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Hope in the Streets

08.20.17 Nathaniel Wall

  1. Pit Stain Sunday
    09.24.17 49m 05s
  2. It Is Finished
    09.17.17 46m 42s
  3. Are you Mary or Judas?
    09.10.17 47m 00s
  4. Jesus Wins the Apocalypse
    09.03.17 47m 12s
  5. Whose Image Is On You
    08.27.17 44m 16s
  6. Hope in the Streets
    08.20.17 38m 21s
  7. The Foundation of Our Convictions
    08.13.17 48m 52s
  8. Transfigured by His Glory
    07.30.17 43m 51s
  9. Bearing Your Cross
    07.23.17 51m 30s
  10. More Than Loaves and Fish
    07.16.17 42m 23s
  11. The Holy Spirit
    07.09.17 38m 36s
  12. The Kingdom Experience
    07.02.17 40m 11s
  13. Your Invitation to Follow
    06.25.17 48m 41s
  14. Liar, Lunatic, or Lord
    06.18.17 41m 51s
  15. What’s in the name?
    06.11.17 33m 15s
  16. Kesher Me Outside
    06.04.17 45m 14s

Hope in the Streets

08.20.17 Nathaniel Wall The Genius of Jesus Series

I’m going to take you through the passage found in Mark chapter 11 as we go through our series together in looking at the Genius of Jesus. And one of the things that we’ve emphasized throughout this series together in Mark, we’ve tied a lot of what’s written in Mark to the Old Testament. So we see the full picture of what God desires for us in scripture.

I want to say those images that we have tied together into the Old Testament to show how God has worked his grand plan orchestra together throughout the Bible is really coming to a head in the last few chapters we’re going to see in Mark. For me, if you’ve enjoyed some of the things that you’ve learned in this series together, it becomes even more powerful, I think in these last chapters to see how God has divinely appointed his purpose in history and invited us to be a part.

And so you should know if you’ve been with us by now, Mark gives some very simplistic messages and demonstrates that. So in the beginning he declares the kingdom of God. Jesus comes declaring his kingdom and then he demonstrates the kingdom, he invites us to be a part of the kingdom and he tells us to come and die. Die to ourself, to live what Christ has called us too in this world.

God created you for his purpose. When you discover the reason for your existence within God’s creation, God’s plan, you truly live for the reason that you were designed. But first you’ve got to recognize the need to die to self. Because in humanity we are created to worship. But one of the things that we tend to worship is ourselves. We make idols of things in this world where God was intended to be the one in which we worship.

It’s when we die to self, we die to those things, we live to God that we live for that purpose in which God has created us. So Jesus has come for that rescue. He’s died for our sins. We’re going to see that in these pages ahead. He’s offered us life in him and to live that life for the purpose of which he has created, which is in his kingdom. And so we have seen this powerfully unfolding in the chapters, and again today, this chapter for me is an incredible chapter that I want it to just saturate not only in my mind, but also embedded itself in your heart.

What we’ve seen in these last couple of weeks is Jesus now making his journey into Jerusalem. He’s pronounced the kingdom. He’s now making his journey into Jerusalem. In fact, in chapter 10 the disciples marked how bold it was that Jesus just going straight forward into Jerusalem, not even looking back, not afraid of what awaits him.

The disciples know what’s happened on the political and religious landscape as it surrounded Jesus. And Jesus just continues to march forward into Jerusalem. If you know the Gospels, you know the story of Christ, you know how it ends for Jesus, but we talked about together that Jesus’ entire life was found in his death. That’s why Jesus is referred to as the lamb of God.

The lamb of God is symbolic towards the Passover celebration of Israel that started back in the time of Moses. When Moses brought the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, the night that they came out, they sacrificed a lamb. It was a picture of Jesus would ultimately come to rescue those that are enslaved to sin, which is the entire world, to give us new life in him. That that lamb would ultimately come pay for our sin, that we could experience new life in him for all of eternity.

