Monday Morning Coffee with Mark

The Challenges to Christiantiy - The 2024 Preaching Theme

January 22, 2024 Mark Roberts Season 4 Episode 4
Monday Morning Coffee with Mark
The Challenges to Christiantiy - The 2024 Preaching Theme
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Welcome to the Westside church’s special Monday Morning Coffee podcast with Mark Roberts. Mark is a disciple, a husband, father and grand dad, as well as a certified coffee geek, fan of CS Lewis’ writings and he loves his big red Jeep. He’s also the preacher for Westside church.

Speaker 1:

Hello, and welcome to the Westside churches special Monday Morning Coffee podcast on this podcast, our preacher Mark Roberts will help you get your week started right. With look back at yesterday's sermon so that we can think through it further and better work the applications into our daily lives . Mark will then look forward into this week's Bible reading so that we can know what to expect and watch for. And, he may have some extra bonus thoughts from time to time. So grab a cup of coffee as we start the week together on Monday Morning Coffee with Mark.

Speaker 2:

Good morning. Good morning. Welcome to the Monday Morning Coffee podcast for Monday, January 22nd. Little chilly this morning, little drizzly, maybe some ice and sleet where you are this morning. I've got a great cup of coffee still working on that bag of Sedona Coffee and it went through the espresso machine and it is magnificent. That's not specifically espresso beans, but it is still very, very good. And I am just feeling pretty good coming off of yesterday. So many good things yesterday, especially the start to the preaching theme for 2024, the challenges to Christianity and yesterday that gave me a good opportunity to talk about doubt and where that fits in the life of a disciple. We can't really meet the challenges that others would bring to Christianity if we ourselves are uncertain and unsure of where doubt fits and what to do about doubt. So I just want to add one thing. Can't say everything, can you ? That's, and that's why I had the Monday Morning Coffee podcast. So I could just add some bonus thoughts here. One of the things that drives me crazy is people who buy into the lie that faith is opposite and opposed to science that has become the narrative in our media. And in many ways, many people today echo that kind of thinking, oh, I , you know, I , I want to go with science, not with faith, that kind of thing. And , and there's kind of a hottiness and almost a superiority. You people over there with the faith business, you, you got your head in a bucket, but me, I'm over here with science. I got a test tube. I, and, and I , I worked with that a little bit yesterday reminding everybody that no one was there at the beginning. So we're all working on faith here. We're all looking at the evidence and making some conclusions, drawing some conclusions about how things started, what's going on, how all these things came into being. Everybody is working on faith. It's not faith versus science. And even more, some of the greatest scientists of all time have been men of faith, women of faith. They have been believers. And that's not just the past. There's a zillion Nobel Prize winners who have won distinguished awards in their fields and physics and, and in biology and chemistry. And they are serious believers in God and in his word. But I, I guess the thing that really drives me crazy is just the way it dismisses out of hand the entire discussion. I want to sit down and examine the evidence and let's see what's the most reasonable conclusion from that evidence. But instead, because somebody dawns a white lab coat, we're just done here. We're just done here. We accept whatever the people in the white lab coat say and throw our bibles away. That , that, that's not rational thinking that that's foolishness. In fact, that's not the scientific method, is it? That's not what science claims to be all about. Science says we're going to think we're going to investigate, bring all comers and let's work through it and see what is right, because science is interested in finding out what is real and what is true. So dismissing something out of hand by labeling it faith while I stand over here on a box labeled science, is simply intellectual dishonesty. Don't fall for that lie. You'll see it and you'll hear it a lot. Don't get sucked into faith versus science. Good science always supports faith. And of course, faith always leads us to science because we believe in the God who made an ordered universe with laws in motion that science is able to discover, map, and understand hope that helps you. As we continue to think about the challenges to Christianity in 2024, let's think about some of the challenges to Jesus as we continue in our Bible reading this week. In Mark chapter five, we meet a man who's out of his mind and a whole bunch of pigs. Let's get our Bibles open to ma to Matthew. No, no, not Matthew. To mark. To Mark chapter five. It is Monday. And today we're reading in Mark's gospel. This is Mark chapter five, verses one to 13. And this is the account of the Garrison Demon Act. Mark really wants to emphasize the power of Jesus Christ, and there really isn't anything quite like Mark's gospel. It just majors in powerful actions of Jesus that push us, of course to make a decision about him as the son of God, as the Messiah. And this needs to connect to chapter four and verse 35 that we read on Friday where Jesus calls the storm. 