Herod and John the Baptist…

Quiet Time – 13.10.2016 [Mark 6:14-29]

Hey homie just read Mark 6:14-29. It’s this super side story about King Herod, his wife and John the Baptist who ends up getting beheaded.


WHO IS JESUS?

“King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known.”

Jesus’ been doing heaps of stuff all over and the rumours are starting to spread and the hottest question of the day is WHO IS JESUS? Some were saying that it was John the Baptist raised from the dead. Some were saying that it’s Elijah. Others said a prophet, just like the prophets of old. It seems that everybody who has seen or heard about Jesus has formed their own opinion about who Jesus is but the truth is that:

NOBODY really knows who Jesus is!

I think this is pretty similar to nowadays. Most people have heard of Jesus and have some conception of who He is regardless of whether it’s actually true or not. I want to make sure I don’t get caught up in different arguments about what Christianity is or isn’t but instead want to help people focus on looking at the person and character of Jesus as shown in His Word. People will then be able to make their own decision about Who Jesus Is for themselves. Praying that the Spirit might work in many people as they see who Jesus says He is and that they might respond in repentance and faith in Him as their LORD.


PEOPLE ARE SINFUL AND MESSED UP

“For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to…”

This story is full of huge amounts of question marks and stuff that makes you sad :( Herod has taken his brother’s wife for himself which is already super messed up in itself. Essentially John the Baptist was telling Herod that it’s totally not okay to marry your brother’s wife and Herodias (Herod’s wife) totally gets offended. She then starts hating him and tries to kill him. It ends up with Herod throwing a birthday party and things start going pear shaped. Herodias’ daughter dances for Herod and he likes it so much that he offers her anything up to half his kingdom. Herodias tells her daughter to ask Herod for John the Baptist’s head.

Herodias uses her daughter to seduce and trick her own husband… It’s just messed up.

What a display of what our sinful nature looks like. Whats more on top of that is that the law that John said over Herod OFFENDED Herodias. John ended up being hated and killed by sinful people who were OFFENDED by what God’s LORDSHIP meant over their lives. They hated hearing the Law that John gave them so they killed him.

This reminds me a lot of Jesus. The King who was so good that people had to find any excuse to hate, mock and kill Him. The fact that there is a King who demands all of our lives offends people. Our sinful nature is selfish and refuses to back down to any King other than ourselves. As we preach the Gospel we need to remember the reality and truth of persecution.

Preaching the Gospel invites persecution and hate.

Let’s keep being bold knowing that as we preach the Gospel the Spirit works in people’s hearts convincing them that He is LORD over their lives.  Let’s keep being bold knowing that many might repent and turn to Jesus in faith.  Let’s keep being bold preaching the Gospel because if we don’t do it, who will?


“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…”

– 2 Timothy 3:12

The Extraordinarily Ordinary Twelve

Quiet Time – 6.10.2016 [Mark 6:7-13]

Hey homies, today I read Mark 6:7-13.  We see Jesus sending out His Twelve Apostles out to various places to preach that people should repent whilst also casting out demons and healing sick people as they anoint them with oil.

Today was a story of twelve ordinary people used by an Extraordinary God.


The Twelve

“Calling the Twelve to Him, He sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.”

This verse sort of comes out of no where because all we’ve really seen of the twelve disciples is that they haven’t done much.  They’ve left behind their jobs and follow Jesus around everywhere but we haven’t seen them do anything really that awesome.  That’s the first thing that really struck out to me from this passage.  They’re 12 extraordinarily ordinary dudes.

Jesus is calling, sending and equipping 12 absolutely ordinary dudes.

Jesus’ Instructions

Now as Jesus sends these ordinary dudes to go do hectic stuff He also gives them a set of instructions.  He essentially tells them to travel super light, no bread, no bag, no money, no extra tunic.  Just hop from village to village, find a place to stay and stay there til you leave!  Oh… and if no one welcomes or listens to you shake the dust off your feet as you leave as a testimony against them!  You’re travelling light but travelling far.  What I think Jesus means when He says “shake the dust off your feet when you leave” is about preaching the Gospel and once they’ve done all they can, (i.e When they don’t listen or welcome them) they have freedom to move on and preach the Gospel elsewhere.

Preach the Gospel, get rejected, move on.  God will provide what you need. 

The Result

“They went out and preached that people should repent.  They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.”

A short and simple conclusion for how this section ends.  It really is pretty interesting how God takes absolutely normal people and uses them to do extraordinary things because honestly before this they’ve done nothing special!  And now they’re preaching repentance, driving out demons, anointing and healing sick people!  Talk about zero to hero!

Twelve normal people did awesome things not because of how awesome they were but because of the awesome God who empowered and sent them out.


Application

My first application point is follows on from most of what I’ve shared already.  I’m just like the twelve disciples.  I’m just plain, regular old Popo, not amazing or wonderful in any way but God’s Spirit dwells within me and He has equipped me with His Word as my guide and tool.  I can now have confidence because my God has called me, sent me and equipped me.  I can have confidence because the ministry that God has put before me does not derive it’s success from how awesome or unawesome I am but instead is grounded in the One who has sent and empowered me.  Be bold Mr Extraordinarily Ordinary Popo!

