Sitting Under Jesus’ Good Authority | 06.18.23 | Just The Beginning Pt.2
Mark 1, verses 29 to 39. As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand, and helped her up. The fever left her, and she began to wait on them. That evening, after sunset, the the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was. Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place where he prayed. Simon Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed, “Everyone is looking for you.” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else to the nearby villages so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. This is the word of the Lord. Amen. As As we start off today, I’m going to invite us to use our imaginations a little bit, because I believe imagination helps us center in the text and connect to key people and events. So we’re going to zone into Simon’s perspective. Simon is one of Jesus’ disciples. For this scene, we find ourselves in first-century Capernaum, near the Sea of Galilee. To help us get into the scene, I’ve included a picture of Simon and Andrew’s house from the set of The Chosen, which is a TV show about Jesus’ life and ministry. And you should watch it if you haven’t gotten the chance. This scene is what a home in Capernaum may have looked like. So imagine you are Simon, one of Jesus’ disciples. You and your brother Andrew have been talking about the Messiah all of your lives. You grew up with the teachings of the Torah, which is another name for the Old Testament, and and your whole life has been the process of preparing and waiting for the coming of the Messiah. Time and time again, you have found it hard to trust people and authority. Your people, the Jewish people, continue to be under the oppression and control of the Roman Empire, and the Romans are taxing your family out of house and home. And you even find it hard to trust the teachers of the law, the religious leaders who help you grow in your faith and understanding of God’s law. Because time and time again, the religious leaders abuse their power and condemn others. You know the Messiah is coming. You know He is coming to deliver your people from oppression. You know He is coming to make all things new. But when is He coming? One day, you and Andrew decide to go fishing. You both are fishermen, so this is not out of the ordinary at all. Suddenly, you are approached by the man called Jesus of Nazareth. You’ve You’ve heard a lot about this man, and you know Jesus is more than just a good teacher. Jesus then says to you and your brother, “Come, follow me.” You stop in your tracks. Could this be him? Could this be the Messiah? And suddenly, you know. This man speaks with authority, and John the Baptist has been preparing your people for the coming of the Messiah. And you know God has answered your prayers. You and Andrew do not hesitate. You drop your nets immediately because you know Jesus is the one you have been waiting for all of your lives. He is worth everything. He is worth abandoning your lives as fishermen. You don’t want to miss a second of following Jesus. And just when you think you know who Jesus is, immediately after you and Andrew start following Jesus, you witness Jesus cast out demons and heal many. Of course, so many people have mixed responses to this, but you and Andrew are amazed. And after witnessing Jesus’s miracles, you realize that Jesus is even greater than you expected. If Jesus can heal these crowds of people, you think to yourself, “Surely he can heal my mother-in-law too.” After all, even with the excitement of the day, you have been weighed down with the reality of your mother-in-law’s deadly fever. So you ask Jesus to heal her, and Jesus heals her fully. When you and Andrew dropped your nets to follow Jesus, you thought you knew everything about him. But you are now realizing that so much will be revealed as you stay under his authority. You are expectant for what is coming. In this imaginative scenario, we see a snippet of what Simon Peter’s journey of responding to Jesus could have looked like. Every time Simon spends time with Jesus, he gains a new understanding of who Jesus is, as we will see as we continue studying Mark this summer. As your speaker today, I want you to identify what authority means to you. Like Simon, maybe you have had bad experiences with authority that have caused dissatisfaction and have shattered your trust. Like Simon, maybe you find yourself longing for good and trustworthy authority. So what does it mean for you to respond to Jesus’s good and trustworthy authority? No matter how you are coming into this space, I believe Jesus wants to meet you. As we go through the text of Jesus healing the sick, casting out the demons, and revealing who he is to his disciples, let’s keep these questions at the back of our minds. At the end of this talk, I believe Jesus has a next step for you. Let’s pray. Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of this day. We thank you, Lord, that we are all gathered here to hear from you. So, Lord, I pray that you will open our hearts to respond to your word in this moment. I pray, Lord, that we will go deeper in saying yes to Jesus in this space. And, Lord, I pray over my words. I pray that they will glorify you alone. I pray that I will step out of the way so your spirit can speak. So, Lord, we love you, and we pray all of this in the matchless name of Jesus. Amen. All right, so as we dive in, I would love to share a little bit about where we have been in Mark. So, Mark is one of the gospels in the New Testament, and Mark tells the story of who Jesus is, and Mark writes to Jews and Gentiles alike, Gentiles were non-Jewish people. And And there are so many revelations up to this point about the coming of a Messiah, about the coming of a king. And John the Baptist prepares the way for the coming of Jesus. And right before this passage, we see a lot taking place. We see Jesus baptized by John the Baptist. We see Jesus tested in the wilderness by Satan. And we also see Jesus call his first disciples to drop everything to follow him. And Jesus is preaching good news, but but not everyone sees it that way. And people are called to not only hear that the kingdom of God is imminent, but they are also called to respond fully. And Jesus is demonstrating his authority. He is demonstrating that he is fully God and fully human. And the desperate are the ones who have the deepest faith in the gospel of Mark. So the stark piece we want to focus on today is that Jesus’s authority is good and trustworthy. So what does it mean for us to sit under Jesus’s good and trustworthy authority? Let’s investigate that together. So if we look at the first section of the text, verses 29 to 31, we see this theme that Jesus has authority over sickness and death. In the beginning of the text, we find ourselves outside of a synagogue in Capernaum, immediately immediately after Jesus delivers a man from impure spirits on the Sabbath. Of course, we don’t see the full impact, but news about Jesus spreads throughout the whole region of Galilee. And we can conclude there are mixed responses to Jesus performing miracles. After this takes place, Jesus and his disciples travel to the home of Simon and Andrew, who are two of his disciples. In this moment, we see that Simon’s mother-in-law is is in bed with a fever. The original Greek text implies that she is gravely ill to the point of death. So the disciples, who clearly have a deeper faith after witnessing Jesus perform many signs and wonders, do not hesitate and immediately tell Jesus about her. After the disciples tell Jesus about Simon’s mother-in-law, Jesus goes to her, takes her hand, and helps her up. The fever immediately leaves her, and and she begins to host them in response. So now we’re going to move on to the second section, which focuses on the theme that Jesus has the authority to cast out demons. We see that the word has spread about Jesus’ power and authority. People from all over the Capernaum area are bringing Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed in the town. And this happens right after sunset, which is significant since this is the end of the Sabbath, and Jewish law forbids work on the Sabbath. Of course, in this moment, Jesus is still at the home of Simon and Andrew. So you can only imagine how crowded this house is. Houses in first-century Capernaum were single-story, simple, and small. And they were made out of mud bricks and rough stone. And there clearly wasn’t a lot of room for everyone, because because we have to remember that Simon is a fisherman. That is his livelihood. Even so, Jesus beckons everyone to come to the house. He heals many who had various diseases, and he drives out many demons. But he does not let the demons speak since they knew who he was. In this context, demons often believed they could claim full spiritual power over a person or group if they merely spoke their names. So this move is Jesus demonstrating his power and authority over demons. So now we’re going to go to the last part of the text, which focuses on Jesus’ authority as good and trustworthy. In the last part of the text, Mark zones in on three key events. Jesus spending time with the Father, the crowds looking for Jesus, and Jesus traveling throughout Galilee to preach in synagogues and cast out demons. Early Early in the dark hours of the morning, Jesus leaves his disciples and goes off to a solitary place to pray to the Father. Any other leader with great influence would choose to stay in the public eye and continue performing signs and wonders, but Jesus is greater than any other authority figure. His authority is rooted in his humility and compassion. So instead of continuing on, he breaks away from the disciples and he allows the crowds to receive from God the Father. Simon and his companions are confused. Why would Jesus choose to be by himself when his name is becoming known all throughout the region? Isn’t becoming well known his purpose for coming? Then Jesus invites his disciples to go with him to a nearby village so he can preach there also. So Jesus and his disciples travel