Familiarity Breeds Contempt; Revelation Feeds Faith (Mark Sermon 25)
September 11, 2022 | Andrew Davis
In Mark 6:1-6 account, the people from Jesus' hometown despised Him and His public ministry, as they lacked the faith to unveil His glory.
- SERMON TRANSCRIPT -
Turn in your Bibles to Mark Chapter 6. We continue our journey through this incredible Gospel of Mark. One of the ways that we evaluate great men, sometimes, is by looking at what those closest to them thought about him, or think about him; the man's wife, his children, his close relatives, the people who know him best, who have access to his private life. We think that's very significant, if they think highly of that man, if they esteem him, you get a glimpse into his private life that way. Ordinarily, that would be true. When it comes to Jesus Christ, if you came to him at a certain point in his public ministry, and you asked those questions, you might be shocked to find that those closest to him despised him. They thought little of him. They did not believe in him. The Scripture reveals that that is in no way a fault of Jesus, or would, in any way, cast aspersion on him.
This text that we're going to study, today, gives us a glimpse into that. One of the reasons that we might give, for why it was that his own relatives, people in his own house, people that watched him grow up, did not believe in him, one of the answers that we might give is this old slogan, or statement, "Familiarity breeds contempt." What does that mean? The more you know someone, and you have daily access to their private life, their physical life, the more you may be tempted to despise them, to belittle them, to think lowly of them. That's what despise means, not hate them, but you just think lowly of them. "Familiarity breeds contempt."
This tendency can cause trouble at many levels of human experience. It can happen in marriage. Little by little spouses can lose their esteem for each other, when they live life together, day after day, year after year. Children can lose respect for their parents in the same way. As they get older, and they see their parents' feet of clay, the way they struggle with sin, some of their habits, their sin patterns, even their physical weaknesses. They get older. They get sick, and begin to fall apart physically. There may be some disdaining that creeps in. While this tendency, "Familiarity breeds contempt," can be damaging in many human relationships, there is no case in which it is so dangerous as in the case of Jesus of Nazareth.
In our account, today, that we're going to study, the people who watched Jesus grow up from boyhood into young manhood, who knew his parents and his family, who watched him begin his trade as a carpenter, who never saw any open indications of supernatural greatness, were secretly despising him now that his public ministry was in full swing. The text says they took offense at him. That is, they stumbled over him, especially his outrageous claim to be God in the flesh. They could not believe in him because of this contempt.
This very condition had been predicted six centuries before Jesus was even born, by the prophet Isaiah. In Isaiah 53:1-3, Isaiah wrote, "Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been reveals? He grew up before him like a tender shoot and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering like one from whom men hide their faces. He was despised and we esteemed him not." Isaiah spoke of the fundamental challenge of believing the central message, the truth about Jesus of Nazareth, that he is God in the flesh, the savior of the world. The problem Isaiah lifts up, there, is his outer appearance. The humble circumstances of his physical life. The fact that he grew up before him like a tender shoot and like a root out of dry ground. Jesus, growing up in Nazareth before the onlooking eyes of his neighbors, was in the most ordinary way like any other boy. Physically, he had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him. Nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. The outer appearance of Jesus, Isaiah said, is the problem. He looked like any other man. That outer appearance kept them from seeing his true nature, his true glory as God, thus, did they despise and reject him.
