Grace and peace to you Beloved in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
We thank the Lord for who He is and for what He has done in our lives and what He will do. And I thank the Lord for everyone of you Beloved that love Christ in spirit and in truth. What a glorious gift that God has given us – to worship Him in His word.
Let’s read God’s word together. Mark 14:27-31. What a passage. So rich and full. Let’s pray and seek God’s blessing on our worship. Pray.
It has been a while since our last sermon from the book of Mark. Our last time in this gospel account was Sunday March eighth. A little over two and a half months ago. My hope is to press on and to finish this the shortest of the gospel accounts.
I love all four gospels because they are so directly about Jesus Christ. Of course, the entire Bible is about our Lord and Savior. But here the treasure lies on top of the ground. There is no digging required. The diamonds and the gold of Christ crucified are set right there for all God’s children to believe and to love and to enjoy. Look at V.27 and V.28 there they are! There He is!
This morning we have the record of a personal conversation between Jesus and His disciples. Let’s see what we can glean from this little conversation.
God has come down to man in the person of Christ – the God-Man. Immanuel, God with us, is in friendship with men and women and boys and girls. (I Tim.2:5, Mt.1:21-23) Here in our text in person. Here today in our worship by His Word and Spirit.
Oh Beloved, I want us to really think of that. Walking with God in the cool of the day. Talking with God. Really talking with Him. Not just talking or praying to our shoes, as it were. Yes, I understand that these fellows and all of us no longer live in the Garden of Eden when things were good and very good. (Gen.3:8, Heb.11:1-40)
However, this little conversation shows us that God tabernacles with His people in our wilderness pilgrimage, in as the Bible says a howling wasteland, in this present evil age. (Dt.32:10, Gal.1:4) He is near to us. God is with us. Christ never leaves His people. His word cheers us along our way. (Jn.1:14, Rev.22:3-5, Mt.28:20, Heb.13:5, Dt.31:6-8, Josh 1:5)
Think of it. As believers in Christ we are no longer strangers to God’s covenant or promises. We are no longer in the world without God and without hope. In Christ and by Christ, He has brought us near to God by His own blood. (Eph.2:12-21, Col.2:13-22) He speaks to us in His word. And we speak with Him in our prayers. (Heb.4:14-16)
The unbeliever thinks it a great honor if he can speak with a well-known athlete or a famous singer or perhaps some famous writer or businessman. What are they beloved? Pieces of dust. Destined for the dust. (Gen.3:17) And sinful dust at that. (Isa.6:5, Lk.5:8) Think of the privilege of speaking with the holy God of heaven and earth coming to us as our loving merciful Mediator-Savior!
That is what is going on here in out text.
As an aside Reformed Christians from the Protestant Reformation and Presbyterians as a part of that Reformation believe a doctrine they call the dialogical principle of worship. This means in corporate worship God is having a dialogue with us! He speaks to us in His word. And we speak back to Him in our praises and prayers and as we agree by faith with His word! (Gen.12:7-8, 8:15-21, 2 Chron.29:27-28) Christ is here Beloved. He is walking among the lampstands of His church. (Rev.1:13-18, 2:2, Heb.7:3)
What would our worship look like if we really embraced this truth?! Perhaps that would make for a helpful future sermon. 😊
Now think of this. It is God initiating the conversation with us! God moves to men first. And not the other way around. Of course men dead in their sins cannot move to God first. He moves to us to give us spiritual life from our spiritual death. All in Christ. His word says so. (Eph.2:10, Acts 13:48, Jn.1:10-13, Rom.9:8-29)
Little did these men know that their words and their actions would be recorded by the Holy Spirit into the canon of Scripture for our religious instruction. (Exod.24:12, Rom.15:4, I Cor.10:1-11, WCF 1.1) The hidden things belong to God, the revealed things belong to us and to our children that we may observe all the words of God. (Dt.29:29)
I want you to think of all the kinds of instruction in the world. Math, science, arts, sports, business, and on and on and on. And each one has its place.
