MINING FOR GOLD IN THE GOSPELS
Today I would like to go on a treasure hunt with all of you. Most of us have at one time or another read or heard about some of the great treasure finds of history. From the golden treasures of Ancient Pharahonic Egypt, in King Tut’s tomb to the fabled lost gold of the Incas we have thought about what it must be like to first stumble on hidden treasure. The sunken galleons and their hordes of gold and silver coins, the gem stones of India and the fabled lost cities all keep the treasure hunters going.
But did you know the single largest buried treasure ever unearthed was not too far from us in the state of Nevada? This is a page from recent American history that is worth repeating and helping us as we start in our study of the Gospel by Mark. Let me share with you the secret of mining for gold in the Gospel by Mark as you open with me to Mark 1.
Now that you are there, let me remind you of the Wild West of 150 years past. Prospectors and gold diggers were crisscrossing the West a century and a half ago. The great gold strikes in California only fanned the treasure hunter’s hearts as they dug, mined, and panned for gold across the western states. Among the many stories of this period one stands out most vividly when gold was found at the head of Six-Mile Canyon in the territory of Nevada in 1859.
Two miners named Pat McLaughlin and Peter O’Reilly found a small vein of gold and immediately went to town to sell it and buy a drink. In their weakened state from alcohol, a fellow miner, Henry Comstock, stumbled upon their find and claimed it was on his property. The gullible McLaughlin and O’Reilly believed him and assured Comstock a place in history when the giant lode was named. The most amazing part of the story though is not the loss of O’Reilly and McLaughlin, it is the amazing amount of treasure that was actually there all the time and yet unnoticed for so long!
When Comstock began following the thin vein of gold up the canyon, he found an outcropping of gold in quartz. Each day as he went to town to sell his gold to the assayer’s office he would bitterly complain. He kept telling them that his biggest problem in his grubstake paradise was the sticky blue-gray mud that so tenaciously clung to his mules, his wagons, his picks, his shovels, and most of all like lead to his boots. With that the assayer came around the counter with a knife and asked if he could scrape some of this mud off his boots.
When the mud was assayed, it proved to be silver ore worth over $2,000 a ton – but that was in 1859 dollars! That was a dollar per shovel full then or in terms we understand in January 2000 money – it was equal to over $400 per shovel scooped! Can you imagine the way he ran back and began to shovel the gray dirt when he made it back to his land? Literally billions No wonder the Crocker Bank of California and the Hearst Fortune both began here.
Have you started turning shovels of blessings into gold from the Gospels? There is a simple way to do just that:
FINDING CHRIST IN MARK
What He did.
What He said.
What others said.
|1. Mark 2:5 when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”
|Mark 2:19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
HE IS OUR BRIDEGROOM
|Mark 1:7 And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose.
HE IS DIVINE
|2. Mark 2:11 “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
|Mark 2:28 “Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
HE IS LORD OF THE LAW, SABBATH
|Mark 1:24 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”
HE HAS DIVINE TITLES KNOWN IN SPIRIT WORLD
|3. Mark 4:39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.
HE MASTERS THE WEATHER
|Mark 3:14-15 Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach,15 and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: HE CALLS A NEW PEOPLE AND EMPOWERS THEM||Mark 3:11 And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, “You are the Son of God.”
HE TERRIFIES DEMONS
|4. Mark 6:51 Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. HE CALMS STORMS||Mark 8:38 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
HE IS THE JUDGE OF ALL
|Mark 5:7 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”
HE HAS THE POWER OF ETERNAL DESTRUCTION
|5. Mark 9:3 His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. HE SHINES WITH GLORY||Mark 9:31 For He taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.”
HE EXACTLY KNEW THE FUTURE
|Mark 8:29 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ.” HE IS VERIFIED BY CLOSEST FRIENDS AS SUM OF ALL OLD TESTAMENT PROPHESIES|
|6. Mark 9:33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” HE READS MINDS||Mark 13:32 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
HE IS LIMITED IN HIS INCARNATION
|Mark 16:6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.