The only possible remedy to this, Isaiah said, was faith. Before faith must come the sovereign work of revelation. Revelation, as Isaiah said right from the beginning. Isaiah 53:1, "Who has believed our message?" That's a matter of faith. "Who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" You see the combination. "Who has believed? To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" The arm of the Lord represents his true power, his saving power. It is hidden. The arm of the Lord is hidden, and it must be revealed. If it is revealed, people may believe in it. That's the connection. Everything comes down, then, to this miracle of revelation. What is that? We could go over to the Book of Revelation. The apocalypse, the “apokalupsis” means “the unveiling”. Both the Greek word and the English word are connected to that concept of an unveiling, a pulling back of a veil. The Book of Revelation is that. It's an unveiling, but, of what? Well, not only a revelation of the future, as most people think it to be. It is that. Not only a revelation of heaven and of all the worship that goes on, there, constantly, it is that. Not only a revelation of the destruction of Satan and his evil forces, it is that. Not only a revelation of Judgment Day, and of the eternity beyond both hell and heaven, it is that. It is all of these, but is infinitely more than that. It is, as Revelation says, right from the beginning, Revelation 1:1, "The revelation of Jesus Christ." That's what it is, the unveiling of Jesus Christ. The question is, "Why does Jesus Christ need to be unveiled? What hid him from our eyes?” Was it not the humility of his lowly incarnation? At Christmas time we sing Charles Wesley's hymn, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, "Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see. Hail, the incarnate deity." Kind of gets to it, doesn’t it? "Veiled in flesh." Only the eye of faith could pierce this veil, and see the glory of God behind it.
"Before faith must come the sovereign work of revelation."
I. Christ’s Eternal Glory Veiled, then Revealed
That's what's in the text we're studying today, Christ eternal glory veiled, and it's veiled because of his incarnation. How do we understand the incarnation? It’s the greatest mystery of Christian theology, I think. How do we understand it? We see the humility of Christ in his incarnation. We believe that He was pre-incarnate deity, and chose to take on a human body. That humility is described beautifully in Philippians 2:6-8, "Jesus, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant. Being made in human likeness and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross." That's the mystery of the incarnation. He was truly God, robed in glory, constantly worshiped in heaven.
The Old Testament gives us glimpses of the pre-incarnate Christ. In Ezekiel 1:26-28, Ezekiel has a vision, I believe, of the pre-incarnate Christ, seated on a throne of glory. Ezekiel 1:26-28, "Above the expanse over their heads," [the heads of the Cherubim] "was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that, from what appeared to be his waist up, he looked like glowing metal as if full of fire, and that from there down, he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow and the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell face down." The glory of the pre-incarnate Christ, seated on a heavenly throne.
Isaiah had the same vision. Isaiah 6, "And the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs each with six wings, and with two wings, they were covering their faces and with two, they were covering their feet, and with two, they were flying. And they were calling to one another, Holy, holy holy, is the Lord almighty, the whole earth is full of his glory.” The apostle John, in his gospel, tells us, "Isaiah said this, because he saw Jesus' glory and wrote about him." Before Christ came to earth, He shared the Father's glory. He sat on the throne of the universe. He was the focus of perfect and continual heavenly worship. He gave all of that up to come to earth, veiled in a robe of human clay, veiled in flesh, the hidden glory of the incarnation.
This was the central stumbling block for the people of his day. In John 10:30, Jesus makes this incredible assertion, "I and the Father are one." Again, the Jews picked up stones to stone him. Jesus said to them, "I've shown you many great miracles from the Father, for which of these are you stoning me?" "Oh, we're not stoning you for any of these, but for blasphemy because you, a mere man, make yourself out to be God, claim to be God." A mere man claiming to be God.He had a physical body, He had a face, eyes, hair, hands. He had a certain height, a tone of voice, He had a personality, a physical look, a mere man. He had a normal development. "He grew in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and man," Luke 2:52.
There’s no mystery of his growth and development from infancy to boyhood, to young manhood, to full manhood, he just developed in the normal way. He had normal family relations. He had parents. We understand Joseph's special relationship. His true father was God, but He had a human mother. He had extended family, mentioned in our text, relatives. He had brothers and sisters, it talks about that, also, in the text, normal family relations. He had normal physical issues. He got hungry, and needed to eat. He got thirsty and needed to drink. He got tired, and needed to sleep just like anybody else. He had the normal range of human emotions, joy, astonishment, anger, grief. He had physical limitations, He could only be in one place at one time. He had to travel by walking like everyone else, and seeming frailty. As He traveled, He got tired. He sat down at that Samaritan well, and rested, tired as He was. Most difficult of all, He could die. Not just any death, but the painful, and shameful, and humiliating death on the cross. Yet, for those with eyes to see and ears to hear there was ample evidence of his deity, if you knew what to look for. If the arm of the Lord was being revealed to you, you could see it. You could see it from growing up, if you knew what to look for.