By may I say beloved religious instruction has its place. And I would say its place ought to be at the front of the line. We may be ignorant of a great many things and still yet be safely in Christ. For example, we may not know why grass is green, why the sky is blue but if we know why Christ died on the cross, it is well with our soul.
Oh I am not arguing to cease all other instruction. That would be silly. And sinful. But I am saying since our chief duty in life is to glorify God and to enjoy God forever, we ought to be religiously instructed.
And for our children especially we should take great pains to talk with them about Christ. Listen what God said through His man Joshua, the man that led the children of Israel into the (typological) Promised Land – heaven being the anti-type. (see Heb.11)
Joshua 4:21. He said to the sons of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ 22 then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 “For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; 24 that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”
Notice our text says fathers. You don’t have to tell believing mothers to speak to their children about Christ, they already will. But us fathers need a little direct encouragement from the Lord.
Beloved, how we ought to fill our conversation with our children about the death of Christ, why He died, what sin is, what the penalty for sin is, that we are sinners, and about His life, God’s word, our need of Him, our blessedness in Him. And remember ‘our’ obedience to Christ, our living for Jesus also instructs our children. May our profession and practice be according to the word of God that our children would come to love the Living Word of God, that we would win our children to Christ.
Beloved if we will not instruct our children in the truth of Christ, we can be sure the unbelieving world will instruct them in the lie.
Now let’s consider the participants in this conversation. Obviously we have Jesus. And Jesus is speaking with His disciples. And they are speaking with Him. The disciples in view are actually the apostles of Jesus. For our purpose, a disciple is a believer or a professed follower of Jesus as the Christ.
Now ultimately we prove whether we are a true disciple or not by our believing what Christ requires us to believe and by our doing what our Christ requires us to do. In other words, our submission to His Lordship will testifies if we have saving faith in Christ or not.
An apostle is a commissioned or sent herald of Jesus Christ. An apostle is a Christian teacher. And a teacher of Christ. Not teaching Jesus of course. But teaching other people about Jesus. But as an aside sometimes disciples of Jesus do actually presume to teach Jesus! A bad idea by the way. And we do in fact see that a little bit here with the men rejecting what Jesus says “will” happen. More on that in a bit.
These under-shepherds are servants serving servants, sheep serving other sheep.
So, what we have here is a seminary class for them. Christ instructs at the Passover. Christ instructs walking along the road. Beloved, we should talk about Christ on the Lord’s Day. But we should also talk about Christ when we rise up, and when we lie down, when we come in and when we go out.
Remember not only is Christ our Savior, He is also our Exemplar. We are to imitate Him. Peter says, Jesus left us an example to walk in His footsteps. He carried a cross. We carry our cross. He spoke to others about His death and resurrection. We speak to other about His death and resurrection. (I Pt.2:21-25, I Cor.11:1, I Cor.4:16, Lk.9:23, Phil.3:17, Phil.2:1-11, 2 Thess.3:6-9, Heb.13:7, 3 Jn.1:11)
By this we are taught to seek every occasion to do spiritual good to ourselves and to our fellow man. Every situation of life provides particular things for which we can drop a word or two about God, His word, our Christ, Man and so on.
But so I am not misunderstood. Not every moment is a proper moment to give religious instruction. There is a time and season for everything under heaven. (Eccl.3:1-8) Turn, turn, turn. Sorry I could not help myself 😊. (Written by Pete Seger 1959. Popularized by The Byrds)
Beloved, as regards to your religious conversation, use your graced wisdom. You want your brain surgeon to be 1000% focused on his or her scalpel during your operation. After, he or she can give thanks to God for the successful operation. But the general lesson is let’s use and improve our time and our tongues for Christ.
Now see how Jesus refers to Himself to His disciple-teachers, as The Shepherd.
V.27. And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, because it is written, ‘I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP SHALL BE SCATTERED.’
