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The Finger Of God

SUFFERING KING: THE BOOK OF MARK:
The Finger Of God: Mark 1:32-34
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday January 5, 2020

The first morning of the new year, I read and was struck by this:

1 John 1:4 (ESV)
4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

What were they writing about:

1 John 1:1–3 (ESV)
The Word of Life
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—
2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—
3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

Their “joy was complete” in sharing what they’ve known and seen about the Word of Life which lived Among them, and they share with the reader, eternal life and fellowship with God together with them.

1 John 1:4 (ESV)
4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

That’s my expectation when I open and read the scripture – every ounce and drop of it inspires my complete joy – it’s revelation of the plan of God to seek and save the lost – and it all bears the marks of His power, the finger of God and in Jesus the finger of God points to salvation, forgiveness and peace. The question for us is, will we follow its point?

This is Mark’s purpose in his “utility gospel” – to point to God’s plan in his son Jesus,

Mark 1:14 (ESV)
Jesus Begins His Ministry
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God…

Mark 1:32–34 (ESV)
32 That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons.

Last week, Pastor John talked about the healings that took place in Mark 1:29-31. There are some important elements of this Gospel’s account to what happens in verse 32. Let’s go back and read from verse 29 through 31.

Mark 1:29–31 (ESV)
29 And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her.
31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

Several things to note, 1 – we’re back to this word, this concept of “immediacy”. Jesus gets immediately about the work of His ministry. The pace of the Gospel of Mark is frenetic – Jesus came to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10Matthew 18:11) that mission is paramount – and Mark’s Gospel is what I’m calling a “utility gospel”. Websters dictionary defines the word “Utility” as, “Fitness for some purpose or worth to some end” – Mark’s Gospel is fit for the purpose and end of a) showing Jesus divinity, b) showing God’s plan for His Messiah-Son, and c) demonstrating Jesus unique fitness for that mission. Mark communicates that with haste and immediacy – his utility gospel finds that to be paramount over form, he is all about function and utility. As such, when he gives details (seemingly insignificant as they are) they’re often VERY significant – he’s getting to the point, and whatever made the cut is important.

Luke 19:10 (ESV)
10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Matthew 18:11 (ESV)
11 For the Son of Man came to save the lost

Immediately Jesus left the Synagogue why… because it’s sabbath day, went into Simon Andrew’s house, with James and John and healed Simon’s mother-in-law.

Why?

Fledgling disciple-apostles seeing first hand the power of God in Jesus. Was she healed indefinitely, no. Was she an eternal being from that point forward – can I meet her, no. She died:

Hebrews 9:24–27 (ESV)
24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own,
26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,

Every person dies, and is judged – these healings aren’t to defeat death, they’re to show Jesus power over life and God’s ordaining of His mission. Jesus healing was complete, much like the story of the exodus where magicians were out paced by the miracles brought about by God through Moses, the magicians said this:

Exodus 8:19 (ESV)
19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

Why, what God was doing through Moses was more than something that could be replicated through trickery like turning a staff into a stick (snake charming) like turning a river red (die it), rather he summonsed enough gnats to darken the sky and similar with frogs – not a simple rabbit from a hat trick, but manipulation of creation – here too Jesus heals someone completely. I am on my 7,000th day of being sick, I think. I’ve scratched tally marks with my fingernails into the wall next to my bed – when I’m better – I’ll be groggy and slowly come back to health. Peter’s mother in law goes from sick with fever to helping around the house in a moment. “this is the finger of God”.

What will seeing the power of God in His own messiah-son do for the people near him? Lets keep going on in:

Mark 1:32 (ESV)
32 That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons.

