160320AM Palm Sunday- Who He Was.docx
Who He Was: Discovering Who Jesus Christ Really Is
The Gospel by Mark
Few things fire imaginations like ancient Egypt’s fabled buried treasures, golden tombs and King Tut. That’s why this week the world of ancient history and archaeology was stunned by what is hailed as the greatest discovery of the century. Archaeologists have found two hidden passageways, off the fabled tomb of King Tut.
For 3,340 years those rooms have silently waited discovery.
They were always in plain sight, but hidden to the eyes of all who did not look closely. That reminds us how easy it is to be:
Missing Hidden Treasures in Familiar Places
Finally, the great British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves sat and examined closely the wall painting in hi-res photographs, and proposed that he saw two doors outlined in the walls. This week ground penetrating radar and other electronic instruments confirmed not only the two rooms, but also the presence of both organic and metallic materials behind the walls.
Wow, treasure rooms in plain sight, missed by all but one diligent observer.
History records some other amazing events; times when people have walked over treasures of immense value—usually without even knowing it.
That is often what happens when we get so used to a place that we can walk almost without noticing anything around us.
Ever Heard of the Comstock Lode?
There’s a similar bit of American History that has always fascinated me.
Gold was found at the head of Six-Mile Canyon in the territory of Nevada in 1859 by two miners named Pat McLaughlin and Peter O'Reilly. A fellow miner, Henry Comstock, stumbled upon their find and claimed it was on his property. The gullible McLaughlin and O'Reilly believed him and assured Comstock a place in history when the giant lode was named.
Soon multitudes of treasure seeking miners, lured by gold fever, began following the vein of gold up the canyon. They spent each day slogging their way up and down that narrow Six Mile Canyon chipping the outcropping of gold encased in quartz. Though they labored feverishly it was slow going for two reasons—the quartz was so hard to break, and the only way to their mining claims was that unusual canyon filled with strange, heavy, almost glue like mud , it's entire length.
Day after day miners complained that the biggest problem in this grubstake paradise was the sticky blue-gray mud that clung to their boots, their wagons, their picks and shovels. But they slogged on day after day and week after week. It seemed like their feet were covered with lead and the tools would become too heavy to lift the longer they worked.
Finally, one miner new on the scene, saw the mud differently. He immediately scraped the mud off his boot at the assayer’s office and asked for an analysis of why it was so heavy.
When the mud was assayed, it proved to be silver ore worth over $2,000 a ton in 1859 dollars! That was a dollar per shovel full then or at 2016 silver prices it was equal to--$100 for every shovel scooped up and hauled away. No wonder some of the legendary California fortunes like the Crocker Bank of California and the William Randolph Heart empire both began here.
The rest is history. They had all been walking through the Comstock Lode. Beneath their feet in the sticky blue-gray mud that day in 1859 laid $400,000,000.00 worth of silver.
The common mud that thousands of miners had walked on for months was the greatest lode of silver ever discovered in all of history. Far more valuable than the gold they had feverishly chipped from the hard quartz veins in the mountain sides, was the silver laden mud. All they had to do was stop and scoop it up!
There’s a similar lesson for each of us:
Stop, Look & Find Christ Daily
Don’t walk through any portion of God's Word again without scraping what you find off in the Presence of the Lord—ask him to tell you how much it is worth. Then start a life long habit of scooping up the treasures of His Word. It will be a spiritual fortune.
That over-familiarity to the point of not seeing treasures in our surroundings can also happen to us spiritually. We can almost think that we have exhausted a passage of God's Word and when we come to it we only see what we saw before and so we just pass on by.
That can also happen when we open week after week to the same chapter of the Bible here as we gather at church. As we return week after week to God's Word, it can become common, familiar and almost a place where we notice nothing new.
The only solution is to ask the Lord to open our eyes and heart every time we enter His Word. The Lord can make every entrance into His Word yield great treasures.
To know God is the greatest treasure in all of life.
Today the treasure we are seeking comes from the greatest week in history: the passion week of Christ.
Today on Palm Sunday we are asking the question: “Who was He?”
Then on Good Friday we are asking the question, “What did He Do?”
Finally, on Resurrection Sunday we are asking the question, “Why did He Come?”
These are the treasures of knowing God, because:
Knowing God Through Christ = Eternal Life
Eternal life and endless pleasures comes to us through His Word. Are you finding God’s treasures?
He has left them out in plain sight in His Book the Bible.
For today’s treasure hunt, please open with me to one of the most treasure laden books in the Bible—The Gospel by Mark. There is a simple way to find amazing treasures in the Gospels about Christ. It comes by doing a three-part search of:
What Jesus said (or His self-descriptions), what Jesus did (or His actions), and what others said about Him (or His reputation). Those three make what is called a Christology. First:
Finding Treasures in Christ’s Actions in Mark
his ACTIONS: What He did.
Mark 1:25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” He commands demons & they obey.