Let's start with perfect sinlessness. He never committed any sin. I find that unusual in a boy or girl. Imagine watching Jesus grow up, and He never sinned, ever, that’s unusual. He was the only one that ever did it. He was constantly, perfectly filled with love for the Father, and horizontal love for others. That's who He was. He had an unusual, to put it mildly, knowledge of God's word, which He displayed even at age 12, a deep, thorough, rich knowledge of the word of God. As the ministry developed, then, He displayed supernatural knowledge of hidden things. He could read people's minds. He knew what they were thinking. He knew things that were happening in other geographical places, beyond his location. He knew that somebody was healed without anyone, a messenger, coming to tell him. He knew the future. He could predict things that were going to happen tomorrow, or later that same day. As He made physical arrangements for the Passover feast, He says, "Go into Jerusalem. You'll meet a man carrying a jar of water, follow him." Now, that's interesting. He knew the future, and He knew things that would happen at the end of time. He had amazing power over every disease and sickness among the people, and over every demon, effortless power. Over nature, the ability to speak to the wind and the waves. They instantly did what He said. The big catch of fish, making fish swim into a net. He had this kind of power, but more than anything, He fulfilled prophecies. Christ's glory was still there, but it was veiled. Once, on the Mount of Transfiguration, he briefly pulled back the veil, slightly, to show a glimpse of his radiant glory, a bright shining radiant glory.[Matthew17:2].
Especially, the glory was there if you knew what to look for in Christ's atoning death, a perfect revelation of the attributes of God, a perfect display of God's justice, on display, there, in the bloody death of the only begotten son, Jesus, and a perfect display of love, also, in the cross, in that God killed his son rather than us, so that we could have eternal life. Now, this is a glory that only the eye of faith can see. The unbeliever, looking at Jesus dead on the cross, He's only the grotesque, twisted figure of a dead, bloody man. It's gross. The believer says, "When I survey the wondrous cross on which the King of glory died,” survey it, and you see beauty and glory, there, as you see it nowhere else. Glory, there. Jesus has this glory, but you could only see it by faith.
This dishonor that Jesus experienced, here in the text, is only temporary. He's going to get his glory back. He already has his glory back, but He's going to get more of it. We see this in three great requests that he made of his father. The first, "Give me my glory back." John 17:5, "And now, Father, glorify me with the glory I had with you before the world began." Do you realize how blasphemous that request would be if Jesus were not God? "Give me that glory that you and I shared before the world began." He has it, now. When He ascended into heaven, God had him sit at his right hand in glory.
His second request, "Give me the nations, that I may rule over them." Psalms 2, "God said to me," [this is Jesus speaking in the Psalm,] "'You are my son, today, I've begotten you. Ask of me, and I'll make the nation's your inheritance, the ends of the earth, your possession. You'll rule them with an iron scepter. You'll dash them to pieces like pottery.'" "Give me the nations, that I may be king." In Matthew 28, it says, "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me." It's been given. That is the glory of Jesus, to rule over all things. He has asked for the nations, and the Father's given him the nations.
Now, the full display of his sovereign rule over planet earth will not be obvious until the end of the world, but it will be obvious, then. Every eye will see him, and they will mourn because of him. They will see him in his glory. He will come at the head of a powerful, heavenly army. Revelation 19, "I saw heaven standing open, and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True, and with justice, he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns, and on his robe and on his thigh, he has this name written King of Kings and Lord of Lords." It's a future full of glory of Jesus, the King of the earth ruling over all things. Now in Christ's authority over the nations, especially powerful, now, daily, in his calling out from the nations his elect for conversion and for salvation. He says, in John 17:2, "You granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those whom you have given him."