throughout Galilee to see Jesus preach in synagogues and drives out demons. So in this moment, Jesus confirms that his true purpose of coming is to reveal himself as the Savior, Messiah of the world. His authority includes signs and wonders, but his authority above all arrows his identity as the true Savior who delivers all of humanity from death, sin, and destruction. So So now that we’ve taken space to dive into the text together, we may be asking the question, why Jesus? And how does this text apply to me? In this passage, we see that Jesus has the authority over sickness and death, and his authority is good and trustworthy. Sitting under Jesus’ authority brings surprising and unexpected transformation to the disciples and crowds. In all, as we look back at the passage, we see so many pieces at play. We see the following examples of Jesus showcasing his authority. Jesus healing Simon’s mother-in-law. Jesus casting out demons. Jesus healing the sick. Jesus spending time with God the Father. Jesus preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. Jesus proves time and time again that his authority is good, perfect, and trustworthy. When the disciples and crowd members sit under Jesus’ good authority, transformation happens. So we see, number one, that Jesus has the power and authority over sickness, death, and demonic forces. He is not afraid to disrupt cultural barriers, and he even heals on the Sabbath. He willingly seeks out the sick and brings healing. And the more people experience the power of Jesus’ healing and authority, the more their faith and trust deepens. We see this in the first section of the passage, when the disciples come to Jesus in desperation, eager for him to heal Simon’s mother-in-law. And Jesus fully heals her. Of course, the disciples have already experienced signs and wonders, but they are leveling up in their understanding of who Jesus is. And now it’s personal for them, specifically for Simon. And And in this time in society, people often felt powerless against the forces of sickness, death, and demonic forces. In this text, Jesus proves time and time again that he has full authority over sickness, death, and evil spirits. He doesn’t even allow the evil spirits to speak since they know who he is. And every person in this text who sits under Jesus’ good and trustworthy authority experiences new life in some way. The The disciples, the crowds, and Simon’s mother-in-law. And we also can see that Jesus’ authority is good and trustworthy. In this time, there were many people who exercised bad authority. The Jewish people had distrust with the Roman Empire since the Romans taxed them and oppressed them. And the Jews and Gentiles alike had some distrust with the religious leaders because of the way they lived out God’s law were were far from humility, grace, and love. So Jesus enters into a context that longs for good and trustworthy authority. Jesus, fully God and fully human, enters into the context of a scraggly and broken humanity and surrounds the crowds in compassion and care. All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus by God the Father as we see in Matthew 28. So So finally, we see in the text that sitting under Jesus’ authority brings surprising and unexpected transformation to the disciples and the crowds. The longer the disciples walk with Jesus, the more they reach an understanding of who he is, which leads them to a deeper threshold of faith, a threshold that gives them assurance that Jesus has the power to heal. And the disciples’ journey of sitting under Jesus’ good authority informs informs and transforms the ways they trust and view him. Not only do the disciples adopt a new understanding of who Jesus is, but the crowds also adopt a new understanding. Word has spread throughout the region about Jesus’ power over death and impure spirits. The people in the crowds are desperate to experience Jesus’ healing and authority. But it’s clear that faith is involved in this process. In order to fully receive from Jesus’ power, the crowds and the disciples have to willingly come to Jesus. They have to identify their need for a Savior. And we see a pattern of people coming to Jesus in desperation as we look at the text. Every person in this passage is asking for Jesus to satisfy their needs. And Jesus refuses to be seen only as a miracle worker. He He wants people to see them as Savior. So now we may be asking the question, how does this apply to us? Friends, when we sit under Jesus’ authority, Jesus brings healing and breakthrough. Like the crowds and the disciples in the passage, Jesus invites to come to him in honesty. He invites us to sit under his authority and honestly bring our struggles, our fears, our hurts. He invites us to sit at his feet and learn from him. He invites us to ask him for help. And when we ask for his help, he heals and restores our areas of hurt, pain, and brokenness. We are deeply treasured by Christ. He calls us by name. We are created in God’s image. Because Jesus deeply loves us, he wants to cast out the chains that keep us from