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THE PREACHING OF THE AMAZING SERVANT
Intro: Mark is in a hurry. He is constantly moving the action along. He uses words like “straightway”, v. 21; “immediately”, v. 28; “forthwith”, v. 29; and “anon”, v. 30. These are action words. They picture events as happening one right after the other.
Mark is attempting to focus on the main thrust of the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mark tries to picture Jesus as a Servant; One Who moves from task to task as He does everything in His power to accomplish His Father’s mission for His life. Mark is leading us to Calvary and on to the empty tomb. He wants to picture Jesus as the Suffering Servant Who gave His life to redeem His people.
In fulfilling his purpose, Mark skips over large chunks of the ministry of Jesus. Between verses 13 and 14 there is a span of over a year. Mark totally leaves out the entire ministry of Jesus in Judea. Between verses 20 and 21 another span of time is passed over without comment. During the several weeks that are not mentioned by Mark, Jesus was carrying out His ministry in Nazareth. It was during this time that He preached the Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 5-7 and called the rest of the twelve disciples. It was also during this period that Jesus suffered rejection at the hands of the people of Nazareth. According to Luke 4:16-30, Jesus preached in the synagogue at Nazareth and proclaimed Himself to be the Messiah Israel had long anticipated. The people rejected His claims and even tried to kill Him. As a result, Jesus and His men left Nazareth and moved their ministry to Capernaum. It is there that Mark picks up the narrative once again.
As Jesus taught and ministered to the people in Capernaum, they caught up by and carried away with the message of this man named Jesus. The Bible tells us that they were “astonished”, v. 22 and “amazed”, v. 27 by the things they heard and saw.
Our text today focuses in on one day in the life of the Lord Jesus. We are allowed to observe Him as He ministers on one particular Sabbath day. I think we would do well to look into the events of that one Sabbath day. As we do, we will see why the people of Capernaum were “astonished” and “amazed” by the word and works of the Lord Jesus.
I want to take these verses and preach for a while about The Preaching Of The Amazing Servant. I want to show you the traits of His preaching that made is so amazing to those who heard Jesus preach.
I. THE CONTEXT OF HIS PREACHING
A. Jesus and His men went to the synagogue on the Sabbath Day. The synagogue was much like the local church in those days. Every community of Jews containing ten families was required by rabbinical law to have a synagogue.
The synagogue system was established during the years of Israel’s Babylonian captivity, around 586 BC. They could not go to the Temple to worship, so they came together in the synagogues to read the Law; teach the Law and worship God.
The synagogue quickly became the center of every Jewish community. The people met there for worship on Sabbath days, which was Saturday. They would meet again on Monday and then again on Thursday. The building was also used as a schoolhouse and courtroom during the week.
B. A typical service involved prayer, the reading of the Law, and a sermon by a rabbi or a scribe. These men were entrusted with protecting the Word of God. They were entrusted to give their lives to learning the Law and sharing it with the people of God. However, the sermons delivered by these scribes were notoriously long, dusty and dry. The scribe or rabbi would stand and read some portion of Scripture and then he would sit down and begin to quote others rabbis. He would quote one after another, giving their opinions, but never telling the people what the Law really said or meant. Usually, they would talk about the restrictions of the Sabbath Day. They took a day that was intended by God as blessing and transformed it by their legalism into a heavy burden that the people could not bear. When the people left the synagogue, they in the same darkness in which they had arrived. There was no spiritual light or truth in their services.
C. It was into this atmosphere that Jesus came preaching the Word of God. The people arrived that Sabbath morning expecting to hear Dr. Dry and Dusty deliver another one of his never ending string of rabbinical quotations. What they got was something different! What they heard that day left them “astonished”. This word means “to be stricken as by a blow; to be struck with astonishment; to be dumbfounded.” When these people heard Jesus preach, it literally left them with their mouths hanging open in amazement!
(Note: When the Sabbath Day came, Jesus made His way to the place of assembly. We no longer worship on the Sabbath Day, we worship on the Lord’s Day. We gather to celebrate and worship our risen Savior.
Jesus thought it was important to go to the synagogue to worship. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that it was His “custom” to go, Luke 4:16. From what we know about synagogue services, they were dead, dull and boring, yet Jesus went. The only church He has to attend was a dead church, but Jesus went to church.
He expects no less from us! In fact, we are commanded to be faithful to the assembly of the saints, Heb. 10:25. I do not preach on church attendance very often. I think if you love Jesus like you should, you will be in His house at every opportunity. I also do not think it is wise to fuss on the ones who are there just because some others are missing. The ones who need the message aren’t even there to hear it, so why beat up the sheep that have come that day. But, if the issue presents itself in a text, as it has today, then I do not mind dealing with it.
We ought to go to church because we love the Lord. When we love Him, there will be a desire to gather with His saints to worship and praise Him.
We ought to go to church because it is a testimony. When your friends, family and neighbors see you head out to go to the house of God, it reminds them of where they need to be.
We ought to go to church even when it is dull and boring. You never know when Jesus will show up, break through the monotony and do something eternal. If you aren’t there, you will miss something that can never be duplicated, Ill. Thomas, John 20:19-29.