And so Jesus is called the lamb of God. With boldness he goes to Jerusalem and he uses his life not only to give us life, but to also demonstrate how to pursue him with this life. In Mark 11 it starts this specific story about Jesus as he journeys into Jerusalem. And if you know the story, Jesus is riding on the back of a donkey. Now, I’m going to tell you if you’ve probably read this story and anyone who’s taught you this, they’ve probably pointed out the humility that Christ has. Just riding on a donkey, out of all the things you could ride, he’s riding on a donkey. How humble is that?

I think there could be some humility taught in riding on the back of a donkey when you could take a white horse and soldiers in armor going into battle. I mean, you could have that picture, but instead you choose a donkey. But I think if you go to this text and you look at Jesus riding on the back of a donkey and how humble that is, you are completely taking an interpretation that is exactly opposite to what this text says. Let me explain.

It says in Mark 11:1, as they approached Jerusalem at Bethpage and Bethany near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, go into the village opposite you. And immediately as you enter, you will find a colt tied there on which no one yet has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone says to you, why are you doing that? You say the Lord has need of it and immediately he will send it back here.

Let me stop there and say this, this is Jesus really showing his divinity. He didn’t have to walk down the street and say, Oh, there’s a donkey. Please get that for me. It’s a baby. It’s a colt, please get that for me. But Jesus already knows it’s prepared. And so Jesus tells the disciples to go out. So they went away and found the cold tied at the door outside in the street and they untied it and some of the bystanders were saying to them, what are you doing untying the colt? And they spoke to them just as Jesus had told them and they gave them permission and they brought the colt to Jesus and put their coats on it and he sat on it.

What Jesus is doing here I think is the opposite necessarily of humility. I believe Christ character is one of humbleness because he humbled himself to the point of death, even death on the cross though being God, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, he came to this earth and he served slaves to sin. So he himself became a servant lower than servants in order to serve us. So I want to argue the fact that Jesus was certainly humble in the way that he presented himself in this world. Philippians 2 argues that for us.

But at the same time what Jesus is doing here is living out a prediction of what was declared about him in Zachariah 9:9, 500 years previous to that Zachariah 9:9 it says this, rejoice greatly, daughter, Zion, shout daughter Jerusalem daughter Zion is Jerusalem. See, your King comes to you righteous and victorious lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the fowl of a donkey. And so Jesus is riding on a donkey as it was predicted in Zechariah 9:9 that when the Messiah would come, he would come riding on a donkey.

But here’s the interesting thing about a donkey. If you read the Old Testament, when you see a donkey often discussed, it’s leadership and royalty that ride on the back of a donkey. And that leader, that royalty would often ride on the back of a donkey or they would ride on the back of a donkey during a time of peace. So Jesus is not only fulfilling what it says about him in Zechariah 9:9 but he’s also given a declaration or a demonstration of who he is and his identity. He’s heading into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey without even having to say a word to declare to the people, you’re King has come to bring peace.

And at the same time, ticking the religious leaders off in the process. To set us death in motion. Could you imagine the boldness of Christ to have to give such a declaration to the people around them that if this were not true, there would be no reason to do this, but Jesus’ riding on the back of the donkey isn’t there just to demonstrate humility. He’s giving a declaration by his very presence that he is royalty. He is King, and it’s this time of peace and the peace that he’s offering is you and your relationship with God. Showing his willingness to put himself out as a sacrifice, knowing that this would ultimately lead to his death.

Here’s the interesting part, was the reaction of the crowd. Many spread their coats in the road. Others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. Those who went in front and those who followed were shouting Hosanna, which means save us now. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blesses is the coming kingdom of our father, David. Hosanna in the highest.

In these verses the crowd is chanting, in Psalm 118:25-26. In verse 25 it says, salvation now. Verse 26, blessed is he comes in the name of the Lord. And here’s the interesting part. I can’t really prove this but I know this portion of scripture is part of the Hillel. The Hillel was a series of Psalms that they would sing as they journeyed into Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. And so you can imagine this pilgrimage taking place where thousands of Jews are ascending upon Jerusalem.