freedom, hope, and new life. And friends, we all have chains in our lives, chains that keep us from fully seeing who God is, who others are, and who we are. Chains that keep us from loving and walking forth in the freedom that Christ offers us. Jesus wants to bring breakthrough into our areas of affliction, and he wants to breathe hope into those places. And friends, when we sit under Jesus’ authority, we get to see that Jesus’ story for our lives is greater than any story we could ever write on our own. The more the disciples spend time with Jesus, the more they grow in understanding who Jesus is, and the more they grow in understanding who Jesus is, the more they grow in faithfulness and faith. Like the disciples, the more we spend time with Jesus, the more we see him as trustworthy, the more we see his story as the greatest story. The more we see that his guidance in our lives is for our good. Jesus’ authority leads us to full and abundant life. And the more we sit under Jesus’ good authority, the more we see how our plans apart from Jesus bear no fruits. The more we see the ways our decisions and brokenness leave us in bondage. The crowds and the disciples in the passage would have remained in bondage had they not gone to Jesus, honest about their need for his healing and deliverance. They would have missed out on the beauty on the other side of Jesus’ redemption. And because Jesus has full power and authority, we can trust he takes care of us and knows what is best for us. We can trust that Jesus’ knows have greater yeses on the other side. And And friends, when we sit under Jesus’ authority, Jesus prepares us to bring others into his light. Along with the disciples, we see the power of Jesus’ authority transforming the community as a whole. As soon as the Sabbath ends, people are bringing all of the sick and demon possessed to Jesus. Similarly, as we grow and trusting in Jesus’ good authority, we are invited to bring others into his good authority. As we are consumed by Jesus, we want all to experience his hope and his new life. Our ever-growing faith equips us to lead others into Jesus’ good authority. And God uses our stories. He uses our stories of healing to plant seeds of the gospel. We We cannot bear the hope of Jesus if we aren’t being transformed ourselves. The Holy Spirit motivates us to go forth with boldness and faithfulness. So as we are talking about sitting under Jesus’ good authority, I want to share a story from my own life. And this story is especially fitting since it’s Father’s Day. One of my earliest memories of childhood is when I was about three years old. And I’m probably about three years old in this picture behind me. We We have been living in Rock Falls for years since I spent the first two years of my life in North Aurora. As a child, I was curious about everything. Granted, I am the oldest, so I am definitely a rule follower. But even so, as a child, you tend to explore your surroundings in ways that are not always good for you. I remember wandering into the kitchen and noticing the stove for the first time. I remember seeing one of my favorite foods, spaghetti, cooking, and I wanted to try some. “Morgan, don’t touch the stove. You will hurt yourself if you do.” I remember my dad telling me. And this was the pattern of my childhood, me curiously wanting to try new things and my dad guiding me towards what was good for me and what was not good for me. In childhood and even in adulthood, I am reminded that my earthly dad’s authority is rooted in his love and care for me. He sets up rules and expectations for my benefit and flourishing because he wants to keep me safe from harm. Of course, little Morgan did not see the big picture. Little three-year-old Morgan did not understand why stoves inflict wounds or why see belts protect. But what I did understand and continue to understand is that my dad deeply loves me. Every time I spend time with him, he reminds me of this. And every time I spend time with my dad, he shows his love through his words. He He is a safe haven for me. And I think one of the earliest reminders of this truth was the theme of my favorite childhood book that my dad read to me almost every night. I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby, you’ll be. As a child, I could not receive from my dad’s protection if I strayed away from spending time with him. My My dad’s guidance and care were and continue to be pictures of Jesus’ love and care for me. My dad’s guidance and care continue to be an image of the ways my Savior protects me from harm. So I can continue to be confident that my dad’s guidance is rooted in a deep care for my well-being and flourishing. And friends, the same is true of our relationship with Jesus. We cannot trust in Jesus’ good authority if we don’t spend time in his good authority. The more I sit in Jesus’ good authority, the more I see and receive that the story he is writing with my life is greater than any story I could ever write on my own. The more I sit under the good authority of Jesus, the more I see Jesus as