7/7/2024

“You Are the One: Mission Possible”

“Mission Possible” Mark 6: 1-13  

It’s the middle of summer and I thought we might have a little fun today…. 

Do you remember Mission Impossible from the 60’s? There was always a situation that needed to be solved.  And so Mr. Phelps was given a task to complete and … told that if he refused the mission,  

The tape would be destroyed in 5 seconds….. 

Our pastor is in a series this summer: 

 Entitled You are the one:  Remembering stories from the Characters of the Old Testament…..but  for today…..we are going to take our story not from an Old testament character but rather from the New Testament in the Gospel of Mark 6.  It is one of our lectionary readings and I was drawn to this story primarily because YOU are the main character today. 

You know, our pastor these past few weeks has always ended his story by asking, “Now where do YOU see yourself in this story?” 

I am very likely going to ask you the same question today. 

Several years ago I preached a message  and began with this statement: 

“What if you knew that somewhere in front of you was a moment that would change your life forever?. A moment rich with potential, a moment filled with endless possibilities? 

What if you knew that the choice you made in that moment would determine the course and momentum for your future from today forward? 

How would you handle that moment? 

How would you recognize it? 

This is where we find the disciples today in the story of Jesus in Mark 6. 

The Bible is full of stories about Jesus: how he calmed the storm, fed the crowd on the hill, healed the sick and raised the dead. 

Our Story begins with Jesus and His disciples returning to his home town of Nazareth….the first time he had returned since starting his Ministry 3 years earlier. 

You might have heard the townspeople say: 

“We had no idea he was this good!” they said. How did he get so wise all of a sudden, get such ability?” 

But then…they turned on him. 

In the next breath they were cutting him down: “He’s just a carpenter—Mary’s boy. We’ve known him since he was a kid. Who does he think he is?”  

….people began to question him, but Jesus did not change….he stayed who he was in their presence. 

“Jesus said to his disciples: 

“Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown and among their own kin and in their own house.” 

5 And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief.” 

So He and his disciples moved on to other villages and then the 12 came to Him. 

NOW…THIS was the MOMENT  for His Disciples! 

It is when Jesus shares with them their Divine Mission…..It represents the past 3 years of their lives with him……Learning from Him, watching him, following him….  

BUT  FOR THESE 12: Do your remember what they did to follow Jesus? They ALL began with Jesus… 

  • In the middle of doing their ordinary jobs….they left it ALL to follow Him. 
  • Jesus for the last three years had been their Rabbi….their Shepherd.  
  • They watched him heal the blind, raise the dead, cast out demons….they had seen Him do things they could not do…. 
  • They listened as he taught… 
  • Watched him as he modeled how to relate to others. 
  • They were trained by Him so they too might be servants. 

They were challenged by Jesus every day

  • They were with him from the very beginning…….through the trials and Cross…. 
  • They were Eye witnesses to  the resurrection all the way through the Ascension where Jesus gives the Great Commission in Matthew 28: 19…”Go into all the world…and make disciples….baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

So Get this!! 

So Jesus…….took these 12 to a hillside and TRANSFERRED HIS ministry to them

Many people followed Jesus, but on THIS day…..These 12 disciples that Jesus had called….. became Apostles…they were not just following Jesus…..they were BEING  “SENT OUT”….by Jesus!  

There is a difference in following Jesus and being sent.  A disciple is a Learner…a follower…An apostle is one who is “SENT” They were called not only to make disciples…but to TRANSFORM the world through the Gospel of Jesus! 

Do you remember the Story of Peter on the shore with Jesus and Jesus had asked peter 3 times, “Peter, do you love me?  Peter replied as many of us would,  “Lord you know that I love you!”,,,But Jesus asks 2 more times…then 

Then FEED MY SHEEP

In our passage today I began asking myself several questions: 

1.Why did Jesus send them out 2 by 2? Couldn’t they have covered more territory alone? And why did Jesus give THEM authority to do miracles? The Holy Spirit had not come yet at Pentecost. 

Why 2×2? 

  • They travelled in pairs for protection on the road and to be witnesses for each other for what might happen on the road. 
  • Maybe because Jesus know they needed one another. There is power in a shared ministry.   
  • One could be strong when the other was weak.  
  • When one doubted the mission, the other could remind him of what Jesus had said and what they had seen him do. 

Jesus knew they would need each other.  

  • This meant that they would have to learn to depend on God for everything that they needed. Have you had to do that lately? 

His Instructions: 

  • Take nothing with you except a staff….for protection..no bread, No money ..depend on the hospitality of others. 
  • Wear sandals and do not take extra garments. 
  • Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the area 
  • If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them and move on. 

So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent and follow Jesus.  

They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. 

Is this the mission for which they were called?..No Jesus said go to ALL the world… 

We certainly live in a different world than the time Mark was written….  

Are you and I called to speak the truth of the Gospel to a world who so desperately needs to hear that Jesus is the the hope they are looking for! 

And how do we do that? 

Illustration: 

We have all heard of the Sequoia tree or the Redwood tree. Redwood trees are referred to as the largest living things on earth. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the opportunity to go and see the Redwood trees in California, but they reach to almost 250 feet in the air and live for 1500 years. 