As they journey in the streets, they know the Hillel, they know these passages in the Psalms and they’re singing them together as they make their way up to the temple to present the lambs as a sacrifice. And during this time they would take their sacrificial lambs for the Passover. They would go to the temple and they were present them to the priest and the priest would have to scrutinize them to make sure they were without blemish. And so for four days, those Passover lambs would stay under the scrutiny to make sure they were pure for the sacrifice. And as they’re singing these songs, they get to Psalm 118 and as they turn right before they start to recite verse 25 they turn and they see their King, coming on the back of a donkey, offering piece.

And when Jesus is coming into Jerusalem, his time into Jerusalem is not an accident. Because this is the very time in which the Jews would present their lamb in the temple under the scrutiny of the priests to demonstrate its purity. And Jesus is making his way into Jerusalem as the ultimate lamb at that exact moment of the people are shouting the song and the declaration of who he is.

The crazy part about Psalm 118 is just three verses before and in verse 22 it proclaims that he is the stone in which the builders reject. And so the same Psalm in which they’re using to declare exactly who Jesus is is also the same song to demonstrate that they’re going to reject that Messiah is coming. It says, verse 11, just as the Passover lamb would have been presented, that Jesus journeys to the temple, entered Jerusalem, and he came into the temple as the Passover lamb. And you’re going to see at the end of this chapter into chapter 12 we’ll tie this in next week, that Jesus is scrutinized by all the religious leaders in Jerusalem, just like the passover lamb.

And after looking around at everything, he left for Bethany with the 12 since it was already late. I want you to think about this historically for a moment. The Jewish people in their mindset, when the Messiah comes, it’s going to dominate over Rome and the people are finally going to lead. And so you can imagine there you’re chanting Psalm 118 and they’re seeing Jesus like, yeah, it’s going to happen! And they’re like following him into the temple. And then Jesus walks in the temple and says, I’m here. And he turns around, this, walks right back out. They’re like, wait a minute, where’s the revolt?

But Jesus is teaching something different about his kingdom. That his kingdom is first offered spiritually to us, but the King will physically return. Well, let me just make a point to this. You see in this passage of scripture, people rallying in the street for a cause. I think it’s no different than our country today. We’re all looking for hope. We rally in the street for different reasons, fighting for different causes, hoping to bring hope for those causes in which we’re rallying against, retaliating against injustices. Sometimes to the extent that we spew hatred, rhetoric towards the opposite side, which we oppose becoming just like them.

In recent months within our own country, we’ve seen mass movements in feminism and racism and religion and political positions. I don’t know what the end goal is for all of them, maybe world dominance. No doubt that in each view there is something to hold too, which is representation of godliness. Inevitably in all causes, when they’re not defined in their intentions and purposes, I find at some point someone tries to hijack them and push them in the wrong direction, because ultimately I don’t think we always have a compass by which directs us.

Can I be honest and candid with you this morning and someone that loves our country, loves people. I think for those that carry the torch of feminism or are against racism, which is the opposite of racism, I looked this up this week, the antonym is tolerance, which is a horrible word. We need to invent a better word than that. Like I tolerate your skin color. That’s not a very good word, but those that oppose racism, I think those are good causes. I think the equality of women and recognizing the beauty of God, creating women for his purpose, those can be good and godly things.

But can I tell you that feminism in itself isn’t the end. Intolerance or anti-racism in itself isn’t the end means. I think the best way to honor women, is to pursue Jesus. And the best way to appreciate the different ethnic groups in the world isn’t to be anti-racist, it’s Jesus. In him we see where the causation of those movements can have an end because he gives the direction behind them. It’s not about world dominance in that topic. It’s about recognizing the beauty of who people are according to the way that God has designed us.

I think as people, one of the things we’re going to look at the end of this text is we’re going to promote leadership and the way God has designed you in leadership. But let me just give you an example how when we neglect Jesus, how sometimes our worldviews can break down if we just use those movements as an end to themselves, apart from Christ.

