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Jesus of Nazareth (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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March 19, 2021 6:00 am

Jesus of Nazareth (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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March 19, 2021 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the Gospel of Mark (Mark 1:9-13)

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The Father has not left me alone, for I always do those things that please Him. I read that and I say, Lord, you can always do those things that please Him. I can't even do all those things that please my own mom, as my driving demonstrated.

How do you answer that? So if I don't do the things that please you, is the Father not with me anymore? Well, Jesus said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.

What are you talking about? As I have this relationship with the Father, you are going to have this relationship with the Father. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher, Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel, Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the Gospel of Mark. Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio. Specifically, how you can get a free copy of this teaching.

Today, Pastor Rick will continue teaching through the Gospel of Mark chapter 1 and his message called Jesus of Nazareth. I told this story before. When I was in the military, I came home on leave once and I'm driving and my mom's in the backseat. And I was not a Christian then.

I was totally into the world and the world was totally into me. And somebody did something on the road, which is so surprising, that caused me to let out an expletive. I mean, I would never talk that way around my mother.

Around the guys, no problem. Mom. Never, ever, ever. And it was just silence. And I knew it was a mistake.

And I could not appeal. Well, what do you think? I've just been on ship with a bunch of... What could I say?

And then after a long pause, she said, you have a disgusting mouth. Oh, man. To this moment, as I'm standing here, I want to duck down and hide. Why am I confessing it to you?

Man, it just is terrible. It's just, you know, she never brought it up again. She's still my mom.

And nothing changed. Because how could she not love me? I mean, look at me.

Look at that face. But anyway, the Holy Spirit, He's so gentle and kind. And if I have learned, Jesus said, my sheep know my voice. If you want to know the voice of God, you'll find out He's never rude. He stands at the door and He knocks as He's a gentleman. He can kick the door.

He can blow the house up. But He doesn't do that. And so you learn after a while, when the voice of God is speaking to you, if it is in a condemning tone, it's not Him. If it's in a constructive, truthful tone, it's Him.

Now, it may be very heavy on you, but that is it. Well, the eyewitnesses here at this moment, they didn't catch the distinction automatically. In other words, when Jesus walked out to the water, they didn't say, there He is, it's Him.

It's Jesus of Nazareth. It took this kind of thing to change, to begin to change, to work on them. So blended was He with humanity. He was ordinary. And at the Jordan, they didn't catch it.

And in other places, they didn't catch it. Isaiah writes about it. He says, He has no form or comeliness. And when we see Him, no beauty, then we should desire Him. There's nothing special visibly about Him. Regardless of what those who paint pictures of Him try to do, He was just an ordinary person according to the writings of the prophets.

What an ordinary person. And, of course, John saw and recognized the distinction because God pointed it out to him. John doesn't take credit for this. John's Gospel, chapter 1, verse 33, John speaking, he says, I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, Upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him. This is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. This is our Jesus. This is the one we love, this Jesus of Nazareth.

And we do not get tired of this story because we've read it a hundred times. And yet, with this great revelation of John, or to John, what's going to happen? He's going to doubt. He's still going to doubt.

How much like us. God does something miraculous. There's no way we could say anybody else did this but God. And yet, in time, because of life just pushing on us and pushing on us, we begin to doubt. John is a doubting castle, but a castle nonetheless.

We'll come to that. Verse 11, Then a voice from heaven, then a voice came from heaven, You are my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. So the voice comes along with the dove and the presence of Christ. And this is the Father saying, let's just be clear about this.

This one's not like anyone else. This is my beloved Son, the only begotten of the Father, the only one that has come from the Father. The self-existent one. Each member of the Godhead is showing themselves actively involved at the beginning of Christ's public ministry for the salvation of mankind. Not all of mankind will benefit from this salvation.

All mankind is redeemed and just not saved. You have to come and get it. If you play lottery and you win, remember me. But you have to go take the ticket there. You've got to collect it. And Christ died for mankind. But if you don't come and receive it, you don't benefit from the redemption. And so on a large scale, all mankind is redeemed in that sense.