HE IS VERIFIED BY ANGELS AS IMMORTAL
|7. Mark 14:36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” HE UNIQUELY RELATES TO GOD||Mark 13:35 “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—
HE DETERMINES DESTINY AS MASTER
|8. Mark 15:37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. HE CHOOSES WHEN TO DIE||Mark 14:24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.
HE INAUGERATES THE GREATEST COVENANT
Mark 14:62 Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
HIS ACTIONS: What He did.
HIS SELF-DESCRIPTION: What He said.
HIS REPUTATION: What others said.
- Mark 1:7 And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. HE IS DIVINE
- Mark 1:24 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” HE HAS DIVINE TITLES KNOWN IN SPIRIT WORLD
- Mark 2:5 when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” HE FORGIVES
- Mark 2:11 “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” HE HEALS
All of us have either heard about, or thought about, or dreamed about, or imagined what it would be like to find a buried treasure. The greatest buried treasure that was ever found in history was actually found in 1859. It was found not too far from here. It was in Nevada. It amounted to, at current estimates, $15 billion was found buried in Nevada in the year 1859.
The way the story goes is this, there were two miners O’Reilly and McLaughlin who had staked their claim at the head of the six mile canyon in the Nevada territory. They were notorious drinkers, but they’re also pretty good prospectors. So, they were digging around in the hills looking for gold. As they dug through, they finally hit a small vein of gold. So, they chipped out some, ran back to the assessor’s office, sold it, and in the midst of that began to drink away their winnings and their findings. McLaughlin and O’Reilly were sitting at the bar with a third prospector who, in their inebriated condition, convinced them that it was his stake that they had found that on. He went down to the assessor’s office and in their drunkenness, got them to sign off the rights to the six mile canyon. A guy named Harvey Comstock took over the canyon.
As you know, you’ve probably heard the word Comstock, as in Comstock lode, he went in looking for gold and he worked that little vein until it went into quartz. It’s hard to get gold out of quartz. He was complaining every day. In 1859, he would come trudging and barely able to move up to the assessor’s office. He would bring his little, tiny pile of gold he found, and he would set it up onto the counter. He’d say, I can’t believe how hard it is mining in the six mile canyon. He says my picks, my shovels, my wagons, my mules, and then he took his boot off and set it on the counter; he says, even my boots are covered with this heavy gray mud. Well, the assayer took out his knife and said, do you mind if I check your boots? He pushed the gold aside and he scraped the gray sticky mud that was fouling up the operation of Harvey Comstock’s mine. He assayed it and found it to be worth. $2,000 a ton. That’s a dollar a pound of pure, almost pure silver that was laying on the surface of the six mile canyon, 13 feet deep in places. Almost pure silver laying on the ground. Ole Harvey was walking around with a fortune on his mules, his boots, his picks, and the shovels.
I’d like you to start shoveling with me right now. Look in the gospel by Mark and I want to dig for gold in the gospels. This is just an example. I’m taking you through a method that was taught to me many years ago when I was in school, on how to recover great truths from the Bible by just doing a simple Bible study method.
What we’re going to look at is three things. First of all, we’re going to see Christ through His actions. I want you to with me mark in the Gospel by Mark things Jesus did. Secondly, how He described Himself, His self descriptions. His actions, what He did. His self descriptions, what he said. Then finally His reputation, what others said about Him.
What’s the first thing we discover about Jesus Christ. When we listen to other people talk about Him in the Gospel by Mark, the people that rub shoulders with Jesus Christ, the people that knew Him personally, the people that met Him, that talked with Him, that walked with Him, that ate with Him, that got to know Him on an intimate personal level. They were overwhelmingly aware that He was greater than the greatest of all humans. That He was not merely a man, but He was divine.
The Bible teaches us Jesus Christ is divine. If we listen to the voices of those closest to Jesus, we see that Jesus Christ, when He lived and walked on Earth, there was no doubt He was divine. In fact, if you study closely and as we go through, you’ll see this, the Pharisees and Sadducees never once denied any miracle Jesus did. They didn’t say didn’t do them. They just didn’t like Him and wanting to get rid of Him. They didn’t say He was a fake. They didn’t say that He didn’t raise the dead. They didn’t say He didn’t heal. They didn’t say He didn’t walk on water. They didn’t say that He couldn’t change stuff, multiply bread, and change water into wine. What they said is we don’t want Him around here because the light is too bright, and we liked the darkness rather than light.