'cause what we're getting here is four miracle stories where the case is very difficult. It's a situation that humans can do nothing about, and Jesus easily handles it. I mean, he doesn't break a sweat. And this garrison guy, this is a big deal. He's not a, doesn't have a demon, he is possessed with a legion of demons. And it doesn't bother Jesus for even a moment. Notice here, as we read today in verse two, Jesus stepped out of the boat. It doesn't say the disciples got out of the boat. Maybe with that wild man coming at him from the beach, that would not surprise us. They weren't thinking they were gonna get out. But Mark includes several details including verse four, that is only in Mark's gospel so that we see just how difficult a situation this really is. This is the work of demons. They possess people and as a result, they just do stuff that's just crazy and they have strength beyond what normal humans would have. And and they just are a terror to everyone, including themselves in verse seven, that demons then start screaming at Jesus and using his name. And there's always been an association in witchcraft and the occult and superstition that using someone's name Ga gives you power over them. And of course, biblically that is not true. But I wonder if verse seven, if you're seeing some of that working right there, and Jesus just says, you're out, you're out. And then Jesus asks him for his name. And the result of that is that we learned that there are many demons present . Now, a legion in a Roman army is 6,000 men. So this coupled with the number of pigs that the legion of demons are sent to shows us in, in , in a pretty big hurry. This man is just possessed by thousands and thousands of demons. And so Jesus sends them into the pigs, verse 12, and the pigs run down a steam bank verse 13, and they are drowned. And I have never, never, never, never, never more nevers ever taught. Mark preached on. Mark mentioned this account that somebody hasn't talked to me about the pigs. The pigs get a lot of interest here. And in fact, I'm always, maybe ironically, the pigs get a lot of sympathy. People are really concerned about these drowned pigs. People aren't that concerned about the kerosene demani act , what his life was like. But oh boy, we got to talk about these pigs. What about these pigs? Why did Jesus do that? Pigs, pigs, pigs, pigs, pigs. And what I need to say to you about that is the pigs are not important. They are not part of the story that Mark is telling. The only reason Mark tells us about that is so that we have some appreciation for the magnitude of the man's demon possession. That's why he gives us the number here and what the, what , uh, what the demons do is they do to the pigs what they have been doing to this man. They drive the pigs outta their mind and the pigs act stupidly and irrationally and crazy and hurt themselves just like this man had been doing. So that's all we need to know about the pigs. Maybe I think about this in terms of movies. Sometimes a a movie tells a story and there's some details on the side. And if you have watched the movie enough times, which we can do nowadays, you start noticing things that the director never intended for you to look at. One of Dina and I's favorite holiday movies is the movie Holiday Inn, which was the first Christmas movie that Bing Crosby sang the mo , the famous song White Christmas Inn. And at the end of the film , uh, spoiler alert, Fred Star's girlfriend comes back to him and, and everybody lives happily ever after binging gets the girl and Fred gets his girl back, but the girl has treated Fred terribly. And what is she doing in the closing scene anyway? How did they get her there? And why does Fred immediately say, oh, it's great to see you again, and I forgive you for treating me like dirt and walking all over. No, wait, wait, wait. No, no, no, no, that's, it's just not part of the story. That's not important. And we're not even supposed to be asking those questions or thinking about those things. And in fact, if you go to the movies with somebody who constantly elbows you and says, Hey, a Starship can't really travel at the speed of light, if you reach light speed, you would convert to pure energy. We quit going to the movies with people like that because they're ruining the movie. And so I