Reminders of Grace - Mark 6:53-56

The Gospel According to Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  36:58
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Jesus Christ, Superstar. That was the title of a Broadway musical, and eventually film back in the 70s. I personally have never seen this, but according the worlds foremost authority on everything and most trusted source for all facts, wikipedia.
This rock-opera interprets the psychology of Jesus and other characters. The musical was designed to highlight the humanity of Christ, and show he, just like us, had to go through his own trials in life.
I am not here this morning to endorse this film. Critics say that this musical reduced Jesus to simply just being the right man in the right place at the right time and he took advantage of that to build a following, as if the entire thing was just lucky timing.
Again, I’ve never seen the film, and don’t really intend to. But the concept of Jesus as a superstar struck me this week as I was meditating on this weeks text.
In many ways, Jesus was a superstar. What else do you call someone who is followed around everywhere he goes and simply adored by the masses? He certainly is a superstar!
But he is not a superstar of any human creation. He was not just a lucky guy being in the right place at the right time. He certainly was in the right place at the right time, but not because he is lucky. It is because he, as the creator, designed it to be so that he would be there at that precise moment.
If you are in Mark 6, let’s read vs 53-56.
Mark 6:53–56 ESV
53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. 54 And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him 55 and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.
This is a brief text today. Jesus is soon going to begin to be more explicit about why he has come and what he will do to save people from their sins. Up to this point he has been primarily focused on His authority, and identity as demonstrated through his actions. Soon there will be a transition where more of Jesus teachings will be detailed. After establishing his identity, he will explain his purpose in coming, and then will teach his disciples more particulars of what it looks like to follow him.
Here at Pillar it is our aim to to lead everyone to follow Jesus Christ better. That is what discipleship is, it is following Jesus and helping others follow Jesus.
Well, Jesus is going to teach us what that means on his way to the cross, where he will die for the sins of the world so that all who trust in Him may be given the power of the Spirit to live as He has instructed.
That’s where this is going. We’re not there yet. Let us first consider out text for today.
On the heels of the miracle of Jesus walking on the water and the disciples shock, we have the comment by Mark informing us that the disciples still didn’t get it. They were utterly astounded, amazed at what Jesus did, and the text says they were amazed because they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
This is a devastating indictment on these disciples, who of all people should get it. They had been following Jesus, they had been commissioned by Jesus, they were doing some of the same miracles as Jesus....and yet. They still didn’t get it.
Does that sound familiar at all? Maybe not you, but I could probably be described this way at times.
Mark seems to thing that there was something about the feeding miracle that should have given the disciples more peace in their hearts, if only they had eyes to see it. As though Jesus’ care for the masses should have been a clue for them that Jesus cares for them as well, and they he is almighty God in human flesh.
But, as Jim pointed out last week, they were missing it. They didn’t get it.
Mark doesn’t linger too long on that point, but moves right on to the next paragraph. They arrive at their destination, and drop anchor, and immediately they are met with crowds.
Nothing new about that. Crowds seem to show up sooner rather than later wherever Jesus goes in these days. As soon as someone says “There is Jesus” the people immediately make a b-line to their family and friends in need of the Lord’s help.
The verb tenses in this passage communicate continuous actions. This was an ongoing affair wherever Jesus went. The people kept coming, they kept bringing, they kept begging Jesus to heal.
And He healed. Many, many people were healed.
This is not the first of such summary texts that we have seen in our study of this book. We have read at different points very similar things that have been said about Jesus’ expansive healing and teaching ministry. As early as chapter one we have verse like this that say
Mark 1:45 (ESV)
45 ...Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.
We saw in chapter three how Jesus had to get into a boat:
Mark 3:9–10 ESV
9 And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, 10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him.
Earlier in this same chapter we see that the disciples had been sent out and were doing many miraculous things
Mark 6:12–13 ESV
12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
After the feeding of the 5 thousand word continues to spread like wildfire about this man who can not only teach, cast our demons, and heal, but can multiply food.
Though this is not the first summary passage we have seen, it is the most expansive.
The massive response of the crowds seems to be emphasized here with different kinds of language. Notice in vs 55 that the people ran about the whole region and brought the sick to wherever they heard he was.
vs 56 wherever he went, people came.
as many as touched his garment were made well.
This is the most expansive summary text. This is also the last of such summary texts. I was scanning through the entire book keeping my eyes peeled for summary passages so I could compare them. I found several going back and we read some of them on the screen. I found none moving forward, not like this.
This passage is a pivotal one. As I mentioned earlier, soon the focus of Jesus ministry is going to shift. He is going to be more explicit about his purposes in coming. And this text marks the beginning of the turn.
As Mark places this summary here, what does he want us to sit with as we are prepared for what is to come? What do we learn from this text?
Here I have several reminders from our text that tie together many of the things we have seen throughout this book so far.

