Pinebrooke Community Church
Thursday, February 22, 2024



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Pinebrooke Community Church                                                                  28 January 2024 Episode One with the First Four Followers                                                     Mark 1:21-28


     Picture being Simon or Andrew, Big James or John.  A trip to the synagogue in your own hometown on the Sabbath.  A very ordinary experience that was going to be a completely different day.  They were used to the scribe’s approach to the scriptures, erudite and theologically impinging.  Jesus comes teaching differently.  In the words of William Manson, British theologian, “The rabbis taught, and nothing happened, Jesus taught an all kinds of things happened.”  It was the difference between non-power and power.

Mark 1:21-28

         Jesus and his four new friends went into town to the synagogue since it was now the Sabbath (from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday).  Jesus was obviously recognized as a rabbinic trained male and was given the pulpit from which to explain the law and the prophets.                                                                            

     Jesus’ manner of teaching was different.  Not sounding like the scribe who could only speak about the truth, Jesus spoke the truth that He had already given whether it was to Moses or David or one of the prophets.  He spoke from the experience of truth.  Those in attendance heard and felt the difference.                                                   

     The congregation was made up of simple sinners and a demonic possessed sinner.  When exposed to the truth and the presence of the Holy One, the demonic possessed is “outted.”                                                              

     The exposure was on!  The presence of the evil one in the possessed declared the truth about Jesus that hadn’t been made public.  Jesus confronted the demon with silencing authority.  He didn’t want the message out yet, and He certainly didn’t want it declared from the evil one.                                                                          

     The deliverance was dramatic and unmistakable!  This was the birth of phenomenon that would follow Jesus wherever He went over the next three years.  “The witnesses are dazed to say the least!  It seems they do not wonder at what the unclean spirit proclaims about Jesus.  Do they even hear it?  Are they stupefied because it is simply too overwhelming for them to comprehend?” (Garland, p. 71).                                                                

     The action witnessed provoked the congregation’s questions and reactions.  They missed the demon’s message, but they landed on the authority and subsequent event of deliverance that had messed up their dull obedience.  But being ordinary people as usual the phenomenon grasped their attention.  The familiar utilitarian reading of scripture doesn’t have the power that existential (formational) truth does.                                                                 

     Their first response to spiritual reality (the deliverance) is to proclaim social fame.  Phenomenon speaks first and foremost.  I think that is why Jesus included signs and wonders in His messaging with His fellow Jews.  However, as He said later faith built on signs and wonders is subordinate to faith built on believing truth.                                   

     I wonder what the freshly minted disciples, Simon, Andrew, Big James, and John thought?  My hunch is that because they had already felt Jesus’ authority, different than the congregation they heard what the demon said.  Maybe in some what the message was for them to confirm their faith.                                                                

     What might we gather from Mark’s exposure to the teaching and actions on Jesus’ part?  Here is a central theme it seems to me.  They heard Jesus reading and teaching as being with authority that the usual reading and teaching in the synagogue did not.  Jesus’ presence is spiritually empowered so the reading and teaching is spiritually empowered.  The inspiration of the scriptures matters immensely.  For us we are faced with the declaration that the Apostle makes when he writes to Timothy.  “All scripture is breathed out (or inspired) by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”    It has the same spiritual power to transform our lives when we are open to it as the spiritual power Jesus had in delivering a demon from possession.                                                                                             

     The experience of the First Four revealed a night and day difference in the difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus.  From this time forward they are going to learn to know Jesus more than they ever imagined.  They were to become intimate with Him and their love became more and more intense.  These three years were going to change their lives forever.  The more we come to know Jesus in our experience as we walk with Him and talk with Him the more our lives will also change.  The First Four had been to synagogue their whole lives, yet today’s experience opened their eyes and ears to what they had not seen or heard what was always there in the presence of the Word.                 

     Jesus’ healing miracles do not simply remedy human maladies; they represent a war against demonic forces.  The Ignatian Two Standards are essential for us to be prepared to live life as God has given us.  The one Standard is that God has a strategy with us that is designed for His glory described as the way, the truth, and the life of Christ.  The other Standard is that Satan has a strategy for each of us to steal, kill, and destroy us.  In the spiritual realm life is at war.  After Jesus’ earthly life, the Apostle described this war when he wrote, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  This is truth that we have read that we need to remember and not forget.  It is given to us as Paul said for our “training in righteousness.”                                                                             

     For most of us who have watched The Chosen series have found it interesting and positive.  Is that not because following Jesus was an adventure for the Twelve.  It is not meant to be an adventure just for them, it is meant to be an adventure for each of us as followers of Jesus today.  Though Jesus is always near, He is always on the move.  He is always going places and wanting to take you and me along.  The change the First Four experienced was never to harm them and the change He leads us into is never meant to harm us either.                                                                  

     Once the First Four made the commitment to follow Him life became an adventure.  One in which they would hang on for dear life.  He took them where they had never been because they were now with Him.  That is also true with us.  I remember the first time I realized that we could be in daily contact with missionaries or brothers and sister anywhere in the world.  1993….           

     Being with Him made all the difference in the adventure.  They could have created their own journey, but frankly it would have been so much less than it became.  At this point could anyone have told them what their lifetime would include?  That they would have been part of changing the world?                                                         

     When I think about the Call of the King and where it has led me, I would never have dreamed what it has been and what it yet will be.  We need to see and feel and experience as much as we can the life the First Four have entered into.      

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Acts 2:1-13 Bob Johnson 29 September 2019
Acts 2:41-47 Bob Johnson 13 October 2019
Acts 3:11-26 Bob Johnson 27 October 2019
Acts 4:1-22 Bob Johnson 3 November 2019
Acts 4:23-31 Bob Johnson 10 November 2019
Acts 4:32-37 Bob Johnson 24 November 2019
Matthew 24:36-44 Bob Johnson 1 December 2019
Matthew 3:1-12 Bob Johnson 8 December 2019
Matthew 11:2-11 Bob Johnson 15 December 2019
Matthew 1:18-25 Bob Johnson 22 December 2019
A Case for Miracles Deb Mitchell 29 December 2019
James 5:1-6 Bob Johnson 18 August 2019
James 5:7-12 Bob Johnson 25 August 2019
James 5:13-20 Bob Johnson 1 September 2019
Acts 1:1-5 Bob Johnson 18 September 2019
Acts 1:12-28 Bob Johnson 22 September 2019