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A Final Overview of Mark: The Glories of the Son of God (Mark Sermon 92)

Series: Mark

A Final Overview of Mark: The Glories of the Son of God (Mark Sermon 92)

June 16, 2024 | Andy Davis
Mark 1:1-16:19
Book Overviews, Exaltation of Christ

Jesus convincingly proved his divinity as the Son of God, especially in his authority over doubt, demons, doctrine and disease, culminating in his atoning death on the cross.

- Sermon Transcript - 

I believe the purpose of the entire Bible is to glorify God and His son Jesus Christ.  J. C. Ryle in a sermon in 1877 entitled “Christ Is All” spoke to his hearers on the topic of preparing them for heaven. He said this, and it stuck with me, "But alas, how little fit for Heaven are many who talk of going to heaven when they die, while they manifestly, have no saving faith and no real acquaintance with Christ? You give Christ no honor here. You have no communion with him and do not love him. Alas, what could you do in heaven? It would be no place for you. Its joys would be no joys for you. Its happiness would be a happiness into which you could not enter. Its employments would be a weariness and a burden to your heart. Oh, repent and change before it be too late."

That stuck with me as I read that, and I believe the Gospel of Mark is written to portray the infinite majesties and glories of the Son of God, the person of Christ, to fit our minds and hearts and souls for eternity in worshiping Him. That's why the Gospel of Mark was given to us. This morning, I was speaking to a brother and we're talking together and I said, "Do you think we'll ever get to the point where we overestimate Jesus?" The answer is no. It cannot be. It is impossible. That means we'll spend eternity underestimating Him but in heaven a little more and more nearly estimating His greatness and His majesty. In the meantime, before we at last are transformed and we see Jesus face to face, we are given the ministry of the Word, we're given seeing through a glass darkly, we're given the Gospel of Mark. That's what we have.

"The Gospel of Mark is written to portray the infinite majesties and glories of the Son of God, the person of Christ, to fit our minds and hearts and souls for eternity in worshiping Him."

Today is my last sermon in this sermon series in the Gospel of Mark. It's kind of emotional for me. We started on December 26th, 2021, 93 sermons. Well, 92 plus this one, I assume I'm going to finish this one, so 93 total. The details of these 678 verses are too numerous to account, so an overview sermon like this, going over the 16 chapters, is bound to skip some things of deep significance. Fortunately, because of the gift of digital ministry on twojourneys, you can listen to all 92 of the sermons and I would commend that to you.

But my purpose this morning is to fly over this vast majestic expanse of the Gospel of Mark about like 30,000 foot level and then swing down into some details and capture a few of those glorious details this one last time. My desire is that I can magnify Christ in front of you, that I could give you a sense of His greatness, that I could persuade some of you who have as yet not believed in Him and trusted in Him as Lord and Savior, that you would do that, today would be for you the day of salvation. But for those of you who did that a long time ago, that you would more greatly worship Him and love Him and cherish Him and realize He's your treasure. He's what you're going to get in heaven and forever, you're going to be esteeming His greatness.I'm going to be walking across some main themes and seeing what we can do to magnify Christ.

I. The Identity of Jesus: Son of God

 I'm going to begin with the identity of Jesus as the Son of God, the Son of God. I believe the Gospel of Mark, the theme verse is right away, Mark 1:1 which says, "The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God." That word “beginning” is very provocative for me. It gives me that sense of that eternal education in heaven where we'll be learning forever what that means. Jesus, the Son of God. And there's a bookend sense in the Gospel of Mark on that theme, Jesus, the son of God, when the centurion at the cross, just as Jesus dies, says this, he who stood there in front of Jesus heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God.” So Mark 1, Mark 15, Jesus, the son of God.

I believe the purpose is a little more precisely stated for us in the Gospel of John, and I think actually the purpose of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, all four have the same purpose as stated in John 20 in verse 31, “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing you may have life in His name.” That's why these four Gospels were given to us as the basis of our saving faith. Answering the question, why should I believe in Jesus? This is part of the answer, the Gospel of Mark.  Jesus' identity was declared by God to him at his baptism in the Gospel of Mark, in Mark 1:10 and 11. It says, "Jesus was coming up out of the water. He saw heaven being torn open and the spirit descending on Him like a dove and a voice came from Heaven. 'You are my son whom I love. With you, I am well pleased.'" It's the infinite mystery of the incarnation. God the Father telling Jesus his own identity as His only-begotten son.

