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Sermon24-9 Mark10 Guide

Mark 10:17-31, theme verse Mark 10:27

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

Today in the fourth Sunday of 2024, I pray that God may bless you all in His love, grace and blessings. During last few weeks, we learned that after proclaiming “the beginning of Gospel of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God”, the Gospel of mark taught us that that gospel was the good news that “the kingdom of God arrived so that we have to repent and believe in that Gospel.” And then, Jesus did the kingdom ministries to build His kingdom by casting out demons and proclaimed and taught the kingdom of God, while appointing twelve apostles to proclaim and teach this secret of the kingdom of God. In today’s text, even though Jesus invited a young rich man to follow Him when he came and asked how he can earn the eternal life. But, he returned home, being sad, since he was a rich person. Through reading today’s text, we would like to understand what it means to be His disciples and learn few lessons together.

1)    As we have seen over the past few weeks, the Gospel of Mark starts by proclaiming, “This is the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and then explain that this good news is, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand so that we have to repent and believe in the gospel.” In other words, mark says that since the kingdom of God has arrived so that we are called to obey God’s reign. And Mark continued that for this gospel, Jesus taught the gospel, established the kingdom of God on earth by casting out demons, and healed His people as His kingdom ministries. And also Jesus did vicarious atonement ministry on the cross, which became the foundation of His kingdom of God, and then finally Jesus called and taught and trained His disciples to delegate  His ministry of the kingdom of God to his disciples.

2)    Especially, in Mark 3:13-19, unlike other gospels, Mark clearly stated that the purpose to call twelve disciples were firstly, to let them be with Him, secondly, to send them to preach and teach the kingdom of God, and thirdly, to give the authority to case out demons to continue to build His kingdom. Here, the first purpose of being with Him means that He wanted to have fellowship with them and let them know about Himself and the kingdom of God, and in that process, He wants them to resemble His character. And the second purpose to send them to preach the gospel means that after they were taught the secret of the kingdom of God, then they could proclaim it to the world and teach its secret to other disciples. And lastly, the third purpose to have the authority to cast out demons means that He wanted them to build His kingdom after casting out demons that rule the world of darkness and then continue to purify the world and heal His people.

3)    And then, to achieve this goal, Jesus challenged three things to His disciples: I mean, self-denial, taking up own cross, and following Him. Here, what we have to deny is our will, wisdom, methods, and strength. I mean, when we faced up with challenges or hardships, we as His disciples realized that we could not overcome them with our own wisdom or strength, so denying ourselves and becoming humble, then we could receive His grace by asking it. The reason why Jesus allows His disciples to deny themselves is because just as the salvation was possible solely through God's grace, the disciples' ministries can also bear fruits only if they entirely relied on God's grace and power. So, That’s why Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 that “God’s power can be perfect in my weakness,” so that he would rejoice and even boast about his weaknesses since he could become strong in his time of weakness. And secondly, our own cross which we have to take as His disciples is not the cross which our Lord bore to forgive our sins. Rather, the cross we must bear is the suffering and persecution because of the Lord or the ridicule and contempt due to the gospel. And finally, following the Lord means accepting the Lord’s words and teachings and obeying his guidance. However, this kind of obedience is not actually something we can cultivate. Rather, when we receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Word and notice that we cannot follow Him in our wisdom and strength, while we lay down them and asking for His grace, then we could become to follow Him, growing more into His humility and meekness to finally receive the inheritance of heaven.

4)    But, looking at the Gospel of Mark, it seems that even twelve disciples were not very successful in fulfilling the purpose and also in taking His training. In other words, even though the Lord taught them and demonstrated the way of the kingdom of God many times, they did not understand it so that they were repeatedly rebuked by the Lord, “Do you not yet understand?” And also in Mark 6, when He gave them the power to cast out demons and sent them out in pairs for evangelizing, they drove out demons and healed sick people by praying for them after anointing with oil. But, in Mark 9, it says that the disciples were unable to cast out demons and were rebuked by Jesus, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you?” And also, even though the Lord commanded to deny themselves, in Mark 4:35-41, when they met a great storm and waves, they trusted their own experience as sailors and tried to control the ship with their own strength, but, after they failed, they woke up the Lord who was sleeping in the stern. And finally, in Mark 14:50, when the Lord was arrested for His atonement work on the cross, it is said that all the disciples forsook Jesus and ran away.

5)    Through these we can learn that: First of all, we can know that we could understand and know the secret of the kingdom of God, without the teachings of the Lord and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And also, even though we receive the power to cast out demons, but it is not something we can wield as we please, rather we have to pray having faith, because the power will not come out as if it belong to us, but the power still come out through the Lord. And finally when we encounter the storms and waves of life, in our way to follow Jesus, we cannot overcome those challenges by our wisdom or strength. Rather we have to awake the Lord within us and rely on His grace and power. In other words, carrying the cross is not possible through our own strength, rather we have to simply be humble and ask for the grace of the Lord.

