BLUE COLLAR JESUS
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.” Mark 16:6
If Jesus hadn’t risen, there’s a chance we would never have heard of him.
On Sunday morning, before the good news of the resurrection was known, women came to mourn over a dead body and the eleven remaining disciples were scattered in hiding, all hope shattered in tragedy.
But the resurrection news turns the sadness of women into radiant joy and the despair of men into remarkable courage.
Easter with us this Sunday as we celebrate the resurrection that centers our faith in Jesus the living Son, our personal Savior, and risen King!
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all” - 2 Corinthians 5:14a
IN ORDER TO EXPERIENCE THE LOVE OF CHRIST,
WE MUST EMBRACE THE CROSS OF CHRIST.
I keep a plastic bin full of power cords that I’m sure go to something... but I have no idea to what. I’m terrified to throw them away because I know they’re important, and will be needed by someone, at some point. But I have no idea who, or what, or when. I think they’re necessary, but unless I know where they fit and what they do, they are totally irrelevant.
The cross of Christ and the love of Christ are similar. Each is an incomplete picture when considered alone. Without Christ's love, the cross doesn't make sense. Without the cross, Christ's love doesn't make sense either.
It’s sometimes easy to focus on Jesus' love and gloss over what He had to do on the cross to save us. When we do that, we miss the full picture.
So, if we want to truly understand the love of Christ, we have to come face to face with the cross of Christ. The two are inseparable.
"Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Mark 14:9
Have you ever let a "good thing” become “the main thing”?
One semester in college I subsisted on ramen noodles. It was delicious. While I saved a TON of money, it didn’t end well (as you might imagine) both for my physical health and my digestive tract. After three months I had to abandon my diet and be nourished back to health by my mother’s home cooking. To this day we stock Costco-size boxes of ramen in our pantry, but take my word for it...it should never be the centerpiece of your diet!
“Good things" can be tricky because when we make them “the main thing,” they work for a while…but they always end up going south, and in the end let us down. But, Jesus was very clear on what “the main thing” is for our lives. The thing that would never let us down, never leave us, and never forsake us... he talked about it all the time actually.
IT WAS HIM!
The heading in my Bible for Mark 13 says Things to Come. Mark 13 is about the future — coming events that continue to reveal God’s overall plan to rescue people, and to restore His Kingdom forever.
Really Mark 13 is about Jesus. He is the center of God’s Kingdom plan.
At His first coming Jesus gave His life to rescue people – for God “rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).
At His second coming Jesus will make all things new, and restore God’s kingdom reign “from then on and forevermore” (Revelation 21:5; Isaiah 9:6-7). This is when “the kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of our LORD and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15). This literal, tangible kingdom will exist on and in the New Heaven and New Earth. It will be the home we were always meant for!
The purpose of Mark 13 is not to satisfy our curiosity about the future; it is to intensify our passion to be followers of Jesus in the present.
“Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:29-30)
To know God is to love Him, because the more we grasp — not merely in our minds but also in our experience — who He is and what He has done for us, the more our hearts will respond in love and gratitude. “We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
When we discover that the personal Author of time, space, matter, and energy has, for some incomprehensible reason, chosen to love us to the point of infinite sacrifice, we begin to embrace the unconditional security we have longed for all of our lives. God’s love for us is spontaneous, free, generous, uncaused, and undeserved; He did not set His love on us because we were lovable, beautiful, or clever — because in our sin we were unloveable, ugly, and foolish.
Romans 5 paints this 4-fold picture of us apart form God — we are helpless, ungodly, sinners, and enemies of God. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He loves us because He chooses to love us.
As we know and embrace our acceptance and security in Christ, who loved us and gave Himself for us, we begin to realize that God is not the enemy of our joy, but the source of all joy and happiness. When we respond to this love, we become the people He always meant us to be, and that He calls us to be. By God’s grace we grow in love for Him in our thoughts, in our emotions, and in our actions.
God’s love is generous, and it is stubborn. It never lets us go. Be convinced of God’s generous and stubborn love for you. It’s life-transforming! “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
We love because He first loved us. When, and only when, we are rooted and grounded in the unfathomable riches of God’s love, are we then free to be generous (with all our heart, soul, mind and strength) in loving God and loving people. Let your love be as active as God’s love, as sacrificial as God's love, as unconditional as God’s love, and as generous as God’s love. May RbC be known for our love.
Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!" Mark 11:8-10
This week we read of Jesus riding into Jerusalem with crowds lining the streets shouting “hosanna!” It’s a Hebrew word used in the Old Testament that means “please save us!”