Jesus, fully human, was capable of learning things. When He was born of the Virgin Mary, like any normal baby, He couldn't speak. Then He learned gradually how to walk and talk and how to be social and how to interact. “He grew in wisdom and stature in favor with God and man.” But He also gradually mystically came to understand His identity as the only-begotten Son of God. This same statement is declared to the apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration. There it says in Mark 9, "Jesus took Peter, James and John with Him and led them up a high mountain where they were all alone. There He was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them, and then a cloud appeared and enveloped them and a voice came from the cloud. 'This is my son whom I love. Listen to him.'"

At the baptism, "You are my son,”; the Mount of Transfiguration to the world through the apostles, "This is my son whom I love." This is part of that eternal education that the apostles and all of us are on. What does that mean really? What does it mean that Jesus is the Son of God? We'll never fully understand what that means, but believing in it at a certain level in this world through the ministry of the Word, the Gospel, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit is essential to our salvation, that we can make that confession that we believe with all of our hearts, that Jesus is God the Son and the infinite dimensions of that we'll study for all eternity.

That identity of Jesus as the Son of God was a terror to the demons. Mark 3:11 says, "Whenever the evil spirits saw Him, they fell down before Him and cried out, 'You are the Son of God.'" For them that was no good news. It was still true. They testified even as Jesus was driving them out by the word of His power, what His identity was. So that's my first major theme, the identity of Jesus. That's why the Gospel of Mark was written to help us understand that Jesus is the Son of God and to have a partial but sufficient understanding of what that means.

II. The Message of Jesus: The Forgiveness of Sins

Secondly, the message of Jesus, the Kingdom of God is near. Mark 1:14 and 15 says, "Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the good news of God. 'The time has come,' He said. 'The kingdom of God is near repent and believe the good news.'"  That's the message of Jesus- The Kingdom of God is near. We could spend a long time unfolding the significance of what that really means, the Kingdom of God, but obviously at the center of the Kingdom of God is the King, Almighty God. When the apostle John was lifted up from the island of Patmos through the doorway of heaven, he was brought into the heavenly realms and the first thing he saw was a throne with someone seated on it.

So the central reality in the universe, God the King, God enthroned, the one who has the right to rule over all things including your life, the kingship of God and Jesus is the co-ruler, the co-regent with God. The lamb is pictured in the Book of Revelation as standing in the center of the throne, everything encircling Him on that throne. Jesus was sent by the Father into the world to summon sinners, to throw down their weapons of rebellion against His kingly rule, throw them down and to come back gladly in submission to His kingship and to obey Him and follow Him.

III. The Authority of Jesus

Logically that brings us to the third theme and that is the authority of Jesus Christ, the authority of Christ. So much of the Gospel of Mark, especially early on, talks about the authority of Jesus. Jesus's authority in many different realms is put on clear display. The identity of Jesus as the Son of God establishes His right to rule over the Kingdom of God and to call sinners to repent and believe the Gospel. He has absolute authority over heaven and earth. Authority is the God-given right to rule. Authority is the God-given right to rule. Jesus has all authority over every realm. The Gospel of Mark is written to give us all the sufficient evidence of Jesus's authority, His right to rule the universe and everything in it including us human beings.

It begins with Jesus's authoritative doctrine. We see it in the way He taught. No man ever spoke the way Jesus did. No one ever taught the way Jesus did. Mark 1:22 says, "The people were amazed at His teaching because He taught them as one who had authority and not as their teachers of the law." Jesus' teachings were not of the pattern Rabbi So-and-So said this, then commenting on what Rabbi So-and-So said, this other rabbi said, and all of us in this school of the rabbis believe this kind of thing. That's the kind of teaching they were used to. Jesus didn't say any of that. He taught like this, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, you shall not murder. But I say to you that if you're even angry with your brother, you're in danger of the fire of hell.” That's the way Jesus taught. “You have heard, but I say to you…” That kind of teaching elicited a response automatically, “Who are you? What gives you the right to talk like that?”  “You have heard, but I say to you”, or to even make such a statement, “heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” “My words will never pass away,” that my words are more permanent than the universe. No man ever spoke like this man. Even Jesus' enemies said that. That overwhelming sense of the authority of Jesus' teachings struck everyone who heard them. He was not merely a prophet, but He was God in human form telling us the truth, calling us to believe in it.

