Jesus Is Lord
|In our reading this morning did you
notice how the Christians addressed God? They say in verse
24 "Lord, You are God, who made the heaven and earth and the sea,
and all that is in them," and then drop down to verse 29, "Now,
Lord, look down on their threats, and grant to your servants
that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching
out your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done
through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus." God is called
"Lord" in both of these verses. The Christians address God as
Lord because the term "Lord" acknowledged that someone had
absolute ownership, absolute authority, and absolute power.
These Christians were being threatened by the Jewish leaders to
quit preaching, but they turned to God Almighty and cried out,
"Lord, You own this world, and You have all authority (even over
our rulers), and You have all power to make things happen,
please make us bold to speak Your word and to bring healing to
others." It was very appropriate in their time of need to call
upon God by addressing Him as Lord.
There was someone else in the Roman Empire during the writing of
the New Testament that liked to be called "Lord" as well. Yes,
the Roman Emperor often liked to be addressed and to be
worshiped in this way. Many Roman citizens viewed this man of
power as a divine being. So, our Christian brothers were faced
with a conflict. Would they call Jesus "Lord" or would
they call the emperor "Lord"? They wanted to hold the
emperor in honor, but they could not call him a divine being.
One scholar puts it this way: "They would not allow the
emperor to share an honor which, in their view, belonged to
Christ alone. To say "Caesar is Lord" from the later years
of the first century onwards was to acknowledge his divinity,
something which Christians could not do" (Bruce). Jesus
was divine and had the absolute ownership of their lives, the
absolute authority over their conduct, and the absolute power to
rule over their thoughts. On Wednesday evenings, we've
been studying in the Gospel of Mark, "Why was Mark written?"
An elder in 140 AD tells us that Mark wrote down what Peter had
preached about Jesus. Then another Christian in 160 AD
reports that Mark wrote this gospel after Peter's death while
Mark was in Italy. This would put the writing of Mark
around 68 AD, and we know that Nero had begun to blame
Christians and persecute them for a great fire in Rome that
destroyed one section of the city in 64 AD. From that date
forward, the question of Caesar as Lord or Jesus as Lord would
have become a real issue for all Christians. Mark writes
his gospel to show the supernatural nature of Jesus, that He is
the true Lord with absolute ownership, absolute authority, and
absolute power! Let's see how Mark shows His Lordship in
four ways this morning. As we look at each of their
stories, we'll also notice two key words that are found in each
At the close of chapter 4, we find a story that shows us that
Jesus is the Lord over nature. After teaching the
multitudes and the sun was beginning to fall, Jesus was weary
and tells His disciples to cross over to the other side of the
Sea of Galilee. This was a journey of about 5 miles, and
Jesus saw it as a great time to get some rest. Nobody
suspected anything unusual. But a fierce wind developed in
the mountains around the lake, and suddenly, a "great windstorm"
occurred blowing the waves into the boat. The boat was in
danger of sinking, so the disciples awaken Him and ask Him
rudely why isn't He concerned about their welfare. Mark
shows Jesus' humanity in His exhaustion, but then He notes the
disciples' humanity in their desperation! What were the
disciples expecting Jesus to do? Help them throw out
water, or help them man the oars, or help them throw heavy gear
overboard? Whatever they thought, He did something very
different! Jesus says nothing to the disciples, but
rebukes the storm and sea by saying, "Peace, be still!"
And just as suddenly as the storm had come up, a complete calm
was experienced! For the rest of their journey, all was
smooth sailing. Now notice the questions that Jesus asked
them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no
faith?" Now the first question reveals the first key word
we mentioned earlier called "fear". A sinking ship in a
stormy sea would be a fearful experience for any of us, but then
notice how Jesus tells them that the opposite of fear is faith,
and this is the second key word. "How is it that you have
no faith?" Don't you realize that the Lord of all nature is
riding in your boat? Now verse 41 informs us that they
were even more fearful? It was not from the storm; it was
from Jesus' incredible lordship. "Who can this be, that even the
wind and sea obey Him!" He is the absolute authority, and
when He commands the winds and waves, they follow His orders!
This is no ordinary man in our little boat! He controls
the elements, He tames the tornado, He calms the chaos.
Jesus is the Lord over all nature! How is it that so
often. we too are so fearful and have no faith? Maybe we
had better be careful when we call on Jesus in our desperation.
He just might do something very unexpected! This is no
ordinary man who guides our little church! Jesus is the
Lord over nature!
Then we go to the next story in Mark in the next chapter.
Now a storm at sea was terrifying enough, but Jesus and the
disciples suddenly hit the shore where Gentiles live, and a
demon-possessed man, with cuts and bruises all over him, whom
nobody could tame (v.4), suddenly sees the group and begins
running towards them. "Out of the frying pan and into the
fire!" the disciples must have thought. The
limestone mountains around contained caves, so this graveyard
was a perilous place, and here was this violent man coming
toward Jesus crying out to him not to torment him! Did you notice that Jesus
didn't run and keeps calm during all of this? "The
demons in the man confess that Jesus is God's Son and asks Jesus
not to torment them, nor to send them out of the country.