But as Jesus entered Jerusalem, the meaning shifts from a desperate cry of “please save us!” to an exultation of “salvation has come!”.
He changes "hosanna" from a cry for help to a shout of hope.
As Jesus started on his way, 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?” Mark 10:18
What makes a good teacher great?
Thinking back to my school days, there are a few teachers who stand out. They had the uncanny ability to make hard subjects understandable, they asked great questions, they were engaging, they had a sense of humor, and they excelled at capturing teachable moments and capitalizing on them.
Jesus does all of this and more in Mark Chapter 10.
"....But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:22b-23
Rafting down the Colorado river was the thrill of a lifetime! We bobbed through rapids, weaved through rock obstructions, and laughed as we careened down that mighty river with what seemed appeared to be relative ease. That of course, was all because we had our river guide in the back steering the ship! Without him, we’d have been sunk... literally!
Jesus was that same kind of guide for His disciples. He taught them, trained them, and guided His 12 friends to be the first leaders of the church! However, when He went away to the mountains for a while, He came back to quite the scene!
And Jesus continued by questioning them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ.” Mark 8:29
Who is Jesus? Who is He to you?
These are watershed questions!
In Mark 8 Jesus speaks plainly to His disciples about who He is and about His mission. It marks a turning point as Jesus begins to focus resolutely on the cross and the radical nature of discipleship. Following Jesus changes everything.
This Sunday we will dive into Jesus’ identity . . . the Cross . . . and our discipleship. It's the stuff that real people experiencing real life in the real world are made of.
"You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” Mark 7:8
It's easy for our lives to become controlled by our own traditions rather than God's jurisdiction. What we do, how we live, and what we prioritize can quickly snowball out of wack.
But Jesus pioneers the way forward into our hearts and lives. He charts a new path that not only calms our souls but clears our ears and gives us a voice.
“Isn’t this the carpenter? ...And they took offense at him.” Mark 6:3
We can’t learn what we think we already know.
It seems to me that our brains are always trying to fit new or foreign ideas into a familiar box so we can then move on to something else. Many in Mark chapter 6 had done just that with Jesus. They thought they had him figured out: who he was and where he fit into their society. And rather than their lives being changed for the better by Jesus "the Son of God,” they were instead offended by the Jesus they knew as "the carpenter”.
"Little girl, I say to you, get up." Mark 5:41
We can wrongly think we have to work harder, we are too far gone, there's no way forward, so we shouldn't even bother. But Jesus says, "it [the work]is finished, my grace is sufficient, you are my child, so walk with me."
"Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” Mark 4:8
What distracts us from our relationships with God and with others?
Worrying over things we can’t control? Wishing we were a little bit richer? Wanting the stuff we think we deserve?
It’s easy for the unimportant and the temporary to distract us from the important and eternal.
Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” — Mark 2:17
Jesus came to call sinners — that’s everyone — to Himself. The call is by Jesus, to Jesus, and for Jesus.
First and foremost, we are called to Someone, not to something. “And He went up on the mountain and called those whom He Himself wanted . . . so that they would be with Him . . .” (Mark 3:13-14)
The call is comprehensive. It is to everyone, in everything, all the time. Jesus calls us to Himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a new meaning, a life-altering direction, a life-giving purpose, and a life-changing mission. The call of Jesus is the start of an extraordinary life on a great adventure.
And it is always with Jesus. We are called forever to Someone, and that Someone is Jesus our Savior and Lord.
"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.” Mark 2:3-4
Has anyone ever gone to great lengths for you? Have you ever been surprised by the extravagance or generosity of others?
There have been several times over the past year where I have been blown away by the lengths that folks in our community go to in order to care for me and my family. But what's crazy to think about is that those generous acts of service and love pale in comparison to the great lengths God goes to to demonstrate his love, forgiveness and acceptance of us.
Join us this week as we take a look at a group of folks who went to great lengths to introduce their friend to Jesus, and consider what it would take for each of us to grab a corner of the mat, wade through the crowds, tear open a roof, and do whatever it takes to get our friends to the feet of Jesus. He's the one worth seeing, worth hearing, and worthy of a response.
"And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority!"Mark 1:27a
We are sometimes tempted to picture Jesus as a man disinterested in the details of our lives, distant from the realities of our circumstances, and disengaged from the pain in our world.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
HE IS A KING:
Hard AT work
ON a Mission
WITH a Purpose
IN Love for His People