Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday, September 12th Mark 3:31-35

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Isaiah 25-26; Proverbs 12; 1 Thessalonians 1.
Today's scripture focus is Mark 3:31-35

Mark 3:31-35English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus' Mother and Brothers

31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said,“Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon:  Jesus: Liar, Lunatic, or Lord?
Accompanying David Legge sermon: Jesus' True Relations
Accompanying Robert Rayburn sermon: The Other Half of Salvation

One thing that Legge points out, and I hadn't thought of until he did, even though it is quite obvious - Jesus never gets discouraged from the work God had set before Him.  You and I get discouraged so easily - often needing encouragement or accountability in order to do what God has asked of us (or even just menial tasks!).  But Jesus, despite being thought of as insane, and being accused of deviltry, resolutely continues on the path the Father has laid out for Him.

In our passage today, Jesus' family has come to rescue Him from His insanity (v21).  They hadn't been witness to His amazing ministry because Jesus performed no miracles in Nazareth due to the unbelief of His hometown.    The kid who never ever did anything wrong had probably been considered a bit of an odd ball already - and now they hear about the chaos ensuing around Him, and conclude He's gone off the deep end.  Obviously Mary didn't think that, but she apparently had a hard time convincing any of Jesus' siblings about His deity.

When they come to see Him, Jesus takes the opportunity to point out something - ties of flesh and blood mean absolutely nothing spiritually.  Did He love His family?  Absolutely!  In His dying moments He made sure John would look after His mom.  And, ultimately, He loved His earthly siblings by drawing them into His kingdom (Acts 1:14).  He was not being rude or dishonouring to His mother (obviously not as that would`ve broken on of the commandments).  He`s using this as a teachable moment!

What, then, is a true, genuine, and lasting relationship with Jesus?
MacArthur: The only relationship with Jesus that matters is the relationship of one who obeys the Word of God...who obeys the will of God as expressed in the Word of God and therefore obeys the gospel of Christ.
The only thing that matters is that you believe that Jesus in the one and only Son of God, who died to pay the price for your sin, and that belief manifests itself in obedience. Obedience doesn`t save us, but it is evidence that salvation has taken place.

We cannot let our confidence in the forgiveness and grace of Jesus weaken our resolve to obey Him.  We cannot take Jesus as our Saviour and refuse Him as our Lord.  Honouring Him as our Lord (doing what He commands) is proof that we have genuinely accepted Him as our Saviour.

The church was full of such people in Jesus’ day. Religious people, interested people, enthusiastic people, but not people who were committed heart and soul to doing the will of God. The church is full of such people today. As Samuel Rutherford quaintly put it:
“Oh! How many of us would have Christ divided into two halves, that we might take the half of him only! We take his office, Jesus and salvation; but ‘Lord’ is a cumbersome word; and to obey, and work out our own salvation, and to perfect holiness, is the cumbersome and stormy northside of Christ; and that we eschew and shift.”
The fact is, true Christians, real followers of Christ, and those who eventually inherit eternal life have always been and are now those and those only who do God’s will. As often and as emphatically as this is taught in Holy Scripture there should be no doubt about this in any honest heart. As often as Jesus, his prophets and his apostles warn us not to forget this or minimize this or ignore this, no serious reader of the Bible should ever come away from a text such as ours this morning thinking anything else but that he must, she must begin anew to do the will of God.

And what makes that resolve so important and so necessary is precisely the fact that doing God’s will is often difficult, painful, wearying, unsatisfying, at least in the moment. I guarantee you that virtually everyone listening to me now finds, at this moment, parts of God’s will that you do not want to do. You don’t think you should have to do them. You aren’t sure you can do them. You certainly don’t want to do them. To do God’s will in that way would require real loss, real sacrifice on your part. To do God’s will in that way, you think, would make your life heavy, hard, and sad. You are very sorely tempted to think that it would not be fair of God to require such obedience of you....

it matters not how easy or difficult any piece of obedience may be. There remains this single alternative: to submit to God’s will or to rebel against it. 

This passage also shows us that when there is a conflict between the ties of flesh and blood, and the ties of the Spirit - we need to obey the Word.  We need to place Jesus above our family in the order of who is most important.

Legge makes another point:
If you do God's will in God's word, you will love one another, and you will be bound together by a stronger cord of love and devotion as fellow Christians than you have even with your family of flesh and blood.
One final note - His family didn`t resent this teaching.  In fact, it`s clear that they accepted His teaching on the subject, because  both James and Jude, in their NT letters, did not identify themselves as Jesus` half-brothers (as I surely would`ve been tempted to do, talk about name-dropping!) - but rather as His slaves or servants!

They got it.

Monday's scripture focus: Mark 4:1-20
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Isaiah 27-28
Sunday`s passage: Isaiah 29-30
Monday`s passage: Isaiah 31-32, Proverbs 13, 1 Thessalonians 2

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