[This sermon was preached by William King at Christ Church Paarl, on 13 December 2015. The audio verion of the sermon can be found here.]
It is the Christmas season, and I find it difficult to see the Christ of the Bible presented to us. What I find particularly disturbing, is that it seems that even Christians at this time of the calendar succumb to a worldly view of Christ. This is probably thé time of the year, along with Easter, that the world gives us an opportunity to live and proclaim the Gospel to them. Other times we have to battle to get an audience. But it seems the Bride of Christ is so caught up in the excitement the world offers, that it forgets who the Bridegroom is.
So, in this morning, I want us to get a glimpse of who the Christ is that we confess. The Gospel of Mark presents us with a very clear picture of Jesus. Throughout his work, he paints the canvas, depicting moments from which we get to know the Son of God. What is striking about his account of our Lord’s life, is that people reacted. There were never a moment where they came into contact with the true Son of God and they were not confronted by Him. His very being always demands an answer to the question “what will you make of Me?”. So the title of this sermon is “Confronted by the Son of God”.
1. The supremacy of the Son of God
The overall picture Mark paints of Christ, is one of supremacy. And he is adamant that we should realise that the Son of God is supreme over ALL areas of His created universe. Not one area is allowed to run free and do as it pleases! This should already be a comforting thought when we think about all the pain and suffering around us.
– over the spiritual realm
We read of His supremacy over the spiritual realm. Satan attempts to lure Him into denying who He is (1:12), but angels attendant to Him. He encounters people who were demon possessed, and the demons could not resist His authority over them. We read about the demon possessed in the synagogue (2:21-27; 5:1-20; 7:24-30; 9:14-26).
The fact that Satan and the fallen angels rebelled against God, did not give them freedom to do as they wish. They are still under His authority!
– over nature
He is also supreme over the elements of nature. Mark tells us that He could calm a storm by rebuking it (4:35-41). He walked on water (6:45-52). Two of the deadliest forces in nature could not but bow before its Maker when He commanded it!
– over the physical
Then we also read of His supremacy over the physical realm. This is specifically shown in the many healings that He performed. He cleansed a man with leprosy (1:40-42). He made the lame to walk (2:1-12), the blind to see (8:22-25; 10:46-52), the deaf to hear (7:31-37), the mute to talk (7:31-37). He cured a woman who suffered her whole life with bleeding (5:25-34), and he cured a man’s shrivelled hand (3:1-6).
– over sin
In 2:1-12 we are presented with an amazing event. Chapter 1 closes with Christ healing leprosy, which is often seen as a metaphor for sin. Now follows the event where a paralyzed man is healed. What is important, is that Jesus first addresses the man’s sin, and only after confronting the theology of the Pharisees, does He heal the physical condition.
In the theology of the Pharisees, no one can forgive sin and deal with it effectively, but God alone. Their theology was spot on on this issue. The problem is their view of Christ’s identity was not. So Jesus presents them with these two impossibilities, i.e. the forgiving of sin, and the healing of the body. Both belong to God alone. In doing this, He rectifies their view of the Messiah as supreme over sin. But more strikingly, He confirms Himself as this promised Messiah.
– over life and death
The Son of God is also lord over death and life! Jairus had to learn this through the death of his own daughter (5:21-24, 35-43). Later Christ would Himself lay down His life in order to die. But death could not hold its Maker, and Christ took up His life to conquer death. Death could not break Him, because in Him is life.
– over wisdom of man
The reaction of people in His hometown describes His supremacy over the wisdom of man:
What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! (6:2).
We see His wisdom far exceeding that of the expected wise men of His day, in His teaching, His handling of the Scriptures, and His clashes with the Pharisees and Sadducees. We often read people were amazed when they heard His teaching, for it was with authority and not like that of the teachers they had.
– over history
Furthermore, he had total control over the course of history. This is clear from the way Mark paints Christ’s coming as the fulfilment of the prophecies (1:1-8). His coming as man did not happen suddenly and without planning. On the contrary, God was driving the course of history in painstaking detail – even those quiet years, and Christ on the scene as the Word in the flesh, was the decisive moment, the fullness of time.
Christ, in His earthly life, did not abandon the rollout of history. On the contrary, He was controlling it. Remember when He told His disciples that He had to suffer and die (8:31-32; 10:32-34). He knew Peter was going to deny Him (14:27-31).
And in his leaving the earth and sending His Spirit, He is still in control of the flow of history.
The Christ we encounter in Mark’s gospel is vastly different than the one the unbelieving world wants. He is the supreme Son of God. And what Mark shows us, is that wherever and whenever He stepped onto the arena, people were confronted by Him. This we see by the many reactions as people encountered Him.
- amazed (1:27; 5:20, 42; 6:51; 7:37; 10:24-28),
- some were afraid (4:40-41; 5:15).
- Others were filled with joy (11:9-11),
- while yet others were disappointed (10:22).
- There were those who came to Him in an attitude of hope and faith (5:21-34; 7:24-30),
- and then there were those who came with theological arguments (2:18, 24; 7:1-5; 10:1-12; 11:27-33; 12:13-17, 18-27)
- who accused Him of being filled with demons and working by the power of Satan himself (3:22).
- Some were offended by Him (6:2-3).
- And then there were those who mocked Him and laughed at Him (5:40; 15:25-32).
This is still the case today. The very being of the Son of God demands a reaction. Fence sitting is not an option! At the end of Mark we read of the centurion’s reaction:
And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said: “Surely, this man was the Son of God!” (15:39)
Will this be the world’s reaction to our message of Christ? Will this be your reaction to the supreme Son of the Most High God!
The audio of the sermon can be found here