On an individual scale, no, you've got to receive it. He says, you are my beloved Son. Now, this is interesting because on the silver dinaris, the money of that day, coin of that time of Rome, the emperor, Tiberius, was called the Son of the Divine. Well, because they wanted to tie everything into their gods. That's innate in people.

It's built into us. But which God? Which God will it be?

The right one or the wrong one? There's a way to find out. So Jesus, being called God's Son, is mocking the political world. He's rocking the boat. And He is the Son of God. This is defiance. It's like, well, you know Jesus is going to do what He's going to do, but the facts are what the facts are. And the facts don't really care about your politics or anything else.

They are what they are. Mark's Gospel, chapter 1, verse 1, where we are. Look at the first verse if you still have your Bibles open. The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

In your face, emperor, you're not the Son of God. Jesus of lowly Nazareth, He's the One. Again, John's Gospel, chapter 8. Why do I have so many references to John?

Because John, his ministry in latter years, it fell to him to make sure the church understood that Jesus Christ is God the Son in the face of Gnosticism, which was coming out and saying, no, he's not. And so John loads up his Gospel and his letters with insisting on these facts. And so in John, chapter 8, we read Jesus speaking. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him. So you are My beloved Son, and then verse 11 of Mark, chapter 1, in whom I am well pleased. That's direct from the throne of God in the presence of everyone.

And so John again writes about it. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him. And I read that and I say, Lord, you can always do those things that please Him. I can't even do all those things that please my own mom, as my driving demonstrated.

How do you answer that? So if I don't do the things that please you, is the Father not with me anymore? Well, Jesus said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.

What are you talking about? As I have this relationship with the Father, you are going to have this relationship with the Father. The 17th chapter of John is all about that. We are strengthened as we are encouraged. Encouragement for us in Christ, in the Spirit, is not only something that makes us feel better, but it makes us something stronger.

It makes us stronger against the enemy and what he is up to. And so may we not waste our encouragements. You may say, but I'm weary. I've been encouraged countless times and the situation hasn't changed. Well, you may go to your grave with the situation unchanged. However, you will go to that grave victorious because you stood in Christ no matter what.

You did not make that a condition. Lord, if you don't deliver me from this sickness or whatever else is going on in my life, you can't be my Lord. We're not trying to obey to get something from Jesus other than Jesus. We're not spiritual capitalists.

We'll leave that for the prosperity movement as they are crooked in every way. So, moving on to verse 12. As it all comes together to the followers, immediately the Spirit drove him into the wilderness.

There's that word immediately, Mark again signaling that this is another dramatic event. So as soon as he is publicly and miraculously revealed, declared to be God's beloved Son, he disappears. He doesn't go out to ministry. He goes to the wilderness, the worst neighborhood on earth. It's the food chain.

If there was a jungle around, that's where he would have gone. Mark uses stronger language than Luke and Matthew in their account. And I've wrestled with this over the years.

I think I've got the answer though. Because Matthew and Luke say the Spirit led him. Yeah, that's in line with my theology. The Spirit leads. He doesn't drive us like cattle.

We're sheep. He leads us. But Mark knows who he's writing to. And Mark is saying he was thrust into the conflict. This was unavoidable.

This had to happen. And this is why he chooses this language. He had to engage Satan on territory that Satan felt was his turf. To God, Satan has no turf. And so he meets him out in the wilderness and he masters him there.

He beats him down there. This had to happen so he's cast into this situation. In fact, that Greek word for drove, the Spirit drove him, is what's used in other places of demons being driven out of someone, cast out. It's a very strong Greek word.

And now I love it. I say, okay, I got it. I understand why Mark is using this word and Matthew and Luke choose a different approach. Not contradictory at all. It's where the emphasis lies for the audience that is being spoken to.

And so if you use this language with the Greeks, the Greeks would have had 20 questions. What do you mean it was driven? I thought he was the son of God. So there's a beauty to all of this. And Mark says, no, these road makers, they understand this hard drive in verse 13 now. And he was there in the wilderness 40 days tempted by Satan and was with the wild beast and the angels ministered to him. Mark doesn't give us a lot about this, but this is a lonely battlefield. Any of you ever fought on a lonely battlefield?

