Scripture: Mark 2:35-45
This morning we are continuing our sermon series from the Gospel of Mark titled The Crown & The Cross.
Jesus is presented as a man of decisive action with a clear message and mission, and the reader is called to actively response to the message. Mark’s writing style, with lots of action words like “immediately,” communicates a real sense of urgency. How will you respond to Jesus as we hear His life chronicled and discover who He is?
Mark divides Jesus’ life into two parts: his identity as Messiah and King over all things in chapters 1-8a (the crown) and then we see His purpose in suffering and dying on the cross in chapters 8b-16.
In this morning’s text we will see what it means to really be alone.
The New Encyclopedia of Christian Quotations (Solitude)
Solitude scares me. It makes me think about love, death, and war. I need distraction from anxious, black thoughts.
– Brigitte Bardot, actress
There is no test for the soul like solitude. Do you shrink from solitude? Perhaps the cause for your neglect of the “closet” is a guilty conscience? You are afraid to enter into the solitude. You know that however cheerful you appear to be you are not really happy. You surround yourself with company lest, being alone, truth should invade your delusion.
– Gordon Cove, author
How many of you can honestly say you enjoy your alone time? How many would rather be surrounded by people all the time?
Jesus regularly spent time alone with God. We will also see a man who was alone and outcast from society who wanted to be healed and brought back to the community.
As Jesus lived His life as an example for us, what can we learn and apply from this passage? If you take notes, start thinking of your own Take Aways and jot them down as I share this message with you.
READ Mark 1:35-39 ESV
Ministry requires Time with God
Jesus made time to spend with His heavenly Father. He woke up early – it wasn’t just free time. He was disciplined. He found a desolate place where he could be alone without distractions. He prayed and talked to God.
This was important even though He was God, the Son.
When Simon (Peter) found him, Jesus said let’s go so I can preach more. That’s why I came. Jesus did not come for the crowds. He did not come to be popular. He came to preach the Gospel – the Good News of how to be righteous or right with God.
Jesus preached and cast out demons. There was demonic opposition every where He went and He needed to spiritually strong before facing them.
Being a follower of Jesus means following His example of ministry to others.
Jesus, as the Son of God, already had a relationship with His heavenly Father that went back to before there was time as we know it. Yet, while He was here on earth He made a point of spending time with His Father.
Building a relationship requires communication and communication is a 2-way street. It involves both listening and talking. Listening to God comes through reading His Word. Talking to God comes through prayer.
How would you rate your prayer time? Great, Good, Needs Improvement, Non-existent. If you’re taking notes – jot down your rating and circle it. That will be a reminder for later.
There is a brochure at the Welcome Center titled How to Pray. It has a some suggestions and ideas for improvement your prayer time. Like anything else that we want to do, or know that we really should do – it takes discipline and commitment to build a regular habit. Try to pray at certain times of the day. And then as Paul said “Pray continuously.” You can talk to God any time of the day. Anywhere.
Praying with your spouse is a really good habit to develop. Praying with your kids. Praying together in our growth groups is really special. Praying on Wednesday nights with others. You can pick up the weekly prayer sheet or find it on our Facebook Group or FaithLife Group.
How would you rate your personal Bible Study time? Great, Good, Needs Improvement, Non-existent. Again, jot down your rating and circle it. That will be a reminder for later.
Cindi read Psalm 63 for us earlier. Turn there with me.
Listen again to verses 5-6: “My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;”
What is David remembering and thinking about? It’s in the next verses 7-8. You have been my help. I sing for joy. My soul clings to You and your right hand holds me.
When we remember how God has been there for us; when we think about our great salvation in Jesus Christ; when we see His grace and mercy at work in our lives we recognize that He is the source of goodness and blessings. We can be satisfied in Him. We can praise Him and sing with joy.
Is that what your time with God is like? Mine is all too often just reading another chapter of the Bible without stopping to reflect and consider what it means and how I should respond.
We have some good resources for growing in your faith and your time with God. Stop by the Welcome Center for more info or make time to talk to me for some devotion ideas and helps.
If we desire to be a real disciple a follower of Jesus Christ we need to spend time building a relationship with God. He already knows everything there is to know about you; can you say the same for your knowledge of Him? To be an effective disciple to be equipped and prepared for ministry we need personal time with God.
READ Mark 1:40-45 ESV
Ministry requires Compassion
v. 40 A leper came to Jesus begging him and kneeling before Him. He recognized Jesus as King.
Leprosy includes a number of contagious skin diseases.
Lepers were outcasts. No one wanted them near by – they were afraid of catching the disease.
His faith was clear – If you want to – you can make me clean.
Jesus was moved with compassion and reached out His hand to touch Him saying I will heal you. “Be clean:
Immediately he was healed.
Jesus told him to speak with no one, but go directly to the synagogue and see a priest for ceremonial cleansing and re-admittance to society. Leviticus 14, Moses gave very specific instructions for the priest to confirm that someone was healed, then to offer a special sacrifice, and then steps for returning to their home.
When you see someone who is sick, weak, in poverty, in trouble – are you moved with compassion or are you judging them? Is your first thought – what did they do wrong?
Jesus saw people’s needs and cared about them. He brought them relief and hope. That’s what we are called to do.
When Jesus described separating real disciples from the fakes in Matthew 25, he gave examples of compassion.
English Standard Version (Chapter 25)
And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
The man who was healed couldn’t help but share the good news of how Jesus healed him. That is the typical response for one who has been saved and made clean and whole. Do you share the Good News about your salvation with others?
Ministry requires Sacrifice
Because the healed man told everyone about his amazing healing, Jesus was surrounding by people looking for help.
Jesus was being mobbed by crowds, so he could no longer just walk into a town. He went out to desolate places and people came to him from all around.
Jesus again separated Himself from others so He could spend time with the Father.
Jesus made sacrifices. He gave up the comforts of the city: a roof over His head, a bed to sleep on, food to eat. He went out to the countryside where people still came and found him. But he was able to preach to bigger groups and share the Gospel – just as God the Father wanted Him to do.
Being a follower of Jesus requires sacrifices. Serving others in ministry requires sacrifice. You give up your Sunday mornings to spend time in church. Our teachers give up time preparing lessons for our kids and adult classes. Our CCA teachers and staff give up greater salaries so they can serve the families and kids who come to our school.
What sacrifices are you making to serve others? I’m not asking you to pat yourself on the back, but if you can’t think of any – maybe you are doing much in ministry. Pray and ask God where He might want you to serve. Our church cannot complete the mission of developing disciples who worship God, grow in their faith and share their gifts without the body of Christ coming together to help. That is Jesus plan for the church. Let each of you look not only to his own interest but also to the interest of others.
Jesus was alone to be with His Father, the outcast leper was brought back into fellowship and relationship with others, Jesus was in desolate places again to avoid crowds, but people still came out to find Him. We need to be willing to spend time alone with God so that we can bring others into fellowship with Him and the church.
- Do you have regular time in communication with God?
- Are you hearing from Him through the Bible and talking to Him through prayer
- Do you have genuine compassion and love for people?
- What are you willing to sacrifice to be a growing disciple?