INTRO: The verses I have read very likely cover some considerable time between thehealing of the man with the withered hand and the selection of the twelve apostles. Luke simply refers to "those days" (Lk 6:12). Matthew, on the other hand, gives us a bit more of the specifics of this period than either Luke or Mark. Remember, though, that the gospel of Mark skims over some periods with but a glance, and this is one of those places in which Mark seems to be hurrying on to the next major event in Jesus' ministry ... the appointment of the twelve apostles. Still, there may be something of value to be learned even with this hurried overview of time.
I. THIS SECTION BEGINS AS JESUS WITHDRAWS FROM THE SYNAGOGUE
A. Why did He withdraw?
1. it was hardly from fear of confrontation with Pharisees and others
2. but it was also true that opposition was becoming very serious
3. Mk 3:6 - the alliance here shows just how serious opposition was!
B. But Jesus was not ready for the kind of opposition which would mean death
1. note these verses: Jno 2:4 - 7:6,30 - 8:20 - "mine hour is not yet come"
2. compare: Jno 12:23 and 13:1 - "the hour is come"
3.Jesus' withdrawal was necessary in order for Him to accomplish His purpose prior to his atoning death
C. There are times when "withdrawal" is the wise course
1. bullheaded, stubborn confrontation usually does no good
2. withdrawal may leave further opportunities open which confrontation would otherwise close
3. this lesson in relationships, I believe, is a wise, helpful lesson
II. DURING THIS PERIOD, GREAT MULTITUDES FOLLOWED HIM
A. The first place He apparently went was to the familiar seaside
1. yes, Jesus could teach in a synagogue or the temple
2. but his "classroom" more often than not was in a noninstitutional place!
3. and so many of His illustrations were taken from such settings
B. The crowd must have been very, very large - "a great multitude"
1. Mark notes that Jesus was concerned that "they should throng him"!
2. so, He had His disciples arrange for a small boat for safety reasons
3. Mk 4:1 - there was the time when a small boat became his "pulpit" because the crowd was so large
C. The people in the multitude came from numerous places
1. His reputation had already spread to distant places
2. people came from every quarter of the compass - from great distances
3. thinking of this, I wonder if we have become too accustomed to convenience, comfort? they came, they stood, they listened ... how interested are we in the Savior? in hearing of Him?
III. THE NECESSITY OF HIS MIRACLES?
A. Mark observes that "he had healed many"
1. on this occasion people were not waiting for some personal encounter
2. they simply sought to touch Him - although there is no mention of faith here, I cannot help but think that it was their faith which made them whole
3. Mt 9:20-22 - here is a specific occasion which includes mention of faith
B. So, why were His miracles necessary?
1. Jno 20:30,31 with Acts 2:22 - necessary to confirm His claims
2. even the miracles did not change the hard hearts of some
3. but listen to Jno 3:2 ... and consider Lk 7:19-22 (confirmation to John the Baptist and his disciples)
IV. THE UNCLEAN SPIRITS AGAIN
A. They apparently occupied the bodies of human beings
1. I don't presume to understand this unique period of time
2. unique in that the struggle between God's purpose and that of Satan was at its zenith
3. I recall God's words at Gen 3:15
B. He consistently forbade their making Him known as "the Son of God"
1. such testimony could well cause a belief that He was in league with them
2. indeed, that was one claim the scribes would make!
3. He neither needed nor wanted testimony of Satan's world!
CLOSE: The fact is, however, that He is the Son of God. Yes, He would often refer to Himself as the Son of Man. But everything He said and did was confirmation that He is exactly Who that voice from heaven had said He is ... "my beloved son"! And you and I have a decision to make. What will that fact mean to us?
Cecil A. Hutson
01 October 2006
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)