Maybe you're fighting it now. You feel there's nobody with you. In fact, you sometimes doubt that the Lord is with you. He's been there before and he's recorded the event for us so that we don't feel so alone anymore. Isolated.

There he was. Isolated to meet the devil one on one. And Satan's going to lose. But it's going to hurt.

It's going to cost him. Satan is supposed to have the advantage. And he does over the flesh. Just an advantage, not a guaranteed win.

With a mere flinch of his will, Satan could have been cast into the abyss. But he doesn't do it. Not now. That does not happen. But it's on the to-do list.

It's going to happen for sure. Robinson Caruso, when Robinson is trying to minister to Friday, and he's telling him about his God, he asks him, he asks Robin, he says to him, why doesn't God kill the devil? Which I say, yeah, why not?

It's a good idea. And I don't know that it's really answered in the story, but it's answered in the scripture. Because God uses Satan as an alternate choice. Because God is going to get to the bottom of who is going to willfully come to him. This is why I'm so at odds with Calvinism. There'd be no purpose for all of these things if there were this, you know, God arbitrarily saying, eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you get to heaven, you go.

It doesn't happen that way. Here we have a devil that is out there causing mayhem in the world, and God is saying, those who love me will cut through this no matter what. And this is an alternate choice, and it will filter out from those who go to heaven, those who go to heaven from the refusers, those who refuse to submit, those who refuse to admit that Jesus Christ is Lord and work to line their lives up with him. And so for 40 days on our behalf, he's subjecting himself to this for us. It ain't for him, not directly. As I'm standing here, I'm saying to myself, Rick, remember this, with all the times you grow so impatient with God's timetable.

You know, God causes all things to work together for the good. I don't want to hear that. I want relief. Forty days. Matthew and Luke add without food. So about five weeks. That's a long time to go without food. Try to go a commercial.

Or just sit home. You know, half time is for gluttony. Anyway, in the Holy Spirit, you know why?

I'm just beginning to get this. You know why he doesn't talk harshly to us? Because he has pastors to do it. So, 40 days he was tempted to doubt the love of God. That's how I would see it.

If I'm out there 40 days struggling like that. I mean, Elijah and Moses, you know, they went fasted long periods of time like this also. But they weren't out in the wilderness with Satan. It says here, tempted by Satan. Of course, a wondering in this hunger. Does God care? That's what the flesh would say. How did I get here?

Why am I here? You know what bugs me about things that just really get me? Is when they make no sense.

We have a single Greek, English, and Chinese word for that. It's called stupid. It's when something is really stupid. It just, argh. If it just made sense, I wouldn't mind screaming so much. But when it's dumb.

But that's life. That's how sins work. And there he is continuously harassed, daily battling this beast.

The word for tempted is put to the test. And of course Satan tested him in every area he could test him in. Hebrews chapter 4, the writer says, For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. So he faced the music and he did not stumble. He understands what we go through.

He was not drawn into sin by this temptation and lure. And his response to it all was to break its power in front of everyone's face. And the devil said to himself, I lost. I was the only human at that point that Satan could say I could not defeat.

Of course Christ was more than human. And so when we begin to pray and we have our needs that seem not to be met, we grow doubtful of his inability to understand just how painful this is. We default to scripture and scripture tells us he's not unmindful. He sympathizes with us.

He's there and then we say well if he's so powerful and he sympathizes, why doesn't he do something? So God sent Jeremiah, the prophet, my favorite. I'm just finally getting the courage to admit Jeremiah is my favorite. Not for so much what he prophesies about the future, just what he endures for God.

And just so down and bummed out, being arrested and hounded. Anyway, God says Jeremiah go down to the potter's house. I want to show you something. And so he goes down to the potter's house and Jeremiah writes. There in that 18th chapter of Jeremiah, in the 18th chapter he writes this. There he was at the wheel making something and it was marred in his hand.

So he remade it. And what this is a picture of is God, he's doing something. And if there's damage in the midst, he will repair it. But he's doing something. He's not wasting his time. He knows what he's doing.