First of all, in verse 7, The first thing we notice about His reputation is that others said that He was divine. Look at verse 24 because we have another testimony. Chapter 1, verse 24 has the second of our little studies about how to see Christ. Through His reputation, what others said. This is fascinating. I’ll start up in 21, so we don’t pull it out of context. “Then they went into Capernaum,” a little town on the shore of the sea of Galilee, “and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught.” Jesus always went to where the people were. They were gathered to look at the scriptures and He went there to those willing minds and began to teach them.
“They were astonished at His teaching.” Usually, the rabbinic teaching was just all of them quoting each other. They’d say Rabbi so-and-so said this, and Rabbi so-and-so said that, and Rabbi so-and-so said this, and they just stopped there. It really wasn’t the Bible being taught. It was just a collection of opinions, and traditions, and a lot of different concoctions that they’d had. They made all these rules up. Jesus came in and He explained to them what the Bible meant. “They were astonished […] for He taught them as one,” verse 22, “having authority, and not as the scribes. Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit.” Verse 23.
Every time we go to Israel, we were just there a few weeks ago, I always think of this because the way the Capernaum synagogue sits. The Sea of Galilee is out the door, and the entrance is right here. So, if you’re standing at the entrance, you’re looking or if you’re teaching, you’re looking straight out at the water. Everybody had their backs to the door, and they were looking to the front where Jesus was up in the front. He would sit down and would teach the scriptures. They would read from the scroll and the teacher always sat. So, He sat down and while He was sitting and everybody was intently listening to Him, someone comes in the back door. If you know anything about Capernaum it’s right on the shore but there are these hills around with caves. There are many people that lived in the caves that were demonized. One of these demonized people, it says in verse 23, “who had an unclean spirit” comes stumbling into the service. He walks in the back door and remember, demons are not omniscient, neither are they omnipresent. He just happened to be inhabiting that body of that person at that time, or maybe there were several of them and was impelling this man to go in there. As this demonized man walks in, the demon looking out his eyes looks up and goes, oh no, look who I just ran into. Look what he says, this is fascinating.
“He cried out saying,” in verse 24, this is Christ’s reputation, this is what someone else is saying about Him. This is the testimony from the other side. This is a testimony from the occult. This is a testimony from the demon world. This is a testimony from the spirits. That word demon means intelligent. Demons are thousands of years old; they are incredibly intelligent because they’ve existed so long. They are an intelligent spirit. In fact, the only thing demon means is that it’s a spirit of intelligence. They’re very smart. This very smart creature inhabiting a human body starts screaming.
The word cried out, anakrazō, means that it wasn’t one whimper. Like this morning in one of the services, some baby let out one little cry. It wasn’t that, it was very loud screaming. What’s neat about Greek by the way, in the Hebrew language the tense is very hard to tell whether something happened in the past, once, or never, or just in the present, or whatever. Hebrew is very vague, it’s an Oriental language. Greek is very precise. You can tell in the Greek language, if something’s going to happen in the future once or many times, if it’s happening in the present once or continuously, whether it happened in a singular time in the past or a few times in the past, or if it continues from the past to the future. There are so many tenses of Greek. It almost kills you to memorize them all. This tense is that he kept on screaming.
Now, everybody’s got their back to the door looking at Jesus. Jesus is astonishing them with His teaching and all of a sudden, this demon possessed man appears. If you’ve ever seen a demon possessed man or person, that is overwhelming. Their eyes bulge out, their faces contort into shapes that humans don’t usually ever get to make, and their voices are a very raspy horrible sound. This, almost like a walking monster, starts screaming. His face is contorted, and his eyes are bugging out, and he’s walking toward the front of the service. Everybody’s already astonished and here comes this person they were afraid of anyway. They didn’t like demonized people and listen to what he’s saying. “Let us,” as in multiple demons “alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth?” Do you think Jesus was wearing a name tag? See the demons, they see the spirit. That’s what’s so amazing.
