Apr 2013

Jesus Reveals the Kingdom in Power

Jesus Reveals the Kingdom in Power

Sermon audio:

Act 4 | The Coming of the King

This sermon on “Jesus Reveals the Kingdom in Power” from The Drama of Redemption was preached by Robert Greene at Redemption Hill Church on Sunday, April 21, 2013.

Sermon Text:
Mark 1:1-2:17

Sermon Notes:

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Jesus Reveals the Kingdom in Power
Mark 1:1-2:17

It is possible to get excited about Jesus and yet miss the reality of who He is; to seek emotional, material and external things from Him but never actually know Him, be converted by Him and enter His kingdom.  Before we are sufferers needing any material or physical help, we are sinners in need of His pardon.  In the first chapters of Mark, the apostle seeks to lay the groundwork of who Jesus is as King.


The kingdom of God starts with a king. You can’t have a kingdom without a king.

Mark 1:14-15 “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

The time of God has been fulfilled and this turning point hinges on Christ coming into the world to fulfill His mission.  Jesus is referring back to that which has been spoken of by God and the prophets in the Old Testament for thousands of years; the promise by God to send a deliverer who would crush the head of the serpent and when God would rule over His people, in His place, through His King.  Here Christ says that He is the fulfillment of that promise; that the word of God has become flesh and He is the promised King.

Jesus possesses a divine authority greater than any King who has ever lived and speaks with an authority and wisdom that surpasses any Prophet who has ever spoken.

Jesus Speaks With Divine Authority 

Mark 1:21-22 “And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.”

Religious teachers of that day and the Old Testament prophets always began their teachings and proclamations with “Thus saith the Lord”.  However, Christ, when He spoke to the people began with “I say unto you”; he begins His teachings by designating Himself as the source of truth.  He is declaring that unlike the prophets of old, who only communicated God’s Word, He is the source of revelation from God. God’s Word came to the prophets of old, but, unlike them, Jesus is that Word, and as such, could speak on His own authority.

Jesus Has Authority Over His Enemies and Power to Heal the Body

Mark 1:23-34 “And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.  And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.  And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.  That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

The airwaves and bookstore are bubbling over with preachers and religious leaders claiming to have all manner of authority.  These men make many assertions about their powers to cast out demons, heal the body and raise the dead.  Jesus does not make any claims, He simply demonstrates it.  He makes no appeals to a higher authority nor does He engage in any specific actions, gestures or hocus-pocus to deliver men from evil spirits or set bodies free from sickness.  He simply speaks and His power is made clear for the demons immediately obeyed and the bodies were proximately made well.  Jesus had no need to call to any higher authority in order to be given power to command the demon because He Himself was (and is) the highest authority.

Jesus Has the Authority to Forgive Sin

Mark 2:1-12 “And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

The content of Jesus’ preaching and teaching is best summarized from His earlier command “Repent and believe the gospel” (good news).  The miracles Jesus performed were signs, visible demonstrations of His word that the kingdom had come and the King was here.  This is the essential issue the Pharisees missed in their expectations of Jesus with the paralytic.  Jesus’ primary mission in coming to this earth was to forgive sins so that man could be reconciled to God.  In the case of the paralytic, Jesus is markedly showing that there is something more radical, basic and necessary than physical health, and that is the need to be right with God.  The physical/external problems man has, while not insignificant, are not his greatest problem.  Man’s sin is man’s greatest problem; it is the fundamental issue that must be dealt with.  When Jesus proclaimed at the first that the paralytic sins were forgiven, it is clear that He was proclaiming Himself to be God, hence the religious leaders immediate claims of blasphemy.  And He is God, for He came and is the only one able to resolve man’s chief malady which is sin.

Jesus’ Compassion 

Mark 1:40-45 “And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.”

The Old Testament medical approach to leprosy was barrier medicine.  A person with leprosy was considered unclean.  The very clothes and walls of homes were considered infected so the easiest thing to do was to quarantine them.  They were often placed in colonies, typically a few miles outside of town where they could be secluded and limit contact with others.  Sustenance might be provided in the form of family members dropping food at a specific location, leaving it to be picked up at a later point by the leper.  If the sick made their way into the town, the norm was for people to shout, “Unclean!  Unclean!” and move away from them.  Healthy people would do anything to avoid coming into contact with a leper or anything a leper touched because it made them unclean.  Rabbis would say it was easier to raise the dead than to heal a leper.  The illness itself looked terrible and smelled worse; causing the sufferer to lose mobility in limbs before the limbs themselves fell off.  The leper was typically reduced to begging; without hope of a cure, without friends, without kindness or love, only guaranteed a long, painful, lingering death.  To be a leper was to be in a desperate state.

Mark 1:41 “Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.”

