,' and," they said, " 'by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.' "

Beelzebub, Beelzebub is a word that comes to us from the Old Testament book of Second Kings, chapter 1. He was the Canaan god who was the god over the Philistine town of Ekron. Here's the story: The king of Samaria, the king of Israel who lived in Samaria fell down from the upper lattice in his upstairs room and he got severely hurt. So he sent his men down to Ekron to "inquire," he said, "of Beelzebub, the god of Ekron," to see if he's going to live, if he's going to make it through this horrible injury.

He was met by the prophet Elijah who asked this question: "Is there no God in Israel that you have to inquire of the false god Beelzebub, the god of Ekron?" Now, the term Beelzebub eventually—because the original word is Baal-Zebub. Baal was an Ugaritic term that simply was the generic term for god or deity of some kind—Ba'al, Baal. But it eventually became known, Beelzebub, as sort of this derogatory term to refer to the devil, the powers of darkness, Satan.

So his enemies said, "He has Beelzebub," a code name for the devil, "and, 'By the ruler of demons he casts out demons.' So he called them to himself." I like this. Jesus heard his enemies say that and he said, "Come here." You know, like, kind of chews them out. "Come here. Come over here, I want to talk about to you about this."

"And he said to them in parables," or an analogy, " 'How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. If Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but he has an end.' " Notice the clear, logical thinking of Jesus Christ laying it out for them. Their accusation, Jesus said, is absurd.

If Satan is casting out Satan's demons, what's happening to his kingdom? It's deteriorating. If Jesus was in league with the devil and he's out casting out the devil's demons, he's fighting against himself. A civil war weakens any nation.

It's absurd to think this way, and so he says, "No one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house." The strong man is Satan. The house is the sphere or area in which he holds sway. Jesus, he is saying, is stronger than the strong man. He's saying in other words, "One must be stronger than Satan to enter his domain, bind him, and set free those who are bound by him."

Now, I think it's fair to say that the binding of Satan came in stages, and is still happening in stages. It was announced that the kingdom of God was at hand when Jesus same on the scene. Jesus' ministry introduced this announcement as One who has come on the scene to bind Satan during Jesus' public ministry.

That binding was guaranteed by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That binding will be experienced for a thousand years when the Bible says he is bound and cast into the bottomless pit for a thousand years while the millennium happens on the earth, Revelation, chapter 20. And then the final phase of that binding will be when he is eternally tossed into the lake of fire, bound by that angel with a strong chain.

So that binding comes in stages, and you have to know that because you would say, "If Satan is like totally bound, sure seems like he has a long chain, because we're still feeling the effects now." And that's true, we are. Satan fell from heaven. And when Satan fell from God's presence as a holy angel, Lucifer, light bearer, became the devil. He was kicked out of heaven as a resident, but he still has access as a visitor, even to the realm of heaven itself where God dwells.

Job, chapter 1, "The sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan was among them." And he had to give an account for himself. Revelation, chapter 12, Satan is called "the accuser of"—what? "The brethren who accuses them before God day and night." So he still has access as a visitor, though not as a resident. But there is coming a day when he will be absolutely and totally bound. The binding was announced, and then guaranteed by the death and resurrection, will take effect during the millennium, and it will be eternal during the eternal state after the millennial kingdom.

Well, three minutes to finish up. I think we can do it. "Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men." No, sorry, I'll slow down. " 'Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation'—because they said, 'He has an unclean spirit.' "

Now, there are some who believe this sin cannot be committed anymore because Jesus was referring in context only to his public ministry. And since Jesus doesn't have a public ministry anymore, he's not bodily here performing miracles, that no one could ever commit the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. I don't think, I don't think that's true.

Understand what's happening: The Pharisees have seen the unmistakable power of God in the life of Jesus, but they are quick to relegate the power of Christ to the work of the devil: "Oh, he does those miracles by the devil." It doesn't have much to do with the words they say as much as the attitude of their heart, which is manifest by their words. The fact that they could relegate an obvious miracle of God to the work of the devil shows where their heart is at; that it is so hardened that they could now ascribe something that is of God to the devil.

Isaiah, chapter 5, "Woe unto those who call evil good, and good evil; and put darkness for light, and light for darkness; and bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" They turned everything completely around.

Now, what is the role of the Holy Spirit? Jesus said, "The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, and righteousness, and judgment: of sin, because they don't believe in me." So the role of the Spirit of God is to convince people—you need Jesus Christ. So when a person says no to Jesus, no to Jesus, no to Jesus, he is resisting, and if he dies resisting, he dies blaspheming the work that the Holy Spirit is trying to do in bringing that person to Jesus Christ.

