Today we continue in our message series Jesus In Action. In this series we’re learning more about Jesus from the Gospel of Mark. We’re learning about the things that He did in the past and still does today through His Spirit. Today, we’re going to learn how Jesus’ actions can help each one of us in our lives.
Has anybody here besides me wondered if things were out of control in our world today? I simply don’t remember a time when so many crazy things have been going on at the same time? And somehow, they are all interrelated and seem to magnify one another. COVID has gone from something over in China to a pandemic that affects every aspects of our lives. Some say everything will be back to normal next year and others that it will never go away.
On top of this modern day plague, we have had hundreds of riots causing billions of dollars of damage across many major cities. Rather than a push for law and order, we have seen cities defund and hamstring their police forces leading to great escalation of crime in many places. There is extreme divisiveness between people over politics, religion and race.
All of these external stresses are causing negative impacts on the lives of many people. It’s affecting people’s jobs, finances, and relationships. Addictions, overdoses, suicides and divorces are increasing. Fear, stress, worry and anxiety are accelerating across the nation, especially as we head into the election on November 3.
We are tempted to doubt that Jesus is still in control and be fearful. And if Jesus isn’t in control, then we truly are in big trouble. But I have some good news for everyone listening.
Our message today is entitled “All Authority.” Authority means absolute power over something or someone.
Matthew 28:18-19 (ESV) And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples …”
The good news is that Jesus has all authority over everything in heaven and on the earth. Nothing is outside His control, He is in charge. You might ask, why then do we see all this trouble, this sin, this chaos if Jesus is in control? The answer is that you and I live in a war zone. We live in a battle between good and evil, between Jesus and Satan that will increase in intensity until Jesus returns. The final outcome of the war is already been determined, Jesus wins. And as believers we are on the winning side. Our reward in victory as overcomers will be to spend eternity with Jesus and the winning army.
In this season, God is exposing evil and drawing people to Himself. People are looking for answers to the fear and worry they are experiencing. The Kingdom of God is at hand and it is breaking through the domain of darkness. Many will turn to Jesus in this season and be saved out of the enemy’s hands. Jesus gave His army of believers our marching orders by His authority. No matter how bad things look, we are to go and make disciples of Jesus.
It is when things are bad, when there seems to be no hope, when everything seems out of control that people finally turn to Jesus. So, as believers, we don’t need to worry or fear no matter what is happening around us. Jesus has all authority. We must submit to and trust in Jesus’ authority.
Sin and sickness are two manifestations of the fallen world in which we live. We are responsible for our sin and each one of us has sinned. Sickness may or may not be caused by sin, but is part of the human condition for all of us. But there is hope, for Jesus has authority over both sin and sickness. Let’s watch a video clip from the movie Son of God on the healing of a paralytic that we will be studying today. Now let’s go through the story that we have just watched to see what God desires to teach us.
Mark 2:3-4 (ESV) And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.
Jesus was preaching God’s Word to a crowd of people gathered in a home. The news of both Jesus’ teaching and healing of the sick and oppressed continued to spread. The house in which Jesus’ teaching was completely filled, no one could get in. Four men had a paralyzed friend whom they were carrying to see Jesus in the hope that he would be healed. When they came to the house where Jesus was, there was no way for them to enter because of the crowd. Rather than give up, they went up a stairway onto the roof and dug a hole through the roof and lowered their paralyzed friend down to Jesus. Close to Jesus is where miracles happen. The same is true today. What would Jesus do after these men destroyed the roof of the house where He was?
Mark 2:5 (ESV) And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
When Jesus looked at these five men, he saw their faith. He saw faith in the four who had carried their friend to Jesus and He saw faith in the paralytic. They believed that if they could get their friend close to Jesus, he would be healed. Yet, the first thing that Jesus said had nothing to do with healing. Jesus spoke to the paralytic and told him that his sins were forgiven.
We know from God’s Word, that unconfessed sin is an impediment to healing. Not only did Jesus see faith in the paralytic, I believe that he saw a repentant heart. So, Jesus pronounced that the paralytic was forgiven of his sins. The Jewish scribes did not like what Jesus said.
Mark 2:7 (ESV) “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
They understood that no human being could forgive someone else’s sins. So, for Jesus to pronounce forgiveness, meant that He was claiming to be God, which He was. Jesus was also preparing the lame man for a miracle of healing.
