Jesus’ Faith

Jesus’ Faith: Mark 4:26-29
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday April 12, 2020

Today – we see a stand alone instance of a Parable from Jesus. We said parables are a teaching tool that force you to lean in and listen, The truth is buried in the story – often the story helps to draw out the truth, but it’s not on the surface and it takes some work to get to it. In fact, today we’ll see both the forest and the trees as we work to dig out Jesus’ purpose in telling this parable.

Our study today falls on Easter, and I know for lots of folks they’ve been wondering, man how am I going to tell the Easter story this year – I love our approach to scripture, we go a book at a time, a chapter at a time a few verses at a time; and slowly and methodically study. To me, wondering what we’ll study from scripture on Jesus resurrection, would be like wondering if the ghost or monster terrorizing the local town in Scooby-Doo is real or if its someone in a disguise who had a vested interest in the fear of the towns people.

Because the entirety of scripture is about introducing us quickly (in Genesis 1) that we’re creatures created by an all powerful God, who is a single entity and 3 co-eternal persons the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. We those created beings are unable to perfectly reflect and uphold the goodness of their creator God – it should be unsurprising that we cannot fully contain the perfect character of our creator but we seem to be surprised and hurt by that. The Biblical story goes on to demonstrate that God being full of mercy and love has created a path to Himself through a redeemer, as perfect love cannot coincide with opposition to love (which is our nature and natural self just ask any married person if their spouses love is perfect no blips no “moments”, even when hungry…) – Then God’s co-eternal son would step into the order of time, at the right time in God’s progressive revelation of Himself, that Son Turned out to be named Jesus (Matthew 1:21) who lived in all ways like us just without the sinful nature that we display Hebrews 4:15 or if you’re more into whether or not your nature is sinful than whether or not Jesus’ is pure Romans 3:23Romans 5:12Ephesians 2:3, etc.

Matthew 1:21 (ESV)

21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Hebrews 4:15 (ESV)

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Romans 3:23 (ESV)

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 5:12 (ESV)

Death in Adam, Life in Christ

12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—

Ephesians 2:3 (ESV)

among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Jesus came after the prophets (in fact spoiler alert often they were foreshadowing Jesus) and the Old Testament written which contains the entire story of how God will redeem humanity through an only Son – foreshadowed in the story of Issac who would have been sacrificed; but God stepped in and provided a sacrifice, in Joseph; a blameless life sent for his lost family, tossed in a pit stripped of his robe, sold to the gentiles, living in the darkness of Egypt, his elevation to kingship over the land, and then is revelation of who he is to his brothers who have been saved from death through him Genesis 45:7 – Jesus story is all over scripture.

Genesis 45:7 (ESV)

And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.

Here is an illustration from statistics and math on the prophecy of Jesus fulfilling scriptural prophecy. This illustration leverages the electron one of the smallest particles of matter known to man not as small as quarks (the cores in protons). So small that if you lined up 2.5 x 1015 (2,500,000,000,000,000) two quintillion, 5 hundred quadrillion thousand in a single file 6 feed apart grocery store line at Giant, you would end up with a line that is only 1 inch long you can’t even social distance. Counting the electrons in this line one inch long, if we counted 250 each minute, and if we counted day and night, it would take us 19,000,000 years to count just the one-inch line of electrons.) Back to illustration. Using only 48 of the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled it was calculated that the chances of one person fulfilling these by sheer chance would be 1 in 10157. To help us understand how huge this number is he suggested taking 10157 electrons and pressing them into a solid ball. This ball, made entirely of electrons, would pretty much fill, not just our galaxy, but the entire known universe. (At the time this illustration was made by Peter Stoner the universe was known to be at least 6 billion light years in all directions. Stoner’s known universe would need to be filled about 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times.) Or 10 nonillion times. Once again we would mark just one electron, blindfold a man and send him out to find that one electron. Stoner then states, “To the extent, then, that we know this blindfolded man cannot pick out the marked electron, we know that the Bible is inspired. This is not merely evidence. It is proof of the Bible’s inspiration by God–proof so definite that the universe is not large enough to hold the evidence.” Professor Stoner then made the comment that, “Any man who rejects Christ as the Son of God is rejecting a fact proved perhaps more absolutely than any other fact in the world.”

That is a statistical picture of Jesus fulfilling 48 prophecies, but there are easily over 400; so again, to struggle to find a message on Easter’s resurrection would be like struggling to wondering if the ghost or monster terrorizing the local town in Scooby Doo is real or if its someone in a disguise who had a vested interest in the fear of the towns people; I have my suspicions.