So I believe the deliberate, perpetual, lifelong shunning and rejecting of Christ is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. And the fact that the Pharisees would say that what Jesus did miraculously was the work of the devil, shows that their hearts were there, or dangerously close to that.

Now, let me just say that some people get worried. I've had people come up to me and say in tears, "I think I've committed the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit." And it's so sweet that they would be so torn up about that. And I don't know exactly what they've done, it could be heinous, could be horrendous.

However, I tell them quickly, "The fact that you're torn up about that shows that you haven't committed that. If you had committed that, you wouldn't care that you committed that. The fact that you still have a tender conscience that you may have done it, proves you haven't done it like these Pharisees who would say, 'You're doing that by the devil,' " That's how hardened their hearts were; had no feeling about that.

"Then his brothers and his mother came, and standing outside they sent to him, calling him. And a multitude was sitting around; and they said to him, 'Look, your mother and your brothers are outside seeking you.' "Now, I find this fascinating. Did Jesus get up and go, "Gasp! My mother? The "Blessed Mother"? Wait a minute, did you say my brothers? You mean I have brothers?"

Now, I'm sorry, I'm not really trying to poke fun at this. I grew up being taught in the perpetual virginity of Mary, that Mary birthed Jesus, and then she stayed a virgin her whole life, and was assumed into heaven. She also was raised into heaven as a virgin, so she is called the "Virgin Mary"; she's still a virgin.

This strikes a blow to that because the brothers and sisters of Jesus are named in the New Testament, they're giving the names. So these half brothers, half sisters were named. So his mother and brothers come: "Look, they're out there to see you."

"He answered them, and said, 'Who is my mother?' " Whoa! " 'or my brothers?' And he looked around in a circle at those who sat about him, and he said, 'Here—here are my mother and my brothers!' " No mention of his father. First of all, Joseph wasn't his father. Second, Joseph probably by this time had died. And most scholars believe he died young, and so his half brothers and mother are there.

For he says, verse 35, " 'Whoever does the will of God is my brother and my sister and my mother.' " This speaks to me of the priority of spiritual relationships over any other relationship. Not meaning that you would disregard your mother, or your brothers, or your sister, or your father on earth; you are to honor them, that's part of the law. Even Jesus from the cross honored his mother and made sure she was taken care of by placing her under the care of John.

But have you noticed that sometimes you have a relationship with your Christian brothers and sisters that goes deeper than your physical brothers or sisters? Simply because you share something in common with your spiritual brothers and sisters you may not with your physical brothers and sisters. I love my brothers. I don't share Christ in common, a relationship of Christ in common with them like I do with you. So the spiritual goes even deeper than the filial relationships, the familial relationships.

"My mother, my brothers are those who do the will of God." Are you doing the will of God? He didn't say, "Those who listen to the will of God, those who come to Bible study and underline or write notes about the will of God—they do the will of God. Those are my mothers and my brothers, and my sisters. There is a relationship that is there, whereby they are my disciples, my followers, my apostles—that's my family."

"Those who do the will of God." What is the will of God? Well, first of all, that you have a relationship with God through his Son Jesus Christ. If you don't have a personal relationship, you're not doing the will of God—that's the will of God 101. You come into relationship with him, you ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins, and you step through that door of faith and have your sins forgiven. Let's pray.

Father, we thank you how that when we come to Jesus Christ our life is stretched, it's expanded. We never imagined before we came how filled and fulfilled our life could become until the new wine was poured in, and in walking with you as followers, learners, disciples, and sent-out ones, apostles. We learn what it is, Lord, to grant through Jesus Christ forgiveness to those who will receive that forgiveness. You've sent us out to do that. We know the power of the Gospel.

Lord, I pray that we would never become a group that turns inward, but that appreciates the fellowship, and appreciates the learning, but then turns outward to see those friends and family members and community members come to a relationship with your Son Jesus Christ, and you through your Son.

Lord, I can't help but wonder if some who are here even tonight have heard and heard and heard and heard, politely so, but their hearts are growing ever harder. So much so that they can hear appeals, see altar calls, watch friends or family members come to Jesus Christ—all the while they have learned so well to say, "Not yet; not now. Don't really want that. Don't feel like I need that." And it can become dangerous to where they become without feeling, or what Paul called reprobate.

So, Father, if any have gathered here who are feeling the tug, sensing, and they have been for some time, the sense to come to Christ, or to come back to Jesus Christ after running away and playing in the camp of the world for too long, to receive your love and forgiveness, I pray they would do so even right now.