6)    By the way, in today's text, a young man came to Jesus, asking “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” We don’t know whether he thought there’s something missing even though he had kept all the laws so that he might come and ask the Lord, but, anyhow, the Lord first challenged him that he could gain eternal life if he kept the Ten Commandments, and surprisingly, he answered that he had kept them all since he was young. Then, after looking at his inner self, the Lord saw his passion and faithfulness to God’s law and with loving heart, challenged, saying, “You lack one thing: Go, sell all that you have and give to the poor… and come, follow me” as this was a call to discipleship that asked his immediate obedience. However, since he had a lot of wealth, so that he did not obey to His calling and returned home being sad, as to him, the wealth was his lord than God. Through this incident, we can learn a few lessons, I mean, First of all, the eternal life that the young man wanted to gain was actually to know God and Jesus Christ and have fellowship with the Lord, just as the first reason the Lord called His disciples was to be with them. So this eternal life can be earned by becoming a disciple, since disciple is not only those who keep the God’s law as His pleasing will, as the young man understood, but also those who do the ministries that His Lord did and also those who become like His teacher. But, these doing and being cannot be done by our own human wisdom and effort, as the Lord said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible,” so the Lord had to come to this world to create in Him new humanity who can accept the good and evil which God judges and accept the God’s reign so that they follow, obey and live in God’s pleasing will, in addition to His vicarious atonement ministry on the cross.

7)    So, even though the disciples are very diverse, in other words, there were like Paul wrote 13 or 14 books out of a total of 27 New Testament books, if including the book of Hebrews or Matthew who received considerable educations, I mean, the religious education to become a priest as Levi, and Roman education for finance and languages to be an official of the Roman government, while on the one hands, there were also people like Peter who had a low level of education and were just poor fishermen, and also there were people like Peter, James, and John who were impatient and fiery, while on the other hands, there were also people like Andrew who carried out their ministry quietly and faithfully, and also, there were people like James who was very passionate to His kingdom and became excellent leader, while on the other hands, there were also people like Thaddaeus who served without a name or light, and also there were James and Simon who were the Zealots, while on the other hands, there was Matthew who was a tax collector who served Rome, however, these various disciples had one thing in common, I mean, when the Lord called them, they immediately obeyed and followed Jesus.

8)    Although they did not understand the Lord's teachings at once so that they were constantly scolded along the way of following the Lord, sometimes they slipped and fell, and sometimes even they betrayed Jesus, but they followed the Lord to the end, so that the Lord could guide and correct them to the end. Therefore, rather than how much wisdom and knowledge they had, or how much power they had, or even how faithfully they kept their faith, the most important charter as His disciple was their desire to stay with the Lord to the end no matter what the situation was. That’s why they twelve apostles so that they could be recorded in the Bible as His twelve apostles.

9)    Through today's passage, we would like to learn few things. First, we would like to think about what our own cross means. Some people say that her husband who made her painful is her cross, but this is actually incorrect. Rather, her inability to embrace the different character of her husband is actually the cross she must bear and nail it to the cross. Secondly, we would like to think about why Jesus focused so much on the obedience. Of course, Jesus uses our talents, gifts and strengths. But, God's kingdom ministry and its success only comes from God and His power, while God's power is revealed through the unique talents and gifts of each disciple as today's text v.27 says that with human it is impossible, but with God all things are possible. And therefore, it is said that the most fundamental qualification for a disciple is to accept Jesus' teachings and obey his guidance. Each of us may not be perfect. But each of us has God-given strengths, talents and gifts. However, those talents and gifts are not given to us to wield as we please, as the swords of the war, rather, we have to yield so that the Lord can use us and our talents and gifts, as He pleases, because only then can God's power be revealed through us. Therefore we have to read and obey His Word and offer ourselves in prayer to follow Him in faith. I pray that God may grant us His grace and power so that we could follow the Lord, denying ourselves and taking up our cross, from where we stand, to wherever the Lord leads us.

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 In today’s text, Jesus said to His disciples that we have to follow Him, denying ourselves and taking our own cross. While reflecting your circumstances, I hope you could think about any self-denial which you do not want to, or any your own cross which you do not want to take, I hope you can share your thought with grace each other.

Q2 And also, after reflecting if there was any challenge that you could not follow even Jesus said you to follow, I hope you can share what is that and why you can not follow,  to share God’s grace in it together.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or  even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized   ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon                                    )

Please help me to live in that (  learned way of life                                                )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.

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