Mark- The Gospel of Action - Freedom From Tyranny
November 15, 2019, 11:24 AM

Mark: The Gospel of Action

“Freedom from Tyranny” – Mark 9:30-50

The Founding Fathers of this great Country were definitely men of action. On July 2, 1776 – the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence from Great Britain. Two days later the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the congress to explain this resolution. It was later signed by 56 delegates of that congress about a month later. Eleven years later the Constitution of the United States was adopted on September 17, 1787, by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and ratified over the course of the next three years by conventions in each of the then 13 U.S. states in the name of "The People".

A great deal of forethought went into those documents. There was created in them checks and balances to power. The purpose for these works was to protect the future of this great country - To keep it on track - To avoid it from degrading to the tyrannies which they were rebelling and had fought so hard to gain freedom from.

Their words were penned as guideposts and warnings of what could and ought not be allowed to become reality again for this country. They gave us clear principles to hold to and provisions to keep first things first in order to ensure that this country would not be enslaved to tyranny – not only the tyranny of someone else, but our own tyranny.

Tyranny in the dictionary is – unrestrained exercise of power; unmerciful rule.

Jesus in teaching about the kingdom of God gives similar warnings about tyranny.

As we have learned in previous weeks the Kingdom of God is about sacrifice and service for the redemption of all people.

Last week we left off with Jesus healing a demon possessed child and now He is teaching His disciples on this very subject.

Mark 9:30-32 (NIV)
30 They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were,
31 because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise."
32 But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.

You may wonder, “why were they afraid to ask Jesus about this?” Well do you remember what happened the last time they questioned Him about this – Jesus said to Peter, “get behind me Satan.” They were disciplined harshly for their lack of understanding. This may have been a deterrent from their further inquisition as to what He was talking about.

I think that the reason that they didn’t ask is tied directly to an argument that they were having with each other. The disciples didn’t understand that Jesus was going to die a sinner’s death. They thought that He would have a prominent rise to power and they would rise along with Him to great position.

Mark 9:33-34 (NIV)
33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road?"
34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.

Ambition for power is the gateway to tyranny. It is this grasping for power that has destroyed marriages, separated friendships, split churches, crumbled kingdoms and crushed the souls of people.

The disciples were arguing about who is the best. This argument continues today in our churches and in our lives if we are not careful. Denominational wars, doctrinal arguments, power struggles in the church. It is embarrassing when you hold these things up to the light of Jesus teaching about His mission.

Mark 9:35-38 (NIV)
35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all."
36 He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them,
37 "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me."

If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last. Jesus ultimately fulfilled this statement He was the first, by becoming the very last – nothing and submitting to the torturous pain of the cross.

Humility drives out Tyranny.

Jesus illustrates this by taking a child by the hand and having that child stand among them. Children were viewed as unimportant in society. They were meant to be seen and not heard. But Jesus elevates the low of the low in this child and calls them first. When we humble ourselves to care for the least it drives out the spirit of pride and tyranny which would normally grab for power stepping on anyone who gets in the way.

The disciples though, like so many of us at times, still didn’t get it…

Mark 9:38 (NIV)
38 "Teacher," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us."

Jesus is teaching about humility and sacrifice and John tries to change the subject – instead he reveals the heart of what Jesus is driving at with them. John’s question along with the arguments that the disciples were having along the road exposes the tyranny in his and their hearts.

Their ambition – their motivations were not about the kingdom of God – they were about their own private kingdom.

John is concerned that the patent/ copyright had been pirated. He was worried that somehow the secret formula had been exposed. Earlier in this chapter – the disciples could not cast a demon out of a child – maybe they thought that they were being shown up by this guy who wasn’t even one of the twelve. Who does this guy think he is invoking the name of our leader to heal and cast out demons.

Exclusivity is the antithesis of the gospel message.

Us four and no more!” “Don’t sit in my pew!” “This is my church – you can visit if you want to.” No the body of Christ is supposed to be inclusive. “I can’t believe they are opening up another church across the street from ours, they are stealing people from us.” – I believe in the Starbucks model for churches – put one on every corner, because none of us is reaching everybody. Who needs the gospel of Jesus? Everybody does.



To their objections Jesus says…


Mark 9:39-49 (NIV)

39 "Do not stop him," Jesus said. "No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me,
40 for whoever is not against us is for us.
41 I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.
42 "And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.
43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.
45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.
47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,
48 where "'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.' Everyone will be salted with fire.

Welcoming the least of these is the foundation of the Gospel message.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

This is the moniker of the statue of liberty – it describes for me even better the mission of the church. We get caught up in the wrong things so often though.


The truth is that …


Emphasizing anything else is a sin.

Jesus refers back to these little ones (the children – the least) – they are looking to us for leadership and direction. Their values and principles will be tied directly to the example that we set. The Founding Fathers of this country had a vision for what the United States would stand for and become. In many ways we have lived up to those ideals and in some things I think that Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, John Hancock and the rest of those delegates would probably be a little shocked at some of our interpretations and execution of what they wrote. Nevertheless those words are still there.

In the same way and in an even graver necessity – we need to heed the words of Jesus – emphasizing only what He intended for us – and nothing else. He called us to humbly serve others for the redemption of all people. He called us to include others as a part of the family of God – to embrace them and through relationship invest in one another.

When we lose sight of Jesus teachings – we begin to lose our purpose. We lose our usefulness.

Mark 9:39-49 (NIV)
50 "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other."


Being at peace with each other means that we are on point with Jesus mission, putting others first, humbling ourselves and serving others needs – even the least of these.

By Pastor Carl Friedel

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