By this Jesus is saying that He is the promised Messiah. And that Messiah is God in the Flesh. We see the self-awareness of Christ that He is the Christ. Albert Schweitzer wrote the Quest for the Historical Jesus (1906) where he said that Jesus did not know that He was the Christ. The Bible says otherwise. Beloved, if you are searching for the historical Jesus only look in the Bible. 😊
And remember Jesus is a Jew after the flesh and all of the men He is having a conversation with are also Jews. Salvation is of the Jews. (Jn.4:22) Christ came to Israel first. God chose Israel out of all the peoples of the earth. And God gave Israel His word, His oracles. What an amazing privilege. (Rom.3:1)
So when Jesus says, I am the Christ, I am the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the life of His people (Jn.10:1-18) these men would have certainly thought of many many Bible verses showing God is the Shepherd of His people. The most famous, the Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want. (Ps.23, Ps.80:1-3, Gen.49:24, Ps.95:7, Ps.79:13, Ps.95:7) We are the sheep of His pasture. If you have some time read Ezekiel 34:6-16 – God Himself will come and save and Shepherd His people. He is here. In Christ.
V.27. And then Christ teaches them (and us) The Good Shepherd must die. See the main thing that Christ instructs His men in. His death. Remember they are being instructed to be instructors, to teach, Christ frees us, reconciles us, and ransoms us by His blood. (Rev.1:1-8) There is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood. (Heb.9:22)
Look at the language Jesus chooses to use to instruct His disciples about His work. Jesus quotes the Bible to His men. Jesus quotes the minor prophet Zechariah.
Zechariah 13:7. Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And against the man, My Associate,” Declares the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones.
By this we learn that the OT and the NT teach the same Good News of Jesus. In the OT we have to dig a little harder and to look a little closer to find Christ, but He is there. (2 Tim.3:14, Zech.13:7)
And we learn that Jesus wants the NT Christian to use the OT to find Him and to live for Him.
Beloved. The death of Christ proves the holy inflexible justice (law) of God. And the death of Christ proves the bestial total depravity of Man. Natural man hates God. Natural man want to murder the true and living God of the Bible. (Rom.3:10-18) But then preeminently the death of Christ proves the love and the goodness and the mercy of God in Christ to hateful evil rebellious God-hating, Christ-hating, sin-loving sinners! (WLC 48-50, Lk.6:35-36)
Beloved, who killed Christ? Jews? Gentiles? Us? Sinners? Yes. But never forget it was divine justice that struck Christ with the sword. Christ paid the penalty of GOD for our sin. (Gal.3)
Scattered. They all fled from Christ. They all left Him. Christ dies alone. No one helps Him. Christ saves alone. No one helps Him. Salvation is all of Christ. We do not help Him. We need Him.
Beloved, Christ was despised and rejected by men. (Isa.53:1-3) He is too holy and we are too sinful. By application, all those joined to this holy Christ will likewise be despised and rejected. Especially men that preach Christ. (Jn.15:17-27) We share in the sufferings of Christ. But as verse 28 teaches, we will likewise share in the glories of Christ. (I Pt.4:13, Rom.8:17, Phil.3:10)
V.28. Then Jesus speaks about His resurrection from the dead. Oh beloved the Bible says that Messiah would die for the sins of His people. He will be buried for three days in the earth like Jonah was three days in the great fish. But then the Bible says that God the Father would not let His Beloved Son our blessed Savior suffer decay. (Ps.16:10, Acts 2:27)
Christ rose from the grave on the third day in fulfillment of the Holy Scripture. He rose victorious over the curse, over sin, over Satan, over death, and over the grace. He satisfied the wrath and the justice of God. The sacrifice was accepted. He lives. And thus, we shall live in Him. (I Cor.15:1-6) Glory to God. (WCF 13.1, 26.1, WLC 52)
Certainly, Christ wants us to think about and speak about His death and resurrection to ourselves first and then to others. But He is also teaching us to do the same for ourselves. We are to think about and speak about our own death, first to ourselves and then to others.
