Hearing Jesus 6: Jesus and the People
050-00747 Mark 12: 35-37
I. There are certain people who have a gift of talking.
A. Think back in your experience.
1. There is probably someone you can think of that you used to love to hear speak.
2. It didn’t matter what they said.
3. It was the sound of their voice, the rhythm and melody of their diction, the way they put thoughts together.
4. You could listen to them speak and lose track of time.
B. I have felt that way on occasion.
1. Have any of you seen the ShamWow commercial? I don’t know why but I love to hear that guy talk.
a) Every time I see it I stop to listen.
b) I try to figure out just why he is so mesmerizing.
c) I don’t want to buy his product and I don’t believe most of his claims.
d) But I want to want to buy the product. I want to believe what he says.
2. The ShamWow guy is an example of someone who uses speech techniques to sell us something. I don’t know if he really believes his own pitch. But he has the job he has because he sells towels. And he makes you feel kind of special for buying.
C. There are others, though, who have something much more serious to say and their voice has led people into deep truth.
1. John Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
2. Martin Luther King, Jr., “I have a dream.”
3. Though many have had heart stirred by such speaking, few have really allowed themselves to be carried away into action by them.
4. We still have a self-serving attitude about government and we still tolerate and even defend racist systems in our land.
D. Therefore, we should not be surprised to learn that when Jesus spoke to the people shortly before his death, they “listened with delight” but their lives were not significantly changed.
II. I am talking about the time shortly after Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time.
A. He came riding a donkey.
1. The people lined up and cheered him.
2. They waved palm branches, a sign of the victorious king.
3. Mark 11:9-10 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest!”
4. Hosanna was a cry unto God for salvation which over centuries of worship became a praise unto God for the salvation he sends.
B. Things did not occur, though, as the people had expected.
1. The first place Jesus went was the temple.
2. With great force he drove those who were buying and selling and exchanging money out of the temple declaring, “My Father’s house is a house of prayer.”
3. The Pharisees and the Sadducees and the Chief Priests and Scribes were already jealous of this man’s ability to gather and hold a crowd. But this was a direct challenge to their God given authority. How dare he!
4. This is not the salvation of the Lord. This is an attack on God’s people. Salvation would be in the destruction of all the Gentile nations who have ever oppressed Israel.
C. The battle was on. The line was drawn in the sand. It was institutional Judaism versus a heretic named Jesus.
1. The leaders of the Temple queried Jesus, “By whose authority do you do these things?” But Jesus kept his calm and said, “I’ll answer your question if you answer mine. Was John’s baptism from heaven or from man?” They had to refuse to answer for either answer they could give made them look bad. So that ended that discussion.
2. But not the anger burning in their souls.
3. Jesus continued to teach while in the Temple. He told the story of the Tenants – you may remember it. A man built a wall around his property and hired some families to live within the protection of the wall. All they had to do was raise his vineyard. Everything went fine until the man sent his servants to collect the grapes. The tenants got to thinking that what they had worked for was theirs so they killed the servant. So what was the owner to do? He would kill the tenants and claim his property. Quoting a Psalm that spoke of the Temple the message became clear. Jesus was sent to gather the harvest. He was sent to judge those who falsely laid claim to God’s house and kingdom.
4. And their anger burned all the more.
5. The Jewish leaders continued to test Jesus.
a) The asked about taxes to Caesar.
b) They asked about marriage at the resurrection.
c) They asked about the greatest commandment.
d) And in each case, Jesus answered them in ways that they could neither reject nor rebut him in public without revealing themselves as petty or evil.
6. And their anger became a roaring fire within.
III. Now Jesus has a question for them.
A. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all write about this event.
1. They all agree with each other.
2. But their styles of writing and their individuality come through so that we can get a larger picture of the event by integrating all three into one combined telling.
While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” “The son of David,” they replied. “How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, in the Book of Psalms: “The Lord said to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.'” David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?” The large crowd listened to him with delight. No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.
3. At this moment we might say that Jesus has moved from the defense to the offense for he now takes charge of the conversation.