This is Christ's third request. "Give me my glory. Give me the nations. Then, give me my chosen ones, that I may save them, that I may raise them up on that final day, that I may protect them, every day of their lives, from the world of flesh and the devil, from every assault on them. Give them to me, Father, because I want them to see my glory in heaven.” John 17:24, "Father, I want those whom you have given me to be with me, where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me, because you love me from before the creation of the world." Those three requests mean Christ's dishonor, in the text today, is temporary because those three requests have been, and will be, answered. "Yes. Yes, my son, I will give you all of your heavenly glory back. The glory we shared before the world began. Yes, my son, the nations belong to you. Now, you rule over them, secretly, for your own purposes. Then, you'll dash them to pieces like pottery, with your rod of iron. Yes, my son, the elect will come to Christ, all of them, to be totally forgiven, totally saved, and will see Christ's full glory forever." God the Father is zealous to see his son glorified. Jesus laid down his glory temporarily, but the zeal of God Almighty is to see his son exalted to the highest place.
II. Christ’s Glory Dishonored by Unbelief
Now, this is a brief text we're looking at, today. We have to understand Christ's glory dishonored by their unbelief. His glory is dishonored by them as He visits his hometown. Look at verse 1, "Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples." Now, in his Galilean phase of his ministry, his ministry base was Capernaum. That was his base. In Mark 6, however, He goes back to his hometown Nazareth, the place of his growing up years. He immediately begins his ministry the way He always does. The central part of his ministry is teaching, what He does. We have verse 2, "And Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue." His priority was always his public ministry.
Later in the same chapter, when Jesus tries to get away from the crowd after the death of John the Baptist, He tries to get his apostles away so they can have a rest, He goes to the other side of the lake, and a huge crowd as waiting for him. It says, there, in verse 34, "When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd so he began teaching them many things." The teaching ministry is Jesus' top priority. They were perishing in sin because they did not know the truth. Their greatest need was not their physical healing. Their greatest need was not their growling empty bellies. He would address both of those needs. Their greatest need was the salvation of their souls through the ministry of the word. Jesus' teaching ministry was varied. He taught in fields, He taught in the streets, He taught in the temple. He was out in a boat, but He consistently also taught in the synagogues on the Sabbath. That's where the Jews would gather out in the precincts, out in the towns and villages. They would gather in the synagogue. It was a gathering place. The Jews would come together on the Sabbath, and they would read Scripture together. The center of synagogue worship was the reading of The Old Testament Scriptures, and the explication thereof.
Jesus began his public ministry in Nazareth, sometime before this. At the very beginning of his public ministry, after his baptism, after his temptation in the desert, He came to his hometown of Nazareth, and on the Sabbath, He went in the synagogue. This is earlier, maybe a couple years before this, year and a half, maybe. At the appropriate time, He got up to read and comment on the Scriptures. He took the scroll of Isaiah the prophet, unrolling it, He found the place Isaiah 61, where it has written, "The spirit of the Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor." “The Lord has anointed me.” That's messianic. That's what the word means, “anointed one.” After reading that Scripture, He rolled up the scroll, gave it to the attendant and sat down. Everyone's looking at him. He said, "Today, in your hearing, this scripture is fulfilled." Wow. People were stunned. They spoke graciously about him at that point. Then, He said something that really angered them. He said, "You're going to reject me. You're going to hate me, but the Gentiles will welcome me." They didn't want to hear that. They took him by force to the top of a cliff, and meant to push him off and kill him, right there. His time had not yet come, and He moved right through the crowd, and went on. That was his last time at Nazareth.