You ought to go to church because it is the right thing to do and it honors the Lord! There should be no debate at your house, when it is church time everyone ought to know what is about to take place. Mom and dad and all the children need to get ready and get out to church!
We ought to go to church because an absence from church is a vote to close the doors! It says, “I do not even care enough to be there!”)
II. THE CHARACTER
OF HIS PREACHING
A. We are told that Jesus spoke as One Who possessed “authority”. This means that Jesus spoke as a man Who knew what He was talking about. The scribes could only quote one another, but Jesus spoke with power and understanding.
B. A quick glance at how the scribes taught against how Jesus taught reveals why the people were so amazed by what they heard.
· The scribes majored on trivial things. They elevated the traditions of men above the Word of God. They were worried about things like tithing mint leaves and how far a man could walk on the Sabbath, Matt. 23:23.
Jesus, on the other hand, spoke of weighty matters such as life and death, Heaven and Hell, life, death and eternity. When they heard Jesus preach, they knew they were hearing words of eternal value.
· The scribes rambled on and on, quoting one another and never saying anything of any importance. Jesus taught systematically. He read or quoted the word of God. He explained it and He applied it.
· The scribes were as dry as dust. They spoke of things that no one cared about in terms that no one understood. Jesus used vivid illustrations and crystal clear word pictures to excite interest in His teaching.
· The scribes did not care about the people to whom they were preaching. They used the people for their own advantage and profit, Mark 12:40. Jesus spoke as a Lover of men. He cared about every person He spoke to and He pointed them to the love of the Father.
· When the scribes taught, nothing of eternal value took place. Their teaching was dry and shallow and it did not bring about life change in the people who heard them.
D. When Jesus preached, He used the Word of God as a sharp sword. When He spoke, hearts were pierced, souls were saved and lives were eternally altered.
(Note: That is how preaching should be in this day and hour. Too much preaching centers on trivial matters. Preaching about men wearing tie chains, women wearing open toed shoes, or people wearing wire rimmed glasses is not biblical preaching! Biblical preaching takes its text from the Word of God and declares the massage of the Word clearly and boldly. The preacher’s mandate is to “preach the word”, 2 Tim. 4:2, and nothing but the word! Sometimes the message will be filled with fire and glory. Other times it will be filled with the common and the routine. Sometimes the breath of heaven will be on the preaching and sometimes it will seem common and ordinary. But, when the message id preached in truth and power, God will use it for His glory. He will not use ravings of those who major on the minors! Preacher, make sure your message is biblical. If it goes beyond the Word, it goes beyond the will of God!)
III. THE CONTENT OF HIS PREACHING
A. We are not told exactly what Jesus said that day. But, we are told that the people were “astonished at His doctrine”. When they heard Him speak it was like nothing they had ever heard before. It left them speechless and amazed!
B. Jesus spoke with authority because He was anointed by the Spirit of God to preach the good news of the Gospel, Luke 4:16-21. These verses give us a little insight into the message Jesus preached in the synagogues of His day.
Let’s take a brief look at the content of His message:
· Preach The Gospel To The Poor – The word “poor” refers to those who are “destitute of wealth, position, influence and honor; those who are lowly, needy, lacking and helpless.”
He is referring to the spiritual condition of those who do not know the Lord. He came to save souls and change lives! He came to offer hope to the hopeless; help to the helpless and life to the lifeless. He came with the good news that there was love, hope and salvation.
Are you lacking in this world’s goods? Are you needy and helpless today? Do you need a Savior Who can change your life? There is a man named Jesus Who will take you like you are, save your soul and change your life, and it won’t cost you a dime, Isa. 55:1; Rev. 22:17.
· Heal The Brokenhearted – The word “Brokenhearted” speaks of those “who are broken in pieces; trampled down and crushed underfoot.” It speaks of those who are oppressed by sin and Satan. Jesus came to offer healing to people in that condition.
If your heart is broken by the cruel treatment of life; if you have been shattered by the effects of sin; if you have been crushed under foot by Satan, Jesus is offering healing to you.
He can take your wounded life and your crushed spirit, and He can bind you up with His love and grace. He can take you like you are, hurts and all, and He can give you a new life in Him, Eph. 2:1-10.
· Preach Deliverance To The Captives – The word “captives” literally means “those held at spear point”. The image is of those who have been captured by the enemy and are slated for execution. They have been captured and the enemy holds the spear against their jugular vein. One thrust and the captive would die, his blood would be poured out on the ground and he would be gone.
Jesus is talking about people who are held in the captivity and the grip of sin. By birth, people are sinners, Rom. 3:10-13. As sinners, people are the enemies of God, Rom. 8:7. Lost people stand opposed to God and His will. They are guilty of violating His Law, rejecting His Son and turning a deaf ear to His Gospel, as a result they are doomed to judgment, 2 Thes. 1:8-9. Friend, if you are lost, you are in the grip of the enemy! Sin, like a great spear, is pressed against the jugular of your soul. One thrust and you will leave this life and go out into a lost eternity! If you die in your lost condition, you will go to Hell and you will spend eternity in that horrible place. You will be isolated from God and from all that is good and pleasant. There will be no reprieve; there will be no release; there will be nothing but pain, suffering and fire for all eternity, Matt. 8:12; Rev. 14:10-11; Matt. 25:41.