 We also see Jesus' authority over demons. Mark 12: 3-27, "Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 'What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are. The holy One of God’. 'Be quiet,' said Jesus, sternly. 'Come out of him.' The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. The people were also amazed that they asked each other, 'What is this? A new teaching and with authority. He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.'" Oh, they didn't merely obey him. They were terrified of Him. They were terrified of Him. Demons are invisible spiritual beings who have great power to bring destruction to human lives. Jesus drove out demons effortlessly and instantly. Jesus drove out the demon from the daughter of a woman, in a literal split second. You remember that encounter? "Yes, Lord," she said. "Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table." Jesus said. "For such a statement, you may go, the demon has left your daughter.” "Whoa, when did that happen?” "A second ago, he's out. Go home. You'll see.” "How did that happen?” "I thought it. I told the demon what to do." That's power. 

Or the demoniac of the gatherings, legion of demons. 5,000, 6,000 demons in one man, the most wretched human being I believe in the history of humanity on earth. Terrible, naked, living in tombs, howling at the moon, cutting himself with rocks, breaking chains. A homicidal maniac brought terror to that whole region. But when he saw Jesus landing, when they crossed the sea after the stilling of the storm, as soon as he saw Jesus, he was terrified of him and ran to him. This blew me away, the first time this concept came to me. Why did they run to Jesus? Usually you run away. Well, he knew there was nowhere to go. Where are you going to go? Jesus rules heaven and earth. So he ran to Jesus and threw himself before Jesus and begged Him not to throw Him into the abyss, into the pit before the time. You remember that whole encounter?

Then there's the herd of pigs, and Jesus orders the demons to leave the man. He just says, “go” and they go and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and they were drowned instantly. That's the power of Jesus. That's an army of demons, terrified of one man, of Jesus. That's the infinite power. Don't you believe for a moment, scientific, materialistic, westerns, educated people that demons still don't exist. They didn't go out of business when Jesus ascended to heaven. They're still around and they still bring terror and misery and sorrow, and Jesus still has the same power He ever had over them. Praise God.

We see Jesus's authority over every disease and demon known to man or disease and sickness known to man. Most of Jesus' miracles were healings. He cured any and every disease He encountered and again, like with the demons, He did so instantly, entirely and effectively.  Mark 1:30-34, “ Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever and they told Jesus about her. So He went to her, took her by the hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. That evening after sunset, the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon possessed, the whole town gathered at the door and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons or a few verses later, a man with leprosy came to Him and begged Him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ He said. ‘Be clean.’”

I had a conversation recently with someone about that healing and especially the healing of a leper. If you touch a leper, you become ceremonially unclean. That is unless you're Jesus, because the moment He touches the diseased cells, they become healed. Picture two adjacent rooms with a door closed between them, one of them awash with light, the other one in pitch darkness and the door is thrown open. Which wins? The light or the darkness? The light flooded into that dark room, so also healing flooded into that lepers cells and reconstructed them and made them like he was young again. But He did it out of compassion, filled with compassion. He said, "I am willing, be clean."

Jesus also had power, authority, over death. Paul calls death the final enemy. Jesus had the power to raise the dead. He did it with Jairus' daughter. He just took her by the hand and said, "Little girl, get up." Luke tells us, "Her spirit returned and she stood up." Completely well, and Jesus said, "Give her something to eat." Death was for Him, it was like waking her up from asleep. She's not dead, only sleeping. To Him, that's how easy it is to raise the dead. He has absolute power over death. 

He also has power over religion. He defines true religion for the Jewish nation. He said what true religion was. First of all, true religion is not some sham or some outer show where you go through the motions, some ritualistic motions, and you go week after week like a machine and you never think about it at all. That's not what true religion is.  Jesus said in Mark 7:6 -7, "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain. Their teaching is just rules taught by men."  We can slip into that, can't we? Brothers and sisters, evangelicals, Baptists just do the church thing, that machine and there's no genuine worship going on inside the heart. Jesus is probing us. "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." He did not want that. He wanted genuine worship from the heart.