get it, it's a curious event. It's an event unlike any other event in the Bible. But we're not supposed to be asking about pigs. Don't ask about the pigs. Focus on Jesus. Look what Jesus did. And as we're watching Jesus through the eyes of Peter and John, look at their faces. When those pigs go berserk and run down the hill and are drown, what do their faces look like? They're not worried about the pigs. They're looking at Jesus. And tomorrow we'll talk about some people who also are looking at Jesus and they have the exact wrong reaction. See you tomorrow as we continue in March chapter five. Welcome to Tuesday. And today we're finishing the story of the Garrison Demoniac by talking about the garrisons themselves. Today we read Mark chapter five, verses 14 to 20. And this is a disappointing account. Here are people who are focused on the pigs. Verse 16, those who had seen it, described to them what had happened to the demon possessed man and to the pigs. The result of that is they asked Jesus to leave. That's a stunning thing to me. They asked Jesus to leave. And it is extremely important to notice that Jesus leaves verse 18, as he was getting into the boat, it doesn't even say he thought about it. He said, Hey, listen, you people don't understand who I am. Lemme talk to you. No, no, no. When you ask Jesus to leave, he just leaves. Jesus knows that he cannot force himself into anyone's life. And when you say, I'm not interested, Jesus says, I'm out. I'm gonna go find some people who are interested. This is the parable of the sower in action, isn't it? However, before Jesus leaves the demon possessed man says, I wanna go with you. And Jesus says, I want you to stay and I want you to tell people what happened. Now that's notably different than the leper in March chapter one. Jesus tells the leper , keep your mouth shut. The leper unfortunately does not do what Jesus tells him to do. And as a result, Jesus has a hard time preaching and teaching because crowd just thronged him. Well, how come Jesus tells this guy, Hey, you can tell all that you want. Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord's done for you. And now he's had mercy upon you. Verse 19. And he went away and he began to proclaim in the de Capitalis how much Jesus had done for him. The difference here is Jesus is leaving this area, and according to the gospel records, he never comes back to this area again. So you go tell, 'cause I'm not gonna be here for crowds to throng and and get in the way of my ministry. You go and tell about me. By the way, the de capitalis is an area that in Galilee that was very Greek in its nature, they patterned theirselves after the Greek way of life. And Mark's Greek readers would note with interest that Jesus, Jesus cares about gentiles, doesn't he? How about that? Tomorrow we'll journey into Mark chapter five a little bit further and will get the famous double miracle, one of my favorite stories in Jesus' life. See you tomorrow. Welcome to Wednesday. It is hump day. And today we're reading Mark chapter five, verses 21 to 34. This is the setting for this double miracle that Jesus does. And remember, we're looking at hard cases here and watch how Mark makes certain that we see. These are cases beyond any human ability to do anything about. These are desperate requests here, two desperate requests, one by a very rich person and the other by a very poor person. One, somebody who is firmly entrenched in society and is seen as important in that world. And the other, the woman is an outcast. And the story is very well told, very well told. And there is a ton of tension in this story. Sometimes we have to just step back and remember that the first readers of this story must have been on the edge of their seats. What's gonna happen? Hey, Jesus stops here, but what about Jerry's daughter? There's a lot that's happening here. So Jesus crosses back verse 21 to the western side of the Sea of Galilee. And of course, as soon as Jesus gets there, once again, there's huge crowds and they're all over him. And then the unexpected happens. Jarius , the ruler of the synagogue. We do not expect this guy to be on Jesus' side, to be interested in Jesus, to appeal to Jesus. Most of his friends and his colleagues, the people that he hangs around with, they would be the people who would be opposing. Jesus Jarius comes, and I love verse 23, he is not just asking for Jesus to come check on her. He believes there is a lot of faith. You can do this, and I know that you can do this, but along the way, a woman touches Jesus. This is a woman with a discharge of blood. We don't know everything about that, but it would make her ceremonially unclean. She would be unclean all the time. And anybody who touches her then is unclean. So she would be shunned by society. This is a wretched existence. This is a tough life for her. And Mark goes on to say she had suffered, suffered under many physicians. How