AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH June 1, 8 2008
A CONTINUATION OF THE ORIGINAL THRUST AND BASE
OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF AUSTRALIA
ON BIBLICAL LINES …
Mark 12, 2-3
The AUTHORITY of TRUTH
Today, our aim is to find from the Gospel, examples of the authority of Christ in physical, verbal, directive power, confirming that even in a humble platform, that of His flesh, Jesus could neither be contained nor refuted. When this is consistently so in every domain, against all comers, including bodily disease, we need to relate to the predicted Author of these comprehensive results, and to find our own deliverance in His power to heal the heart, help the spirit and instead of sedating the sickness of the soul, to cure it.
I) The Stinging Exposure of His Predicted Rejection 12:1-12
Here Jesus brings a prediction that Israel would reject the whole basis of their system of faith, in person, when He came as its Lord, is put into a parable. In this He appears as the final One sent to gather the fruits of the carefully built vineyard of the Lord, from the tenants. Perspective is poured out like lava: Many prophets had come and been smitten and attacked by the unruly abusers of the vineyard who supposedly were in charge of it for a time; but He, the Chief Stone, the Rock of reality, even He, as foretold had now come. How was He then viewed by this most religious of the nations ?
He was seen as the Son, the heir: to assassinate Him became the objective, if by any means the voracity and ambition of the dishonest possessors of temporary power in the vineyard, could make the land grab! Thus in their dream, they might grab for ever their illicit inheritance in the people they betrayed, in the vineyard the accountability of which they had so drastically neglected, even rejected.
In their shameless assassination to come, therefore, they were merely completing and fulfilling the known conduct of the enemies of God, killing the Son Himself, sent for the fruits. What then could they expect of the owner of the vineyard for such a crime, such a failure and such dishonesty!
2) The Tax-Money Directness 12:13-17
Trying to make Jesus into a revolutionary, easy enough since Rome had invaded and conquered Israel, they asked if it were lawful to pay taxes. That is, was it a faithful and just thing by Jewish law so to pay the oppressors, the Romans whose power had taken the land..
In reply Jesus had them show Him the inscription on the coin, showing where that sort of thing found its place. On the contrary, where the things of God had their place, in the spirit of a man, his perspective, his personal crises, his meaning, his development, his righteous rules, his redemption, there was the overarching domain of God. To God what is His, to rulers what is theirs! Not a problem (for the mind, but it tests the heart).
Not in littleness of licence but in grandeur and majesty of dominion is God, who for a time releases this or that little bit of authority, only to bring judgment or release as He will: a thing Nebuchadnezzar found to his ruin, and Saddam Hussein as he started in such a slovenly style, to rebuild something near Babylon! The nations themselves are answerable to Him who made them, for their plans, priorities, human relations, submission to truth or otherwise; and if man does not choose to conform to this, what is the owner of the 'vineyard' to be expected to do but to destroy the faithless interlopers, nation or religious body, pride having no say in His day! (Isaiah 2:11).
3) Resurrection Knowledge: the evocation of
the hidden, brought to light 12:18-27
Scribes frequently tend to love to exalt themselves, their class, their knowledge, just as the powerful often love to flex their fictions, to parade their greatness. This case was no different; but they were stricken in heart, for here was THE AUTHORITY, and what worth their musings next to this! Hence they sought to defenestrate Him once for all! In the resurrection (these people tended to dismiss resurrection, too practical, too ... decisive, divisive ...), yes here they would floor Him. So they asked Christ to consider a case.
Here is a woman whose husbands routinely die; let us suppose she has in this way had seven of them. Such was their story. Given the resurrection, whose is she in heaven ? I am so used to the leering, scoffing, scornful abuse that comes from those in settled power because of evil ways and worldly blessing from those who love it so, that it is easy to see them with lurking ridicule and trapper's scent in their nostrils, surrounding Him with their crafty wit.
Jesus replied that they lacked, in their difficulty with this, just two things. Firstly, they did not know the power of God; secondly, they did not know ... (wait for it) the SCRIPTURE (this their exaltation, that they KNEW it all). Their tilt overturned and it was they who found the dust.
After all, a little thought is enough to see that if God desired, decided and acted to build the greatest order-controlled (DNA), intricate design of a unity of miscellany made into a single result that was even seen on this earth, even one, man, who is both self-conscious and able to be conscious of God Himself, how much more could He fling bodies to spirits and make the post-test, trouble-free version in the resurrection of the body.
If you once REALISE the beginning, the end is obvious. But what was not obvious to these scribes was this, that even as to the status of Abraham, so far back, we read that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
How then, asked Jesus, do you puzzle so foolishly ? God is the God of the living (it is not written that He WAS the God of Abraham, but He IS – Exodus 3:6), not of the dead (such as those who, disbelieving, neither knew God nor His power, such as His questioners!).
That was the power of God, which no Christian should for one moment doubt. In fact, doubt about this is precisely one of the foul stenches of the last stages of this Church Age, before Christ comes and identified as such in II Timothy 3:1-5. As to the power of God, available to men, there is no limit to this, nor any frustration which God cannot heal, either by changing the purpose or the result (cf. Mark 23).
ASK and receive, being willing to take what HE ELECTS TO GIVE, but in faith! Now comes the nature of spiritual beings, of the resurrection: the SECOND WAY they greatly erred, as Christ told them in His denunciation.