When the seven sons of Sceva came to cast out the demon in this demonized person, in the book of Acts, the demons looked at the seven sons of Sceva said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” That demon knew that they were powerless and impotent before him. That demon beat them up and sent them out bleeding and their clothes stripped off. This demon, looked through with spiritual eyes at Jesus Christ and saw Him, knew exactly who He was.
Then look at the next part of verse 24. “Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are,” and this demon quotes the most often repeated title of God in the book of Isaiah. He says, “You are the Holy One of God.” Now, just for a second, I’ll explain it to you. Let’s look back in the book of Isaiah, start in Isaiah 10 and verse 17. This shows that demons know a lot of the Bible. The devil knows a lot of the Bible look at Isaiah. We were there this morning, chapter 10 in verse 17. I’m going to show you many of these little titles that point to who this demon said that Jesus was. Isaiah 10, and I’ll just show you five or six in Isaiah. It’s 30 times repeated.
“The Light of Israel,” Isaiah 10:17, “will be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame; it will burn and devour His thorns and briers in one day.” Now, if you have a modern translation of the Bible, Holy One is capitalized because this is a divine title.
The next one is in verse 20 same chapter, “and it will come to pass in that day that the remnant of Israel, and such as have escaped of the house of Jacob, will never, again depend on him who defeated them, but will depend on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.” The Lord is the Holy One of Israel. That’s one of the great majestic titles.
Now, look at chapter 17 of Isaiah, verse 7. And by the way, if you’re looking, if you’re reading through the whole thing, I will as I’ve told you before, one of the great studies is to actually take a marker and mark all these titles and names as descriptions of the Lord. You’ll use up more than one marker pen, but you will find one of the richest studies that there is in the Bible, studying the name which is above every name. This Holy One, you would find 30 times in this book, but in Isaiah chapter 17 in verse 7 it says, “In that day.” This is speaking of the event called the little apocalypse of Isaiah. From 13 on, talks about future events and judgment, and tribulation scenes are talked about. But look at verse 7. “In that day a man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel.”
One of the main ways that the Hebrew mind communicated was in a form called parallelism. What they do is, they put two things that are parallel side by side to enhance and to explain, and to amplify the meaning. In this construction, if you look at verse 17 it says, “man will look to his,” what? “Maker.” who is his Maker? The parallel term is at the end of verse 7, the Holy One of Israel. The Holy One of Israel is your Maker, and your Maker is the Holy One of Israel. What it’s saying is, the Maker of all, the Creator, the Holy One of Israel, and that demon walked in that synagogue and looked up at the front and saw its creator. It just started screaming. Says, you’re “the Holy One of Israel.”
Another one and they get very exciting, look at chapter 29 of Isaiah. That’s why if you don’t get excited about studying the gospels, then study the Old Testament and find the names of God. Isaiah 29 and verse 19. If you’re a Bible marker you should have verse 13 marked of chapter 29. “These people drawn near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but they have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by commandment of men.” That’s a danger. I hope that you can never sit here and sing songs with us and have your mind off back home, at your job, or forward at your next event. Because that’s what He’s talking about. It’s talking about people that can say all the right words, but their heart is somewhere else. That, God said, is unacceptable worship.
Especially in 29 verse 19, it says this. It says, “the humble also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice,” here it is, “in the Holy One of Israel.” So again, the parallelism, the Lord is the Holy One of Israel.
Look at verse 23. “But when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they will hallow My name, and hallow the Holy One of Jacob, and fear the God of Israel.” “Hallowed be Thy name,” from the disciple’s prayer. “The Holy One of Jacob”, which is interesting. Jacob is the bad guy, right? Israel is his new name, but God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He identifies with failures, and with sinners, and with those who lapsed, and everything else they did. He’s the God that gives a second chance. But notice that the name, the Holy One and the God of Israel are all parallel and that’s who this demon is talking about now.