1. We can be reminded of His love and care for the masses.

We see Jesus traveling around and spreading his healing power wherever he goes. Jesus loves everyone, no matter what they are dealing with, or what they are going through, Jesus cares.
We have seen Jesus’ love and compassion on display in a variety of circumstances.
In chapter one Simon’s mother-in-law was ill, and he healed her.
In chapter two, the four friends brought a paralytic man to Jesus, and Jesus responded to their faith and worked a miracle for that man.
In chapter four we see Jesus calm with wind and the waves in care of his disciples.
In chapter 5 we saw several miracles that made everything else he had done to date look like child’s play. He didn’t just cast out a demon, he cast out a legion of demons from one man. He didn’t just heal someone, he healed 12-year flow of blood, and made sure that everyone knew that this woman was clean once again. He didn’t just heal Jarius’ daughter, but he raised her from the dead.
Yes, Jesus loves and cares for people no matter what, and that is on display once again in this summary passage where Jesus moves about from town to town and heals many as he goes.
This is a good reminder for us. Jesus loves and cares for us.
There are times we do not feel that he does.
We can walk through the valley of the shadow of death and easily fear every evil.
We can feel as though he has forsaken us.
We can feel as though he does not hear.
We can feel as though he does not answer.
The enemy would love nothing more than to have us doubting our Lord and falling prey to fear or resentment of the Lord.
The solution to this is to intentionally remind ourselves of what is true. The evil one would whisper to us “he does not hear. Or worse. He hears, but he does not care”
And we must remind ourselves, no. He who has promised is faithful.
I know he hears, and I know he cares. He died on the cross to prove it and he tells me in his word his character and nature.
There was a Christian punk rock band back in the day that had a song about the lies that the opposition to speak and the chorus was an almost defiant cry “You’re preachin’ lies, you’re preachin’ lies”
When the enemy would try to get us to take our eyes off the cross, we respond no. You’re preachin lies. This test reminds of Jesus’ care. Let’s take it to heart.

2. We can be reminded of His awe-inspiring power.

This text causes us to reflect back on the case of the woman with the 12 years of bleeding. She was determined that if she could only just touch the hem of his robe she would be healed. Jesus responds to her faith and heals her, affirms her, and sends her on her way whole again. Back toward the beginning of this chapter, that represented Jesus doing an incredible act of miraculous power, to take this woman who everyone would have known as ritually unclean and restore her fully through just a touch of his garment.
Take that and multiply hundreds of times over. This is the all powerful God of the universe. This is the great physician. This is the one who will one day restore the world and banish every disease from the earth!
And he does it just by walking by and people touching the fringe of his robe.
Incidentally, just as a side note, have you ever wondered why the so-called faith healers of today don’t go around like that leaving Dr’s completely out of business in every town they enter? Could it be they lack the power they claim to have? Just a side note.
Jesus is not like our charlitan faith healers of today. Jesus is almighty God, who gives the command and every cell in that persons body must respond according to his command.
Think about what must happen for a cripple to walk. Atrophied muscles would have to be immediately strengthened. Blood would have to blood through parts of the body that it hasn’t flowed through in years. We’re talking spontaneous cellular regeneration and maybe even just plain old generation. Creating healthy tissue out of nothing! Jesus does it.
Again, we have seen the power of Jesus on display as Jesus seeks to establish his identity. Power over demons. Power over illness. Power over nature and the seas. Power over leprosy. Power over food. Power over even death itself!
Power to heal individuals. Power to heal the masses.
Jesus is not limited by anything!
So we remind ourselves. My God is so big. So Strong. So Mighty. There’s nothing my God cannot do.
Can God provide for your needs in ways you could never imagine? Can God provide that needed financial blessing out of no where? Yes!
Can God take away your illness in a night? Yes!
Can God miraculously cure cancer and leave all the Dr’s baffled at the missing tumor? Yes
Can God turn all your heartaches into joy through the power of the Holy Spirit? Yes! and may he do so!
But if we ask God to do all those things and he looks upon you with compassion in His eyes and says “my child, no. I know this hurts, but this is in your best interest to endure” can God take all that pain and all that suffering and give you the grace and strength that you need to endure? Yes. He can.
Ephesians 3:20 NKJV
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
We serve an awesome God. We need to be reminded of His power.