In this post-test state, the resurrection, in this blessed culmination of life, there is no marriage or giving in marriage. This is no soul factory: pregnancy is past, as one of the sorrows, and procreation is over, as one of the elements of continuity on an earth groaning until He comes to dispel the curse and lift His people. This curse is not natural to ‘nature’ but given because of sin, and the sufferings that result are so far from being accountable to God as seeking such, the result of rejection of the redemption in Christ Jesus. Reject the antibiotic ? Right, but do not blame the doctor who gives it, the manufacturer who makes it. If you do not, then blame yourself!
Hence, since marriage is not relevant in the resurrection, neither is the
To NONE of them would she be married. The Lord of the Sabbath, and Lord of life tells the truth concerning past and present, future and fact. None can abash Him, and even experts are left fumbling in their 'trade'. Such was the result when the carpenter of Nazareth, turned His mind to the salvation of souls: for if humility was His clothes, it was deity who wore them.
4) The Lord of Pardon
The Lord of Power cf. Matthew 11:27: Mark 2:1-12
Forgiving a sinner who did not even ask for it seemed to be the end of limits on authority. Yet note that this happened ONLY when Christ perceived the FAITH of the stricken man. Here indeed was the Power of God in person! and with it, the pardon. Here was One who could simply say it, PARDON, and like all the rest that He said, it was DONE!
The people objected in their thoughts. “WHO can forgive sins but God only!” (cf. Psalm 51). THIS forgiveness was direct, dependent on divine knowledge of the faith of the man, without sacrifice!
Poole points out that for that matter who could discern in His Spirit what their thoughts about this actually were (2:8), but God (cf. I Samuel 16:7, I Chronicles 28:9, Jeremiah 17:10). Taking up this challenge, Christ put it to the practical test, like a new Elijah in a New Covenant. IF I raise up this stricken man, by miraculous act, THEN see that God who acted in Me to pardon, acts in parallel to heal. Obviously such a sudden act dependent on the celestial power could only be wrought by it; and where pardon is in view, the case was this: either Christ was deluded or would be confirmed. If His Father honoured Him in this direct confrontation about power to pardon, then this He has, and so is Himself the living Word of God, deity incarnate.
In a massive array of authority, like brilliant bomber bristling with destructive power, but in this case a healer with cluster commands of healing, He acted. Who could do these things, on time, all the time, meet every situation and even tell the day of rest where to have its place, but God. Since this is the true God, here is the authority for life. None other has it to show.
5) The Rebuke of Satire 2:13-17
Granted all are sinners, are some to judge others (cf. Matthew 7:1-5., 23:27-28,37), when their own scarlet has been white-washed! Blood, not lime, is needed, and for that, faith. The "righteous" - and all must be called to be saved - who are these ? In this context, they can be none other than the self-righteous. To exclude the gift of the righteousness of God (Romans 8:17, II Cor. 5:17-21), because one has all one needs, thank you very much, is to forget the divine devaluation of pride's clamour!
6) The Poignancy of a Macabre Wedding 2:18-22
Why did His disciples fast, they asked: John's did not. Christ comparing Himself to a bridegroom asked whether, when such a person is present, his friends fast ? No, It is when the bridegroom is no more present that fasting will come. Patching up of old things with new, this does not work. You need the things which go well together. If you have 'new wine', then use 'new wineskins'. The power of God needed new containers, and what fitted the old is in need of exchange for the new.
In other words, the Old Covenant had its ways, and the New Covenant likewise has its ways. When new wine has come, it needs its fitting relationships. These He directs with authority.
7) The Lord of the Sabbath 2:23-28
This claim, that EVEN the SABBATH (Ezekiel 20, a very title deed in the Old Covenant) is under Christ's own rule, makes of Him an equal to the mouth of God; and since He IS that mouth, that WORD, this His claim is scarcely surprising. Seventh Day Adventist heresy ignores this, and makes God the captive of the Old Covenant in much, so that He cannot, by their authority, place the new day of rest where rest alone can be found, in the verification of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord via the resurrection of His body. In this, they insult Him, limit and harass.
8) The Rarity of His Anger 3:1-6
In this next case, obstruction and opposition to healing,
anger flashed in the divine soul; for if healing were to be opposed, when even
a cow in a pit would be released on the Sabbath, what is this but interference
with divine grace, one of the most horrendous, heinous things anyone can do.
This relative rarity of anger is a good trait to copy; but there are evils against which even the most patient must act, seek to act for the deliverance of those misused (Proverbs 24:11-12).
"Deliver those who are drawn toward death,
And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.
“If you say, 'Surely we did not know this,'
Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?
He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?
And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?"
9) The Teacher Taught, the Multitude Sought,
Danger of Being Crushed 3:7-12
To prevent the great multitude which by sheer eagerness and numbers were in danger of crushing Him, from upsetting His work, He withdrew a little from the shore, in a boat. The universal drawing power of Christ is here attested, people coming at short notice from as far away as Tyre, and as close as to touch Him. Even evil spirits were falling down before Him, declaring this, 'You are the Son of God!' Even His enemies could not withhold their response. Even evil spirits knew more than they, but in their time, they would face their doom, except they repented, as did the spirits which spoke!
THE LORD OF THE SABBATH, OF HEALTH, OF HEALING, OF POWER, OF THE PAST, OF THE FUTURE, OF AUTHORITY ... here is the Master (Matthew 23:8-10), and humanity has known no other such. In HIMSELF is His authority, given by His Father, eternal in nature: here is the power to act, the way for the feet, the sight for the blind, the comfort for the distressed, the answer for the mind, the solace to the soul, the life to the spirit. HERE is your rest (Matthew 11:28ff.).