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Liar, Lunatic, or Lord

06.18.17 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

Liar, Lunatic, or Lord

06.18.17 Nathaniel Wall The Genius of Jesus Series

I’m glad to see you here this morning, worshiping with us as we continue in a series together on studying the identity really of Jesus through the book of Mark. This series for us, we’re just taking the time in the first couple of weeks dive deep into the prologue of the explanation for the gospel of Mark. And then we’re going to show why that prologue is so impactful in the understanding of what Mark represents to us and how it should transform our lives.

In the beginning of this, we talk about the relationship this text has to the first century. And the way they would have received it so that we can make the application to our lives and why it matters. So we’re going to talk about the information in this text for the purpose of transformation. And in that transformation answered the question why any of what we read today should, should matter.

If you followed along for the first couple of weeks. I am glad you have an understanding of the basis of this text. If you haven’t followed along and you want to be a part of this series, I’m going to tell you if you listen to any messages related to the book of Mark, the first two that we shared together sets the framework for understanding the context of Mark in the right state of mind and exactly what Jesus is expressing through his ministry on earth and what he desires to accomplish.

And we saw this together in the very first verse. If you brought a Bible this morning, I want to invite you to open to that, to the passage in Mark. It’s the second book in the New Testament. As we go through this explanation together on what’s happening in this passage. The first few weeks, we were really slow into the first 15 verses of Mark just to gather the explanation of this passage. And we’re going to slam down the gas a little bit and move a little faster today because I want us to look at the broad picture of what’s being expressed in Mark now.

As he went through the first 15 verses, he in a very pointed way explains the identity of Jesus, why he’s come. And then he sorta hits the pedal to the metal and proving now what he’s proclaimed in these first few verses. And he shares stories for us in this opening chapter into chapter two, these short stories of the interaction of what Jesus is doing in these moments. Because of the proclamation he makes in the first 15 verses. And if you’ve been here for the first couple of weeks when we read verse one, it should add such imagery to your mind that you really gathered the idea of what Mark is saying in this passage of scripture.

The beginning of the gospel, the proclamation of a King in victory. That’s what the gospel is of Jesus Christ. That name isn’t just the name, it’s a title Jesus, talking about salvation. Christ, talking about the anointed one, the King. So this is the proclamation, the victory of the saving King, the Son of God. And this phrase, “Son of God” was a borrowed term from Rome. They would refer to Caesar as the son of God. To refer to someone else as the son of God would have been considered treason in Roman society. And yet what Mark is doing in this passage is something that could have gotten his head cut off. But he’s declaring the identity of who Jesus is.

And also in all of this points to the deity of Christ. But what you’re seeing is a message that is counterintuitive to the Roman society. And the proclamation, the representation of what Jesus represents in this world for us. Not just for the time that he walked the earth, but for all time, for all people. Jesus is this victorious saving King, the Son of God.

Throughout the story of the first 15 verses, you see it demonstrated in the life of John the Baptist. We don’t have time to go back through that again. And at the baptism of Jesus himself, as the Father gives the proclamation of who Christ is. And to do that both John the Baptist, in his statement in verse two and the Father, when Jesus is baptized in verse 11, both of them speak Old Testament passages in those moments so that the Jewish mind could grab ahold of the identity of who this person is. These passages weren’t just pulled out of the dark. They were passages that meant something to Jewish tradition. To point to the identity of who Jesus is, so that we did not miss it.

And when you see all of these verses, when you get down to verse 15 I would say this is a verse for us a highlight verse that we’re going to sit on today. And a verse that we’re going to explain through the stories that are shared throughout this passage.

But in verse 15, if you’ve got one of the red letter Bibles, the Bibles that identify when Jesus is speaking, this is the first time Jesus audibly says anything in the gospel of Mark. And he says, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.” So the message of this King is the kingdom. And what exactly that means for us as people: repent and believe, He says. Which means turn from all the other kingdoms in life that you’ve trusted in and pursue this King and His kingdom. The idea of repentance is a changing, an inward change of the heart and the loyalty of what you have made idol of your life to look towards Jesus in worship. Put your belief or your trust in what this represents.

And so what Mark does in the proclamation of Jesus as he gives us introduction, these first 15 verses, is then to go through story after story to quickly just explain how this kingdom makes itself known. And one of the things we pointed out at the end of last week, which I’m going to use as a springboard into this week, is the comment of what happened in Mary’s life as Jesus was born.