Just submit to that. And of course the prophet was strengthened by this vision, or this, not a vision, but experience, and went on to give us the rest of the book of Jeremiah. And so for us, we have to come to that realization that when we are suffering and he appears to not be active on our behalf, he knows what he's doing. He's doing something. We may not know all the details, but he is doing something.

And at the climax of this assault that Matthew and Luke give us, Mark leaves out, was what we read in, of course, the Gospel of Matthew chapter 4, what he was tempted with, the climax of it all. Not all of it is given to us. Satan always works to make God irrelevant. He works to make your study and desire for God irrelevant.

If the Word of God was so special, then how come it's not getting you out of trouble? That's what Satan is doing. And so, there in the wilderness, he tempted him to turn the rocks, the stones, into bread.

But he was there to fast. And Satan is appealing to his physical appetite, to get him away from his spiritual appetite to obey the Father. This is what he did to Eve. This is chapter 3, verse 1. There the devil said, You may not eat of any tree, in the face of God, saying you can eat of any tree except one, which is a fair deal. And so he commands him to make stone, and of course Jesus says no.

And then he appeals to inconsequence, that there's no problem. God's going to take care of you. You can do whatever you want. You're going to be okay. You will not die, he said to Eve. If you eat of this, did God indeed say that you will die? If you eat of this, are you going to die? So he tells Jesus in the wilderness, Cast yourself down from the pinnacle, because it is written he will give his angels charge over you.

There's no consequence. The word is irrelevant, Jesus. You don't have to listen to what it says.

And then he appealed to self-exaltation, which is so easy to do, to fall for. He told Eve, you will be like God, and God is holding this from you. There's more in you, sister, than what God is telling you. Listen to me.

I can help get it out. I've got five steps for you to be a better you. Well, what did he say to Jesus? I'll give you all the kingdoms of the world. I'll make you better. You won't be Jesus of Nazareth out in the wilderness.

You'll have kingdoms galore. And, of course, the hitch was if you bow down and worship me, which is what he was after the whole time, because he was going to make himself like God. And, of course, Jesus rebuked that. And so that's what's left out of Mark, but that's what was going on.

And we're to learn lessons from these things and appeal to them when we are in trouble. He continues here in verse 13, and was with the wild beasts. Well, they weren't wild to him. He tamed them, but it's a graphic touch for us, because there was a lot of devouring going on out there. It is the food chain, and everything gets eaten in some form. You remember, years ago, the lions in the Serengeti, they were just being hounded by flies. Life is rock, paper, scissors. I'm sorry.

It just really is. I mean, how do you account for the king of the jungle being beaten by flies? And then something else comes along and eats the flies.

So, the Venus fly trap. Anyway, okay, back to, and the angels ministered to him. I know when my jokes start thudding, it's time to read scripture. It's a biblical approach. And the angels ministered to him. And that touch is to say, this is deep. His body went through it.

I mean, we're going to leave out what happened. You just need to know the essentials, the climax of the temptation, because within that are the great lessons for us. But understand this, 40 days without food in Satan's territory is intense, even for the Son of Man, his humanity, in his humanity, not as his deity. Again, his deity could have just said, you know what, you're in the abyss. The angels ministered to him. This information could only come from Christ.

There were no spectators here to come say they saw this. Luke, chapter 4, verse 1, Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. And so there, the filling of the Spirit for this confrontation. And now he's going to come out, verse 14.

Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom. Okay, we're almost out of time. And I encourage you all, bring more time with you when you come Sunday mornings and you just are an obstinate bunch. There is so much here. It really pains me to stop.

But we have to stop here. Thanks for tuning in to Cross-Reference Radio for this study in the book of Mark. Cross-Reference Radio is the teaching ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. To learn more information about this ministry, visit our website, Once you're there, you'll find additional teachings from Pastor Rick. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. When you subscribe, you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross-Reference Radio. You can search for Cross-Reference Radio on your favorite podcast app. That's all we have time for today, but we hope you'll join us next time as Pastor Rick continues to teach through the book of Mark, just like here on Cross-Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-13 23:35:13 / 2023-12-13 23:45:11 / 10

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