February 18, 2018

 The Gospel of Mark – 7: 25-10: 45

Message #2: The Suffering Servant Ministers Outside of Galilee

Journey through the Bible: The Gospel of Mark

The Suffering Servant Ministers Outside of Galilee

Mark 7: 24 – 10: 52

 

Introduction: Last Sunday we looked at Jesus’s ministry in Galilee through Mark’s Gospel. We discovered three aspects of the Suffering Servant for our lives as disciples:

 

We are called to be compassionate.

We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

We are called to carry on the work of God despite opposition.

 

Today we continue our journey in Mark’s Gospel as we contemplate

 

Jesus’ ministry outside of Galilee…particularly in Mark, chapters 7-10…in these chapters we see Jesus ministering in the following places (Map on Screen):

 

  • Tyre (chapter 7) was the main seaport of the Roman province of Syria and Phoenicia – a prosperous city with pagan temples and twin harbours built on either side of a small island. Tyre became part of the Roman Empire in 64BC and was one of the first Roman cities in the region to embrace Christianity.…
  • Sidon (north of Tyre) was another prosperous port, and a popular place of healing in Roman times – with a temple to Echmoun, a local god who was regarded by the Romans as Asclepius, the Greek god of healing. And from there, Jesus went to the region of the Decapolis on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee
  • (Chapter 8) On returning across the lake to Dalmanutha, near Herod Antipas’s capital city of Tiberias on the western shore (see 7 on Map 8), Jesus uses the two feeding miracles to illustrate how abundant blessings can spring from small beginnings
  • Two years into his ministry, Jesus visits Bethsaida on the north east corner of the Sea of Galilee during the summer of 29AD
  • From Bethsaida, Jesus and his disciples travel north beside the River Jordan to the Gentile villages around Caesarea Philippi, leaving behind the bustling activity of the Jewish towns beside Lake Galilee (see 1 on Map 9).…

 

  • Eventually Jesus and his disciples return to Galilee where he teaches them about his death and resurrection…

 

  • Judea…chapter 10…Jesus begins his march toward Jersualem…moving closer to the time of his ultimate suffering as servant…
  • Jerusalem…chapter 10

 

As part of Jesus’ ministry outside of Galilee we are going to focus on two aspects of the Suffering Servant in chapters 7 thru 10…Jesus as Healer and Servant

 

Jesus as Healer

 

Last week we considered Jesus’ compassion when it came to how he felt about the people he encountered. It was His compassion and kindness that led to Jesus’ desire to heal people as well. And we will see in a bit that it was even more than that.

 

7: 25-30…Jesus heals woman’s demon possessed daughter…her faith was a huge part of this healing…

 

31-35 … Jesus heals deaf and mute man…

 

Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis.[a] 32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.

33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha (ef-a-tha)!” (which means “Be opened!”). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

 

8: 22-26…Jesus heals a blind man in Bethsaida…

 

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”

24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”

25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into[a] the village.”

In the last two healings, you might notice that Jesus did not heal them publicly so to speak. He took the person away from crowds of people. He had to show discretion in His healing because, the more the word got out, the more His life would be called into question and the sooner He might face His accusers…God’s planning and timing are always perfect.

 

Jesus’ ability to heal anyone of anything is certainly amazing and inspiring. And yet, as I was considering these stories of healings, I couldn’t help but wonder…

 

Why didn’t Jesus heal everyone?

 

This particular question has a personal aspect to it as well.

 

Illus: Marti was first diagnosed with Lupus in 2002. And as you all know it has been a challenging journey. And a part of this journey has been, of course, prayesr for God’s healing. And although God has not healed her of Lupus we have experienced two miracles in the past three years. Meeting with doctors and palliative care personnel, telling me there was either nothing more they could do, or, you may have to be prepared to make a very difficult decision…we have seen God’s power displayed in our lives without a doubt. And yet, to this point, God has not healed her of Lupus.

 

If you look at God’s Word, It is not always His will to heal a person physically. A person may sincerely pray and truly have faith that God can heal, but if it is not God’s will to provide the healing at that time, then no healing will come – 1 John 5:1414 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. Sometimes God’s blessings come in other ways besides physical healing.

If it were always God’s will for people to be healed, then everyone would be healed every time he or she became ill. If good health were always God’s will, then Christians should never die.

 

We can’t blame someone’s malady on a lack of faith, for we know, biblically, that God sometimes uses illness to accomplish His will. Also, it’s not just wayward believers who get sick. Paul “left Trophimus (a Christian missionary that traveled with him on is third missionary journey) sick in Miletus” (2 Timothy 4:2020 Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. ), and Paul himself had a physical ailment that the Lord declined to heal (2 Corinthians 12:7–9Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

  • Jesus had the ability to heal everyone but that wasn’t his ultimate mission

 

We are reminded of this truth when we look back at chapter one of Mark’s Gospel… Chapter 1, verses 35-38 (on screen)…

 

Jesus’ ultimate mission was not physical healing but spiritual healing…He came to save us from our sins!