He also claimed to be, get this, Lord of the Sabbath. Now think how that would've hit a Jewish nation. "I rule the Sabbath, I'm in charge of the Sabbath. You have any questions about what you can and can't do on the Sabbath? Come to me, I'll tell you. And these disciples going through the grain fields, picking the heads of grain and rubbing them together, they're fine. I'm Lord of the Sabbath." An incredible claim. Only God could be Lord of the Sabbath, but He was.

He was also Lord of the Temple. He was in charge of the temple. Mark 11:15-17 says, "On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who are buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves." And listen. . . Would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts." That's authority. "You can't do that. Get these out of here.”  As He taught them, He said, "Is it not written my house, my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations. But you have made it a den of robbers." Jesus had authority over the temple and He defined true religion as a religion of the heart.

He also had absolute authority over nature, which would make sense if He's God in the flesh, He's in charge of the world He made. The clearest display of this in Mark's Gospel, of course, is the stilling of the storm in Mark 4, "A furious squall came up and the waves broke over the boat so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him and said to Him, 'Teacher, don't you care if we drown?' He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Peace be still.' Then the wind died down and it was completely calm and He said to His disciples, 'Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?' And they were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him.’"

The physical creation here on planet Earth has been deeply marred and corrupted by human sin. But Jesus came to bring redemption not just to the human race, but to creation itself. There's going to be a new Heaven and a new Earth and all of the churning, turbulent wickedness is going to be stilled by the Word of God through Jesus Christ. He has that kind of power. "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him.”

IV. The Mission of Jesus:  The Forgiveness of Sins 

Especially, we see Jesus' authority over sin. As great as all of these displays are the central authority of Jesus concerns our condition. The central good news is that Jesus has the authority on earth to forgive our sins and bring us into the presence of a holy God. Without that, can I say Jesus' authority as Son of God would be nothing but a terror to us like it is to the demons. Nothing but a terror. But if Jesus is the Redeemer, the Savior who loves our souls so much as to die for them, Jesus' authority is great, it is good news for us. It focuses on this issue of the forgiveness of sins, the mission of Jesus, the forgiveness of sins.

Every week I have to decide what scripture the reader is going to read. Usually I have an easy time doing that. Whatever text I'm going to preach on, we'll choose from that or make that ... That was a problem today. Do you guys have an hour to hear the 678 verses of the Gospel of Mark? That's about what it is. About 55 minutes to read the whole thing. I think it'd be delightful, but some of you fathers maybe have some other plans today. But I thought, all right, of all the verses in the 16 chapters, what would I choose? I went to the healing of the paralyzed man. I love that account and why? Because in it we get a display of Jesus' healing powers, His working power linked to His authority to forgive sins, which is what we need.

I think it's a great story to memorize and share with lost people. It's a great story. Listen to it again. "A few days later when Jesus entered Capernaum again, the people there heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came bringing him a paralytic carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.'" Let me read that again. "When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.’  Some teachers of the law were sitting there thinking to themselves, why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming. Who can forgive sins but God alone? Immediately, Jesus knew in His spirit that this is what they were thinking in their hearts. And He said to them, ‘Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier to say to the paralytic, your sins are forgiven or to say, get up, take up your mat and walk? But that you may know that the son of man has authority on earth or forgive sins,’ He said to the paralytic, ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’ So he got up, took his mat and walked out in full a view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this.’" 

That is infinite good news. What is it worth to you for the judge of all the earth who will sit on that great throne when all the nations will be gathered before Him to declare to you that your sins are forgiven, you're completely justified and forgiven. What is that worth to you? It's infinite value. But in order to understand that we live in an increasingly pagan culture, increasingly biblically ignorant culture that doesn't really know what sin is. God's laws are essential to defining sin. It is by God's law that we know what sin is.

"What is it worth to you for the judge of all the earth who will sit on that great throne when all the nations will be gathered before Him to declare to you that your sins are forgiven."