Just really quickly, one more. Chapter 48 of Isaiah in verse 17. This is one of my more favorite uses of the Holy One. 48:17 and I will read on through to 18 and then to 22. It says in Isaiah 48:17, “thus says the LORD,” there’s one name of God. “your Redeemer” another name of God. “the Holy One of Israel,” there’s that 30 time, most repeated name of God or title of God in the book of Isaiah. “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go.” Verse 18. “Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” The metaphor there is the flowing river. A river is not like a lake. A lake, you keep draining the water out, like Mono Lake in California, and it goes dry. A river keeps flowing.
It says, “your peace,” verse 18. If you will yield to “your Redeemer,” verse 17, “the Holy One of Israel… the LORD your God.” “Your peace would have been like a river.” There would be a river of peace in your life. “And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” What is the waves of the sea? Do you go out there and tear up the beach and mess it all up? When we go to the east, the kids just dig holes and everything. Next morning we come, it’s perfectly level and flat and all fresh again. That’s what the waves of God’s righteousness do. He comes in, we are failures, He comes and cleanses us, and washes us, and makes us brand new, whiter than snow. Then we fail him again and He says, oh, my grace is greater than all your sin. You see the picture? If we will but yield to Him, to the Holy One of Israel, we will have endless peace. It doesn’t mean perfection, it doesn’t mean no problems, just endless peace. We will have His endless righteousness. It doesn’t mean sinlessness and it doesn’t mean perfection. It means that we are forgiven, and forgiven, and forgiven. That’s who he was talking about.
Look at verse 22 though, while you’re there of Isaiah 48, “there is no peace, says the LORD, for the wicked.” The wicked can’t have peace because they won’t yield to, verse 17 their Redeemer, the Holy One of the Lord. In verse 18, they won’t heed His commandments.
Back to Mark’s gospel, let’s keep digging because we’ve seen first of all in verse 7 of chapter 1 that we can dig for gold when we see what others say about Jesus Christ. In verse 7, the greatest man that ever lived standing on top of the pile of all humanity and they can’t reach Christ. He’s greater and so, He is divine. Secondly, a voice from the other side, ascribes to Jesus Christ in verse 24, one of the great Old Testament titles. He says, I know who you are, you are the Holy One of God. You know, that demon had no reason to puff Christ. He didn’t want to advance the cause; he just spoke the truth.
Those who met Christ face to face, and that’s one thing we’re going to encounter as we go through this book, the people that faced Jesus Christ in everyday life we’re overwhelmed with the realization of who He was. I wonder, does that happen when you come into this book? Do you get overwhelmed? It is marvelous to just come before the Lord in this book. I don’t know what your plans are for the new year, but I’ve started my new year’s reading plans. It’s marvelous just to sit there. To get all set. To pray and ask the Lord to open our eyes to see something. Then to start looking and all of a sudden to be overwhelmed, and captivated with a truth that draws us into the presence of our God.
Let’s turn to chapter 2 because I want to show you really quickly, just five more. I hope this will get you started into a lifetime of not just passively reading the Bible, but actively reading the Bible. Chapter 2. We’re going to see a second facet. The first facet of a Christology is what others said about Christ. The second facet is what Jesus did. The third facet is what Jesus said about Himself. If you take those three cords, His self-description, what He said about Himself. His reputation, what others said about Him. His actions, what He did. If you take those three and wind them together, you have a Christology. When you look at what He did, what He said, and what others said about Him, you have a three-dimensional picture of Jesus Christ, which we call a Christology. Who He was, what He did, and that bound together with what others saw in Him.
What I want to show you now in chapter 2, the whole second chapter is all about what Jesus did. You might want to mark these. I have these all marked in my margins. I want you to think about living, and breathing, and walking every day was someone who could do this. It’s amazing to me. Those disciples of privilege they had.