Jesus was born. They followed Jewish tradition, taking him to the temple in order to make sacrifice. While they are there, someone prophesies over Jesus, his name is Simeon. And he gives this outlandish statement to Mary at a time at the birth of Jesus when they should be celebrating. And he gives this sort of negative tone towards all of it and he says, “And a sword will pierce even your own soul,” talking to Mary.

And we asked the question why? Why would he do that? And I think the answer is because in our lives, when we face challenges in our world, the question that we want to ask is, God, where are you? God, do you care? Knowing that Jesus’ life would result in the cross, Mary has a reminder from the Lord in her life. That even in the depth of that heartache and the pain in that moment, God’s there. In fact, God is bigger than our pain.

One of the exciting passages of the Bible to read when it talks about God’s kingdom, I think is Romans 8. Especially if you read chapter seven. In chapter seven Paul says, “Oh wretched man that I am. Who will save me from this body of sin and death?” Paul talks about though he desires in spirit to live for the Lord, in the flesh he does not live it out. And so he wrestles with the old man. And then when you get to the end of the seven, don’t ever stop at seven. Please read eight. But eight just gives such a beautiful picture of God’s kingdom being bigger than our pain and being present in our pain.

And it says in Romans 8:31, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us. But in all of these things, we overwhelmingly conquer through him who loved us. For I’m convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.”

And that’s the way Paul is saying whatever you think of in life that may be a hindrance to you in pursuing Jesus and his kingdom, God’s kingdom is bigger than that. Nothing separates you. And so you see in the midst of Mary’s pain and the acknowledgement of Romans that there is still adversity. God’s kingdom is greater. He works all things together for good, it tells us in Romans. That no pain, no suffering, none of it will be lost in Jesus. That he reconciles all those things. And the demonstration to us ultimately is in the cross.

That in the most horrendous form of torture that has existed, in the depth of the worst death that has ever been experienced, and to see Jesus on the cross in agony and separation from the Father. That in the midst of that, there is still victory because Jesus overcame the grave. And he takes the worst of moments in life and he triumphs over all of it. His kingdom is greater. In the midst of our pain and our struggles, his kingdom is greater.

Kind of begs the question, then why doesn’t Jesus bring the kingdom now if it’s so good? At the end of Revelation 21, no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears. Why not bring that kingdom now in its fullness? I think the kingdom is present because of what Jesus has declared. But the fullness of that kingdom in eradicating all sin and suffering, why not bring the kingdom now?

In the book of Luke, I’m going to get to Mark in just a second, but in the book of Luke, it records Jesus teaching in a synagogue. It was common to have rabbis from different locations when they would visit a synagogue to allow them to offer a teaching within the synagogue in that day. And Jesus goes in and he offers a teaching and they hand him the scrolls. He opens up and it’s on the book of Isaiah. And then he says this in verse 17, “The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him and he opened the book and found the place where it was written. The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind to set free those who are oppressed and the eyes of all the synagogue were fixed on him.”

And then listen to this. “He began to say to them, ‘Today, the scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.'” Could you imagine the audacity? The audacity of someone to even utter words like that? That he is the one that represents those things found in that passage of Isaiah that he’s quoting from? And by the way, it’s Isaiah 61. But here’s what’s interesting, when Jesus quotes Isaiah 61 he quotes verses one and then he quotes the beginning of verse two. And then he stops in the middle of those verses.

And what is to follow after this verses important because it’s recognizing something else about what God is going to fulfill. But yet what Jesus is representing in these passages is that what he came to fulfill is found in Isaiah 61:1-2a, not the second half of verse two. Because the second half of verse two is coming later. And this is what it says, “And the day of vengeance of our God.” We’ve talked about this, but the last book that’s written in the Old Testament, is the book of Malakai. It was the last historical book written for the people of Israel.

And the last two chapters of the book of Malakai talks about a forerunner who is to come. And that forerunner who was the common would be John the Baptist. And in chapter three it told us about John the Baptist coming to pave the way for the King and his kingdom. Make straight paths. But it also tells us in chapter four something else about this one who is to come, or what he is to come before. And it says, “Behold, I’m going to send to you Elijah,” which was John the Baptist. “The prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.” And so what it’s saying about us in the kingdom of God is that God, God does not love sin. And God is good.

