By Pastor Chad Adelmund Heartland Community Church, La Porte City
I decided to write about our recent series called “Savage Jesus.” One reason I wanted to use the term “Savage Jesus” is because I knew that religious people wouldn’t like it. We typically like our heroes better safe, one that doesn’t offend us. When we do that, though, it’s almost like we make them a mascot.
I’m afraid we have done this same thing with Jesus. We just describe how much he loved everyone, we picture him carrying a lamb on His shoulders, or playing with little children. We just think about the nice, comforting Jesus, telling us the nice things we want to hear. But Jesus was more than free hugs, and warm feelings. Jesus was a Savage! He would let the Pharisees run their mouth, just setting them up. With just a word or a question he would blast them and leave them stunned and silent!
So let’s get started in this series. Mark 1:1-15 records these words:
“1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, 2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way” 3 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ 4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
A lot of us do. We worship a certain version of Jesus. Well, Mark isn’t going to give us that portrait of Jesus. Instead, Mark writes with a paintbrush. He would rather show you than tell you. Demonstration is so much more powerful than Proclamation. Living out your Faith impacts people around you much more than talking about your faith, but giving no evidence of it. For example: Some people can explain all about Salvation and Redemption, Compassion and Love, but they’re so mean to their wife that why would I want a Jesus that can’t keep you from treating your family like crap? And so Mark is going to show us portraits of Jesus.
I’ve broken this introductory message into a couple sections, preparation and validation. This week, I’ll address preparation.
Great things come from small places
They had a saying about Nazareth. They would say, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” They said that about Jesus because the authority that He spoke with did not match the background that He came from. And the works that He would do so outstripped the expectations of the people. He taught with authority, and not as one of their teachers of the law.
Jesus came from Nazareth. Not from Jerusalem. It would have made sense for Him to come from Jerusalem, the center of the temple cult. It would have made sense for Him to have come from, perhaps a place in the Roman Empire that was more important. But Jesus came from Nazareth. It was His place of preparation.
New beginnings come from dead ends. Jesus came from Nazareth, it was His place of preparation. Preparation is kind of the opposite of the primary value of our day. We live in the age of instant validation instead of thinking an issue through, we post it immediately to see if we can get someone to agree or disagree with us just because we want attention. There is nothing off limits, we will even stage our kids. We’re staging them for the approval of people. “I know I have been yelling at you all morning but stand there and smile, it’s the first day of school and I need people to think I’m a good parent.”
Our problem is that we want validation before obedience.
We will look at this validation more next week.