trustworthy with my future, with my ministry work, with my relationships. I trust that even as Jesus tells me no, his plan is best, because Jesus offers me true and full security. The more I spend time in God’s Word and in prayer, the more I adopt the truths of who Jesus is and who I am to him, the more my heart, mind, and life are clothed in the armor of God. Friends, Friends, some of you might be like people in the crowds. You might find yourself weighed down by your sin, your circumstances, or your chains. You may feel like there is no way out of your bondage. And bondage looks different for all of us. For some of us, bondage is in the area of relationships. For some of us, bondage is in success. For some of us, bondage is in seeking satisfaction in areas of our lives that bear no fruit. Or Or maybe you identify with Simon. Maybe you have dropped everything to follow Jesus, and you are realizing that Jesus has so much more to show you. So you need to be willing to drop your nets, the idols in your life, so you can rest in Jesus’s good and trustworthy authority. Or maybe you are in a place of doubting the authority of Jesus. Maybe Maybe your faith isn’t deep enough right now. Maybe it’s hard for you to believe that the Lord can bring breakthrough into your life. Friends, no one is beyond hope. Friends, Jesus ushers in freedom, and when you sit under Jesus’s good authority, Jesus clothes you in a deeper faith. When you sit under Jesus’s good authority, you are saying yes to the best plan for your life. You You are saying yes to the Savior who redeems your past, present, and future. You are saying yes to the Savior who knows that touching the stove will harm you. You are saying yes to the Savior who wants you to experience freedom in letting go. You are saying yes to the Savior who knows which decisions, which relationships, and which doors are best to walk through. Jesus is the only way to full an abundant life. Jesus Jesus willingly died on the cross to reconcile us fully to God the Father. Jesus humbly came to earth to perfectly embody his sacrificial and unrivaled love for us. All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to him. And Jesus brings us true hope and true life. He calls us by name. He loves us. He brings healing into a broken, fallen, and damaged world. He He enters into our stories, our suffering, our joy, every piece of who we are and what we do. He doesn’t band-aid our circumstances but meets us in the darkest pits and the deepest valleys. And as Jesus is healing us, we get to step into the communal reality of God’s kingdom. We get to invite every person we encounter into healing, into new life, into new freedom. Friends Friends of new life, we cannot receive from Jesus’ good and trustworthy authority if we don’t spend time with him. He is more than just a good teacher. He is so much more than a miracle worker. He is our Savior. He is everything. He is our lifeline. He is the only one who can give us full satisfaction. We have to grow in the ways we live out our faith in body, mind, and spirit. We We have to spend time in the Word of God in order for the truths of who Jesus is to see from our heads into our hearts. Because once we receive the truth of who Jesus is, we will fall in love with the good and beautiful Savior who gives us everything we need. We will receive from the well that never runs dry. So friends, as we move into application, I want you to consider who Jesus is to you. Is Is he merely a good teacher? Is he merely a miracle worker? Or is he Lord of all? And friends, how are you going to sit under Jesus’ good authority? How are you going to prioritize studying God’s Word daily? How are you going to prioritize spending time with Jesus through prayer? And how are you going to invite others to experience Jesus’ good authority? So, So, new life, will you go to Jesus? Will you say yes to him? Will you say yes to sitting under his good authority? Because I promise you that yes changes everything. That yes changes our hearts, our lives, our communities, and our world. That yes leads to abundant life. That yes takes away the sin that suffocates us. And that yes brings wholeness. That yes is everything. That yes has changed my life. And I long to see our whole community say yes to Jesus. Will you say yes today? So friends, as I close our time together, I want to leave you with these two questions. What is God saying to you and showing you? And what are you going to do about it? Let’s pray. Dear Dear Lord, we just thank you for this time. We thank you, Lord, for reminding us of Jesus’ good and trustworthy authority. Lord, even though it’s uncomfortable, even though it can be scary, I pray that we will take that next step to go into Jesus’ presence. I pray that we will bring our full selves, our full hearts, our full lives to Jesus. That we may see his abundant life. That we may see that he is our good shepherd. So Lord, we love you and we thank you for the truth of who you are and who you say we are. We pray all of this in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.