Mark 2:10-11 (ESV) But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”
As one cannot see the forgiveness of sins with the eye, anyone could pronounce forgiveness. Jesus was going to show His authority to forgive sins by a healing miracle. He commanded the paralytic to rise, pick up his mat and go home. And that is exactly what the lame man did. He was instantly healed and able to walk, even though he had not done so for many years. Everyone in the crowd was amazed at the authority of Jesus over both sin and sickness.
Let’s begin to think about how Jesus’ authority over sin impacts our lives today. No matter what you’ve done, before becoming a believer or after becoming a believer, Jesus can forgive you. All we need to do is to repent and confess our sin to Him and He will forgive us. Sometimes, Satan will continue to bring a past sin to our minds to get us to doubt our forgiveness or even our salvation. We must remember that Jesus as all authority to forgive our sins, no matter how great. When they are forgiven, they are no longer counted against us. We are cleansed from all unrighteousness.
If you’re battling guilt for a past sin this morning, simply confess it to Jesus and accept His forgiveness. He will bring cleansing and peace into your heart and life. The second way that Jesus’ authority over sin affects us is when we see sin in others. Sometimes we look at an unbeliever whose life is filled with sin and think that that person could never be saved. Nothing is further from the truth. Jesus can forgive any sin and save any person. Let’s look at every person as a potential son or daughter of God, praying that they’ll repent and be born again.
Jesus also has authority over all sickness. Jesus is no longer physically with us, but He is with us by His Spirit. As believers, through faith and prayer, we can minister healing to those who are sick, both believers and unbelievers. Never doubt the power of Jesus to heal. Pray for the sick around you every chance that God gives you. The more we pray and the more our faith grows, the more healings we will see. Healing shows the power of God today, just as it did with the healing of the paralytic. Healing opens closed hearts to the truth of the Gospel. Let’s grow in our trust of Jesus’ authority over sin and sickness.
Mark 2:19-20 (ESV) And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.
Some people had come up to Jesus and asked Him why His disciples did not fast like the Pharisees did. The Pharisees had all kind of traditions about fasting, many of which Jesus condemned in various teachings. Some fasted thinking that it drove off demons, others fasted to have their sins forgiven, yet others fasted simply to be seen as holy by other people. All of these traditions and practices had no value before God.
Jesus, referred to himself as the bridegroom and said there was no need to fast while He was here. When He was gone, ascended to heaven, there would be a place for fasting. Not fasting to earn merit with God or to be seen by others. But a fasting in obedience to God’s Spirit to draw closer to God and hear His voice more clearly.
Mark 2:22 (ESV) And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”
In this analogy of Jesus, the old wineskins refer to Jewish traditions, which were going away. The new wine referred to the coming of the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ. Jesus did not come to fix Judaism, He came to bring the new wine of the Holy Spirit to fill fresh wineskins, people’s lives who had been radically born again. In God’s kingdom, there is no place for tradition, simply going through the motions of some activity for God. Everything in the Kingdom that Jesus brought must come from the heart and be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Mark 2:23-24 (ESV) One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
The Pharisees took the Old Testament law which said you should rest on the Sabbath and worship God rather than work and invented all types of traditions. They wrote books detailing what actions were work and were therefore sin on the Sabbath. One of these was simply plucking a few heads of grain to eat. This was considered harvesting or working on the Sabbath and was breaking the law according to their traditions.
Mark 2:27 (ESV) And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
Jesus answered them and basically said that their traditions were nonsense. The Sabbath, a day of rest, was meant to benefit man, rather than burden him down with endless regulations and traditions. Jesus made it clear that religious traditions had no place in the life of His followers. We must submit to Jesus’ authority over tradition.
There are two types of religious tradition that ensnare people today. Jesus condemns and takes authority over all types of religious tradition. The first type of religious tradition is some type of activity that seeks to please or reach God, but is not found in the Bible. Obviously, all the habits and traditions of non-Christian religions, such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and so on, have absolutely no value in bringing anyone closer to God. Many so-called Christian churches follow various Christian traditions that have no basis in the Scripture. The Holy Spirit will not inhabit those type of old wineskins which lead people away from God, rather than toward Him.