 So the most important thing we need to understand about sin is that it's a violation of God's commandments and God's law, all of it is summed up in the two great commandments that Jesus gave us in Mark 12,  “The most important commandment answered Jesus is this. ‘Here O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.  And the second is this, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’” Matthew's Gospel says, "All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments." It sums the whole thing up.

The problem is we violate those two great commandments every day. The vertical commandment, we do not love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. That horizontal commandment, we are so selfish, we do not love our neighbor as ourselves. We break these commandments every day. These commandments, those two positive commandments, are broken down into a lot of prohibitions as well. Things that are forbidden from us like you shall have no other gods, not make any idols, do not murder, do not commit adultery. All of these prohibitions flow from these two great commandments or explain it.  So, "The sin we commit flows," Jesus said, "From the heart." It's a heart condition. It's not just some accident we bump into. Jesus said in Mark 7, "From within out of men's hearts come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man clean.” We have diseased, spiritually sick hearts apart from the cleansing that Jesus alone can do."

That is the sin problem of every lost person around us. It was our sin problem before we were converted. It's still our problem even as we're growing in Christ, the corruption of the heart leading to a constant violation of the two great commandments and it's universal. It's a universal problem. Mark 10: 17-18, "A man ran up to him and fell on his knees before Him. 'Good teacher,' he asked. 'What must I do to inherit eternal life?’.  'Why do you call me good?' Jesus answered. 'No one is good except God alone.'" We throw that word “good” around there. Do you understand what goodness really is, Jesus was saying. If you were to share the gospel with somebody and talk to them about sin, they would at some point probably say at some point in that conversation, "I think I'm basically a good person." What does that even mean? Basically? You mean occasionally a good person? Is that what you mean by basically a good person? From time to time you're a good person? Or do you mean basically, you mean at the core of my being, my deepest heart nature is goodness? No it's not. No, it's not. We are not basically a good person. That's what Jesus meant by "No one is good but God alone." This man actually thought he had never broken any of God's commandments. He actually had gotten to that point, thinking that. It's incredible and Jesus made it clear the universality of sin, the flowing of the corruption from inside out into patterns that violate God's laws. All of that deserves eternal conscious torment in hell.

No one taught so clearly about hell as Jesus did and He did it in Mark's Gospel. Probably Mark's Gospel's description of eternal conscious torment is the clearest in the entire Bible. "If your hand caused you to sin," Mark 9:43, "Cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell where the fire never goes out, where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched and everyone is salted with fire." That's eternal conscious torment. That's what hell is. That's what Jesus came to rescue us from.

So how are sins forgiven? The answer is right from the beginning of the Gospel of Mark. Repent and believe the gospel. That's how they're forgiven. "The time has come." Mark 1:15, "The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news." By repentance and faith in the Gospel are sins forgiven and no other way. Mark 2:5, "When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.'" Well, on what basis? On what basis is the death penalty for sin removed from us who deserve it? On what basis?

V. The Cross of Jesus

That brings us to the next point, and that is the cross of Christ, the atonement of Christ, the cross of Christ. How is sin atoned for? Every time Jesus said, "Your sins are forgiven," which He did again and again, He knew He was going to be paying the price for that. He says in Luke's Gospel, "I have a baptism to undergo and how distressed I am until I finish it." He meant His death on the cross. He had to pay the price for every time He said, "I forgive you, I forgive your sins." And He came to pay that penalty. Mark 10:45 tells us how. "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom instead of many." That's substitutionary atonement.

The word “ransom” means the payment of a price to deliver someone from enslavement, kidnapping or capture or a release from a death penalty. That's what ransom means, and Jesus was to give His life. The Greek word means “instead of” or “in the place of many”. He gave himself, that substitutionary atonement by faith in Jesus' death on the cross in our place are our sins forgiven. Jesus paid that death penalty and He was made aware, fully aware in a mystical experience I believe in the Garden of Gethsemane, what that was going to mean for Him. Now He knew He was going to have to die. He knew that. "I have a baptism to undergo and how distressed I am." He was thinking about it every day. He lived his whole life under the shadow of the cross. But something happened. Something happened in Gethsemane when He came there. Mark 14, "They came to a place called Gethsemane. And Jesus said to His disciples, 'Sit here while I pray.' And he took Peter, James and John along with him." My translation says “He began to be deeply distressed and troubled.” But the Greek word behind this is better captured in the KJV [King James version], Mark 14:33, "And he taketh with him, Peter and James and John and began to be so amazed and to be very heavy." Amazed. What does that mean? Doesn't that involve learning something or something hitting you in some way that you kind of to some degree didn't see coming? It comes on you and you react and it's like blown away. I'm amazed.