If you've come tonight, in looking at your life you have to admit, "I'm not sure that I am saved. If I died right now, I'm not absolutely sure that I would go to heaven. But I want to be sure. I want a do-over, I want a clean slate, I want hope, I want forgiveness, and I'm willing to put my faith in Jesus Christ, and I'm willing to do it now. I'm willing to turn from my past and turn to Christ. Or for some, I'm willing to come back home to him. I'm sick of wandering. I'm sick of backsliding.

As our heads are bowed, as our eyes are closed, if you're gathered here tonight, if you're one of those that I just described, and you're willing to put your faith and trust in Christ and come to him, I want you to slip your hand up in the air as we close. Just raise it up so I can see it. I'll acknowledge your hand and I'll pray for you and give you instructions in a moment.

God bless you, just a few rows from the front; yes, sir. Anyone else? Raise your hand up. Anybody else? Slip it up, say, "Yes, pray for me." God bless you, toward the back. Anybody else? Yes, ma'am.

If you raised your hand, would you just stand to your feet for just a moment? Just stand to your feet, I'm going to have you just right where you are, just pray in the quietness of your own heart, or out loud if you want. Just stand up and say these words to the Lord right where you're at.

Lord, I know that I'm a sinner. Forgive me. I believe in Jesus. I put my trust in him, that he died in my place on a cross, that he shed his blood for my sin, that he rose from the dead to conquer. I turn from my sin; I turn to Jesus as my Savior. I want to live for him as my Lord. Fill me with your Holy Spirit; help me to live for you, in Jesus' name, amen.

