Saturday, April 9, 2011

Our Study in Mark Continues...

I am really enjoying our study of the gospel of Mark.  We are only into the second week.  In fact, tomorrow I am prepared to deliver the 3rd and 4th sermons from this dynamic book.

Tomorrow's messages will bring us face-to-face with a couple of interesting questions.  They will be hinted at in the morning message but addressed more directly in the evening sermon, "Lord of the Leper."

My sermon title for the 6pm message is borrowed from a commentary on this text by Dr. Jerry Vines.  I do not often use other preachers' sermon titles but this one sounded so clear and succint I though I'd make an exception.  And if you're going to make an exception, why not for Jerry Vines :)

Now for the questions we will confront:

First, why would Jesus not want people to know exactly who He was?  At least not in the early part of His ministry?  Often called The Messianic Secret of Mark, Jesus clearly rebukes demons for announcing His identity (Mark 1:25, 34) and tells a newly-cleansed leper to keep silent as well (Mark 1:43-44).  The question before us is, "Why?"

Secondly, we will have to answer the question, "Upon whom does the Lord Jesus wish to bestow His mercy?"  You might be surprised that the answer given by the "evangelical community" is not nearly as unanimous as you might think.

To understand its implications you must keep in mind that leprosy is a picture or prototype of sin.  The leper, having been confronted by God's Word approaches the Lord with a telling statement and a profoundly important question.  Though most Bible translations render it as statement, we do no injustice to phrase it as a statement and a question.

"I know that You can make me clean.  Are You willing to do so?"

The answer from the Lord strikes to the heart of the gospel message.  "I am willing.  Be made clean."

We will look at that question a bit more fully Sunday night.  Bring your Bibles.  Bring your thinking-caps.  We will cover 2/3rds of chapter 1 of Mark between the morning and evening services.