Not in a morose fashion. Not to cause despair. We are to number our days. We are to consider the end of them. (Ps.90) We are to accept and to prepare to take our place among the great cloud of witnesses that have died in the Lord. This will help our faith in Jesus. This will help us to be more faithful in our love of Him and serviceable to our fellow man, less fixated on this world, more able to live with our loins girded and ready to go. (Exod.12:11)
And as often as we think and speak about our death, we ought to do the same about our life after death. God is the God of the living and not the dead. All those who die in Christ are alive in Christ. To be absent from the flesh is to be present with the Lord. (Jn.14:1-3, 2 Cor.5:7-8) And we ought to regularly meditate upon our resurrection from the dead, receiving a glorified body like Christ to spend eternity with Christ. (I Jn.3:1-3)
Oh beloved we should think and speak about heaven with Christ more than we do. O happy day.
Now I want to point something else about Jesus that we may miss in this conversation. And this mini-point will actually lead into my final point. Jesus just restated the fundamentals of His gospel. He just re-taught the basics of His saving work. He gave gospel class 101 to His men again.
Why would Christ do this? Because Beloved we are sheep? 😊
Even true Believers, which eleven out of these twelve men were, we are still so frail and forgetful. We are sheep. We are not very wise. And we often wander away from the truth of Christ crucified and Christ risen. Or at least we are tempted to.
And Christ “majors on the majors’, He says essentially, “the Bible says” and I say” with the men He sends out to be His teachers. And He majors on the majors – daily! Because we need it beloved. We can make the majors the minors. And the minors the major! Or worse. We can add the words of Man to the word of God.
V.29-31. Now let’s look at the last thing we learn from this conversation which is the remaining weakness and neediness of Christ’s lambs – the apostles, us.
Remember Christ is having a conversation. And conversations are dialogues and not monologues. And Christ permits this.
So, the apostle Peter and the other disciples feel free enough to respond to Jesus. The student speaking to the Master or to the Teacher if legitimate as long as the student remembers he is the student and not the Master.
But in that way, Peter forgets himself. And all the men do as well. Remember “Jesus” has just said something “is’ going to happen. And He is actually saying the Bible says this “is” going to happen. And Peter and the guys say, no it isn’t! 😊
What is interesting about this, is God actually records the error or the ignorance or the weakness of His people in His book for His people. Not to hurt us. But to help us.
As Christ had perfect self-awareness we see that they (and we) do not. These men misjudged themselves. They thought their faith was stronger than it was. They thought their sin was weaker than it was.
Oh Beloved, these are the kind of people that Jesus saves and that Jesus uses. And remembrances of our sins and failings help keep us humble and they help us rely on Jesus. This is what makes a serviceable preacher and a Christlike and serviceable Christian.
Beloved I am sure these men did not mean to contradict Christ in a mean way. They love Him. They can’t imagine defecting from Him. But they did. But Christ did not. Oh beloved are you not thankful that Jesus saves sinners and He keeps us and loves us and uses us despite our frailties and failures and sins? We are weak but He is strong. The Lord is our Shepherd we shall not want.
Oh, what we learn from one conversation with Christ.
