Mark- The Gospel of Action - Living The Dream
August 22, 2019, 1:14 PM

Mark – The Gospel of Action

Living the Dream – Mark 6:1-29

 

The other day I saw a friend in town and I asked him in passing how he was doing and he said, “I’m living the dream.” We talk a lot about dreams in our culture. We have the “dream job” or dream car or “dream house”. In sports every once in a while we see a “dream team” – the one that is unstoppable. When dating gets more serious couples begin to dream about a future together. Parents when your children are first born you begin to dream about who they will become. We all have dreams in our sleep – Have you ever had the one where you were falling from a great height? Or how about the one where you realize that you are naked at school or in a public place? If not the most famous certainly one of the most famous speeches was Martin Luther King’s address where he proclaimed “I have a dream” as he articulated a vision of a world where people are treated with equal dignity and respect. Our countries founding fathers had a dream of a country free from the tyranny of a controlling government, enabling its people the right to certain freedoms of faith, thought, speech and expression. Then as this country took shape, people emigrated here in search of the great American Dream.

 

We talk a lot about dreams in our world and we talk a lot about dreams in our churches as well. A word of caution now about this word though – dreams are wonderful, but let us not cleave to and limit ourselves to our dreams or the dreams contrived in the minds of others.

 

The all important question is not, “what do I want?” or what does the world or my family or my community deem as success (their dream for me)?

 

Rather we must begin with the question – “What does God dream for my life?”

 

This is the crucial thing that we must ask. We must ask this first and we must ask this often.

 

What Lord do you have for me?

 

Psalms 139:13-18 (NRSV)
13 For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.
17 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
18 I try to count them--they are more than the sand; I come to the end--I am still with you.

God has a dream for you. He has been dreaming this long before you were even conceived in your mother’s womb. His dream is to use your life to accomplish His will.

 

Today we are going to look at the beginning passages of chapter 6 in Mark’s gospel for clues about this dream that God has for you and I.

 

Let’s first look at verse 7…

Mark 6:7-13 (NIV)
7 Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.
8 These were his instructions: "Take nothing for the journey except a staff--no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.
9 Wear sandals but not an extra tunic.
10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town.
11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them."
12 They went out and preached that people should repent.
13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

Here in this passage for the first time Jesus commissions His disciples to be an extension of the very things He was doing and the mission He came to accomplish. He calls His disciples to follow Him in loving the people of their world. Jesus taught us saying…

 

John 14:12 (NIV)
12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these...

We have this great potential in the mind and heart of God. He created us with greatness in mind.

He taught them not to worry about anything but the mission – Don’t worry about anything, but His dream for your life. Don’t bother with the details of life, but allow God to provide.

 

Remember Jesus taught us…

 

Matthew 6:25-34 (NRSV)
31 …do not worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?'
32 …your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

We put His dream first in our lives – we give it it’s primary place and all the other things of this world that we need or think that we need He takes care of.

 

Jesus has us here for a purpose/ a dream: He has given us authority in His name over evil spirits and has called us to go and preach repentance of sin with our lips, to set the spiritually depraved and enslaved free and as a servant to lay healing hands upon people.

 

Will there be opposition to this? Absolutely! Will there be naysayers? Yes. We see from the example of Jesus own life that sometimes even the people that are closest to you will be your biggest critics.

 

At the beginning of this chapter, before Jesus even sends His disciples out Jesus went home and a deflating event takes place.

 

Mark 6:1-6 (NIV)
1 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples.
2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. "Where did this man get these things?" they asked. "What's this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles!
3 Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him.
4 Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor."
5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.
6 And he was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.

In the days prior Jesus disciples had seen Him calm a storm with His words, cast a legion of destructive demons from a man (so destructive were they that they drowned a herd of three thousand pigs in the lake), He healed a diseased woman who had an issue of blood for 13 years and he just raised a 13 year old little girl from the dead. Now that is an impressive resume.

But now He goes home and while He is there He encounters opposition.