Probably these trees have been living from the collapse of the Roman Empire 476 AD. If one could ask how you could stand through the storms of life and how you have not toppled? 

The response might be amazing. We all will think that the tree this big and old is standing because it has roots way deep into the ground.  

That is not the case. Do you know that each tree’s root grow down only about 4 feet below the ground?  

While growing deeper helps many trees remain upright, the Redwood tree does not have deep roots.  

But if you look around the tree, you will notice that the Redwood trees grow only in groves or bunches. While the roots of these trees are only 4 feet below the ground, the roots are intermingled with the other Redwood trees next to them.  

One tree has other tree surrounding it, supporting it and keeping it strong. No one Redwood grows alone. 

Which led me to my other question:  Jesus was the only one with the authority to heal….how did he transfer HIS authority to His disciples?Because when they went out to towns and villages…..they were still doing miracles IN JESUS’s NAME…..continuing to use the authority  of Jesus NAME to cast out demons and heal the sick. 

Folks….There is POWER in the name of Jesus…… 

Henri Nowen in his book _________ reminds us that we cannot do this mission alone. We are called to claim this mission in community….together… For where two or three are gathered in MY NAME….Jesus says, I am there. Do you really believe that? 

We all need the encouragement that comes from bothers and sisters to challenge us….to keep us staying pure in heart, mind, and body. 

But far more important….it is Jesus who heals, not me, Jesus who speaks words of truth, not me, Jesus who is Lord, not me.  

This becomes so clear as we proclaim the redeeming power of the Lord together.  

Whenever we come to proclaim the name of the Lord…..we do it in Jesus’s name 

Often this is done in community, but sometimes this can be the call from God to you alone. 

And I believe with all my heart this only comes from a heart this is turned toward God every day. 

What is your measure of compassion and mercy? It is a gospel question…it is a heart question….When we love God…when we receive His great gift of love for us through Christ….we become “new creatures”…we get new hearts…. 

 Some of you may have heard of speaker and teacher,  Beth Moore,  

Beth Moore tells the story of  hearing from God  in an airport. 

She was waiting for her flight to board.  As she was sitting, she noticed an older man in a wheelchair sitting alone, close to the boarding gate.  Beth said though, that the thing that stood out most about this man was his hair.  Everyone was noticing and whispering about it.  It was very long, and very tangled and matted.  It looked like it hadn’t been brushed in ages.   

As she was sitting there and waiting, Beth felt God say to her spirit, “Go and brush that man’s hair.”  Was God telling her to go and brush a stranger’s hair?   Sure, she had little girls and was used to taking a brush and gently working out the tangles in their hair, but this was different. 

However the longer she sat, the stronger God spoke.   

Finally, she very nervously got up and walked over to where the man was sitting.  She went up to him and asked quietly,’ Sir, May I please have the honor of brushing your hair?” 

“Speak up please,” he said. 

She asked the question again a little louder.  He still couldn’t hear.   “she said, God didn’t tell me that he was hard of hearing.”   

So, she practically had to shout, “Sir may I please have the honor of brushing your hair?”  So much for doing this inconspicuously.  At this point everyone sitting in the boarding area was staring and whispering. 

The old gentleman looked at Beth with wide eyes and said, “Yes, there’s a brush in my bag.” 

As she brushed, tears began to flow down the man’s face.   

He began to explain that he had been very sick and away from his wife for a very long time.  He was flying to see her for the first time in several years.   

He had wanted to brush his hair, but had no one to help him and he couldn’t do it by himself.  He had prayed earlier that day that God would somehow let him not look so ugly and unkempt when he got off the plane and saw his beloved wife.   

 You see…Because Beth had been open to hearing a word from God that day, he used her to be the hand of Christ that day to this man. 

There are people all around us that need to hear that Jesus Loves them, died on a cross for them, and wants to bring them some hope today. 

So I and to ask you this morning…. 

Where are YOU in this story this morning? 

Are you willing to join the mission God has set before us? 

What might that look for you today? 

Maybe you have been a Christian for a long time….but for whatever reason you have stopped thinking about your responsibility in  the mission of Christ? 

Maybe you are sitting here today and saying….you know…I’ve never thought about teaming up with others to carry out this mission.  I’d like to find out more about that…. 

Maybe you have personally felt the Lord calling you to find a place in ministry, to go somewhere in this incredible world of ours and share the Love of Jesus.   

Or maybe you are sitting here today and you under the leadership of the Holy Spirit are saying…..You know Lynn…that’s me!!…..I don’t know if I have ever committed my life to Jesus…I need Jesus in my life and I want to commit my life to Him today. 

I can think of no better day to make a fresh commitment of your life today to this mission God is calling us on than Communion Sunday. 

This is a day to remember what Jesus has done for you and for me.   

Remember this table is not First Baptist Church’s table….it is the table of the Lord. 

Words of Institution

On the night Jesus was with his disciples  

He took bread and broke it.. 

He took the cup and my blood shed for you 

Closing Remarks and Closing Hymn: 

Do you Remember How I started this sermon out today? 

“What if you knew that somewhere in front of you was a moment that would change your life forever?.  

What if that moment was today? 

Could it be that God is inviting all of us to join Him in this Divine Mission of transforming this world through Jesus?