Prayer for the offering
Ed. Note: Just an amazing thought inspired by “love endures forever” about how God was spurned by his lover, but he was the “bigger man” and sacrificed all to win us back.
Going to read you some passages
Luke 9 where Jesus is determined to go to Jerusalem
Right now we’re in the season of Lent
40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday
Funky Christian math where we skip Sundays
A lot of Catholics give up meat, resulting in Fish Fry Fridays
Here at The Rock, we’re focusing on the idea of giving things away for the benefit of others
Letting our self-deprivation bless others
Who is someone in your life that you would like to see thrive?
What is one way that you can bless them and remind them that they are loved?
Is there someone you feel God has been calling you towards?
How can you extend help, friendship, and care towards them?
Continuing in Mark
The latter half of Mark deals a lot with Jesus’ death and resurrection (which we’re planning on getting to on resurrection Sunday)
Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and brought them to the top of a very high mountain where they were alone. He was transformed in front of them, and his clothes were amazingly bright, brighter than if they had been bleached white. Elijah and Moses appeared and were talking with Jesus. Peter reacted to all of this by saying to Jesus, “Rabbi, it’s good that we’re here. Let’s make three shrines—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He said this because he didn’t know how to respond, for the three of them were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice spoke from the cloud, “This is my Son, whom I dearly love. Listen to him!” Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
Mark 9:2-8 CEB
Backing up a bit in the text, we see Jesus talking with his disciples about who do people say I am and who do you say I am
What we described as worship last week is an experience of the glory of God
Now Jesus appears in the full glory of God, as he will appear after his resurrection and at his second coming
Peter, James, and John need to move from believing to sensing
Probably a lot of questions as they come down the mountain, let’s read on
As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them not to tell anyone what they had seen until after the Human One had risen from the dead. So they kept it to themselves, wondering, “What’s this ‘rising from the dead’?” They asked Jesus, “Why do the legal experts say that Elijah must come first?” He answered, “Elijah does come first to restore all things. Why was it written that the Human One would suffer many things and be rejected? In fact, I tell you that Elijah has come, but they did to him whatever they wanted, just as it was written about him.”
Mark 9:9-13 CEB
I keep a lot of good secrets, but I don’t know that I could keep this secret
This is a really juicy secret
And earlier on in the text, Peter rebukes Jesus for talking about his death
This isn’t what we signed up for
We’ve left home and family to follow Jesus to count the cost
And here he’s saying that it’s going to end in death and resurrection
So they start asking questions about Elijah; where did this come from?
There was an Old Testament prophet named Malachi
What about revolution and putting everything right?
Elijah, as predicted made by Malachi, was John the Baptist
John’s death is also a precursor for Jesus’ path
Back at the beginning of Mark, John baptizes Jesus and we see God violently breaking in to speak directly to Jesus, to fortify him in his mission
We read that immediately after this, the Spirit drives Jesus out to the desert to face the enemy for 40 days
This affirming voice of God that was directed at Jesus to fortify him is now directed to the world at Jesus’ transfiguration
He’s moving towards his execution where he will break the power over hell and the enemy
This is a fortification for those
Have you had this kind of experience?
Where the compassion of someone else helped fortify your heart?
Where it neutralized your fear and transformed it?
Wouldn’t trouble make you deeper and wiser?
I’ve experienced some of this from people
But here’s what I want to know: how do you get more of this without burning out your friends and family?
I mean it’s great to get this from people, but we need so much
My wife, my friends would be crushed by my neediness
They can’t give me everything I need
What I need is worship to experience God
At the age of 17 I was living in Sacramento
The gospel became really a thing to me
It was almost a conversion experience, it’s almost like I was born again
At this point, I had all this knowledge about the grace of god, but I didn’t know how to receive it myself, what it tasted like
I was probably really religious
Really steeped in shame and guilt
And I read things like Brennan Manning ragamuffin gospel
And I was like “I want that, but do I have to go through all that he went through to get it? I don’t know that I want it that bad.”
And one day, in a coffeehouse in Sacramento, a gospel bomb dropped into my heart
I remember as a kid praying the salvation prayer every week just to make sure
But I hadn’t really truly experienced the grace of God
And I realized that even on my best days, God doesn’t love me any more than normal
And on my worst days he doesn’t love me any less
I’m 45 years old now
My understanding of Jesus and His resurrection and the implications of the gospel keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger
This is more than just words on a page, it’s alive and big
From what I’m observing, I see a little gospel operating in a lot of people’s lives
That keeps people locked in for programs and style of worship and friendship
I think we need a big gospel in each of us
Death has been overturned and no longer has a hold over us
Jesus has risen again
This new society…..
We live and love generously and freely because we have been loved freely and generously