It says that they were amazed by His teaching, but that they were offended by it as well, because He was just another one of them – A Nazarene. Nazareth was nothing special – it is rarely mentioned in the scriptures and never prominent in any other ancient literature. It was like the Los Banos of the Bible. Besides that Jesus wasn’t from some prominent family. They were the fix-it guys – not Joe the plummer, but Joe the carpenter and sons.

 

The word offended here is from the Gr. Root word skandalon, which is where we get the word scandal from. It is used several times in the New Testament as a figurative expression. Originally it was the name of the part of a trap to which the bait is attached. In the scriptures it is used to refer to some sort of stumbling block – something that hangs you up – concerning your faith, belief or understanding.

 

Jesus family and friends were hung up on the fact that this average guy, from an average town was doing something great. His roots in Nazareth became a stumbling block for the people of Nazareth, they couldn’t get past this and they missed out on what Jesus wanted to do there. It says that Jesus was limited by their lack of faith there. Sometimes when you choose God’s dream for your life other’s won’t get it - the people that you look to for support will be absent.

 

This is why our reliance cannot be rooted in what other’s think but in what God desires only. Well-meaning people may not understand what you are doing for the Lord. Your family, your friends, your pastor maybe even your closest friends from church won’t get what you are doing – and they don’t have to get it – only you need to get it – and follow it.

 

This event becomes the backdrop for Jesus commissioning of His disciples. Here in this story, what appears to be a complete failure in the world’s economy is the event preceding Jesus sending His disciples out on their own for an evangelistic exercise. You see Jesus was trying to take his disciples eyes off of the results and place them on the mission as the dream.

 

We must concern ourselves in doing the dream (His will) and allow God to be concerned with the results.

 

The disciples did not allow this event to diminish their faith in what Jesus called them to do and they were able to report back to Jesus some really amazing stories of how they were used in healing and salvation.

 

What we find in further reading this chapter is that no amount of opposition can stop what God has willed in His heart and in His mind for us. His dream will become reality. Look with me at the next part of this passage – as it sort of takes a detour concerning the death of John the Baptist…

 

Mark 6:14-29 (NIV)
14 King Herod heard about this, for Jesus' name had become well known. Some were saying, "John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him."
15 Others said, "He is Elijah." And still others claimed, "He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago."
16 But when Herod heard this, he said, "John, the man I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!"
17 For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, whom he had married.
18 For John had been saying to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."
19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to,
20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.
21 Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee.
22 When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the girl, "Ask me for anything you want, and I'll give it to you."
23 And he promised her with an oath, "Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom."
24 She went out and said to her mother, "What shall I ask for?" "The head of John the Baptist," she answered.
25 At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: "I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter."
26 The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her.
27 So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John's head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison,
28 and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother.
29 On hearing of this, John's disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

There is great commotion and buzz in these communities because of what Jesus and His cohort of Spirit empowered disciples were doing. The talk of the town was about what these guys were doing – rumors accompanied these events as people tried to make heads or tails of what was happening.

 

One such rumor was that John the Baptist had come back to life. His captor and executioner began to fear this possible scenario. He saw John’s dismembered head on a platter with his own eyes, is it possible that he could be alive again.

 

While John did not come back to life, the dream that God had for him as a herald and as the forerunner to the Messiah was alive and well. Not even death could extinguish the potency of the message that John carried of repentance and the soon coming Christ. Not even death can extinguish the dream that God has for us when we follow Him. I believe that the message probably rang in Herod’s ears with every rumored report that John might be alive again. The rumors of John serve prophetically to foreshadow the execution and resurrection of Jesus – once again John even in his death continues to fulfill the dreams and purposes that God had for him.

 

Martyred missionary Jim Elliot – is quoted from his journal’s

“He is no fool to give what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

 

As believers we know full well that death is no obstacle for Jesus.

 

God has commissioned us with a great dream. He wants to do things that have immeasurable impact if we are only willing. Will you accept His call, despite the difficult circumstances, forsaking the doubters and naysayers, risking it all for Him. This is our challenge today – To live the dream – God’s dream for our lives.

By Carl Friedel


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