Additional Messages in this Series

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4/3/2013
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Mark 1:1-31
Mark 1:1-31
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The gospel of Mark is a fast-paced, action-packed read—a small package full of great things! In chapter 1, we encounter John, a messenger who prepared the way for and baptized Jesus. Jesus was immediately sent into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. He then began His ministry—gathering four fishermen as unlikely disciples, casting out an unclean spirit, and healing Peter's mother-in-law.
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4/10/2013
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Mark 1:32-2:20
Mark 1:32-2:20
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Jesus Christ, the selfless Servant, is not "willing that any should perish" (2 Peter 3:9). He came in the flesh and touched contagious, sick, and demon-possessed people—He healed them and He forgave their sins. He ate with tax collectors and sinners—the ones that needed to be saved. The Pharisees scorned Him for that. But He didn't mind, because He didn't come to pour new life into an old system, He came to bring something brand new.
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5/1/2013
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Mark 4
Mark 4
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"To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God" (Mark 4:11). One of the ways that Jesus taught was through parables. On many occasions, Jesus shared a story of something familiar—farming or shepherding, for instance—in order to reveal truths that were previously unknown. These were stories with a message. Jesus wanted to teach the people spiritual things; He did it by showing them physical things. The power of a good, well-told story drives the truth home so that it can be applied in the life of the hearer.
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5/15/2013
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Mark 5:1-35
Mark 5:1-35
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Jesus has compassion on everyone who is lost and entangled with the enemy of God, Satan. From this study of Jesus’ encounter with a demon-possessed man, we learn that while Satan desires to rob us of joy and see us condemned to eternal judgment, Jesus has ultimate power and has already defeated this enemy.
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5/22/2013
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Mark 5:30-6:13
Mark 5:30-6:13
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God is not a prisoner to the laws of nature—He is God of the extraordinary. The miracles Jesus and his disciples performed validate who Jesus is and they reveal the heart of God. In this study, we learn to face life's difficulties, while remembering that God is good. Both faith and unbelief are powerful—and they carry eternal consequences.
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5/29/2013
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Mark 6:7-56
Mark 6:7-56
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Jesus made His disciples apostles by sending them out to deliver His message. That message was heard by Herod, whose worldly sorrow led to death—the death of John the Baptist. When Jesus invited His messengers to go with Him to a quiet place and rest, they discovered a multitude of people in need of compassion and teaching, like sheep without a shepherd. As believers, we too are called to become apostles—careful to share the gospel with those in need.
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6/12/2013
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Mark 6:45-7:23
Mark 6:45-7:23
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In this study, we learn that obedience to God's Word does not always equal smooth sailing. Yet, the Pharisees were more concerned with being ceremonially pure than morally upright. We must remember that God is first concerned with our inward attitudes before our outward actions.
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6/19/2013
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Mark 7:24-37
Mark 7:24-37
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No matter what we do, we cannot get to Heaven based on our own merit. Jesus came to earth to offer His life as a sacrifice so we could be reconciled to God and fellowship with Him. In this study, we see Jesus demonstrate His amazing love by seeking outsiders to bring into His covenant. We're reminded that God alone can satisfy us, and He offers His salvation as a gift, but first we must receive it.
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6/26/2013
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Mark 8:1-33
Mark 8:1-33
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The feeding of the 4,000 in Mark 8 is a miracle we don't often consider, but through this miracle, Jesus demonstrated that His love isn't just for the Jewish nation but for anyone who will receive Him. And, through the Pharisees' refusal to see Jesus' authority and the man Jesus healed from blindness, we get a valuable lesson in faith. We also learn that we should seek God first in all of life's matters and are reminded that when we fail to remember God's mercies, our hearts begin to harden.
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7/10/2013
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Mark 8:34-9:41
Mark 8:34-9:41
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Jesus presented two lifestyles to His disciples: They could deny themselves or live for themselves. Today, we face the same decision. Will we embrace the cross or ignore it? In this study, we learn that if we choose to follow Jesus, we must be willing to serve others, dethrone ourselves, abandon our personal ambition, and submit to God's will for our lives.
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8/7/2013
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Mark 9:42-50
Mark 9:42-50
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Jesus explained that the faith of true believers would be like the faith of a child: simple, open, and dependent. In this study, we learn a tough message from Jesus about how we should deal with our sins and take care of younger believers. As His followers, we must remember that we were bought with a price and our lives should be consumed with His glory.
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8/14/2013
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Mark 10:1-52
Mark 10:1-52
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As Jesus continued His journey to Jerusalem where He would be crucified, He knew He still had divine appointments with people—appointments that would change lives and teach timeless truths. In this study, we see Jesus address self-righteousness, salvation, servanthood, and what it truly means to have sight.
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8/21/2013
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Mark 11:1-33
Mark 11:1-33
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Mark 11 opens with Jesus' triumphant and peaceful entry into Jerusalem. As He encounters the chief priests, scribes, and elders in the temple, Jesus proves His rightful authority, God demonstrates His amazing sovereignty, and we gain insight about how our lives should look as we follow Jesus.
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8/28/2013
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Mark 12:1-44
Mark 12:1-44
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Jesus often spoke in parables, presenting earthly stories with heavenly meanings to all who would listen. However, the religious leaders would challenge Jesus, waiting for Him to make a mistake. Instead, the truths He proclaimed would stumble them. As we look at His responses to the religious leaders, we learn about stewardship and the greatest commandment.
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9/4/2013
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Mark 13:1-37
Mark 13:1-37
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In Mark 13, Jesus addresses His disciples in what is known as the Olivet Discourse. He warns them about spiritual warfare, false prophets, and the coming tribulation for the nation of Israel. As we study this teaching from Jesus, we are reminded as believers to be alert and to get busy telling the good news of Jesus Christ.
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9/11/2013
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Mark 14:1-26
Mark 14:1-26
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As we consider Jesus' last days on the earth, we look at His Last Supper with the disciples and get a glimpse into the hearts of some people who spent time with Him. In this study, we see Jesus' tender and unconditional love and are reminded to take every opportunity for personal intimacy with our Lord.
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9/18/2013
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Mark 14:26-72
Mark 14:26-72
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In Mark 14, we see Jesus preparing for His death on the cross, His trial before the Sanhedrin, and Peter's denial. As we study these moments, we understand the need for believers to be engaged in spiritual battle through prayer, Bible study, and being in the Lord's presence. We are also encouraged through Peter's life that even when we fail, God's grace covers us.
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9/25/2013
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Mark 15:1-32
Mark 15:1-32
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Jesus' claims to be God were so offensive to the Jewish leaders that they gave Jesus an unfair trial—even breaking their own rules—so they could have Him killed. As we examine the trials and beatings that led up to the crucifixion, we learn who the real Judge is and see the extent of Christ's love for us.
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10/2/2013
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Mark 15:22-47
Mark 15:22-47
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The early church leaders drew an interesting comparison between the sacrifice of Jesus and the near-sacrifice of Abraham's son, Isaac. We know God stopped Isaac's sacrifice, but He allowed Jesus to die on the cross. He acted as Judge: giving Jesus what we deserved and giving us what Jesus deserved. As we continue this study in Mark 15, we are reminded to keep Christ's sacrifice for us fresh in our memories.
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10/9/2013
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Mark 16:1-20
Mark 16:1-20
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The resurrection of Christ is the greatest miracle in all of history; it was central in the apostle's teachings. They wanted everyone to know that Jesus conquered death! As we wrap up our study in Mark, we learn about the evidence for the resurrection. But it's not enough to just have the facts. Our lives are a witness and testimony to the people around us, so we must allow these truths to transform our lives.
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There are 20 additional messages in this series.