Even though Jesus healed many it was not just because of kindness on His part; His healings were always a sign from heaven of Christ’s authority as Messiah (John 7:31). His healings gave Israel a taste of the kingdom of God (Luke 11:20). And those who refused His authority were often left sick. Even in his hometown (Matthew 13:58).

 

And I want us to consider what happens in John’s Gospel as we look at John 5: 1-9 (on screen)…did you ever wonder why Jesus didn’t heal everyone at the pool. Why just the one man.

 

As disciples today how do we respond to, and live out, this message of healing?

 

Insights from Joni Eareckson Tada…

Were there Christians who said then, who say now, that if you only had great faith God would heal you? Do you, or did you, get that occasionally? Yes. I would read those passages off Scripture which seemed to guarantee that God would heal. When I was released from the hospital, I remember going to crusades of Kathryn Kuhlman, a famous faith healer, a Benny Hinn sort. I hoped that somehow God’s healing spirit would visit the wheelchair section, that those of us who were the tough cases would suddenly jump up out of our wheelchairs—but the spotlight was always on the other side of the stadium.

How did you feel when the ushers came at the end to escort you away, unhealed? I remember sitting there looking up and down this line of people on crutches, walkers, and wheelchairs and thinking to myself, “Something’s wrong with this picture. I must not be looking deep enough into God’s Word because I know these people believed.” I certainly believed. I was calling up my girlfriends saying, “Next time you see me I’m going to be running up your sidewalk. God’s going to heal me.” So I went back into God’s Word and began to see things I never saw before.

Such as … In the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus says, “If your eye causes you sin, pluck it out. If your hand sins, cut it off. Better that you go into life maimed than enter hellfire.” That little portion of Scripture clued me into God’s priorities. God would have us go through life maimed, if that means spiritual health and well-being. That is the deeper healing that He’s looking for. So, I quit banging on heaven’s doors to get me healed. I began submitting to His Word.

Our response today? To submit to the will of God and His Word. Do I believe God desires for all of us to be healthy and whole? Absolutely. Do I believe God could instantaneously heal Marti. Without a doubt. Do I believe God has given particular believers the gift of healing? Yes I do.

 

The apostles were given the specific power to heal the sick, and for thirty-seven years they went everywhere healing those who heard their message. Again, their miracles, including healing, were confirmation of the truth of the gospel that the apostles proclaimed.

However, the twelve apostles did not heal everyone, either. Often, there were Christians left unwell in spite of the apostolic power. Paul says to Timothy, “Use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses” (1 Timothy 5:23). Why didn’t Paul just lay hands on Timothy and heal him? It wasn’t because Timothy didn’t have enough faith; it was because it was not God’s will to heal Timothy that way or at that time. The healing ministry was not for anyone’s personal convenience; rather, it was a sign from God—to the Jews of the Old Covenant primarily—of the validity of the apostles’ message.

The question we need to ask in any given situation is, what does God want? Does He desire to heal the individual in this life, or does He have another plan to show His glory through weakness? Someday, all sickness and death will be eradicated (see Revelation 21:4‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[a] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”).

Joni Eareckson Tada will walk again. Until then, there is a greater healing, the cleansing of sinful hearts, that God performs every day.

Jesus was certainly a healer, but He was also a servant.

 

And He shows His followers this in His ministry outside of Galilee.

 

So as disciples, what should our attitude be about servanthood? There are at least three things we see from Jesus in his teaching to His disicples:

 

  • Deny Ourselves

 

Mark 8: 34-36 (on screen)…

 

  • The Servant of All

 

Mark 9: 33-37 (on screen)

 

  • Jesus came to serve, not to be served…

 

Mark 10: 35-45 (on screen)…

To summarize: Jesus calls us to manifest a heart of service to others. But our motivation service is a key part of all this.

We can measure the motives behind our compassion and service by our willingness to offer them to people who reject them. Oswald Chambers observes, “It is one thing to go on the lonely way with dignified heroism, but quite another thing if the line mapped out for you by God means being a door-mat under other people’s feet.

“Suppose God wants to teach you to say, ‘I know how to be abased’-are you ready to be offered up like that? Are you ready to be not so much as a drop in a bucket-to be so hopelessly insignificant that you are never thought of again in connection with the life you served? Are you willing to spend and be spent; not seeking to be ministered unto, but to minister? Some saints cannot do menial work and remain saints because it is beneath their dignity.”

You and I will find abundant opportunities every day to emulate the One who “came not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45). Each will be an invitation to do for others what our Lord has done for us.

Elie Wiesel was a Holocaust survivor, brilliant writer, and Nobel Peace Prize recipient. In Night, his deeply moving memoir of his Holocaust experience, he tells of a young boy who was hanged by the Nazis while the prisoners were made to watch.

Strangling on the rope, the boy “remained for more than half an hour, lingering between life and death, writhing before our eyes.” A prisoner asked, “For God’s sake, where is God?” Wiesel: “And from within me, I heard a voice answer: ‘Where is He? This is where-hanging here from this gallows.’”

To follow in the footsteps of the Suffering Servant, Jesus, we must be willing to answer His call to love…no matter what that love may look like.