Then He says, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. And He said to them, 'Stay here and keep watch.' Going a little farther, He fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from Him. 'Abba Father,' He said, 'Everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me, yet not what I will, but what you will.'" Jesus knew factually and even emotionally that He would die on the cross under the wrath of God for our sins. But I think in Gethsemane, the Father showed Him in some kind of prophetic visionary sense, some kind of in His spirit, a sense of what it would be like to drink hell on the cross for you and me, to drink that cup because the topic is the cup and is there any other way? Is there any other way to redeem my people than me drinking that cup? It's implied, is there any other way? The Father answered, "No, this is what it'll be like. This is what it'll be like. Will you drink it anyway?"

Then in what I claim is the greatest single act of courage and love and obedience there has ever been in history, Jesus said, "I'll do it, not my will but yours be done." It would be easy for me to break into tears right now at the cost of my salvation to Jesus and the more I meditate on it, the more I hate sin and want to please Him who died for me. Jesus got up from that and went out straight to the cross and died and drank my cup. And yours too if you're a child of God. That's what Gethsemane is.

Then we see that cost in His death. Mark 15:22 and following, "They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha, which means the place of the skull. And there they offered Him wine mixed with myrrh, but He did not take it and they crucified Him, the six-hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi,Eloi,lema sabachtani,’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’" 

That's a glimpse into the infinite depths of the atonement. Jesus, the perfect Son of God became sin for us, became forsaken by God for us. He who Himself had done no wrong but in our place as our substitute was forsaken by God on the cross so that you and me in Christ would never be forsaken by God, that there would be no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  Because we're believers in Christ, we will not hear these words spoken, “Depart from me. You are cursed into the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,” though we deserve it, we’ll not hear that said about us because Jesus drank hell for us. He was forsaken on the cross. 

We see also the effects of Jesus' death at the moment of His death. "With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last." [Mark 15: 37-38] "The curtain of the temple was torn into from top to bottom." God made the way open into His holy presence for you and me. I found it amazing, and I marveled about this in your presence when I preached on that passage that Mark, writing for a Gentile audience, probably a Roman audience, didn't stop and explain that at all.  It's like, what does that mean? You're an average Roman aristocrat or plebe or servant or something like that. And you read, it's like, what is that? The curtain thing? There's a division of labor in the canon. It wasn't given to Mark to explain the significance of the curtain being torn from top to bottom. That was given to the author of Hebrews. And what does he tell us? Hebrews 10:19-22, "Therefore brothers, since we have confidence to enter the most holy place by the blood of Jesus by a new and living way open for us through the curtain that is His body. And since we have a great priest over the House of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies wash with pure water. Let us draw near to God, let us be close to God."

That's what Jesus achieved at the cross. That's what the tearing of the curtain from top to bottom means. God is saying, "Welcome, come and welcome and be with me." We who are sinners. Let's not forget the bookend testimony at that very moment. Mark 15:39, the centurion, "When the centurion who stood there in front of Jesus heard this cry and saw how he died, he said, 'Surely this man was the Son of God.’"

VI. The Resurrection of Jesus

But the story doesn't end there. Praise God. It ends with the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus displayed and proved that His atonement had been accepted by a holy God on our behalf. It also vindicated Jesus concerning every claim He ever made for himself. Every prophecy, every statement He made, Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath, all of that, vindicated by His resurrection from the dead. He was not a fraud, He was not a deceiver of the people. He was in fact the Son of God laying down His life as an atonement for us, and God raised Him from the dead on the third day. It shows also the defeat of sin and death forever.