Now why would these demons make such a request? Because
these demons knew that they were in the presence of the Lord
over supernatural beings. Jesus had absolute power to make
these demons do whatever He desired. When you have power
like that, you don't need to run and you can keep your cool.
The demons asked to be sent into a herd of pigs, and Jesus gave
them permission to go. They quickly enter into the pigs,
and the animals kill themselves. Their owners run away to
tell others what happened. Then a crowd comes to see
Jesus, but they also see the former demon-possessed man now
clothed, sane and sitting peacefully. Now get this: their
reaction was exactly like that of the disciples in the boat; the
last part of verse 15 states: "And they were afraid."
There's our key word again. These people realized that
this was no ordinary man in their midst. He had brought
decency to the demon-possessed. He had brought peace to the
violent one. He restored tranquility to the tormented one.
They had also lost their source of revenue through His dealings
with the demons. One writer noted: "Their routine of
life had been disturbed, and they wanted the disturbing element
removed as quickly as possible. The one cry of the human
mind is, "Please, do not disturb me!" On the whole, people
want to be left alone [and not have to deal with the Lord who
absolute power]" (Schubert). They were scared to death at
what might happen next; they had no faith in the good that Jesus
could do for them. So, Jesus honors their request to leave
and starts to depart. In contrast to the crowd, note how
the healed man desired greatly to follow Jesus. But Jesus
tells him to go to his friends and neighbors and tell them what
great things God has done for him! From demonic to
missionary, that's the radical change that the Lord (over
supernatural beings) can bring about in a man's life!
Jesus still has power over all angels and all devils. He
is still the Lord over supernatural beings!
Now notice what comes next in Mark's account. Jesus
crosses the Sea of Galilee back to the other side, and a crowd
is there to meet Him. Suddenly, we see Jairus, a ruler of
the synagogue come, fall down at Jesus' feet, and beg Him to
come heal his dying daughter. "It must have been difficult
for Jairus to come to Jesus. He was a ruler of the
synagogue, and by this time, the synagogues were practically
closed to Jesus and His ministry. He had healed many
people on the Sabbath and had offended so many Pharisees that
they were [probably] desirous of shutting Him out of the
synagogue....Jairus had to overcome his pride, and humbled himself before Jesus" (Schubert). He had to overcome the
prejudice of many of his colleagues who saw Jesus as a threat to
the Law of Moses, and he had to acknowledge Jesus as the Lord
over sickness. "the fact that his daughter was dying drove
him on to Jesus, and there is also evidence of some faith"
(Ibid). He said to Jesus: come and lay Your hands on
her, that she may be healed, and she will live." At this
point in the story, there is an interruption. Mark tells
us that there was a woman who had been suffering from a
hemorrhage for 12 years. This made her unclean in the
Jews' eyes, so she was ostracized from social life. She
was like a leper and could not attend any worship services.
Mark says that this poor woman had spent everything she had on
doctors, and Luke says that nobody could heal her. But she
had faith that if she could just touch Jesus' clothes, she would
be made well. She works her way through the crowd, and
finally touches His clothes. Mark states in v. 29:
"Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she
felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction."
The Lord over sickness, disease, and deformity had performed a
miracle! Jesus suddenly asked who had touched Him, and the
disciples wondered why on earth He had asked that question with
such a pressing crowd around Him. But Jesus knew the touch
of one faithful person who had put their total trust in Him for
a cure! Now look at v. 33: "But the woman, fearing
and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell
down before Him and told Him the whole truth." Did you see
our key word (fear) again? She came fearing and trembling!
What would the Lord of sickness say to her? Would he be
angry at slowing Him down while on His mission to heal Jairus'
daughter? Would he scorn her, as a female, for touching
Him? Would he humiliate her over further by ridiculing her
for wanting a miracle? Whatever prompted her fear, we see
that Jesus dealt with her gently. He is dealing tenderly
with her. Notice also, He says that her faith, her trust
in Him, has overcome her fear and brought her wellness.
Remember, how faith is the opposite of fear? She had come
with a heart of hope, and Jesus had fully answered her
expectations! Jesus was truly the Lord over sickness,
disease, and deformity!
At this point in this story, another truth about Jesus' lordship
is about to be revealed. How was Jairus feeling about this
interruption? He was no doubt impatient. Time was
precious. Then, the awful news arrived in v. 35:
"Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any
further?" His fear of losing his daughter was now a
reality. But Jesus must have been reading his thoughts,
for notice what he tells him in v. 36: "Do not be afraid; only
believe!" And there's our key words again, not fear,
but faith! Jesus did not let the crowd in on what He was
about to do. The mourners were already weeping over the
child, but He told them to stop their wailing because the girl
was just sleeping. The mourners made fun of Jesus for they
did not perceive that they were in the presence of the Lord over
death. Death for the Lord over death, is really just a
temporary sleep. So Jesus enters the room where the girl
was, takes her by the hand, and tells her with tenderness,
"Little one, it's time to get up!" The 12 year-old sat up,
got out of bed, and began walking around! For the Lord
over death, it was all in a day's work! He has absolute
ownership of life. Jesus did not want any headlines.
