Mercy Power Grace

Mercy Power Grace: Mark 3:31-35
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday March 22, 2020

As a church, we’ve determined to place Scripture at the center of all that we do. We teach from the Bible weekly and we do not exegete (take truth from) the news papers or current events. However, we don’t want to be tone death and turn a coy cheek to the global pandemic we’re under!

What we’re going to see today, requires that you pay attention. That you follow the narrative, that you follow the story, and that you desire to see the riches of God’s Word. Do you want that – I hope that the answer is yes, I hope you’re encouraged to see the depths of God’s word right now this morning!

We’re going to see a string in the book of Mark that shows God off in his mercy, his power, and his grace! We’re in Mark 3:31-35, however I’m going to give you a map to understanding our passage it goes like this:

Mark 3:20–22 (ESV)
20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat.
21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”

Mark 3:28–30 (ESV)
28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter,
29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—
30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

And finally our passage for today. I want you to make those connections: Mark 3:20-22 —> Mark 3:28-30 —> and Mark 3:31-35 and in that journey we’ll find the Mercy, Power, and Grace of God.

Mark 3:31–35 (ESV)
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him.
32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.”

There is lots at play here and lots to talk through. People from a Catholic background here may ask about his mother and his brothers – and say, wait, Mary was a perpetual virgin how could he have brothers? I’mma add to that, Mary was married to Joseph – are you bummed for Joseph?

I don’t want to flatten this out, the Catholic Church would say that brothers would translate cousins, and they’re not wrong that it *could, the word used for brothers would be used of both cousins and brothers, because Hebrew and Aramaic didn’t have a specific word for the cousin. However, the Scriptures aren’t expressly clear that he DIDN’T have brothers – on the perpetual virginity of Mary, that’s much tougher. Look at Matthew 1:25:

Matthew 1:25 (ESV)
25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

He knew her not UNTIL…. Is I didn’t murder Darnell until November the 9th 9pm on the dime a denial of murder, or just a concept/vivid imagination without knowing what a long murder object is?

We’ll move on.

So here is the scene, Jesus mother (Mary) and His brothers came… odd place to show up don’t you think? If you remember from last week of Pastor John Nichols’ study; the scribes came down from Jerusalem to Jesus hometown where he was because why… “they said “he is possessed by Beelzebub and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons”.

They’re attributing the works of God in Christ to Satan – committing the unforgivable sin. And here we’ll start to see the story come together:

Our story line we’re seeing starts in Mark 3:20–22, where we learn when Jesus’ family heard it that He was casting out demons, that He was gathering 12, that he was giving the authority to cast demons they went out to seize him. They wanted to stop Jesus, and thought he was crazy or worse, doing Satan’s will. They saw the works of God in Jesus and attributed this to Satan.

Next before the family showed up, Jesus revealed what attributing his works to Satan was the equivalent of, something the has captured people ever since, the unforgivable sin. Jesus said in Mark 3:28-30, the next step in our path through this section:

Mark 3:28–30 (ESV)
28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter,
29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—
30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

After this, Jesus’ family goes, we know to seize Him because we went back to 20-22 for their motives. When it is announced to Him they were there Jesus says this:

33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”
34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!
35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

I love Jesus picture of family. Let’s be clear, this is absolute scandal. Generally speaking as Americans this doesn’t hit us in the same way as it did the Hebrew believer in Jesus day. The Jewishness of Jesus family and contemporaries made family elevated to vast importance. How many passages in scripture list vastly long seemingly never-ending genealogies? Why?

Their identity was religion and family and the two were blended. Jesus now comes and comes into this world of custom and family, where kinship they knew defined kingdoms of God’s 12 tribes. But times were changing, God’s plan was evolving, His son Jesus the rightful King was here and His kingdom was being folded out before them.

They knew this was coming or they should have, we’re seeing God’s Mercy at play here. Even though they denied the God’s works in Christ, he would have Mercy on them. We see his Power in bringing about this plan, written before hand. The entire book of Hebrews lays out how this Kingdom of God through the spotless lamb of Jesus was His plan to both judge and forgive sin, this is God’s power.

Imagine, in the times of Jesus a very much Jewish world, seeing the fulfillment of all the shadows of their following of God, the very day of atonement and the Scapegoat was now before them, it was stressing and straining family lines.

He creates a family environment among those who follow after God, know Jesus as Lord, have the holy spirit as their teacher and guide, and who live specially together. This is why, today is so odd for us. We look forward to gathering together.

Hebrews 10:25 (ESV)
25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

When you’re neglectful, you likely don’t care. Struggling with not meeting together is a sign that you’re not neglectful. As such, as we work to gather here – we want to be in contact still, we want to pray for one another still, in short – we want to be graceful by distancing for the spread of a novel animal disease that’s spreading, but enjoy the fellow ship of the saints,

Colossians 3:16 (ESV)
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Jesus encourages them, that is family, those that he’s close too isn’t just his household, but those who together follow after worship and love His father – church that’s us. So, we miss one another, we’re family.

We’re an oddly cool family, and that’s the last part, God’s grace. Is the sin of giving over Jesus works and power to satan unforgivable, yes – if that’s the state we die in. But Jesus comes with a message of truth, calling us to see truth, repent of turning against God’s truth, and find life in Him.

This picture while it’s about family and there is some truth there isn’t about that. It is about, God’s

  • Mercy
  • Power
  • Grace

His mercy in that He allows us to find a path and wonder it, He calls to us the whole time, perhaps you’re feeling that. By His Power, He enacts a plan that will come to fruition, how many times did Jesus plan be threatened to be thwarted.

Finally His grace, He calls us to salvation IN or sin and trespass, because that’s all we have.

This week read Matthew 6:12-14 for give us our sins… he’s not surprised by them, we are, and when we see them by his Grace were enabled to reach out for forgiveness! He is merciful, Powerful and grace-filled!

Matthew 6:12-14 (ESV)
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,

Remember that in this time of uncertainty!

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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