- What do we learn by God speaking with men? About God? About man? How does Christ our Mediator enable us to speak with God safely and pleasingly? How does God speaking with us during our pilgrimage encourage our travels? (I Tim.2:5, Mt.1:21-23, Gen.3:8, Heb.11:1-40, Dt.32:10, Gal.1:4, Jn.1:14, Rev.22:3-5, Mt.28:20, Heb.13:5, Dt.31:6-8, Josh 1:5, Eph.2:12-21, Col.2:13-22, Heb.4:14-16)
- What is the dialogical principle of worship? How should this affect your worship? How should this affect the content of your worship? Your intellectual, emotion, and perhaps even physical ‘posture’? What things might the dialogical principle of worship curtail from occurring during worship? (Gen.12:7-8, 8:15-21, 2 Chron.29:27-28, Rev.1:13-18, 2:2, Heb.7:3)
- Christ is giving spiritual or religious instruction in the conversation under examination. What things do we learn by this? (Mk.14:27-31, Eph.2:10, Acts 13:48, Jn.1:10-13, Rom.9:8-29, Exod.24:12, Rom.15:4, I Cor.10:1-11, WCF 1.1, Dt.29:29)
- Is religious instruction to our children important? How important? Why? When should it begin? Who should give it? How should it be given? Describe ways that we verbally and non-verbally teach our children about Christ and the Christian life. (Gen.17:1-12, Dt.6:7, Josh.4:21-25, Prov.22:6, I Jn.5:19, Exod.20:12, 2 Tim.3:14-17, I Cor.14:9, Eph.6:1-4, I Thess.2:7, Heb.12:1-11, Ps.22:9-10, Ps.127:3, 139:13-16, Jn.3:16, 3:36, Acts 2:38-39, I Cor.7:14, Mal.2:15, Ezra 9:2)
- What are some things we learn by Christ referring to Himself as our Shepherd? About Him? About us? What does the Shepherd do for us? (Ps.23, Ps.80:1-3, Gen.49:24, Ps.95:7, Ps.79:13, Ps.95:7, Ezek.34:6-16, Jn.10:1-18, Zech.13:7, Mk.14:27, I Pt.2:25)
- Why did Christ die? Who killed Christ? Who was responsible for His death? How is the justice of God manifested in His death? How is the mercy of God manifested in His death? How is the depravity of man manifested in His death? (Zech.13:7, Mk.14:27, I Pt.2:21-25, I Cor.11:1, I Cor.4:16, Lk.9:23, Phil.3:17, Phil.2:1-11, 2 Thess.3:6-9, Heb.13:7, 3 Jn.1:11, Rom.3:10-18, Lk.23:21, Ps.22:1-21, Acts 2:23, Isa.53:1-12, Gal.3:1-14)
- What does the resurrection of Christ teach us? About Christ? About us? About the Bible? (Mk.14:28, Ps.16:10, Acts 2:27, I Cor.15:1-6, Acts 2:24-27, Lk 24:39, Rom. 6:9, Rev. 1:18, Jn.10:18, Rom. 1:4, Rom. 8:34, Heb. 2:14, Rom. 14:9, I Cor. 15:21-22, Eph. 1:20-23, Col. 1:18, Rom. 4:25, Eph. 2:1-6, Col. 2:12, 1 Cor. 15:25-20)
- Christ spoke about His death and resurrection (life after death) to others, why should we imitate Him in this? What benefits could we potentially glean from thinking about and speaking about our own death and resurrection to ourselves first and then to others? (Jn.3:16, Rom.5:1-10, Eccl.3:1-8, Lk.12:1-49, Phil.2:17, Ps.90:1-17, Eccl.7:2, Exod.12:11, Jn.14:1-3, 2 Cor.5:7-8, I Jn.3:1-3, I Jn.2:15-17, James 4:1-10, 2 Cor.4:18)
- What are some truths or doctrines that are essential for our salvation? Truths necessary for us to believe to be a (saved) Christian? What are some Bible truths or doctrines that are non-essential to our salvation? What things can Christians differ on but still be truly saved Christians? Even if we err on these things? How can we major on the minors and minor on the major?
- How can a preacher be mute with the moral law? How can a preacher be mute with the gospel? What content can they replace the law and the gospel with? Is a mute watch-dog helpful? Why are preachers tempted unto silence with God’s law and gospel? (Ezek.3:17-21, Mt.5:14-16, Jn.1:1-18, Isa.56:10, Prov.29:25, Jn.10:12, 2 Tim.4:14, Jer.14:13-18, Jer.23:21-40, Heb.13:17)
- The disciple-apostles contradicted what Christ said in our passage? What do we learn about disciples and about teacher-disciples by this?
- What could be some potential benefits of remembering our sins and failures against Christ? Could this help in your talking with God? How? (Jn.3:16, I Tim.1:15, Gal.1:13, 4:29, Acts 8:3, Lk.15:11-32, I Cor.15:9-11, I Pt.5:6)