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THE MISUNDERSTOOD SERVANT OF GOD
Victor M. Eskew
A. John’s prologue tells of Jesus’ coming into the world. Many things are revealed about this coming. We direct your attention to John 1:5.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
1. Jesus was the light that was shining in the darkness.
2. The darkness did not lay hold upon the light with the mind. In essence, the world did not understand Jesus and who He was.
B. In Mark 8, we learn this truth over and over again. We have entitled this chapter: “The Misunderstood Servant of God.”
I. THE DISCIPLES DID NOT UNDERSTAND HIS POWER (Mark 8:1-9)
A. As this chapter opens, Jesus is surrounded by a “very great” multitude (Mark 8:1).
1. This multitude is very hungry having been with Jesus for three days in the wilderness (Mark 8:2).
2. Jesus is extremely concerned for their well being. He is fearful they will faint by the way, if he sends them home (Mark 8:3).
B. The disciples question Jesus when He suggests they be fed (Mark 8:4).
And the disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?
1. This question is interesting in light of the fact that Jesus had already fed a multitude with five loaves and two fish.
2. Instead of trusting the Christ to feed the masses again, they questioned.
C. We marvel at the disciples, yet we often doubt the power of God in our lives.
1. We doubt the power of His Word to change lives (Heb. 4:12).
2. We doubt the power of prayer (James 5:16).
3. We doubt the providence of God that operates on our behalf (Matt. 6:25-34).
D. With seven loaves, Jesus fed the multitudes (Mark 8:8).
So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up the broken meat that was left seven baskets.
E. Let us never doubt the power of God.
1. Preach the Word.
2. Pray fervently.
3. Trust Him to care for us through His providence.
II. THE PHARISEES MISUNDERSTOOD JESUS AS THE MESSIAH (Mark 8:10-13)
A. After feeding the multitudes, Jesus and His disciples entered a ship and came to a place in Palestine called Dalmanutha (Mark 8:10).
B. The Pharisees came to Him and expressed their misunderstanding of Him by desiring a sign (Mark 8:11).
And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him.
1. Jesus had performed many miracles. The Pharisees rejected them.
2. Now they wanted a sign from heaven.
a. Moses had brought manna from heaven (Exo. 16:4).
b. Samuel had caused it to thunder (I Sam. 12:16-18).
c. Isaiah caused the shadow to go back ten degrees on the dial of Ahaz (Isa. 38:8).
3. Question: Would the Pharisees have really believed in another sign?
C. Mark’s gospel tells us that Jesus “sighed deeply in his spirit” and refused to provide a sign (Mark 8:12).
1. Matthew indicates that He did promise them the sign of the prophet Jonas (Matt. 16:4).
2. This sign had been promised them before. There Jesus explained it (Matt. 12:40). It dealt with the burial and resurrection of Jesus.
D. Some are still consumed with signs. Yet, what is important is the message of Christ crucified (I Cor. 1:21-24).
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
III. THE DISCIPLES MISUNDERSTOOD HIS WARNING (Mark 8:14-21)
A. Jesus left the Pharisees and entered into a ship. While upon the vessel, He warned His disciples of the Pharisees (Mark 8:15).
And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.
B. They only had one loaf of bread on the ship with them. When Jesus mentioned leaven, their minds were immediately drawn to the physical (Mark 8:16).
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, Is it because we have no bread?
C. Jesus was astounded again: Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? (Mark 8:17).
1. They should have known better. Physical bread was not problem for Jesus. He had fed the multitudes twice.
2. The problem they experienced was the hardness of their hearts (Mark 8:17b).
…have ye your heart yet hardened?
D. The Lord still issues warnings to mankind through His Word.
1. Two warnings:
a. The warning to do His will (Matt. 7:21)
Not every one that sath unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
b. The warning to abide in Christ (John 15:6).
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
2. Many hearts are still hardened to His words. They fail to give heed to these, and other, warnings. To them, Hebrews 2:1 is addressed:
Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
IV. MEN DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHO JESUS WAS (Mark 8:27-30)
A. When in the towns of Caeasarea Philippi, Jesus asked His disciples a question: Whom do men say that I am? (Mark 8:27).
B. The answer manifests that they did not understand who Jesus was (Mark 8:28).
And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say Elias; and others, One of the prophets.
C. We have discussed this point in depth in times past. Therefore, we will not spend a lot of time here. There are three views that men have of Jesus that are very dangerous.
1. He is not deity, just a man (John 8:24).
2. He is a prophet, but not the Savior of mankind (Acts 4:12).
3. He is a being who acts and thinks just like “I” do (Prov. 3:5-6; Isa. 55:8-9).
D. One of the key components of salvation is understanding who Jesus Christ really is (Acts 10:43).
To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever beleiveth in him shall receive remission of sins.
V. PETER DID NOT UNDERSTAND HIS SUFFERINGS (Mark 8:31-33)
A. During Jesus’ ministry, He told His disciples about His suffering, rejection, death, and resurrection (Mark 8:31).
B. Peter was disturbed by what he heard (Mark 8:32b).
And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.
1. Peter did not want his Master to die. He believed that he and the others would defend Him if anyone tried to kill Him.
2. Many are still offended by the death of Jesus. They cannot comprehend anyone dying a violent death in order to save man from his sins.
C. Peter, and, many today, do not think like God.
1. Peter was rebuked by Jesus (Mark 8:33).
…he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of man.
2. God fully understands the nature of sin and what is needed to satisfy the demands of His law. Who is man to question what God requires?
A. We have seen five examples of those who misunderstood the Servant of God and His teachings.
B. Could we fall into the same category?
1. In Mark 8:34-38, Jesus speaks words that apply to our service to Him.
a. Deny self.
b. Take up your cross.
c. Follow him.
d. Lose our lives for his sake.
e. Forsake the world.
f. Do not be ashamed of Him.
2. Does our life reflect an understanding of these principles of Jesus’ teaching?