Early on the morning of the first day of the week, the women, including Mary Magdalene, went to the tomb to complete His burial rituals. They brought sweet smelling spices to cover up the stench of His corpse. They had a lot of love, but they didn't have enough faith to understand really what was going on on that third day. Mark 16:5-6, "As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side and they were alarmed. 'Don't be alarmed,' He said. 'You're looking for Jesus the Nazarene who was crucified. He has risen. He is not here. Come and see the place where they laid Him.'" So there's this physical evidence, the testimony of the angel. Then the women are sent off and they're trembling, filled with fear and they spoke nothing to no one. Then as the longer ending of Mark goes on, and I'm not going to text criticism on Father's Day like I did on Mother's Day, you can listen to Mother's Day sermon there.  But the long version I think is vital because without it, there's in Mark's Gospel, no personal encounters with the resurrected Christ if it ends at verse 8. But even if you set aside the long version and go over to Matthew or to Luke or to John, there are personal encounters that Jesus had and that's vital evidence as Paul proves in 1 Corinthians 15. He died for our sins. He was buried. He was raised from the dead on the third day, and then He appeared and appeared and appeared and appeared even to 500 eyewitnesses. But in Mark's version here, it says in verse 9 and following, "When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons." She went and told those who had been with Him and who were mourning and weeping. And when they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen Him, they did not believe it.  Afterward, Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country and these returned and reported to the rest, but they didn't believe them either. Later Jesus appeared to the 11 as they were eating, and he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.”   This is the greatest good news in history. Christ is raised from the dead. Death is defeated. We're going to spend eternity in heaven based on His atoning work. Praise God.

VII. The Call of Jesus: Repent, Believe, and Follow

The call of Jesus, then we go back to the beginning, Mark 1:15, "The time has come. The Kingdom of God is near repent and believe the good news.”  There's an urgency to this. There's no time to delay. He is as the authoritative King of the Kingdom of God, commanding us to repent and believe the Gospel. “Repent” means “understand sin, see it as a deep heart issue, a violation of God's laws”, the two great commandments and all of the prohibitions as well. Acknowledge that sin and believe the good news that in Jesus the Son of God, a full provision has been made for our sins. That Jesus is who He claimed to be, died in our place, rose again. And that by believing in Him we have eternal life, we'll go to heaven when we die, that we have a reconciled relationship with the Holy God, A loving God. That's the good news that we believe.

In this is a call to discipleship, Mark 4:34-38, “He called the crowds to Him along with His disciples and said, ‘If anyone would come after me, He must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it. But whoever loses his life from me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet forfeit his soul? Or what could a man give an exchange for his soul? If anyone's ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation of Him, will the son of man be ashamed when he comes in His father's glory and the glory of the angels?’" That's discipleship, and our mission is Mark 1:17, "Follow me and I'll make you fishers of men." We've talked about that the last four weeks, how we are called to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  Mark 16:15-16, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." 

So what about you my friend? Have you believed? Have you repented of your sins and believed in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins? Do you have a taste for the real heaven we're going to go to which I began the sermon with that J. C. Ryle sermon? Do you actually want to go to a place where you get to be with Jesus forever? Do you have a yearning to know Him forever and ever? How glorious and how wise and how loving? Is that what you want? Do you have a yearning for that? And are you willing, my Christian brother and sister, to deny yourself daily and take up your cross and follow Jesus no matter where it leads? To put sin to death by the Spirit, to live a holy life privately and personally?  Are you willing to go to Jesus and say, "I'm not much of a fisher of men right now. Would you make me a fisher of men? I want to be a better evangelist. I want to share the gospel with people. I want to tell that paralyzed man story we lowered down through the roof. I would love to tell that to somebody this week and say that Jesus has the authority to forgive sins. Make me a fisher of men." Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to not be ashamed of Christ in this adulterous and sinful generation? And are you looking forward to the time when Christ will come in his Father's glory and set up the kingdom that He came to establish?

 Close with me in prayer. Father, we thank you for this journey that we've been on through the Gospel of Mark. Thank you for these exalted, beautiful and complex themes. Thank you for every moment that we've had in these 93 sermons to exalt the person of Christ. We know that in the text with these nouns and verbs and adjectives and syntax and paragraphs and all the ministry of the Word, we're just seeing through a glass darkly. But we also know that it's enough, the scriptures are able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Thank you. And now Lord, fill us more and more with a yearning for your glory and a desire to please you and to win lost people around us who are suffering and dying under the wrath of God, to rescue them into the life that the gospels call us to. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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