And in order to be good, God is just. Because no one in their right mind would ever look at someone who was in in-just ever called them good. Within our culture, if a judge does not judge justly, doesn’t uphold the laws, if he doesn’t bring justice, those who’ve had wrongs brought against them, no one would ever look at that judge and say, you are good. With Jesus, the same is true. And what he’s beginning to recognize and asking the question, why doesn’t he bring the kingdom now? Well, the answer is simple. Because the God that we know is just, and he is good. And if he were to bring the kingdom now he would bring his justice with it.

We also see about this God, is that he’s gracious. In fact, the apostle Paul in the book of Acts 20:24, refer to the gospel as the gospel of grace. What Jesus represents to us at this time with his kingdom is a place of reconciliation to the King of which we do not belong. Because we’re law breakers, kingdom violators. Opposed to God. In need of reconciliation.

And so God tells us in Romans 2, his kindness leads us to repentance. That God, in 1 Peter 3, that he’s long suffering to us, not willing that any should perish, but all come to repentance. And so the delay of his kingdom is a place for us to find us sitting upon his grace. The gospel of grace, the pronouncement of victory and the reconciliation to the King. The delay of his kingdom is for the benefit of us and finding ourselves connected to him.

You think of the declaration that Jesus made in this passage in Luke. And what he said in the first 15 verses in Mark. There’s not very many ways to label Jesus according to what I’ve seen together. Some people in this world call him a moral teacher. He’s just a good teacher. But when you read the gospels, Jesus never gives us any room to ever put that label upon him.

You’ve got three options. If you’ve read “More Than a Carpenter” or anything written by Lee Stroble as it relates to Jesus. Or even CS Lewis. All skeptics, all three of those guys, skeptics that came to study about Jesus and learn about Jesus. And they say this, there are only three options when it comes to Jesus. He’s either nuts, he’s a liar, or he’s Lord. There’s no other way around it. The first 15 verses of Mark provides such an incredible punch of his identity. That it only gives you one of those places to choose as it relates to who He is and presenting Him as King in a kingdom.

You look at these passages and He has said to us, He’s Lord of the kingdom. And at the same time he is the suffering servant. He is the saving King. And he tells us to make paths straight for his kingdom. Even during Jesus’s time, when Jesus went around and he pronounced this in the book of Mark 3, this is what people said about him. When his own people in his own hometown heard of this, they went out to take custody of him for they were saying he has lost his senses. The man is out of his mind.

In fact, in verse 31 even tells us his family tries to go grab him. Like Jesus, your mom and your brothers are here. I’ll tell you who my mom and brothers are. That’s what Jesus says. He is either Lord or he is nuts. And what Mark does within this opening chapter is just a way of peppering for us the various stories that that one give us an invitation to the kingdom and to give us the demonstration of this kingdom.

I’m going to just show us some highlight verses of this passage. I just want to look at just each story, just a couple of verses, and each story up into to chapter two. But in verse 16, everyone that has a kingdom has to have people within the kingdom, right? And it tells us in verse 16 right after verse 15 where Jesus pronounced the kingdom and its arrival, the first words he speaks, he then says, as he’s going along by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew (Simon being Peter), the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea for there were fishermen, and Jesus said to them, follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.

One of the thing I love about Jesus when you read his interaction with people is how he met them where they were. When he’s talking to fishermen, he uses fishing illustrations. When he’s talking to farmers, he uses farming illustrations. He meets people culturally where they are and the things that they are used to and calls them to something greater in Him.

And when you think about the fisherman, somebody has estimated that probably out of the 12 disciples, Jesus had seven of them, most likely worked the trade as fishermen. Jesus doesn’t pursue the high and mighty of society. He pursues the regular blue collar worker. And you think of what it would take to demonstrate this kingdom and live out this kingdom in the struggles that this crowd would have to go against in following after Jesus because the mainstream society would reject him. The difficulty they would face. It makes so much sense that Jesus would choose fishermen, used to difficulty in life and the struggle of working day in and day out. They would be perfect for pursuing lost souls and having courage and the ability to work together and patience and energy and stamina and faith and the tenacity to pursue after the Lord, even when it got difficult. Fishermen were the type of people that could not afford to be quitters or complainer’s. But if they pursued him to do it with all of their heart.