about that? Nobody can help this woman, but she has tremendous faith. And she touches Jesus's garment. Verse 30 and two things happen. She knows she's healed. And Jesus knows power has gone out from him. You could call this almost an accidental miracle. And and that's not exactly the right kind of terminology. I get it. And and I , I , I , you know what I mean by that? It's that Jesus is so powerful, he can heal without even trying to heal. And this is not the only time that this kind of thing happens. In chapter three and verse 10, it says that the people with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. And then later on in chapter six in verse 56, they begged to to touch even the edge of his cloak and all who touched were healed. So this is not an isolated kind of thing. And Mark makes clear where he's going with this. Verse 30, Jesus perceiving in himself that power had gone out. That's what it's about. Power, powerful Jesus. Jesus is awesome. All you have to do is touch his garment. And what no one can heal, what cannot be changed. This malady that cannot be healed by any conventional medical standards, it's immediately, immediately healed. It's so incredible. And there is an eyewitness touch verse 32. He looked around to see who had done it. That looks like Mark was standing there. And as he writes this, he can see that scene in his mind. And he remembers Jesus saying, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop. Somebody touched me. And then of course the disciples say, everybody's touching you Jesus. And we're gonna get a lot of what I'm gonna call the stupid remark or the dumb remark in , in Mark's gospel. The apostles are just not always real quick on the draw. And they have a tendency to rebuke Jesus. And that never goes well, don't rebuke Jesus. Never say to Jesus, you don't know what you're talking about. Hey Jesus, you're you're kind of fool. No , no , no , no , no . Don't go there. Don't go there. Okay? You could ask Jesus. A lot of people did something special happen. But don't be rebuking Jesus. Jesus knows. Jesus knows. Now, why did Jesus reveal the whole matter? Why didn't Jesus let that woman just go home? I think there's a couple of things going on there. One of which now she's whole, so she can be accepted by society again. But I think again, Jesus wants to call out faith. Faith in Jesus. We see the faith in verse 34, we see the faith in verse 23, we faith. Faith is how we come to contact the power of Jesus Christ. Isn't that right? Faith? Faith is what makes the difference. It's the point of contact. When we have faith in Christ, all kinds of things can happen. We have faith in Christ. We can invite him to our home like Jerry did we have faith in Christ to touch the hem of his garment? That's what this woman did. We have faith in Christ to enter the baptistry and have our sins washed away. Faith starts the whole process. Jesus singles it out as so important that matters. Probably gonna say more about that tonight in Bible talk on Wednesday night that just gotta talk about Jerry's faith, the woman's faith, our faith. There you go. We'll finish this story. I'm we'll happened to Jerry's daughter. Jesus stops. She's dying. Come on, Jesus, we got to go. We'll see what happens tomorrow. Mark chapter five completed. We'll complete it tomorrow on Thursday. See you then. It is Thursday. And today we are completing Mark chapter five. We read verses 35 to 43. Jarius has waited a whole day for us to get back to him. How's his daughter doing? And the answer is she's not doing well. Verse 35, she died. She died while Jesus was coming. She died while Jesus was interrupted. Jarius must have just been beside himself. If only Jesus hadn't stopped, if only I had come to Jesus sooner. You can just imagine this man's grief. It's just the worst it can possibly be. But Jesus says, do not fear only believe. Verse 36, what's this chapter about? I think this chapter's about faith, isn't it? Do not fear only believe. And then verse 37, he takes just Peter, James and John with him. And of course there's a lot of speculation about that. Why not all 12? What's happening here? Maybe. Maybe the room was just too small for everybody. We live in much bigger homes today than people did in first century times. And then Jesus says to the mourners, and if there is a funeral, you had to hire professional mourners. There were morning women who that's what they did is they weep and wa and lament. And Jesus says she's just sleeping and they laugh at him. Once again. What you get, you get the stupid remark. You get people who don't know what they're talking about. Rebuking Jesus, don't do that. Jesus knows better than you know or I know. And so verse 41, he takes her by the hand and says, Talitha kuai. And that's Aramaic. Aramaic is the language of the common man in Galilee. It was the speech that people would speak at home and Mark preserves it a