Mark 1:31 So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them. He commands sickness & it obeys
Mark 1:42 As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. He commands leprosy & it flees
Mark 2:5 when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” He can forgive any sin
Mark 2:8 But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? He can see & explain people’s thoughts
Mark 2:11 “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” He can remove physical paralysis
Mark 4:39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. He talks to the wind and to the waves & they obey immediately
Mark 6:51 Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. He can instantly calm a storm
Mark 9:3 His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. He can shine brighter than the Sun
Mark 9:33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” He reads minds
Mark 14:36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” He communicates directly with God
Mark 15:37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. He chose when to die
Finding Treasures in Christ’s Reputation in Mark
his REPUTATION: What others said about Him.
Mark 1:7 And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. The last old testament prophet & greatest man born claimed Christ was divine
Mark 1:24 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” The spirit world calls Him by Divine Titles
Mark 3:11 And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, “You are the Son of God.” He terrified fallen angels with mighty powers
Mark 5:7 and he cried out with a loud voice and said, “what have I to do with you, Jesus, son of the highest god? I implore you by God that you do not torment me.” He has the power of eternal destruction
Mark 8:29 he said to them, “but who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to him, “you are the Christ.” He is verified by closest friends as sum of all Old Testament prophesies
Mark 16:6 but he said to them, “do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. He is verified by angels as immortal
Finding Christ’s Self-Descriptions in Mark
His Self-Description: What He said about Himself.
Mark 2:19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. He claimed to be our Bridegroom
Mark 2:28 “Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” He claimed to be above the Law & the Sabbath
Mark 8:38 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” He claims to be the the Ultimate & Final Judge
Mark 9:31 For He taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.” He claims to know the exact details about the future
Mark 13:35 “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— He claims to be The Master of the Universe
Mark 14:24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many. He claims His blood was the only way to sealed the eternal covenant of salvation
Mark 14:62 Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” He claims He is God the Son, King of Kings & Lord of lords
Knowing Jesus as God Brings Eternal Life
Marks gospel is the apostle Peter recounting the greatest story ever told.
Have you started turning shovels of blessings into gold from the Gospels?
The best way to do so is to see Him through the eyes of those who brushed against His robes, looked into His penetrating gaze and reacted. Here are the eye-witness reports of what it was like to be around Jesus.
Mark 1:22 And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Mark 1:27 Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”
Mark 4:41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” This was the response of a group of men who suddenly realized that it was actually God, a supernaturally powerful, beyond human comprehension person, who had sat with them in the boat! He controlled the atmosphere, the water, the force of 2 billion tons of water (that is the 44.6 billion cubic yards of water in the Sea of Galilee) violently foaming and crashing about them - with a simple word!
Mark 6:51 Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled.
Find the Treasures of Knowing Christ Each Day
For a moment get into the boat. Look at the waves, feel the wind nearly blowing you into the foaming water and then ask yourself some personal questions.
Does Jesus Christ astonish you? He wants to.
Does God’s Word grip your heart? It can.
Are you amazed at how great He truly is? You can be if you want to be.
If that’s so, let me suggest some ways to build the relationship –
G – get alone with God daily in prayer
R – read the Bible daily
O– obey what God had written
W – witness to others of His hand is in your life
Answering Life’s 3 Greatest Questions[i]
This Passion week we are looking at Who Was He, What Did He Do, and Why Did He Come? The answer to these three questions solves the biggest questions every person needs answered:
Origin: Where did I come from? That question is only answerable when we come face to face with the truth that answers the question: Who was He? He is my Creator.
Purpose: Why am I here? That question is only answerable when we come face to face with the truth that answers the question: What did He do? He is my Redeemer.
Destiny: Where am I going? That question is only answerable when we come face to face with the truth that answers the question: Why did He come? He is my Judge.
Facing the Truth: Now or Then?
What is your choice today?
Will you bow before Him as Creator, Messiah, and King, and begin to follow Him?
Or just keep going your own way?
Someday every creature, made in the image of God, each given an immortal spirit, will stand in their own body in front of their Creator.
There they will either bow in overflowing gratitude because He is also their Redeemer, or faint in utter dread as they face their Judge.
The choice is your today.
[i] God the Creator demonstrated His great love by coming to rescue His fallen creatures that joined in the rebellion of sin and became God’s enemies. The first clue that leads us to who He was in in the opening pages of the Scriptures. Who Was He? The God-Man (Genesis 3). First promised as coming to Earth as a human in Genesis 3:15, He also declared how He would crush the rebellion. Satan who started the whole rebellion, would be crushed by the Creator becoming a human, being bruised by His own He came to save. Who Was He? The Lamb of God (Exodus 12). Jesus was the substitute, a perfect, spotless, innocent lamb whose blood saved all who hid behind its application to the door of their home. Who Was He? The Beloved Son that was Slain by His Father (Genesis 22). The first time love is used in God's Word is in the story of a loving father who was willing to sacrifice his beloved son to satisfy God’s plan. Who Was He? The Rock that gave Water (Exodus 17). Jesus was the Rock that followed them, that fed them manna, and that poured out life giving water. Who Was He? The Crucified One (Psalm 22). Who Was He? The Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53). Who Was He? The God who was Pierced (Zech. 12-14).