Here’s an example. If someone’s worldview is atheism, and by the way, we love everyone here. We have a truth that we hold to, but we love people here regardless of your worldview, but we’re going to honor Jesus in our lives. But as a way of just an example, if your worldview is atheism, this is just me talking about an area I wrestle.

The belief in atheism, if you, if you hold to a macro evolution, which means this primordial ooze to fish to man and see that same person fighting against racism in this world, I can’t see how those worldviews fit together. Atheism against racism. Here’s why. If you believe as people, we’ve evolved from primordial ooze to fish, to man, like your belief would also include the fact that humankind is evolving. If humankind is still evolving than there would be in that understanding a superior race, if not one that would eventually emerge. And I think the undertones of that system leads to racism.

But when you start with the identity of Jesus creating us in different ethnic groups for his glory, for his purpose, there’s not multiple races in scripture. There’s only one race, the human race. God makes different ethnic groups to express the beauty of who is under that. I think that gives us a better appreciation for our identity as human beings rather than just to suggest that we’re evolving. Because under that idea, one group would evolve more superior than others. And I think that is the undertone of racism. So that’s why I say the basis of your identity in Jesus becomes central in how you pursue these injustices in the world. Because ultimately our identity in him is what shapes everything.

Here we see these people rallying in the streets. They’re looking for hope. And here we see in our country, people rallying in the streets looking for hope. And they see in Jerusalem marching down the street their hope. But it’s not just for Jerusalem, it’s for you. And this Hillel in which they sing is an expression not just for them, but for us in this land that’s being scrutinized. Not just for them, but for us, that we could shape our identity in this.

I’m going to skip the next three verses and come back to it in a minute. But Jesus leaves and then it tells us in verse 15, Jesus then goes back to the temple. It says in verse 15, and they came to Jerusalem and he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple and overturned the tables and the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves and he would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. And he began to teach them saying to them, is it not written? My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations, but you have made it a robber’s den. And the chief priest and the scribes heard this and began seeking how to destroy him for they were afraid of him, for the whole crowd was astonished at his teaching.

Now, if you were to see the temple today, it doesn’t exist, but if the temple Jesus was that was there in existence, you recognize the temple was segregated. There was a place for the women, a place for the men, a place for the priests, and there was a place for the Gentiles. What’s happening in this story that Jesus has is sharing is that Jesus is going into the court of the Gentiles. And during especially celebration days, they would set up money exchanging places and places people could go to buy animals to sacrifice that were approved according to the priests. And when people would go into Jerusalem, they would gouge the prices of these items.

So this place that was intended for the Gentiles to gather around the temple to experience the glory of God through the people of God of which he has appointed for the Messiah to come, rather than have a place to go and gather and to experience this, they were shoved out for the purpose of making money in Israel. And so Jesus says two things in this story. He says one, that I wanted my house to be called a house of prayer for all the nations. And two, you’ve turned it into a den of robbers. You see how they’ve turned it into a den of robbers by exchanging what was intended for the Gentiles to be a place for merchandise and really gouging the prices to take advantage of people. Definitely a den of robbers.

But I think the more central truth that Jesus teaching here, while he’s acknowledging what they’re doing wrong, is what he desires for them to do right. And when you look at the temple in Jesus’s day, it’s important to recognize Jesus created a space for people who were just searching. And it was so important to Jesus for people to have that space that he’s willing to go in chaotically with whip in hand, and just beat people out of there.

God loves the nations. God desires for people to know him. That’s why he tabernacled in this world. Jesus said, when you, when you read in the Old Testament, God tells Moses to build the tabernacle. The tabernacle means dwelling place of God. And then when you read in John 1, it tells us in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning and the Word became flesh, and get this, tabernacle among you.