Verse 1 of chapter 2. “Again He entered Capernaum.” By the way, 60% of Christ’s recorded ministry is spent in a little triangle between Bethsaida, which was up on a hill, Chorazin which is over on another little hill, and Capernaum. They each make the points of a triangle and the triangle isn’t more than about five miles total to walk between them. 60% of the gospels are right in that little area. That’s why it says if what He did was written down, the world couldn’t hold the books, because all the gospels, that we are just in amazement with and more than half of them are in that little five mile triangle. He’s back in this little triangle. “Again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them.” You notice, He always, when He got a crowd gave them God’s word. “They came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd,” y’all remember this story from Sunday school, “they uncovered the roof where He was. So, when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.” Now look at this, and what we’re doing is studying now what Jesus did. Verse 5, first thing, “when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you.’ “ To us, we’ve read that so many times we go, oh yeah, He forgave sins. That’s why I have written in my margin, forgives sins.
Have you ever thought though of what they went through, on a daily basis, to deal with sin? They had lambs. They had to be raised. They had wood that had to be carried in. They had a whole core of thousands of priests that had to examine the lambs to make sure they were unblemished and clean. Then they had a whole crew that had to slit the throats, catch the blood, skin the thing, clean it out, throw all this refuse out by the trash pile, and put the pieces on top of the dry wood. Then, they had to burn it. When it got all done, they had to clean out all the ashes. They had to carry the blood and pour it. They had all of this that they had to pour on the base of the altar, which was what they did with the blood. All of that was not even to forgive sins, it was just to temporarily cover them. At this point, when Jesus was there, for 1,476 years there had been literally countless lambs, goats, bulls, and pigeons slain to not forgive sins. Nobody ever had their sins forgiven back then, just to cover up. Just to put white out over them. They were just putting the white out over everything like this and they had a whole economy geared up to whiting out sin, but it was still there. They were just covering it. They were plastering over it. It’s like a landfill, they just kept putting more dirt over it, and just burying the trash.
Jesus walks in and He’s sitting there. This guy, Jesus always waited for the climactic moment. He picked the moment where the demon guy staggers in, bulging eyes, and He teaches them. Now, the roof breaks open and these four ropes comes down and this body is laying on it, stiff. This guy is paralytic, can’t move. And Jesus waits. Every eye is flickering between being fastened on this twisted body and looking at Jesus. What a climax moment. He was a master of climactic moments. Look at this, with all their eyes fixed on Him, He looks at that man, the paralytic, and He said, “son, your sins are forgiven.” No pigeons. No goats. No lambs. No bulls. No cutting and burning. They’re gone right now. I erase them right now.
Look at the immediate response. “Some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts.” Now, this is fascinating. If you see again, the whole idea of this whole series is walking with Jesus. What I want you to do is, I want you to start thinking like you’re there. The disciples, they had pulled up a seat, and they’d gotten in, and they enjoyed watching the ceiling break open. They watched the sky come down. They were just enjoying this. They were fans of Jesus. All of a sudden, this guy gets let down and they stop. And they look at him. And they look at Jesus. And then Jesus says, your sins are forgiven. They’re going, yeah! That’s great! The scribes and Pharisees were “reasoning in their hearts,’ why does this man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone.’ ” That’s true, no one but God can forgive sins.
By the way, at the reception after the funeral, my long time Roman Catholic uncle, who is 84 years old, for whom my mother prayed nearly her whole life, for the first time sat through a service in a Protestant church. I had 70 of my unsaved relatives sitting right here first time. They couldn’t miss the funeral. That’s why I wanted to preach it and so I preached. I had a whole section of them. They’d never heard this before and they’ll probably never hear it again. But I remember it was so sweet, I thought I’m not going to push it, I’m just going to lay it out, and just see what the Lord does.
My mom’s older brother, who’s dying of cancer, will be gone in March or April they say. He feebly came up to me after the service. He looked at me, he said that’s what I want. Now, I’m not sure whether he’s there yet, but you know what he told me? He says, I can’t believe that the Roman Catholic church, that the priest can forgive my sin. He said, isn’t it God can do that. Here’s an 84 year old man talking like a four year old child. And isn’t that what the Lord said? Except you come as a what? Child. You know, these Pharisees and scribes, these scribes were thinking in their heart, nobody can forgive sins but God, instead of them saying but God is here, there He is. They’re saying He can’t do that, He’s not God.