And so Jesus is giving both in this kingdom. The invitation and the demonstration of everything He’s represented. And then it tells us going further in the story, that Jesus then goes into a synagogue and he continues to call people. But at the same time, while he’s calling people, he demonstrates the power of this kingdom. And it says in verse 23. But then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit and he cried out. Jesus, in verse 25, rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet and come out of him talking,” about the demon in him. Verse 27, they were all amazed and he commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.

It’s about what authority are you representing this kingdom. And Jesus is demonstrating that he pushes back the darkness, that he has power even over the spiritual realm. I don’t want to freak us out this morning, but you think about this. Actually I do want to freak us out a bit. Verse 23, I wonder how many times this guy had been worshiping in this synagogue. Regular attender? It wasn’t until he was presented with the truth that the spirit within him fought against it. Just a regular guy indifferent, participating in worship. I don’t want to make you skeptical about the person sitting beside you, but you think about it. This guy was probably just a regular part of the synagogue life just being there. And it wasn’t until Jesus walks into the room that they realize, Oh man, this guy is possessed.

And Jesus demonstrating his kingdom, commands even the spirits. And it tells us in the story that he tells the spirit within this individual to be quiet. When Jesus does his ministry in the opening chapters, you’re going to see that Jesus often remarks with people, “Don’t share this. Don’t go around and proclaim this.” He tells the demons a few times not to do this. Why? Why did Jesus want to remain hidden? I know he didn’t need Satan and his army to declare who he was, for sure. But I think the reason that Jesus wanted people to remain silent when he performed some of these works, or he made that request to them.

One, the Jews had a misconception of what it came to to Jesus and what he would represent in this world. I told you this last week, but they attributed the name Jesus Christ, Christ being the Messiah, to Jesus. But Jesus never assumed the title of Messiah on himself. He allowed the people to pronounce that he was the Messiah, but he never assumed that title. And the reason is because when people associated the word Messiah to an individual, they also assume the kingdom of God. And with the kingdom of God, they assume with that political revolution. And Jesus told them His kingdom was not of this world. And so when you have this misconception of the Messiah coming, it prepared the people to ready themselves for battle. This political revolution was about to take place. One that would overthrow Rome and allow the Jewish people to rule and the reign.

The second is this, I think that Jesus wanted to stifle the misconception of him, is because the crowds began to follow him. You see this as the story unfolds, that more and more gather around Jesus, and in verse 45 it specifically talks about this. But more and more people gather around Jesus. And it continues to refer to them as crowds, but never disciples.

They saw the healing work of Jesus as the end. But Jesus only did the healing work as a means to the end. Jesus’s ultimate purpose in his healing was simply to validate the message. It wasn’t about the healing itself. It was a validation of the message that he represented of the kingdom and the reconciliation to the King. And so Jesus didn’t want loads of people just pursuing him just because it was a circus show. Because he was Lord.

And I think last, the Romans would think that Jesus was there to lead an insurrection. When they’d hear the pronouncement from the Jews who tried to continue to follow messiahs, people that would try to claim this title. And Rome will have to come in and stifle. That Jesus was just another Jew trying to lead another insurrection against the Roman people. And so Jesus wanted time to walk among His people and to teach His people, but not to just create a crowd. But to create followers after Him and His kingdom.

Then it tells us in verse 34 it tells us he healed Peter’s mother. He healed many who were ill with various diseases and he continued to cast out many demons. And he was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who he was. Jesus is showing within this passage that it’s not just over the spiritual world that he has power, but he has power over the physical world. The healing of sickness.

And then in verse 35 and the demonstration of his kingdom. It tells us that Jesus also lived in relationship to the Father. His kingdom is not just representing this power of the spiritual world and the physical world, but He communes in relationship. And this is what he’s calling us to in relationship. To repent, be reconciled to God.

The reason the kingdom in its fullness is not here is the long suffering patience of God. And Jesus is then demonstrating this relationship, verse 35, while hordes of people follow him. He finds the time to enjoy the relationship that he has with the Father. In the early morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up and left the house and went away to a secluded place and was praying there.

The disciples think they’re going to continue all of the people that have now gathered because of what Jesus is doing. They’re seeing this healing ministry is so attractional and it’s what they’re there for. And Jesus says this in verse 38, he said to them, “Let us go somewhere else today to other towns nearby, so I might preach there also. For that’s what I came for”. It’s a demonstration of the kingdom isn’t the end of itself. But simply the calling to something greater. I’m going there. It gives us just a few more stories. I want to highlight this one and one other, but it says this, “And the leper came to Jesus beseeching him and falling on his knees before him and saying, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.'”