Now, He's back in his hometown, and this is the last time He will be there. They were amazed, but unconverted. They asked questions, but they were not really seeking. Look at verse 2 and 3, "When Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. Where did this man get these things?" They asked. "What's this wisdom that has been given to him? That He even does miracles? Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son, and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" They took offense at him.
Two great evidences that God gave to his son to prove his deity were his mighty words and his mighty works. His mighty words, no one ever spoke like that man. His mighty works, no one could do the miracles that Jesus did. They took offense at both, though they are amazed. They're amazed at Christ's supernatural wisdom, but verse 2's amazement is actually a form of unbelief. They can't believe it. They ask a series of unbelieving questions, none of them seeking the truth. They've already reached their verdict. All of these questions, six of them, are questions of origin. "Where did it all come from?" Trying to understand it.
Question one, "Where did this man get these things?" Then, "What's this wisdom that has been given to him, that he even does miracles? Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son? Aren't his brothers, James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon, here with us? His sisters, aren't they here with us?” A series of questions, probing at the roots of Jesus's astonishing person and powers, but no faith. The conclusion, they took offense at him. The Greek word here is “skandalon.” They were scandalized. They stumbled over this stumbling stone, which is the incarnation. Notice their shock at watching Jesus grow up from a boy with family surrounding him, a normal Jewish boy. They were unwilling to look any closer. By the way, that kind of proves the normalcy of Jesus's boyhood life, his life as a youth. It was pretty normal.
This completely refutes the spurious pseudo-gospels that came a century or two after the real Gospels. You've heard of some of them. The National Enquirer probably wrote about them. Gospel of Thomas, pseudo- Matthew. Hey, they're fun reading. Let me tell you something. Jesus' boyhood miracles. Wow. I bet you haven't heard this one. This is from pseudo -Matthew. Right? "Jesus and the whole town knew that a lioness had given birth to her cubs in a nearby cave. Jesus went into the cave. Bad idea usually, but the lioness and all her cubs adored him. The cubs played with him. People had no idea what was happening inside the cave, and were very sorrowful, thinking Jesus had been killed by the lions. Suddenly, out walks Jesus with the lioness and all the cubs. They're all together, walking out of the cave. The people did not come any closer. Then, Jesus rebuked them, and chastised them most sternly for not recognizing who he was, when the lions clearly did know who he was. Then, Jesus and the lions crossed the Jordan River, which parted for them like the Red Sea. Jesus, then, dismissed the lions, telling them, "Go in peace." What do you guys think? It's pretty awesome. I bet you never heard that one. Never happened. Jesus's first miracle is changing water into wine at Canaan in Galilee. He didn't do any miracles as a boy. He had a normal childhood.
Then, these family ties. We see this "Familiarity breeds contempt." We've already seen this in Mark 3. Remember how Christ's own family did not believe in him? They went to take charge of him because they said, "He's out of his mind." [Mark 3:21.] Well, that was true of his immediate family. How much more of his neighbors did not believe in him? By the way, this is strong evidence of Mary's other children. The Roman Catholic church teaches the perpetual virginity of Mary, but that's not biblical. Clear evidence that Jesus had half brothers. Joseph was their father, though, not Jesus' father. These four brothers are listed James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. Then, at least two sisters. Matthew actually says, "All his sisters," so there's a good number of sisters. This refutes any doctrine of Mary's perpetual virginity. We must put scripture above tradition. Scripture asserts that Mary had a normal family life with Joseph. The contempt's clear, here, verse 3, "They took offense at him." They rejected Jesus.