Jesus touched this man.  Jesus could have just spoken a word and the man would have been healed. But instead He reached out to this man who people would have only ever recoiled from.  The touch of Jesus wasn’t about this man’s physical suffering, rather it was about his emotional suffering; a balm to a very weary and lonely soul.  It was Christ identifying Himself with this man. No Priest has ever loved God’s people the way that Jesus does.

Moreover, it is Jesus demonstrating and proclaiming that He is the source of all that is clean.  The man touching Him would not make Him unclean; instead, His purity would pass to the man.  The touch of this King brings a contagious cleanliness/holiness.

“Jesus’ kingly office is an office of power and authority and His prophetic office one of knowledge and wisdom, so His priestly office is one of grace and mercy. God the Father gave Christ the office of high priesthood to exhibit mercy and compassion.  All that Christ does for us is but the expression of that love which was taken up originally in God’s own heart…Christ Jesus adds not one drop of love to God’s heart, He but draws it out….Come first to Christ, and He will take thee by the hand and go along with thee and lead thee to His Father.” – Thomas Goodwin

The Extent of Jesus’ Authority in the Life of the Believer

Mark 1:16-20 ”Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.”

This isn’t the first time these men have met Jesus. Time has elapsed since their first encounter with Him after His baptism, before His temptation in the wilderness.  They have likely had time to wrestle with the things they’ve already heard from Jesus and who they believe He is.  Here Jesus comes to them and says “follow me”.  Their acceptance of this command could not be trite.  To follow Him would cost them their livelihood and family connections.  It was to assent to following Him wherever He lead.


When you give your life to Christ, you give all of it.  All of your being follows the King into His Kingdom and not just part of you.

Jesus’ Came To Call Sinners, Not the Self-Righteous

Mark 2:13-17 “He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.  And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Tax collectors were despised among the Jews.  To be a tax collector for the Romans amongst your own people was to be hated, considered untrustworthy, cut off from the community both socially and religiously.  A collector was not allowed to give testimony or evidence in court or enter a synagogue to worship.  The people would have nothing to do with them and they were viewed as belonging to the very bottom rung of the social ladder.  It is to this rung that Jesus goes and calls Levi from because He did not come “to call the righteous, but sinners”.

Romans 3:10-11 “as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.”  All men are unrighteous, sick with sin, contaminated with it from the day they are conceived.  Psalm 51:5 “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”  All are born in sin and unable to overcome their sinful nature themselves. These are the people Jesus came for.

Jesus calls people “righteous” that are in the same position spiritually as those who won’t go to a doctor.  Those who believe they can heal themselves, mistakenly believing they can make themselves right with God by following ethical teaching.  They don’t feel the need for a soul-physician, someone who can intervene and do what they are unable to do themselves. For these people, Jesus may be an example or even an instructor, but he is not a Savior.  Self-righteousness is in some ways is the only fatal sin, because it blinds you to your need of The Doctor.  Only people who admit their sin, their spiritual bankruptcy, and their inability may come into Jesus’ Kingdom.

Jesus, in all of His power and authority doesn’t just tell men how to live.  He actually gives a new life and new power to live in that life.  Those people who many think would be the most interested in Christianity, the moral and religious, are often the least interested in real Christianity once it is explained to them.  And the very people that most people think would be the least interested in Christianity, the “truly sinful”, are often the most interested in real Christianity once it is explained to them.  The only “type” Christianity has is the “repentant”; the only “type” that is excluded is the self-righteous.


There are three possible responses to Jesus and His message today just as there were three responses to Jesus in His day.  The large crowds gathered to see what they could get and be entertained, but they eventually fell away.  The religious leaders questioned Him in their hearts, rejecting Him and denying His Kingship.  Then there were the disciples who listened to Jesus and lost their lives for following Him.  Which response will you have?

Application Questions

Like the leaders, will you completely reject Jesus? Will your self-righteousness blind you to your need for this Savior and the grace of this King?

Like the crowds, will you casually observe Jesus?

Scores of people are content to observe Jesus, toy with Jesus, associate with Jesus, do things even in the name of Jesus.  Scores of people who Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

You can come to church on Sunday week after week, connect to a community, do Bible studies, hear Jesus speak to you from His Word in all His authority, taste of God’s Spirit and grace and still you walk away, doing what you want, what seems best to you in complete defiance to Him.  Is this you?

Like the disciples, will you unconditionally follow Jesus?  Though it cost your livelihood or your very life, will you accept Jesus’ demands?  Will you say to Jesus, “You are the King.  And because You are the King, there are no conditions on my obedience to You.  I will follow wherever You lead me.  I will do whatever You ask of me.  I will give whatever You tell me to give.  I will abandon all that I am and all that I have to follow You, because You are King and You are worthy of nothing less.”?


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