He came to show the compassion of God, and this act of love
needed no publicity nor was it done with a hidden agenda.
Someone has made this good observation in contrasting the
mourners and Jesus: "The people laughed Him to scorn
because they thought His hope was groundless and His calm was
mistaken. But the great fact of the Christian life is that
an utter impossibility with men is a possibility with God... The
crowd laughed Him to scorn but that laughter turned to amazement
when they realized what [the Lord over death] could do"
(Schubert)! And this was not the last time that we see
Jesus conquering death, he raises a widow's son, He raises
Lazarus, and raises Himself. Remember His claim in John
10:17: "Therefore, My Father loves Me, because I lay down
My life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from
Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have the power. I
have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it
again." And an empty tomb outside Jerusalem even today
testifies to the truth that Jesus is truly the Lord over death!
Who is Lord, the absolute ownership, the absolute
authority, the absolute power? Well, despite the
persecutions that the emperor might inflict, Mark wanted his
readers to see without a doubt that Jesus was Lord! He was
the Lord over nature, the Lord over supernatural beings, the
Lord over sickness, disease, and deformity, and the Lord over
death! A Lord who amazingly came to serve: to lay down his
life as a ransom to redeem people from sin's slavery. You
see, the real question this morning is this one:
Is Jesus the Lord over your life? The winds and the waves
obeyed His command, but will you? The demons recognized
Him as God's Son with absolute authority over them, but do you
see Him that way as well?" The Lord over sickness,
diseases, and deformity desires to bring wholeness to your
spiritually, but are you willing to come to Him? If you have
been dead in sin, Jesus is willing to bring you newness of life,
but are you willing to seek Him out? What were our key
words again? [Fear and Faith] What are your fears? Are you afraid of
disasters? Are you afraid of evil forces? Are you
afraid of cancers? Are you afraid of death? Are you
afraid of what will happen to this church's future? Are
you afraid of another economic depression? Are you afraid
that our wicked culture will engulf your family's Christian
values? The Lord wants to help you overcome all your
fears, but will you make Him your Lord? Someone has
correctly observed: "The Christian has learned the basic
lesson that he should not look at the things that are see, but
at the things which are unseen. That makes all the
difference in the world. That which, by human logic, is
too good to be true becomes true with God" (Schubert).
Castleward is a stately Irish home that was built in the 1760's
about thirty miles from Belfast. The original owners of
the house were Bernard Ward and his wife, Lady Anne. One of
the most striking features of the house is its two styles of
architecture. The rear of the house is built in Gothic
style, while the front is neoclassical. It's built that
way because Bernard and Lady Anne could not agree on one style.
Not only did they differ in their archtechral preferences:
they apparently had other differences, because Lady Anne
eventually walked out of the marriage. Someone has
commented: "Depending on your point of view, the house is either
a celebration of diversity or a monument to stubbornness."
Contrast that idea with this sister's prayer: "Lord, I
confess I don't like it, I don't want to do it Your way, but,
Lord, please don't give in to me. Just give me time, Lord,
and I will submit to You." Now there is a celebration of
unity! A hymn writer says it this way: "Would you
live for Jesus and be always pure and good? Would you walk with
Him, within the narrow road? Would you have Him bear your
burden, carry all your load? Let Him have His way with
you. Would you have Him make you free and follow at His
call? Would you know the peace that comes by giving all?
Would you have Him save you so that you might never fall?
Let Him have His way with you." Let Jesus be Lord over
you. What conquers fear? There's our other key word.
In every story, we saw that faith conquers fear. Do we
believe that Jesus is Lord? Do we believe He has absolute
ownership, absolute authority, and absolute power? When
Jesus commanded them, the winds and waves obeyed His will!
When Jesus gave His permission, the demons moved and changed
residency! When Jesus told a dead girl to get up, she did!
Jesus can make a difference in your life today, but He will not
force His lordship on you! Like the people who told Jesus
to leave their area because they had no faith in Him to do them
good, He'll go away if you don't want Him to stay. As the
Lord, he could command your obedience, but that would not be a
willing devotion on your part. He won't force you to make
Him Lord, but He wants and longs to be your Lord, if you will
let Him. Look for the unseen and that which goes beyond
human logic! Don't make your house a monument to
stubbornness! Like that good sister, submit to His will
and enjoy a celebration of unity! Let Him have His way
with you! Let Him have total control of your existence!
Let Him be the absolute power, the absolute authority, and the
absolute power in your life!
Faith comes by hearing, and Mark has shown us clearly that Jesus
is Lord above all others! The goodness of Jesus leads us
to repentance, and we saw in everyone of Mark's stories how
Jesus will always treat us with grace. The demons
confessed that he was God's Son, won't you make that same
confession before others right now? At the end of Mark's
gospel, Jesus told His disciples these words: [this is the
Lord Jesus Christ who is speaking]: "Go into all the world
and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes
and is baptized will be saved: but he who does not believe
will be condemned." "Believe in Me and be immersed in My
name" Believe, repent, confess, and be baptized! Your
baptism will show all that you truly want Jesus to be your Lord
for the rest of your life. "He who believes and is baptized will
be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."
Won't you make Him your Lord today, while we stand and sing?