We are ordinary people used by an extraordinary God.


My second application point goes on from the way Jesus instructed His disciples as they went out.  There are times where similarly I also won’t be welcomed or listened to as I share the message of Jesus and that’s okay.  That’s actually normal.  I need to do all I can and move on.  Of course this is not an excuse to not be patient and faithful with the non Christians I minister to but there is a place where I am freed up to move on and preach the Gospel elsewhere.  I need to be actively praying and trusting God that He will lead me to effective places where He has been working in the hearts of those I talk to about the Gospel.

We will preach the Gospel far and wide.  Not everywhere will welcome and accept us and that’s okay.  Keep moving on and keep preaching the Gospel.


My third application point sort of comes from a round about way of understanding what Jesus says about moving on.  The disciples didn’t bring anything so they needed to rely on the people who took them in.  But the problem that I naturally see is what if EVERY town doesn’t take you in?  Then you’re stuffed!!  Rararara fear, insecurity, I want my control back!  But that’s not what happens, they return back in v30 and they seem totally fine.  That implies that there were enough towns that DID take them in and DID provide for them.  God was clearly taking care of them in that time providing all they needed.  Similarly I need to trust that whatever ministry God gives me, most likely in a full-time vocational capacity He will provide the people who will support me in my Gospel ministry  prayerfully and financially.  This is totally something I’ve been wrestling with recently since I totally feel awkward about asking people to financially support me in ministry.

Let’s trust that God will provide exactly what we need for the ministry He gives us.


“Calling the Twelve to Him, He sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.”

– Mark 6:7

A Lack of Faith…

Quiet Time – 5.10.2016 [Mark 6:1-6]

Hey homie I just read Mark 6:1-6.  Jesus goes back to His hometown and they don’t respond well to Him, in fact they’re described to have an amazing lack of faith!  It ends up with Jesus not doing many miracles there except heal a few sick people.

The people of Nazareth is another example of how people react to who Jesus is.  They live by sight and doubt who He is because of what they’ve seen.


The People of Nazareth

It’s starts off with Jesus teaching in the synagogue and “many who heard Him were amazed…” but they’re not amazed for what you might think.  They begin asking questions like “Where did this man get these things?” and “What’s this wisdom that has been given Him, that He even does miracles!  Isn’t this the carpenter?  Isn’t this Mary’s Son…”  They’re extremely doubtful of Jesus because they’re remembering who He was when He was growing up and living here before He began His public ministry.  He surely can’t be anything else!

The people of Nazareth have a lack of faith because they’re focusing on what they’ve seen only.  They don’t even consider if what Jesus is saying to them is true, if He is who He says He is.  


Jesus

Jesus sees this and is “amazed at their lack of faith.”  They give Jesus’ Words absolutely no consideration, not even the slightest chance.  They deny who Jesus is by relying on their sight.  They live by sight and not by faith.  Just as C.S Lewis argues, Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic or LORD.  It seems that the people of Nazareth see Him as both a liar and a lunatic.

They deny who Jesus is as they live by sight and not by faith.


Application

From seeing this I asked myself:

  • How do I deny His character?
  • How do I fail to respond to who Jesus is?
  • How do I live by sight instead of trusting in God’s promises?

How do I deny His character?

I often deny the fact that Jesus is enough in the way I see relationships.  I can sometimes feel that if I had a partner I would be happier, more satisfied or more fulfilled.  This is a straight up lie.   In fact human partners are all deficient, they can never satisfy me the way that I intrinsically need because it’s only found in Jesus.

Jesus is absolutely enough for me. 


How do I fail to respond to who Jesus is?

Jesus is king.  He is LORD above all.  But if someone was to look at how I live would they see that Jesus is Lord over all of my life?  Maybe on the surface they would, “Oh!  You’re involved in ministry and all these great leadership roles!  You must be having Jesus as Lord over all of your life!”  But what about my time at home?  What about all the time I spend procrastinating because I’m too lazy and slothful?

I need to be intentional with the way I spend my time at home, one of the ways for me to do this is cut down on the time I spend watching YouTube and rest in a way that will actually help me look at Jesus.

I want to live in a way that shows to everyone that I live for a King who is not myself.  I live for a Kingdom that is not here.  


How do I live by sight instead of trusting in God’s promises?

I live by faith because I trust in myself, my skills and my gifts as I serve in ministry.  I get the delusion that past ministries have borne much fruit because of how skillful I was, how gifted I was, how much I tried to achieve success through them.  In reality they bear fruit because God is Sovereign and He always works by His Spirit whenever His Word is opened to achieve His purposes.  I try to claim His success as my all and delude myself to thinking that I’m the important gear that makes everything run.  Only God does this.  If it was reliant upon me everything would legitimately fall apart.

One way that I can stay humble and remember to rely upon God’s promises instead of what I can achieve is by staying in prayer.  Prayer is how you can really tell if someone trusts God or not.

Prayer is NOT the preparation for the more important thing.
It IS the more important thing.


“Jesus said to them, “Only in His hometown, among His relatives and in His own house is a prophet without honour.”  He could not do any miracles there, except lay His hands on a few sick people and heal them.  And He was amazed at their lack of faith.”

– Mark 6:4-6