Then, Jesus makes this pronouncement in verse 4, "Jesus said to them, Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor." Christ is clearly stating, here, "Your unbelief strips me of honor. In other places I will have honor. I will have honor among the poor and needy sinners, the tax collectors, and prostitutes who repent and turn to me. I will be honored among the Roman centurions who are humble and needy. I will be honored by the Samaritan woman, and her village of Samaritans. I will be honored by the children of Jerusalem. I will be honored by the Gentiles in Macedonian Arabia, and Libya, and Rome, and even to the ends of the earth, and to the ends of time, chosen before the foundation of the world, to repent and belief. I will be honored by them, but in my hometown, and even some of my own family, I am dishonored." Notice that the statement in verse 4 gets closer and closer to Jesus. "Only in his hometown," closer, "among his relatives," closer, "and in his own house is a profit without honor." "In my own house, my own house. I'm stripped of honor.” Thank God, in time, his brothers would repent of their unbelief, and come to faith in Christ. Thank God for that. They'll be with Mary in the upper room, in Acts I, waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit. James will be a pillar in the church in Jerusalem, the brother of Jesus, who will write the book of James. Jude, as well. They're spending eternity on their faces before Jesus and his heavenly glory, not claiming any special privileges. They remember, "When we were brothers." None of that. It's only because God revealed Jesus to them, and worked faith in them, curing them of their unbelief in their contempt.
The unbelief that Jesus had found there, in Nazareth, resulted in a few miracles. Verse 5 and 6, "He could not do any miracles, there except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith." This is a clear statement of a decisive link between faith and miracles. There is a link to the desperate woman that we saw two weeks ago, the woman with the bleeding problem. He said, "Take heart, daughter. Your faith has saved you." To Bartimaeus, he's going to say, in Mark 10, "Go, your faith has healed you, and Bartimaeus followed him along the road." The connection, here, is strong. He could not do any miracles there except a few healings. He was restrained in some way by their lack of faith. Please, don't misunderstand this. It’s easy to misunderstand, here. A lack of faith does not stop Jesus from doing miracles. Jesus actually did many miracles to bless and benefit unbelievers. I would say most of his miracles blessed and benefited people who had no faith in Jesus. Think about the demoniac man. He didn't believe in Jesus, and then was healed. He had no capacity for faith in Jesus. He was out of his mind, Jesus just healed him. The paralyzed man of John 5, after the healing, turned Jesus into the religious police. Jesus circles back with the man, and says, "Behold, you are well again, stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." He was no believer. That man didn't need to believe in Jesus to be healed.In the feeding of the 5,000, we know, from John 6, most of them rejected Jesus the next day, and would no longer follow him. They weren't believers. He fed them, anyway. Jesus is not restrained. "You have to believe, or he can't do a miracle." There's no, "He can't do." There is nothing too difficult for Jesus. It's not that.
Conversely, we don't say, "Strong faith guarantees miracles." "The stronger your faith is, the more you can make God do a miracle." I don't know, against his will, or something like that? "I didn't want to do a miracle, but her faith was so strong. I had no choice." That's just not how it works, dear friends. Faith is passive. It's like eyesight of the soul. You're going to receive whatever God gives. You don't make God do things he doesn't want to do. That's not what it is. The eyesight of the soul, by which, if there's available light in the room, you'll see it. So it is with the glory of God. If God wants to show his glory in a certain way, faith is the conduit by which He does it. It doesn't force him. However, we know faith is the key attribute of the soul by which sinners, like you and me, are made right with God.It is by faith our sins are forgiven, and no other way.
"Faith is passive. It's like eyesight of the soul."
When it comes to this unbelief in Nazareth, Christ's hometown, He chose to shut down his healing ministry, rather than lay miracle upon miracle on unbelieving people and increase their judgment on judgment day, which it would've done. He chose to shut it down. Christ is free in the matter of miracles. He's not compelled. He does whatever he chooses. Here, we see, in the point of the text, is a shocking dishonor of unbelief. Christ is adored and glorified in heaven. Mighty archangels hide their faces before him, but Christ is dishonored and rejected on earth. The greatest honor is to believe his claims.