God desires to dwell among you. And Jesus is ticked when his people don’t see the need of creating space for the world to gather and hear that message. That’s why I repeatedly saying, hopefully you’re maybe even sick of it if you’ve been here for a while, but when I say every soul that comes through our doors is important. This is where Jesus went went bananas in scripture. You see two pictures of Jesus going Old Testament on people in the New Testament. In those two pictures are when the his people are not creating a space for people to gather and just hear the glory of who he is. How important it is for us to understand that God wants to tabernacle with you. That’s why Jesus came.

That’s why he says in the New Testament, Paul says, 1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 6:19, you are the temple of God. It’s no longer in a building. It’s not just Jesus’s presence, but now it’s Jesus’s presence in you. And so when you interact with this world, the presence of God is being made known, the glory of God is being made known in your life. And so when we gather on Sunday, when we rally as this community, this is the most important place to reflect the goodness of God in provide a space for people just to hear about God and be able to ask questions and learn and grow and see how this community loves one another. Embraces one another. And by the way, you are invited to the cookout at 1pm.

And it’s not just on Sunday, but it’s Monday and every day of the week. In fact, to get this expression across of what God wants to do in you and through you by making you a temple to reflect his glory in the world, to provide the space to invite the nations before you to demonstrate the goodness of God, this is what John said in his book. 1 John 4:20 if someone says, I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar. For the one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, who he has not seen.

You cannot say, I love God and hate people. It does not compute, because that’s who Jesus came for. And if you love Jesus, you love what Jesus loves. So your relationship to the world, your relationship to those around you, your neighbor who you may not even know or the people that are close to you, it will directly affect your relationship with God. That’s why Peter says in 1 Peter 3:7, husbands love your wives or your prayers will be hindered.

That’s why Ephesians in chapter six it talks about the relationship between parents and child. That’s why in Matthew 5:23 Jesus says this. Therefore, if you’re presenting your offering at the altar and remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering at the altar, be reconciled to your brother, then come and present your offering. That’s why in Romans 13 they talk about political leaders and being under authority and respecting those in authority. It’s why in Romans 12:20 Paul says, but if your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he’s thirsty, give him a drink. It’s why Jesus says in Matthew 5:44 but I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

You realize Jesus did that for us. While we were enemies, Christ died for us, Romans 5:8. Your relationship to this world directly affects your relationship with God. That’s why Jesus was ticked when he went into the temple. There was no space made, no concern for the world, no love for those around them. Their interest was self.

Sometimes we look at verses like that and we say, you know, I’m good. I’m good, I don’t do anything bad. But you know, the truth is it may not be that you don’t do anything bad, but you may not be doing anything at all. And the reality is Jesus is shaping you for a purpose. And sometimes Christians can be the best at being complacent butt sitters. But what Jesus is saying in this passage is stop sitting on your butt.

God doesn’t want you to be a spectator, but a participator. That’s why the temple of God dwells in you. I mean, if the story that we’re sharing today, I mean it’s an incredible story. You think about it, Jesus turning into Jerusalem at the exact time when the Passover lamb and they’re singing the Hillel, this same passage that promotes the glory of who Christ is. If that story is true, why not participate? Why would you sit?

As a church we try not to complicate the way we serve God together. We don’t think it needs to be complicated. In fact, sometimes churches make it too complicated. Following Jesus is simple. It is. It’s just drawing near to him. And as that relationship becomes natural in your life, you share it. It’s when it’s unnatural that you fumble through it and it’s difficult. It’s not to say everyone always feels prepared to talk about Jesus. Sometimes we recognize that our relationship with Jesus is a sacred thing and we want to treat it with the utmost respect and so we intimidate our own selves sometimes in that.

As a church we don’t want to make things complicated. We try to make it simple. And so if you’ve been at ABC for any amount of time or you’re new here, let me just explain how things go for us as a church. We do what we call breathe in, breathe out. In the fall to the spring, we breathe in, in discipleship and growing in community. In the summertime we breathe out. And so we end most of our community groups, and we do evangelism. So in the summertime it’s all outreach, outward focus, get beyond this building, do things for the Lord in the community.