Look at this now, this is the second. Jesus, number one in verse 5 forgives sins. Look at verse 8, here’s the second thing to learn about what Jesus did. “But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them…” How do you like this? You’re a disciple and you’re going, look, that guy came through the ceiling. oh, He forgave his sins. The scribes are getting hot around the collar. All of a sudden, you listen to Jesus. Jesus looked at the scribes and He lifted His eyes from the man He had just forgiven sins and He looked right into their eyes. He read their thoughts. Do you know what the disciples realized? If He could read their minds, He can read mine. Do you know what they realized? He not only forgives sins, He reads minds. He knows our thoughts. That’s the second thing you discover as you’re mining for gold in the Gospel of Mark.
Jesus can read minds. He perceives and He answers their thoughts that they had never spoken. Can you imagine how unnerving it was for them? They’re sitting there and they’re smugly saying this guy’s blaspheming inside their minds, but on the outside, they’re smiling because they’re supposed to be religious and everything. Jesus said in verse 8, “why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘your sins are forgiven you’ or to say, ‘arise, take up your bed and walk?’ “ He heard all of them collectively and they were saying He picked the easy one, nobody knows whether He forgave their sins or not. You can’t see that. You can’t see sins and only God can forgive sins. So, He claimed to be God, but you can’t tell. So, He says, you wonder about that, you wonder, okay.
“But that you may know,” verse 10, “that the Son of Man has power on Earth to forgive sins…” Again, the climactic moment, the guy through the ceiling laying there stiff, contorted, Jesus said your sins are forgiven. Everybody was first amazed. Then they were starting to doubt whether He could even do that because only God could do that. He said to the paralytic verse 11, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Jesus heals this man and look at the amazing response.
Verse 12, “immediately.” By the way, over 150 times you find this concept of immediately, immediately, immediately, immediately in this little book, it’s constantly all the way through. “Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘we never saw anything like this.’ “ No, they hadn’t and no they wouldn’t again, because God was in their midst.
The scriptures tell us that Jesus is divine. He is so much higher than all of humanity, that we’re not worthy. We can’t reach Him. If we do get into His presence, we do not even have the right, or the authority, or even any reason to even be able to untie His shoes. Did you know that was the job of the lowest slave? When you walked into someone’s house, you just put out your foot and this slave would never even look up at you. They would take your shoe off, and they’d wash your foot and put a little slipper on it. You stick out your other one and they still wouldn’t look up. They would undo your sandal. Your feet were all dirty from the road, you’d hold it out and they’d wash it. They’d dry it off and put on a sandal. You wouldn’t say a word to them. You wouldn’t say thank you and just walk by them and go into the meal. Because they were a piece of machinery that belonged in the house. That’s the first century.
Jesus said, you and I compared to His excellency of deity, the greatest human doesn’t rise above, they don’t even have the authority to get up and to untie His shoe, but yet Jesus says, come boldly to me at my table. Come and eat in my presence with me, as my brother and as my sister.
Let’s close this little study by going back to the book of Revelation. It says in Revelation 4:8, “The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: ‘Holy holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’ And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever,” verse 10, “the 24 elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: ‘You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.’ ”
The 24 elders, 12 representing the Old Testament, 12 tribes of Israel. 12 representing the 12 apostles, the new people of God. All the redeemed people, full of God, whenever God is magnified and glorified and worshiped, they can’t go in their normal mode. They have to humble themselves, even glorified.
You know what’s amazing in America? We went to Russia this past summer and all of us, seven men, seven elders, eight, eight of us leaders from the church, we got there. As soon as we got there they said, let’s pray. We were all sitting down, and they said, you can’t sit down to pray. We said, oh! Why? They said you can’t sit in the presence of God. You have to either stand or kneel. You know, in America we don’t think reverently. I’d like to remind you that the one that you’ve come to eat a memorial feast for His death in our place; the one who John the Baptist, the greatest living human being up to that day said that He is so great that we don’t even have the right in our human merit to touch Him, to get close enough to Him. But He, by His grace has said you can enter boldly into my presence with exceeding great joy.
When we see the redeemed coming before Him, it says in verse 9, whenever they give “honor and thanks to Him that sits on the throne”, that verse 10, they fall down before Him.