3. We can be reminded that this is a foretaste of what is to come.

There is going to be a day when Jesus Christ will rule the world in truth righteousness and justice. All the nonsense going on in the political world. Done.
All the wars. Over.
All the conspiracies, all the fake news, all the so-called misinformation, all a thing of the past.
And here in this text we see just a little hint, just a taste of what that will be like when He returns.
Disease and death a thing of the past.
I’ve already taken a a bit of a shot at the charismatics today with my comment about the so-called faith healers who fail to empty hospital beds. Their theology is based on the idea that Jesus provided not only spiritual healing and forgiveness of sins in the cross of Christ, but that physical healing was provided for as well in the atonement, and so on that basis, everyone who has faith in Christ is not only forgiven of their sins, but should expect to see physical healing in their lives as well.
Brother and sisters, we don’t believe their theology is correct in this area, but sometimes we overreact to bad theology and embrace the opposite extreme on the other side.
The reality is that there is a degree of truth in their theology that physical healing was provided for in the atonement. What they are missing is when that healing takes place. We are not promised physical healing in this life for trusting in Christ. We are not promised healthy and wealthy lives if we follow the Master. We are told to expect suffering, and even, at times, severe suffering.
But there will be a day when all that will be in the past. The resurrection and glorification of our bodies is something provided for in the atonement of Christ. Christ has been raised as the firstfruits of those who will be raised after.
And Jesus gives us just a hint at what is to come when he eradicates every disease from the earth as he heals the masses in his earthly ministry.
One of the songs that I was considering to sing this week was “When we all get to heaven”
While we walk the pilgrim pathway Clouds will overspread the sky; But when trav'ling days are over Not a shadow, not a sigh
Let us then be true and faithful, Trusting, serving ev'ry day; Just one glimpse of Him in glory Will the toils of life repay.
When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory!
Maybe we’ll sing that in weeks to come. But for now, this text serves for us a reminder that this story is going somewhere, and it is going somewhere definite. God has his purposes for history, and we’re not there yet. Until then we are reminded where this is going by Jesus giving us a foretaste of things to come.

4. We can be challenged bring others to Jesus

One of the things that strikes me in this passage is the love that the masses have for their fellow man.
Look again back at verse 54-55.
When the people recognized him, they immediately ran and brought the sick people. This was not a people consumed by their own appetites that maybe Jesus could make us some bread or something. They were concerned for their fellow man and desired to see them brought to good health and made whole again.
This reminds me of the friends bringing the paralytic man to Jesus in chapter two. They brought the needy to Jesus. When people learn about what Jesus can do, they do everything they can to bring those who need what Jesus can offer to Him.
As we have seen, the crowds do not always respond well to Jesus. Many are after the things that Jesus can do instead of being interesting in Jesus Himself. They want the gift without giving proper heed to the gift giver. In future weeks we are going to see crowds of people clamoring about Jesus, but instead of imploring him to heal, they will be calling for his life as they shout “crucify him”
But here. Here the crowd seems to show a little more depth by bringing others in need to Jesus.
Just as it was the faith of the paralytics friends that was significant to Jesus in chapter two, it seems implicit here that the faith of those who bring others to Jesus is an important factor how these unwell individuals were made well again.
Brothers and sisters. We have the opportunity in our personal lives with the people we interact with on a daily basis to bring people to Jesus. To point people to Jesus. to show them their need for Christ.
We can bring people to Jesus so that he can make them whole.
2 Corinthians 5:18–20 ESV
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
We get to bring people to Jesus. We get to implore them: be reconciled to God! He will forgive! He will save! He will restore!
And for all who do come. He who promised is faithful. He will also do it. He will keep His promise. He will save.
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