Then during the fall when the snow comes and everyone hunkers down and hides, we get deeper in community with one another. In fact, you’re going to see over the next couple of weeks, a couple of inserts in our bulletins and come to you. One is there today, it’s called join a team and join a group. Join a team is about serving the Lord. If you want to help us serve on Sunday, there’s a way to do that. If you want to serve beyond that, that’s not in the bulletin today, but we need people well to serve, to understand what God’s called us to in the world and do that. And so if you want to join a team, grab a bulletin and fill that out.

The other part is connection. Be connected. We have community groups that meet throughout this area. Let me just tell you in honesty, I love Sundays. It’s a great time for us to rally in the Lord together. But it’s difficult to use your gifts to serve when you’re sitting in rows. And there are places to serve, but it’s difficult to do that when everyone’s just facing me. Hi, hi. It’s when you get in circles and you understand what’s going in each other’s lives, that you can encourage one another in the Lord and use your gifts to help one another. That’s what our groups give us opportunity to do. I’m not saying it’s the only way to serve God. I’m just saying we just want some clear paths to be able to do that. Because God’s created you for that purpose, to make the glory of who he is made known in your life.

Here’s the reality. Is that you were created to lead. You think all the way back in the Genesis, when God made us, he said to Adam and Eve, let us make man in our image, in the image of God, he made them both male and female and he said to them, verse 28 be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth. That says, lead.

I want to talk about lead. I’m not just saying you go out in this world and you’re like, I’m a leader because Jesus said so. I’m saying lead according to the way Jesus defines leadership. So the way that you understand what it means to lead is to get to know Jesus and walk with him because we’re not just promoting whatever group, like I said a minute ago, you’re not promoting whatever group for the sake of the group. But the ultimate thing that defines us in all of this, the one that gives us purpose, meaning, value is Christ himself. So unless that vision ultimately drives on him, the reason for leading or leading anything is nil. Because what God calls us to do is lead in him. And so when God created you, he created you to lead. And sometimes that sounds intimidating.

Now if you look in Mark 11:12-14, after Jesus walked to the temple, he didn’t leave and he’s like, I’m hungry, going to go eat off this tree. And he walks over to the tree and the tree is not bearing fruit and Jesus curses the tree. Then Jesus goes to the temple and he rips it to pieces and tells everyone to get out. And I love people and provide space for them and lead the way I called you to lead. As they’re leaving the temple, Peter notices that the tree in which Jesus cursed is now dead.

Now that picture is a shadow of Israel in these moments, because by and large, the people of Israel are rejecting God and he’s showing that they’re dead on the inside. But then in this remark, Jesus teaches us about leadership. This is where Peter said, being reminded, Peter said to him, Rabbi, look, the fig tree which you cursed has withered. And rather than just simply just dialoguing over how bad it is that I’m being rejected, or Jesus could have said that, you know, this is horrible. I’m being rejected. Jesus and looks at Peter and he tells him how to lead.

In the midst of your world today, you can look around at everything that you don’t like and complain about it. Or you can do something. And you know the ultimate goal for which you do it. And so the first thing that Jesus teaches about in leadership is how to lead with humility. Let me show you how. He says this in verse 22, Jesus answered them, saying to them, have faith in God. The ultimate thing that defines your leadership, have faith in God. I know leading can sometimes be intimidating. Have faith in God.

Everyone in this room is created to make an impact for the Lord somewhere, whether it be in your home or work, friends, family. And Jesus is saying the thing that drives us, have faith in God, even if it’s intimidating, have faith in God. And this is why truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, be taken up and cast into the sea and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted. Therefore, I say to you all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them and they will be granted.

Now, this passage isn’t saying pray for a Rolls Royce, you’re going to get it. 1 John 4 talks about praying according to God’s will. This is in context of Jesus’s kingdom. Praying according to what Jesus wants to accomplish in his kingdom. But Jesus compares us living in him as saying to this mountain move and it’s cast away.