4. And the final result will be a permanent silence. No more tests. No more questions.
5. As we listen to Jesus speaking to the people this morning, we must accept that his message will bring us to a place where we can ask no more questions of him. We can only accept him or reject him.
6. This morning our very lives are at stake by the way we hear Jesus.
B. What do you think about the Christ (Messiah)? Whose Son is he?
1. The answer did not take long.
2. Whatever we may think about the Pharisees and Sadducees we can claim that they were biblically illiterate.
3. Tough we do not like their interpretation of Scripture and the Law, they did know it well.
4. So they answered without hesitation. “The son of David.”
a) All of the Jewish leaders and anyone trained in Jewish faith knew that the Scriptures taught that David’s throne was forever.
b) They all expected that someone someday would be born who was in the genealogical line of King David who would ascend to the throne of David restoring the Kingdom of Israel to its place of world dominance as in the days of David.
C. Now the follow-up. If Christ is the son of David, how is it that David himself calls Christ Lord?
1. The question comes from one of the psalms in the Old Testament.
2. Psalm 110:1 The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”
a) First we must eliminate our English confusion. The Psalm actually begins, Yahweh says to my Adonai…
b) In other words, Lord Jehovah says to my master…
c) From the rest of the Psalm, we understand who this master is:
(1) The one seated at the right hand of Jehovah.
(2) The ruler of the world from Zion.
(3) The priest after the order of Melchizedek.
(4) IE.- the Messiah.
3. The use of this Psalm was key to Jesus’ question because he already knew how the Jewish leaders interpreted it.
4. Today, many of our modern scholars try to diminish the intent of the psalm. They say it must have been written by a court musician or something so that it could be sung at David’s coronation. “Jehovah said to my master David, sit at my right hand until I make all the enemies of Israel your footstool.”
5. But Jesus doesn’t allow any such foolishness. He knows what the correct interpretation is and he knows the Chief Priests, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees know it too.
6. Jehovah said to the Messiah who is David’s Lord.
D. So if we listen, as the crowds in the Temple that day listened, Jesus asks the Jews the most significant question they will ever have the opportunity of answering.
1. He is asking them how is it possible for the son of David to be greater than David?
2. And there is only one answer. The Son of David is human and for David to call his son his master is David’s acknowledgement that the Son of David is also Divine.
IV. None of the Gospel writers record any kind of response from the Jews.
A. They were silenced. There were no more questions.
1. Jesus upon his entry to Jerusalem had been hailed by the people as the Son of David.
2. Jesus has now essentially accepted the designation.
3. But he has even gone farther. Jesus has said, “I am the Son of David and that means I am the Son of God.”
B. One wonders if the crowds enjoyed this dialogue because they believed that Jesus was the Messiah come to save them from their sins, or if they just enjoyed seeing the leaders get their comeuppance.
1. I have to confess, I love debates between evolutionists and those in the intelligent design movement.
2. I don’t like these debates because the intelligent design people believe in god. Most of them do not want to take any step beyond toward identifying the nature of the designer.
3. I like them because strict evolutionists end up squirming in their seats. I love them because the emperor is shown to have no clothes.
4. And when Jesus was done teaching in the temple that day, it was clear that the Jewish leaders were emperors with no clothes.
5. But that does not mean that those who liked listening to Jesus believed and changed their lives.
C. From the Pharisees to the Sadducees all the way down to today, there have been those who believe that Christ was only a man and not God.
1. The historic names for this heresy are Arianism or Socianism.
2. The most prominent proponents of the belief among professed Christians are Unitarians and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
3. We can never forget that the teaching that Jesus was no more than a man is dominant also in modern Judaism and Islam.
V. So now, the question comes to us.
A. We have praised Jesus as he entered Jerusalem.
B. We have listened to him speak.
C. Now we must respond to what he has said.
1. Who is this Jesus Christ?
2. We can offer scholarly answers. We can offer theological answers. But the answer we must give is the one that comes from the heart.
3. In your heart – who is Christ?
4. He is the divine human appointed by God to die for our sins and to rise as King over all of the world, and that means king over me.