Mark 2:23-3:6 – “Encountering Jesus, Lord of the sabbath”.

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Mark 2:23-3:6

One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 how he entered the house of God, in the time of[d] Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand.And they watched Jesus,[e] to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

Mark 2:18-22 – “Fasting as we await the feast”

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Mark 2:18-22

Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.

Psalm 91 – “How the Lord relates to his People”

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Psalm 91

91 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say[a] to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
    and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
    the Most High, who is my refuge[b]
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
    no plague come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
    I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

Acts 2:22-36 “Encountering Jesus – The Lord and Saviour”

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Acts 2:22-36

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus,[a] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him,

“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
    for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
    my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
    or let your Holy One see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
    you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
35     until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Mark 2:13-17 “A Doctor for the Spiritually Sick”

Today we encounter Jesus – the Doctor for the Spiritually Sick. Jesus is not ashamed to be in the presence of Levi the Tax Collector, in fact, far from it. Jesus goes to Levi, a man who worked in a notoriously corrupt occupation, a man who people knew was morally corrupt and welcomes him to follow him. Like Levi, we have been welcomed, as the morally corrupt, to draw into a relationship with Jesus. To enjoy the blessing of the Gospel in Jesus Christ.
Jesus isn’t corrupted by us, He provides healing for our morally corrupt heart.

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Mark 2:13-17

He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.16 And the scribes of[a] the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat[b] with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Mark 1:21-28 “Jesus is more than compelling, he is able”

In the last two week’s we’ve heard several extraordinarily compelling speeches.

Imams, Bishops, Presidents of Student Groups, Local leaders and our own Prime Minister have all called for the community to respond with love, unity and tolerance.

All of these speeches have been compelling, yet at the same time can leave you asking the question, How? How will genuine change happen? How will heart change happen?

As you ask the question ‘How’ it becomes difficult not to feel cynical, hopeless or discouraged about their ability to make genuine change.

On Sunday we asked ourselves if we were feeling a similar, hopelessness, discouragement or cynicism towards Jesus? We were also reminded – as we looked at Jesus’ authoritative ministry – that Jesus is both compelling and able. Jesus is able to make genuine change because He can speak and heal with authority.

Jesus is more than compelling he is able.

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Mark 1:21-28

 And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out,24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

Luke 10:25-35 “Loving Our Neighbour”

The Muslim community in Christchurch is suffering.

Because of this there is a significant need for genuine neighbourly love.

Despite this, as Christians, we can be slow, reserved or unintuitive with our neighbourly love. Often, because of the cultural and religious differences between Islam and Christianity.

In the Parable of the Good Samaritan we are challenged to love like the Samaritan does.

But we are also reminded of the imperfection of our love. We can never love well enough to fulfill the law and earn eternal life. Jesus is the only person who has ever shown perfect neighbourly love – fulfilling the law and earning eternal life which we receive ‘in Christ’.

The truth of the Gospel in this way becomes exceedingly refreshing for us as we seek to love our neighbours. We are reminded that ‘in Christ’, we have a perfect ‘neighbour love’ record and have been forgiven for imperfect neighbour love.

The truth of the Gospel also free’s us to love our neighbours without fear of endorsing Islam, without hesitation or guilt and with a a lack of self focus or back patting.

In other words – The truth of the Gospel free’s us to love our suffering neighbours well.

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Luke 10:25-35

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii[a] and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’

Mark 1:14-20 “Big Call”

In Mark 1:14-20 Jesus is making some ‘big calls’. He makes two specific claims regarding God’s
Rule and Discipleship which necessitate a response. The particular response Jesus expects is for us to acknowledge his Kingship/Kingdom, to repent, believe and follow him. In reality we can either treat Jesus’ claims here as either fictional self promotion or the truth.

How will we respond?

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Mark 1:14-20

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand;[a]repent and believe in the gospel.”

16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”[b] 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.

Mark 1:12-13 – “Encountering Jesus, One who passes the wilderness test.”

What made JesusWilderness Test so extreme?  This only becomes clear when we understand the Biblical reality of the Wilderness.  The Bibles idea of the Wilderness, combines several ideas.

In the Wildernesswe will experience spiritual tension – often arising out of a physical situation, have our faithfulness tested and be exposed to Satanic temptation.  As a result we might begin to doubt our commitment to God and our faith in the goodness or even existence of God.

During a Wildernessseason we will often realise just how fragile our faith really is.  In Mark 1:12-13 we see Jesus in his Wilderness experience – the only difference being that he remained perfectly faithful.

This is encouraging for us as we remember/realise that if we are in Christ – because of his faithfulness – we have been declared perfectly faithful, are welcomed into a blessed relationship with God and fight in a spiritual war that has already been won.

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Mark 1:12-13

The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.

Mark 1:1-11 – “Delighting in God”

To delight in something or someone means to take great pleasure in them.  A child delights in that old blanket, a connoisseur delights in a perfectly brewed coffee.  Similarly, we delight in God when we take great pleasure in Him.

Mark helps us to see just how perfectly united God – in the Trinity – is which might impress us.  Mark does more though.  He reminds us of what God is accomplishing.

God is beginningthe Gospel in his Son Jesus Christ.  This does more than provoke intrigue, this gives us a foundation for delighting in God.  To Delight in God is to take great pleasure in his perfectly united, perfectly gracious character.

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Mark 1:1-11

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.[a]

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,[b]

“Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
    who will prepare your way,
the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
    ‘Prepare[c] the way of the Lord,
    make his paths straight,’”

John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

The Baptism of Jesus

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son;[d] with you I am well pleased.”

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    Sunday Morning Worship takes place at 10am in the Piano, located on 156 Armagh Street. Free parking for GPC attendees is available off Oxford Terrace.