III. Christ’s Glory Unveiled by Faith
Finally, Christ's glory is unveiled by faith. The apostle John says that Christ's flesh was no final hindrance to their view of his glory. John 1:14, "The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we have seen his glory, glory of the only begotten who came from the Father full of grace and truth.” Faith lives by the truth, by the word of God, not by sight. Faith receives revelation of truth about Christ from the word of God. Faith understands that no one else could speak the words that Christ did. Faith understands that no one else could do the miracles that Christ did. No one else could fulfill the prophecies that Christ did. Faith sees through the veil of his physical body to see the glory of deity.
Faith sees glory where unbelief sees only shame, I mean, especially at the cross. His enemy stood there, at the foot of the cross and said, "If you're the son of God, come down from the cross and we will believe in you." Since that day, Christ's faith-filled people from every nation have stood at the foot of the cross by faith, reading about it in the text, and have seen glory there, and have seen salvation there, and have trusted in that saving work for the forgiveness of their sins. Faith alone saves the soul. Prior to faith must come revelation. God has to reveal Jesus to you. Do you remember in Caesarea of Philippi? Jesus was saying, "Who do people say the son of man is?" There were various opinions. "What about you? Who do you say that I am Simon?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the son of the living God." You remember what Jesus said to him? "Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my father in heaven." No one can be saved unless God reveals Jesus to you. This He does by the ministry of the word and by the secret working of the Holy Spirit. That's how it happens.
"Faith sees glory where unbelief sees only shame."
As we walk through the Gospel of Mark and you hear story after story, after story, about Jesus, you have every opportunity to see through the veil of the flesh, and to understand the deity of Jesus, the son of God. That's the theme of the whole Gospel. The Spirit has the power to save your soul. By that power, He can make the light of the glory of God, in the face of Christ, shine in your heart. Corinthians II 4:6, “For God, who said,’ Let light shine out of darkness’, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” By faith, you can see where we're heading with all this, you're heading to a whole world, a new heaven, a new earth, and a new Jerusalem, radiant with the glory of God. The city does not need the light of the sun, or the light of the moon, or light of the lamp, to shine, for the glory of God will give it light. The lamb will be its lamp. That's where we're heading.
There are four ways that we humans dishonor Christ. First, by disbelieving his claim to be God in the flesh. Second, by disobeying his commands to take his yoke upon us, and learn from him, and submit to his kingly rule in every area of your life. Third, by delighting in his competitors, which are idols, by putting value on created things, rather than Christ. Fourthly, by delaying his coming in not sharing the Gospel, which has been entrusted to us to share.
The call is to repent of those ways that we're dishonoring him, believe his claim that He is God in the flesh, believe that He is the Christ, the son of God. If you've already believed that, and believe it for some time, you ought just stop and thank God that the Father revealed Jesus to you. You wouldn't believe any other way. You could look at this evidence forever. You would never believe, but trust in him for the forgiveness of your sin.
Secondly, obey his commands in every area of your life. Find ways that you're disobeying and say, "I want to submit to your kingly rule. I don't want to fight against you. I don't want to strip you of your honor by disobeying you." Thirdly, look at his competitors. What idols are there in your life that are drawing your affections away from Christ? Allow your love for Christ to drive out those idols. Smash them like those reforming kings and prophets always do. They go find those idols, and they smash them to powder.
Finally, it has been given to us in Peter II to look forward to the day of God, and what speed it's coming. Let's not delay is coming by not telling people about Christ this week. Take some story from the Gospel of Mark that shows the greatness of Christ, and share it with a non-Christian person this week. Say, "What do you think about this story?" See what they say.
Close with me in prayer. Father, thank you for the time we've had to look at the dishonor that Jesus' family, and neighbors, and countrymen, gave him by unbelief, to look at that dishonor and understand it, and then see that we would be the same if you had not revealed your son to us. We thank you for that. We pray Lord that you would please continue to reveal Jesus by the ministry of the word. Help us to see his greatness, his majesty, his glory. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.