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Jesus According to Jesus



Who is Jesus? If we want to be challenged, convicted, and transformed into who we are meant to be, we must meet the real Jesus. Ben Stuart continues our series, Son of God, and teaches us about who Jesus says that He is in the Gospel of Mark.

Key Takeaway

Jesus told us exactly who He is, so we don't get to define Him. He defines Himself for us. When we decide to follow and place our faith in Him, this is the Jesus we surrender to, not a made-up version that agrees with everything we say.

If you don't read about Jesus, study Him, and find out what exactly He said, you start filling in the gaps and end up with a constructed Jesus that is your own personal Jesus. The problem with the Jesus that you made up is that He tends to look a lot like you and coincidentally agree with and affirm everything that you agree with and affirm.

A make-believe Jesus can't transform you because you have created Him in such a way that He can't contradict you. He can't challenge you because, at the end of the day, it's just you. So, if we want to be challenged, transformed, and contradicted by Jesus, we need to meet the real Jesus.

The Gospel of Mark is believed to be the first gospel written about Jesus. It was probably recorded in the 50s-60s AD. Jesus died and rose again in the 30s AD and there were so many eyewitness stories, that it was hard to get distortions about Jesus in public during those first few years. Because of persecution, the ones that really knew Jesus well began to die, so the apostles started writing down everything that Jesus said and did so there wouldn't be a distorted view of Jesus, but the real experience and knowledge of who He was. Mark traveled with the apostle Peter and wrote his account.

Mark 1:21-39 is all one day, and it's a big one. Instead of only talking about one pericope or moment at a time, we will look at the entire day at one time. We will see in this and the following passages three major things.

  1. First impressions - how people saw Jesus.
  2. Self-Identification - How Jesus explains Himself
  3. Personal Application

Mark 1:14-15. The Kingdom of God is introduced and carries with it significance. It's a major system of rule. Jesus also tells the people to repent, which means to change your entire life as a result of the King being there. Jesus is the King.

Mark 1:17-20. Jesus calls his first disciples to follow Him. If you follow Jesus, He will make you something else. Immediately, these men left their lives and followed Him. Jesus doesn't just call people to listen to Him, He calls them to follow Him. And they do it- immediately and totally. This wasn't the normal way of doing things. Yes, men often followed a rabbi but..

  1. When you followed a rabbi, you still kept your job. His disciples left jobs and families to follow Him.
  2. Normally, you chose the rabbi, but Jesus chose them. The original audience would have been astounded by this. These men changed their lives because Jesus showed up.

Mark 1:21-39. This is all one day. Mark keeps using the word "immediately" because there's a sense of urgency that we're on the move with a guy who moves differently.

When Jesus teaches in the synagogue, He does so with authority. When the scribes taught, they would cite multiple other scribes of how other rabbis taught. Jesus stands up and says, "You've heard it said, but I say to you", essentially saying, "Let me tell you what I meant when I wrote it." They were astonished because Jesus spoke with this authority, His teaching had power.

While Jesus is teaching, a guy with a demon starts getting riled up. Jesus cast the demon out. There were exorcisms of demons all the time, but there was a specific script that was followed.

  1. They would tell it to be silent.
  2. Call it to come out.
  3. Invoke a higher power as they did that, "In the name of the Most High, I command you to come out."
  4. Pair the script with incantations. Jesus only does the first two and that's what astonishes them. He just says, "Be quiet, get out." and it does. He didn't have to call on a higher power because He is that power. He has spiritual power.

Then they immediately go to Peter's house, and Jesus heals his mother-in-law, who is sick. He merely touches her and it's not just that the fever broke; she gets up and starts serving the household. By the end of the day, the sick and demonically possessed are being brought to Him. He has physical power.

What stood out to people about Jesus? What was their first impression?

  • His Authority. He commands people in a way that suggests He has the right to command people. He does the same, both the unseen world and the physical world. The unseen world and physical world agree with him and do what He says to do. Do you see Him that way?

The people try to categorize Him. He's the helping healer and can fix things. That's the reason some came to Him and it's also why some reject Him. They are self-sufficient and think they are fine. The problem is, Jesus won't stay in that box. Jesus isn't just a healer. He came to preach. So, other people say He's the religious rule keeper who's gaunt, terrifying, and perpetually disappointed in you.

In Mark 2, he gives us 5 moments in a row thematically, not chronologically. They are Jesus' encounters with the religious rulers of the day. After Jesus heals a leper, they start watching Him to make sure that He stays in line with the way they expect religion to go. Jesus won't stay in that box, either.

Mark 2:1-12. Jesus is mid-sermon in a home when the friends of a paralytic lower him through the roof. Jesus doesn't heal him right away. He uses this as a teachable moment. He said, "Son, your sins are forgiven." That wasn't why the guy was there. Jesus goes past the presenting problem and straight to the deeper issue. The scribes were questioning Him in their heart, but Jesus could perceive what they were thinking, so He asked them a question. Which is easier? To forgive sins or to tell a man to walk? In one sense, it's easier to say his sins are forgiven because how can that be verified? You can tell right away if a paralytic is walking. On the other hand, it's way harder to forgive sin because only God can do that. Jesus reconciles the two by showing that the Son of Man has the authority to forgive sins, so get up and walk. He ties them together. He's not just here to heal you or to tell you some rules, He has the authority to forgive sins.

Mark 2:13-17. Jesus calls Levi, a tax collector, society's greatest outcast, to follow Him. Levi (also called Matthew), so overwhelmed that he was chosen, throws a party. The religious elite are not happy. They question why Jesus would eat with sinners. Concerning the sinners, Jesus doesn't affirm all their choices. He tells the Pharisees that the people at the party are sick and He's the Physician. He's the sickness healer, both physical and spiritual.

Mark 2:18-22. The religious rulers question Jesus about His disciples, not fasting. Jesus agrees that fasting is a good spiritual practice, but not right now. You don't fast when the groom is present. The only person who was ever presented as a Groom to Israel is Yahweh, the LORD. See Isaiah 54:4. Only the Almighty is the Groom, so when Jesus says the Groom is here, referencing Himself, they are incredulous.

Mark 2:23-28. The religious leaders get mad when the disciples pluck grain on the Sabbath because they consider that harvesting, is illegal on the Sabbath. Jesus tells them they missed the heart of God. He gave the Sabbath as a gift so His people could rest, yet they had made it a list of rules and made it oppressive. And then Jesus adds that He is Lord of the Sabbath. He keeps taking the divine prerogative.

Mark 3:1-6. Jesus keeps pressing the issue on purpose. On the Sabbath, Jesus heals a man with a withered hand. The Pharisees have had it at this point and get together to find a way to destroy Jesus.

Jesus doesn't fit your boxes. He is the healer. He is the husband. He is the forgiver. He is much more than a religious teacher or a helping hand. He is God Almighty, who has come into your space. That's how He identifies Himself.

There are 2 responses. People are either amazed and follow Him, or they want to kill Him. There's no mild amusement. When someone says they are your authority, you can only respond with allegiance or rebellion.

Jesus doesn't use His authority to hurt you. When life spins out of control, we long for authority. We want someone with enough power to solve the problem and enough love to do it.

When you submit to the King, it doesn't crush you, it will set you free. He heals, restores, teaches us, invites us to walk with Him, brings the joy of a wedding day, and offers rest and forgiveness. He does all of that by becoming a servant to us by taking all of our guilt and shame upon Himself and being buried in the grave. His Cross gave us forgiveness, mercy, grace, and life.


"You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon, or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

C.S. Lewis

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Scripture References

  • Mark 1:14-3:6
  • Isaiah 54:4
Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.