Infant baptism is a practice that has absolutely no support in Scripture, which exclusively teaches believer’s baptism. The unbiblical tradition of infant baptism confuses many people about the nature of salvation and causes people to miss the blessing of Scriptural believer’s baptism by immersion. We seek to pattern everything that we do according to the teaching of Scripture.
That leads us to the second type of religious tradition, which is a temptation for each one of us. This second type is to do something that is taught in Scripture, but to do it as a rote action, rather than something that comes from our hearts. For example, we are instructed in Scripture to worship God together with all our hearts, minds and souls. Suppose we come to church on Sunday and during worship, we are thinking about our plans for the afternoon, rather than focusing on God. We have just engaged in religious tradition which is condemned by Jesus as a sin. We may even be singing the words of the song, but our minds and hearts are elsewhere. We could go through many other examples of falling into tradition. God desires for us to follow Jesus in spirit and truth with all that we have. We must submit to Jesus’ authority over tradition and eliminate it from our lives.
Mark 4:35-36 (ESV) On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him.
Jesus and His disciples were in Capernaum, Jewish city in Israel. Jesus, in the evening, told His disciples that they were going to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. On the other side was the land of the Gadarenes, a Gentile territory where no respectable Jew would go. But Jesus had a mission there, which would involve setting a demonized man free from a legion of demons. But our story today is about the journey, not the destination.
Mark 4:37-38 (ESV) And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
Jesus, tired from speaking and ministering to the crowd, lay down in the boat and fell asleep. The disciples meanwhile were wide awake, for a violent storm had suddenly materialized. The waves were so high that they were breaking over the boat and beginning to fill it with water. The disciples shook Jesus awake and rebuked Him. They accused Him of not caring that they were all going to drown.
Mark 4:39-40 (ESV) And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
Jesus didn’t answer their question. He simply rebuked the wind, as He would a demon and spoke to the sea saying Peace, Be still. And immediately the storm quieted and the sea calmed. Then Jesus asked them two connected questions. The first was … Why are you so afraid? Jesus was saying that the disciples should not have been so afraid. Why not?
First of all, because they were in the boat with Jesus. Whenever they are with Jesus they are safe. Secondly, because Jesus had said that they were going to the other side. When Jesus says you’re going to the other side, you’re going to make it to the other side.
The second question that Jesus asked was “Have you still no faith?” In other words, by now disciples, your faith should have grown from the actions you have seen me do in the past. In the first four chapters of Mark, we have already seen Jesus cast a demon out of a man in the synagogue, healing and delivering many others, healing a leper, healing a paralytic and healing a man with a withered hand. Jesus had shown them that He was the Son of God by forgiving sins. They should have had faith that even in a storm, Jesus would take them to the other side. Fear and faith are mutually exclusive according to Jesus. If you’re afraid, you’re not in faith. If you have faith, you won’t be afraid.
Mark 4:41 (ESV) And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
Interestingly, the disciples are filled with great fear at what had just happened. But this was another kind of fear. The first fear in the midst of the storm was fear for their lives. This great fear was the fear of the Lord, an awe inspired fear of Jesus who had the authority to command the wind and the sea. We must believe in Jesus’ authority over the storm.
We started the message this morning talking about the storm that we are encountering in America today. We have a choice to make. Will we be filled with fear or will we be filled with faith in Jesus’ authority? Jesus’s words to each of us this morning are “We’re going to the other side.” This storm is not going to stop you from fulfilling God’s purpose for your life. This storm is not going to stop God’s purpose for America.
The other side for each of us ultimately is heaven with Jesus when our life’s purpose is over. As long as we stay in the boat with Jesus, we’re going to make it to the other side. Whatever you’re facing in life today, whatever storm is tempting you to be fearful, just pray and say to Jesus, “I’m going to the other side with you. We’re going to make it together.” When you do that, Jesus will bring calm and peace to your soul. The storm that seemed so threatening will fade away and the presence of Jesus will fill your heart. Believe in Jesus’ authority over the storm.
Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me, Go and make disciples.” Since Jesus has all authority, He commands us to go to the other side, which is to go and make disciples. To bring more people into the boat with Jesus. Jesus has authority over sin, sickness, tradition, storm and everything else. Be encouraged this morning, when you’re with Jesus in the boat, you’ll make it through every storm. Invite those around you who are fearful and stressed to get into the boat with you and Jesus. There they’ll find peace, joy and forgiveness and together we’ll make it to the other side.