This is the story that kind of gets you, at least that comment of, “willing.” As it relates to Jesus in his kingdom. The leper is not doubting that Jesus is able. The statement is, are you willing. If you study society during the time of the leper, what his life would have consisted of, it would have been isolated. He would’ve been a lonely individual. Anytime he walked around the crowd, even in this moment when he’s walking around the crowd, the expectation and the law the time as as he walked and moved through the crowd, he would have to consistently yell, “Unclean. I’m unclean,” so the crowds around him could move away.

He was distant. Lonely. Used to people being indifferent to him at best. And looking at Jesus and probably placing upon Jesus, emulating upon Jesus, the expectation of the same treatment that he’s always received from everyone else. It’s not if you’re able to take care of me. But if you’re willing. This question is a question of love. Lord, how low would you go? How much are you willing to serve as a suffering King? Is it at the depth of where I am? Can you meet me here? As King, does your love go that deep?

You ever been there? To the end of your rope. I was reading an author the other day talking about the gospels and interacting with Jesus. And he just said this, after reading all the gospels this is one thing I know about Jesus is that he’s never wanted to ever turn away from the prayer of, “Lord help.” If there’s ever one prayer Christ always answers, “Lord help.”

So you see the magnitude of the kingdom, both in the physical and the spiritual realm. But in this act, you also see the demonstration of the kingdom. At the level that it’s willing to go to serve all people that recognize their need in him. God, are you willing?

And as if to say not by word, but by action. That’s what I’m here for. And in verse 45, but the leper went out and began to proclaim. Jesus asked him not to proclaim for the reasons we talked about already, but he went out to proclaim anyway. He proclaimed it freely. And to spread the news already to such an extent that Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city. But stayed out in unpopulated areas. And they were coming to him from everywhere.

And then you have this story. So the first chapter, you see these peppering of stories, these short stories, just to illustrate. Verse 15 the proclamation of the kingdom by demonstration and by invitation. And then from this point on, the stories somewhat tend to get a little bit longer in Jesus interacts with people. Sometimes they are short, but other times they they spell it just a little bit longer.

And this is one of those stories, because there is a shift here in what takes place. Because now Jesus is going throughout and he’s demonstrated this. And I would say if you compared this to other gospels where we’re at, and the story of Mark is somewhere in John 4. So this is not necessarily following things immediately as they happen, but this is kind of spreading out over time in Jesus’s ministry. And in Mark 2, it becomes the place where the religious leaders take a stand over Jesus. And part of the reason they take a stand is because of what Jesus does here. And what he’s doing here is blasphemous in their eyes, but it’s a demonstration of the greater purpose for what Christ came for. The healing isn’t the end in itself. But the demonstration to the greater calling.

And when you read in chapter two, what you see is this paralytic man being carried by four of his friends and Jesus in a home teaching and it’s so crowded that they can’t get this man near Jesus. So they get him on the roof. I have no idea how that happens, but they get him up on this roof and they dig a hole in the roof and they lower him down to Jesus. Jesus heals, and the religious leaders are angered by what about Jesus does. But Jesus says this, Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic son. Before He heals him, He makes this statement, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts. Why does this man speak this way (talking about Jesus)? He is blaspheming. Who can forgive sins but God alone?

And then it tells us in verse 8. And Jesus says to this group, “Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? Which is easier to say to the paralytic, your sins are forgiven? Or to say get up and pick up your pallet and walk? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, He said to the paralytic, I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” So Jesus is saying, just so you know, I had the ability to forgive sins. I’m going to demonstrate it to you by giving this man also the ability to get up and take his pallet and go home.

When I was in college, I had a professor who was training for the Olympics to be a pole vaulter, happened to get in a wreck and he flipped over in a Jeep and he’s paralyzed. But he’s still managed to pursue the Lord in his life and became a college professor. And he taught us through the gospels in school. And he’d always stop here at this part. He wanted us to point to the greater point of the kingdom. And he’d always tell us this, you know, when he first got injured, he would go to different things around the world where there would be people that claim to be faith healers.