Jesus promised deliverance to those in that condition. The word “deliverance” means “release from bondage or imprisonment; forgiveness or pardon, of sins (letting them go as if they had never been committed), remission of the penalty”.
Jesus will take all those who come to Him by faith and He will put their sins away from them forever, Psa. 103:12; Isa. 38:17; 43:25; Jer. 50:20; Micah 7:19; 1 John 1:7; Col. 2:13-14. He will deliver them from the power of the enemy, Col. 1:13. He will give them everlasting, eternal life, John 3:16; 6:47; 10:28. He will set them free from their bondage, Rev. 5:9; Gal. 4:5; 1 Pet. 1:18-19. He will take them out of their old life and make them a brand new creature for the glory of God, 2 Cor. 5:17.
Some saints are held captive. Like Samson, you are finding out that sin blinds, it binds, and it grinds! It literally brings its own club - Pro. 13:15) Jesus can set you free, 1 John 1:9!
· Recovering Of Sight To The Blind – Jesus surely opened blinded eyes while He was here, but His primary mission was to open the eyes of those who are spiritually blind. That is the condition of all those who do not know the Lord Jesus as their Savior today, 2 Cor. 4:4.
They are blind to their condition. They do not know that they are lost. They are blind to their need. They think they can turn over a new leaf, get a little religion, do a few good deeds, and everything will be fine. They are so blind and they are so deceived.
When Jesus comes to a soul like that, He opens their eyes and a He allows them to see themselves as they truly are. This is called conviction and it is carried out by the Holy Spirit, John 16:7-11. When conviction comes to a lost sinner’s heart, that person understands that they are a sinner. They understand they are in serious danger spiritually. They realize the magnitude of their sins and the awful cost they are about to pay because of them. They start looking for a way out. That is when the Spirit of God points them to Jesus!
He reminds them of the cross and of the empty tomb. He shows them that Jesus died for them because He loved them more than He loved His Own life, Rom. 5:6-8. They are made to understand the power of the resurrection. They are caused to know that a living Savior can forgive their sins and change their lives.
When they act on this information and receive Jesus into their lives, He saves them by His grace. He gives them a new spiritual vision and a new life. And, all this comes to them because they did something as simple as believe the Gospel message, Rom. 10:9-10; 13; Acts 16:31.
· Set At Liberty Them That Are Bruised – The word “bruised” refers to those who are “broken, shattered and smitten.” It speaks of those who have been battered by the power and effects of sin. We have already touched on sins power to destroy and devastate, but we cannot stress too strongly the truth that there is no good in sin. There is nothing but devastation, desperation and destruction in sin.
Sin destroys youth. It robs people of their innocence. It ruins marriages and breaks up homes. Sin brings death, disease and damnation into a person’s life. Sin will steal your testimony; rob you of your joy and silence your shout. Sin will harden your heart, sear your conscience and drive you away from God. Sin is a deceiver, a destroyer and a damner. It will take everything of value and leave you with nothing but disappointment, disillusionment and devastation. Sin, in any form, or in any quantity, will ruin your life!
Jesus came to make it possible for those beaten up and bruised by sin to be set free. He has the power to deliver you from what binds you. He can change your life, if you will allow Him too. You do not have to be a slave to sin, the flesh and the devil. You do not have to live one more minute as a slave to your sins. Jesus can unlock the bars of your sin and give you freedom. He can apply the balm of grace to the wounds of sin and make you whole, if you will receive Him. (Ill. Paul what he had been and what the Lord did in him, 1 Tim. 1:1-17.)
· Preach The Acceptable Year Of The Lord – Jesus came to let those trapped in sin know that the door of hope had been opened. They could now be set free from their sins and from all the things that bond them. All they had to do was come to Him!
That is still the message today! The door of hope still stands open today. Jesus invites all who will to come to Him by faith and receive Him into their lives. He invites those broken, bruised and battered by sin to come to Him to find deliverance, hope and blessing. There is hope, but only if you will come to Jesus, John 14:6; Acts 4:12. That was the message then, and that is still the message today!
Conc: When the people heard Jesus, they were dumbfounded. Here was a man Who was preaching like He knew what He was talking about. Here was a man who actually loved His congregation. Here was a man preaching a message of life, liberty and hope.
Jesus was an amazing preacher and He preached an amazing message. It was a message preached 2,000 years ago, but it is a message a fresh as the needs of today. Jesus is still offering His message of hope to all those who will believe it and receive it. The message Jesus preached then is the message we need today!
If you are not saved today, there is a message of hope for you. Sin may have beaten and battered your life, Jesus can set you free!
You may be saved, but you have not been living like you should be. There is hope for you if you will come to Jesus. He will restore you.
His message is an amazing, life-changing message. Heed His message and come to Him today!