Be Followers of Christ
Sermon on Mark 8:11-9:1
Title: Be Followers of Christ
Sermon Theme: Christ calls us to follow wherever he goes.
Goal: to encourage Christians during the span of time between the first and second advent to follow Christ where ever it may lead.
Need: We tend to think Jesus is leading us nowhere and we falter in our following.
We live between the two comings. Always celebrating the first coming. Always anticipating the second coming.
We need to ask ourselves, what are we to do in the meantime? The world has seen the light, but it isn’t at it brightest yet. How thick the darkness, but how glorious the light that we already are experiencing.
Read the Passage from Mark 8
Sermon Intro: A couple sits in the pastors office. One shares something. The other is astonished to discover something new about the other. Knowing each other opens up the relationship. Same with Christ. Knowing each other is critical. How well do we know that little baby in the manger.
1. Bumbling Stumbling followers.
2. Kinda Sorta confessing.
3. Swallow and Follow
Conclusion: Know this baby. Know yourself and walk with him through the darkness.
Advent. Four Sundays before Christmas. It’s the time for preparation and even more attention to what it means to a child of Christ who came to the earth as a child. This year as a congregation we will spend each Sunday remembering and meditating on how we are living today in the day between the two comings of Christ. He’s come as a baby at Christmas. He’s promised to come again as the judge of all to be the Lord of all.
Questions should flood our hearts as we accept this understanding of where we stand in the grand scheme of history. One of the most important questions we are going to ask is what ought we to be doing. Isn’t that at the heart of the popular question of what is your purpose or what is your personal mission statement? Aren’t those statements just ways to clarify what ought I to be doing in these days between the coming of Christ?
Read the passage from Mark 8:11-9:1
Melvin and Sarah married over ten years ago, but they lately they were having a lot of little spats that were turning into big fights. Usually ended with at least one of them yelling at the other and Sarah breaking down in tears and spending days still upset. They decided, before they would let things disinigrate any further between them, they had to talk it out with someone. As they sat with a counsellor for a session their Melvin and Sarah had a relationship break through. It made Melvin angry that whenever he would disagree with her, she would shut down. She would get defensive. She would accuse Melvin of not loving her. The relationship break through came as Sarah was talking about her dad. She told Melvin for the first time ever, that her dad was verbally abusive. When ever she did something even slightly wrong he would erupt into profanity and demeaning whoever he was angry at. Sarah’s reaction was the reaction she has always had to help protect herself from her father’s verbal abuse. When he discovered this, Melvin broke down in tears. They he had no idea. Why didn’t you tell me sooner. After all this time, I never new this about you. They had a lot of healing to do. But it all began with understanding each other.
Understanding each other is so important when you are in a relationship. It critical to listen carefully and communicate well with your girlfriend, boy friend, husband or wife. So important. My wife is probably going to remind me that I said this from the pulpit…. But that’s okay. Relationships grow intensely when we begin to really understand the other person.
Are you in a relationship with Jesus Christ? Don’t you think the relationship with him ought to work the same way? Understanding each other. The thing out this relationship is that we human beings are at a distinct disadvantage. Understanding comes pretty easy to an all knowing God. Us earthlings need to work a little harder at that.
Understanding who Jesus is is where we start during this advent season. How can we build a relationship with someone that we haven’t first begun to understand deeply.
This passage from first of all gives us a glimpse of what our spiritual journeys might be like. We are disciples of Christ, often we are too much like the disciples and not enough like the teacher.
We find out that the bumbling stumbling disciples are kinda sorta confessing the true identity of Christ.
These bumbling, stumbling disciples follow Jesus around. Where we started reading in verse 11 they stand by Jesus as he tells the Pharisees they won’t see a miracle proving he is the Messiah. The disciples. You tell ‘em Jesus. No sign for you!
Haha. Then Jesus crosses back over the sea of galilee with his disciples, Jesus tells them them to not be like those faithless Pharisees who can’t believe until Jesus shows them a sign. Jesus calls it the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod. But the disciples. Bumble and stumble around. What… yeast. He’s mad because we forgot all the bread. Way to go James. Don’t blame me it was Simon the Zealot and Matthew to pick after the feeding of the 5000. Talk to them.
Jesus says enough. You Don’t Get It! Verse 17.
17Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
“Twelve,” they replied.
20“And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
They answered, “Seven.”
21He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
Jesus is the one who can take one loaf and feed everyone! And even those miracles he is showing that after everyone stuffs themselves, you could feed another multitude. The bumbling stumbling disciples don’t understand who Jesus is.
In fact, they are more Blind than the blind man. Christ says they have eyes but can’t see. What is Christ’s next miracle? Making the faithful blind man see! Aren’t we just like that in our own relationship with Christ. We get so concerned with life. Maybe during this season it’s the hustle and bustle. What suffers, our understanding and relationship with Jesus Christ, the baby who started all this hustle and bustle.
The bumbling stumbling in our understanding of Christ happens, but to truly have a relationship with Christ, we ought to try and understand him better and better through his word.
We see a flash of understanding in the disciples when Jesus asks them the most important question of all. He starts with, who . . . its an identity and relationship question. Who do people say I am? Oh that’s easy they say you are John the Baptist or Elijah or a prophet.
But what about you, Jesus says. What do you know and believe about me. Peter pipes up with that familiar answer that kinda sorta gets it right. He says, verse 29.
29“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”
Jesus is the Christ. What Peter meant is that Jesus is the one that has been promised for generations. He’s the one going to come in the name of God with power. He is the one who is going to rescue his people. He is the one who is in the line of David. He is the one who is going to make sure jewish people are the rulers of the earth. He’s the one whose going to make sure the gentiles get what’s coming to them. He’s the one who will take the enemy governments and kill them. He’s the one that will never be humiliated because he is the promised king!
Ummmm. Peter. Christ continues by opening up his true identity. Hopefully like Melvin the disciples will develop an even stronger relationship with Christ. Hopefully they can turn their kinda sorta correct confession of Christ into the TRUTH of who Jesus is.
31He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.
What good is it believing in a made up picture of Christ? We ought to strive get past our tendencies to be bumbling stumbing disciples. A constant struggle. We ought to try to have our understanding and our confession of Christ be the truth of who he is.
Through these passage we see that Jesus’ path and ministry is not smooth and straight. There are many painful places. That’s what this baby in the manger ought to remind us of. This baby is about to embark on a journey that we need to follow. This baby is going to be ignored and ridiculed made fun of misunderstood and eventually betrayed and sent the cross to die. He is going to forfeit the world so that he can gain our souls. That little baby, cute little eyes and rosy cheecks laying in the manger. That baby is looking up saying to us, in this time between advents. Living now means picking up the cross and following. That babies presence means we need to give up our life along with that child.
Swallow hard and follow. Bumbling stumbling disciples who kinda sorta confess, need to swallow their pride and follow the way of Christ to the cross.
How about you??
Ah, Holy Jesus. We understand why you came. Help us to follow that path away from the glories of the world. Toward the glories of our souls resting in you forever.
This is God’s will from his word. And all God’s people say, AMEN.