And for the first part of his Christian life, he came to be a believer when he was injured, he said he would try and get to the front of these places where these people came to heal him and they would, quickly usher him away. And he said, you know, one of the things that he found interesting, while he would drive around is that at the same time, there was also a young girl that was doing the same thing. And they were found themselves going around together. And it was this little girl, just two years old. And she was burned all over her body from a fire. And her parents wanted her to experience healing. She had suffered some physical ailments from this. And he said he would always try to get to the front of these places and they would never let him up front. They would always usher them away and the same thing with this girl. And finally one day he said, forget this, I’m not doing this anymore. And he said, one of the things that helped him reason through this is that he looked at this young lady, this little girl every time trying to get to the front, and he just dawned on him, you know what? There’s nothing wrong with her.

The only thing wrong in this moment are the people that continue to try to shove this girl up to this room where these people claim that they can heal. Jesus loves her where she is. Jesus loves me where I am. His kingdom is greater. His kingdom goes beyond our pain. It meets us where we are.

In this moment Jesus demonstrated that through physical healing of this individual, but what Jesus is trying to point to is something greater. There’s something greater. And the Pharisees are expressing it, or the scribes are expressing in their comment. When they acknowledged that, Jesus, how in the world can you forgive sins? And this is the way it works in our lives. When someone wrongs you, I can attempt to forgive them all day long. But that’s never going to reconcile that relationship. The one who has to forgive to reconcile the relationship is the one who’s been wronged against.

And when it comes to God, the Bible tells us that we’re contrary to that kingdom. We’ve offended the King. And so by Jesus offering the forgiveness to God and reconciliation, what he’s also demonstrating is his deity. Because the only one that can ever forgive you for coming against God and sinning against God, is God. And what Jesus is declaring in this statement, in the culmination of these stories as they are demonstrating, is that the greater message in all of this isn’t the act of healing itself. But the reconciliation we receive, to our King.

You see what Jesus is doing in the story. Jesus is making a proclamation of the kingdom. He’s a liar, he’s lunatic or he’s Lord. And he’s given the invitation to us to participate. It’s not about being a spectator, but a participator. He meets people where they are and he invites them in. He meets the crippled and sick and hurting and broken to the point of the leper asking the question, “God, how deep does your kingdom go?” He goes to the disciples and he calls them and he lives life with them. Jesus and His kingdom calls us to his people. Jesus is after people.

If there’s anything we want to be known about at ABC, it’s our love for people. As demonstrated by the example of Jesus. It doesn’t call us to carry out programs. Jesus didn’t create programs. Rather, there’s nothing against programs, but the whole purpose of anything that we ever do as a church, the the driving force behind all of that is the heart of the individual. What we want to be known about as a church. It’s the way we meet people where they are as Jesus has demonstrated. And love them as Jesus loves them and calls them as Jesus would call them to him. Because God calls us be a part of His kingdom. To live out this kingdom on mission. This kingdom that’s always moving forward in Jesus. This kingdom that’s piercing the darkness, always reaching people. Always on mission.

Seeing it demonstrated in Christ who was full of compassion and care. God showing His care to all of those that He interacts with, calling us as people representing His kingdom to care for those. To say, what about your neighbor? What about your friend? What about your spouse? What about the people next to you? That the pursuit of his kingdom is the reconciliation to the King.

To recognize that all of the things we face are more than conquerors, as Roman says. It’s why in hardship we do not give up. This kingdom is bigger than our problems. It’s bigger than our pain. And when you look at the demonstration of this kingdom in the first couple of chapters, there are such close parallels to where we are as people. Jesus in a place where people are religiously indifferent to him. And he’s just working with just a small group of people that follow him and are reaching to him. Sharing this kingdom so that it would become contagious in the lives of those around.

Now think about where you are. How God can use you in this world. The effect that God can have on you and through you when he uses you. That we as a people may be small. We’re people that just love him. Want to know him. Spend time with him. And just share the glory of who he is with those around us.

I hope you see this morning just the extent of that kingdom as it’s demonstrated. Spiritually conquered, which is why Jesus gives us life in the hereafter. Physically conquered in Him. Ultimately all things being restored under Christ. To the depth that it goes and being able to love all people. And the reason behind all of it, it’s because of the forgiveness that He can offer them.

No one can forgive you the sins you brought against God, unless it be God alone. And Jesus in His kingdom in all things, what he brings to us is the reconciliation toward Him that we could live life in His kingdom forever. Both the demonstration and the invitation. Jesus leaves no room. He’s either crazy or he’s Lord. But that invitation rests on all of our lives. What are you going to do with it?