We know that scripture tells the story of God’s redemption of Jesus – and that today resurrection Sunday is no less than that – we’ll see Jesus faith in the Word of God, to accomplish the will of God. We have that Same faith at Transcend Church. We believe that faithful teaching of scripture, is the will of God for the church; and that that taught word will transform lives, and so too did Jesus – so lets read today’s passage from Mark’s gospel account:

Often in Mark when we find ourselves in a story, an account, a parable (like last week) we can find the other gospel writers who’ve recorded that parable – as we looked last week at the light under a basket, we found disused Matthew’s account – this week, the seed stands alone with Mark.

Jesus is still mostly likely continuing from Mark 4:1, teaching from the boat in parables Mark 4:2 if you’re new to where we are this morning. Jesus parables have focused each on a singular element of the Kingdom of God (Mark 4:11) today we focus in on confidence in God’s word.

Mark 4:1-2 (ESV)

The Parable of the Sower

Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land.

And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them:

Mark 4:11 (ESV)

11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables,

Mark 4:26–29 (ESV)
The Parable of the Seed Growing
26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground.

27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.

In the first seed parable, the sower is Jesus himself – similarly Jesus here casts himself as the one spreading seed on the earth. The parable is just that, a story to draw out a truth – if stretched too far it of course breaks because it’s an illustration. Jesus is comparing himself to a man spreading seed, so that we can see our role in the same, sharing from Scripture and trusting it to return purpose accomplished.

This is a great message for us, as in some ways we (the American Church) have started to trust lot’s of other than the Word. We’ve trusted our ability to draw people to churches, with production plays and free meals, flying helicopters and dropping thousands of eggs, good works; and now here we are, only able to stream study of the word. We miss fellowship, but at the same time, it can be redeemed to a focus on the Word.

Isaiah 55:11 (ESV)
11  so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

The kingdom of God is like this – you can’t predict or make the growth happen, you simply spread the seed in front of people and see who it sprouts within. We’ve determined to be a bit of an odd church, odd I think is an unfortunate term but odd we are. Were a mix of socioeconomic folks gathered and collected for worship of God. Would people pick the folks at this church to be those in whom the seed of the gospel would grow and through whom study of the Word would be come important, maybe not.

The sower doesn’t make growth happen, the sower sews the sleeps at night and rises in the day. Sleep is the ultimate admission that there is a creator God, and that we’re not that creator. The creator and sustainer created, and continually sustains. Your brain completely shuts down, you drool and look totally ridiculous, and God sustains, your heart beats, your lungs breath, your organs pass water and maintain homeostasis, you drool mouth open and make weird noises.

But the seed sprouts and grows, the sewer doesn’t know how.

How do I sew, I live a joy-full live, appreciative of God. I enjoy all the goodness of life that God has given, food and drink and family and friends! Our gathered worship, set aside time in person gatherings – those point to our fullness of joy in God, they’re seeding. I proclaim God’s goodness, I share the Gospel message which is first I’m a fool, second God is so good, and finally – Jesus is my savior and Lord – the Word of God, Scripture, the Bible, is the seed – and as we said (or read) it accomplishes God’s will for it it doesn’t return void. More than performances, more than helicopters, the word of God proclaimed is powerful.

And Jesus trusted it completely, in fact as he talks about the soil’s of people, and the spreading and growth of the message – the word was front and center.

28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.

29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

Romans 12:2 (ESV)
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

This is the first blade, the ear, and the full grain – progressive sanctification, through life through transformation by the renewing of our minds through scripture, we’re grow more and more into Christs likeness. Verse 29 pivots from the tree (the individual) back out to the forest (the Kingdom of God)

I pray for us that we see the forest ad the trees – that we’re not confused by Jesus parables, but rather that they cause us to lean in; and for someone who would struggle, but why would God say “the sickle comes’ at the fullness of the kingdom, to that one I would say – His offer is His grace and mercy and peace, and love, allow God to deal in the details, allow yourself to see the offer –

Jesus, the Resurrected Son of God, who dies simply to come back to life demonstrating His power over death, solidifying the promises in the some 400 prophecies messaging God’s salvation through Him. Allow us to see the both the forest of the Kingdom of God message, and the tree of the individual calling to God in Christ.

Today is Easter, Resurrection Sunday, and if we have to struggle to find the. Message of salvation and resurrection in scripture, we may be blind – so lets go and celebrate, and as we learn to worship in a COVID-19 world, lets long to be back together in corporate worship!

  • Set a pattern for reading your Bible this week
  • Set your mind to prayer for our missionaries and your fellow church members in this uncertain time

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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