We say this often, we’ve said this about the faith of the mustard seed, but just want to remind you of this when it comes to leadership. Your ability to do anything for Jesus in this world has nothing to do with your strength, but everything to do with his strength working through you. Meaning you don’t have the ability to change hearts. Jesus is the one that transforms hearts. You’re just the agent which God uses to express his glory, to work on the hearts of others, but it’s God who ultimately transforms hearts. If you ever get around someone and try to change their heart, they’re going to call you a nag. That’s not what you want to do.

You don’t want to nag people to Jesus because that does not work. You want to love on people the way Jesus would love on people and pray for people the way Jesus would want you to pray for people and see how God works in their lives, but never nag someone. In fact, Proverbs has a few statements on that. It says, according to the husband and wife, the man would rather live in a house with a leaking roof than in a home with a nagging wife. So don’t nag. Nagging is not healthy.

What he’s recognizing in our lives is his power. What I say to you this morning is this: it’s not the depth of your faith that makes you such a great leader, but the object of your faith. It’s not the depth of your faith that has the power, but the object of your faith. Meaning if you’re willing to surrender yourself to Christ and just lead, no matter how small you feel, the power in that is not in you, but in him.

That’s why Jesus is looking at Peter in the midst of this, these just saying, listen, in order to lead the way that I’ve called you to lead, recognizing that God has called you to lead, it’s not the depth of your faith, but the object of your faith. You don’t have the ability to move a mountain, Jesus does. God wants to work according to his kingdom in which he came to establish.

And then he says this, whenever you stand praying because you should pray knowing that the power comes from God. Whenever you stand praying, forgive. If you have anything against anyone so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you of your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions. Let me give you what I think is being said here, true Christians forgive because we understand what we’ve been forgiven in Christ.

No one’s going to ever sacrifice more in forgiving than Jesus. And if you follow Jesus and you want to demonstrate Jesus, true followers of Jesus, forgive. Jesus, forgave so much, and while you are an enemy of God, when you’ve blasphemed and cursed and turned from him, he’s still died for you.

Now I think what this passage is also recognizing is relationship. Notice it says Father. I think it’s written to those that have put their trust in Jesus. And what it’s saying is your relationship to people in this world will directly affect your relationship with God, they’re not isolated from one another. And if you want to experience a healthy relationship with your Father, demonstrate what the Lord came to do in this world by forgiving others. Because your relationship and how you live it out in this world will reflect your relationship with him.

Meaning when you see people promoting a cause in this world which ticks you off, don’t in vengeance and anger, and a lack of unforgiveness, hate them back. Certainly stand for truth. Stand for what’s right. And while they are enemies, love them as Jesus would love.

Hate building on a hate will never promote a changing of a heart. Only those bold enough and confident in who they are in Jesus and loving those who are still enemies of God. That’s what promotes who Christ is.

So when it comes to leading as God calls us to lead. Yeah, it can look scary. Yeah, it can seem impossible, but you serve a God who moves mountains and the emphasis isn’t about you. It’s never been about you. It’s about his glory. It’s not the depth of your faith. Sometimes when we take steps, we just feel like we’re walking on thin ice. But it’s the object of our faith and when we live our lives that way the thing that sometimes causes us the most pain is our relationships with others. But it’s in living out forgiveness that healing begins.

I hope as we’ve seen the story of Mark over the course of the summer, you’re beginning to find clarity in Jesus if you haven’t already. And what we’re doing in our lives is we’re lining up the bullseye for which God called us to the live in this world. From discipleship to making direct decisions in Christ more than just persuasion in Jesus, but deep rooted conviction and our identity in him. Not to sit on a fence, but to see this incredible story unfolding in our lives intended to transform your life in the Lord and the way you interact in this world.

Don’t be a dead tree. Embrace the Lamb to let God move mountains in your life and impact the relationships of those around you. To look at this cause in which Christ has set before us and run to him.