That evening at sundown – was the end of the Sabbath and the beginning of the fist day of the week. This is VERY significant. A good friend of mine is a Sabbath observing Jew. He was the second person I met when I moved to PA – second because it was Friday evening when Briana and I rolled into town – with a 1st grader (Tye) and a baby, (Taylor) back in New Mexico with Lisa – we couldn’t meet my (now) friend because it was Sabbath. We hunt every year together and have for a decade now- 5 years or so ago, we got out fairly far on a Friday – he was my ride and I remember scrambling out of the woods nearly sprinting down Clarks Valley road with him to get to his truck and drive back to Harrisburg because it was Friday evening and Sundown was nearing.

Sabbath is significant – when I visited Israel we saw the Sabbath elevator – which stops on every single floor for Sabbath day so that a Jewish person would not have to work by selecting the floor on the elevator. Perhaps you’ve been in the market for an oven – and noticed the sabbath feature a third party like Star-K certificating agency would give it the “Kosher certification” like they would with groceries, or 7-11 Slurpie flavors….

The sabbath is now over, it’s a new week start (Saturday evening) and people brought to Jesus ALL who were sick or oppressed by Demons. God would use the gravity to impact people for Jesus cause – seeing and saving the lost. And much like the Finger of God in Deuteronomy – Jesus miracles would complete their purpose, showing God’s power and authority on Jesus.

33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door.

This is normal language that you allow, was every person in the city at the door, no it’s figurative explain that a LOT of folks where there. In fact it’s used in figurative speech quite a bit – the same word is used in Mark 6:55, they ran about the whole region”, Mark 8:36 what does it profit a man to Gian the whole word and forfeit his soul”, 14:55 the chief priest and the whole council were seeking his testimony”… and so on. I vast crowd was at the door looking for healing from Jesus, word about this was going to get out….

34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

To this point I want to read an interesting quote from Kenneth Wuest’s NT Commentary, Wuest is one of my favorite commentators and NT scholars:

“H. V. Morton, in his excellent volume, In the Steps of The Master has an interesting bit of information for us on this point. He speaks of hot mineral waters containing curative properties, that were the center of the most famous spa in the country. This was located at the city of Tiberius which was ten miles from Capernaum. He says that in the time of our Lord these baths attracted the sick from every part of the country. And so it was that in the midst of a great health resort country, the Great Physician ministered to the ailments of multitudes. “All that were diseased” is literally “All those who were having ailments.” The demonized were brought because of the news of the casting out of the demon in the synagogue. (Wuest, Kenneth S. Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997. Print.)

Jesus works like, Finger of God

The finger of God in Moses’ works, is like the second Moses

Seek and save the lost:

Hebrews 9:24–27 (ESV)
24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own,
26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,

This is why it was the joy in 1 John 1 to write about this – the news that is being shared is genuine, it is authentic, it is transforming and it changes hearts –

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.

What has the Word done in your heart today – are you moved by it, did it sink in to the depths of you? It’s a new year – ask God for that, show up here expectant live your life wanting to know more about God. Don’t be passive, be an active go-getter. The Joy of 1 John 1 was found in penning the scriptures so that we could know our creator God and have fellowship with him, do you?

That’s my expectation when I open and read the scripture – every ounce and drop of it inspires my complete joy – it’s revelation of the plan of God to seek and save the lost – and it’s all bears the marks of His power, the finger of God and in Jesus the finger of God points to salvation, forgiveness and peace. The question for us is, will we follow its point?

If not seek it from the word. This is the finger of God not trickery but power.

Where does this find you, this morning? Where does it hit you? What are your circumstances? We need to compartmentalize Circumstances and realize that the truth of God is transcendent.

Transcend is: to rise above or go beyond the limits of…. To triumph over the negative or restrict aspects of, the be prior to beyond and above – as believers cast off the newagie-ness of Transcendence, and understand God’s power is above limits, does triumph over evil, and is prior and above. God is with us through trial and struggle – and his offer made powerful through His messiah-son’s life and sacrifice is extended to you for joy and comfort and everlasting life.

Pray, Observe, Apply.
This week, will you not wait for a new year? Will you become a person of the book: Read, apply, and help others to discover scripture.

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