number of times in his gospel. Why does he do that? One scholar said the best answer is probably that this scene and its crucial words made such a deep impression upon Peter and others that whenever they told the story afterwards, even in Greek to a non-Jewish audience, they kept the crucial words as they were. It's not a magic formula, a kind of abracadabra. They were ordinary words, the words you'd use to wake up a sleeping child. But part of the point of the gospel story and of this whole section of Mark is precisely the life giving power of God is breaking into and working through the ordinary details of life. There's just an amazing power to Jesus. And when you get done with Mark chapter five actually starting really in Mark chapter four and verse 35, what you've seen is Jesus's control over the weather, Jesus's control over allegion of demons. Jesus's control over a woman who's afflicted with a disease that nobody can help her with. And then Jesus's power over death . Jesus' power over death. Mark is saying to us, verse 30, power goes out from Jesus. And we have seen it in Mark chapter four and Mark chapter five, this is the only resurrection in Mark's gospel and it just punctuates this series of stories about the power of Jesus. Tomorrow, some new ideas in Mark's gospel as we turn to Mark chapter six. I'll see you on Friday. It is Friday. And today we read Mark chapter six, verses one to 13. There's a little bit of a shift here because now we're starting to see some rejection of Jesus and he is rejected in his hometown. This is in Nazareth. Mark chapter six in verse one tells us about 20 miles southwest of Capernaum. And even though Jesus is still amazing and astonishing, verse two, these people have already made their minds up about Jesus. He's the son of a carpenter. He can't be anything special. And in fact, we even see that Jesus has physical family and they use that to say, you can't be what you claim to be. The result of that is that Jesus verse five could do nom mighty work there except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And some folks have used that to say, you know, Jesus had a power outage there. Jesus couldn't do anything there. No, that's not what the text says. The text says Jesus healed people. The problem is not Jesus ran short of power. We've seen how much power Jesus had. Mark's already showed us that in Mark chapter four and Mark chapter five, what's the problem? People didn't come to Jesus 'cause they didn't believe in Jesus. They'd already made up their minds about Jesus. The problem isn't Jesus. The problem is these folks in Nazareth not believing in him. It's about faith, isn't it? See how we're still extending that idea from Mark chapter five. It's about faith or in this case a lack of faith. And now Jesus extends his ministry in verses seven to 13 by sending out the 12, two by two . And he gives them power, authority over unclean spirits. This is an important moment here. We're seeing the extension of the ministry of the 12. It's parallel to the work of Jesus. They preach repentance, they heal the sick, they cast out demons. Jesus is so powerful. He can hand off power, he can delegate power to others. And of course, this is a precursor to what the apostles are going to do in the Book of Acts. Maybe someone's asking why they didn't take provisions with them . And I think the answer to that is people should know that they should have some knowledge of Jesus and be ready to receive these messengers of Jesus. And of course, sending them in this way, we teach them to trust in God. So Mark chapter six shows us some rejection ideas and it takes a dark turn when we pick up the reading on Monday. Thanks for listening to the podcast for this week. I hope that if you like what you're hearing and it's helping you in your Bible reading and in your walk with God, you have subscribed or followed so that it will download automatically on your device. And I hope that you're telling other folks about the podcast so that they can be helped in seeing Jesus through the eyes of Peter and John the eyewitness testimony. So helpful to see Jesus in that way. Well, until Monday, may your coffee be delightful. I hope your Friday is wonderful and the Lord is with you today all day. I'm Mark Roberts and I wanna go to heaven and I want you to come to I'll see you on Monday.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to the Westside church of Christ podcast. Monday morning coffee with mark . For more information about west side , you can connect with us through our website, just and our Facebook page. Our music is from that's upbeat with two P'S UPP , B E A T , where creators can get free music. Please share our podcast with others. And we look forward to seeing you again with a company coffee, of course, on next Monday.

Sermon Notes
Monday Mark 5:1-13
Tuesday Mark 5:14-20
Wednesday Mark 5:21-34
Thursday Mark 5:35-43
Friday Mark 6:1-13