Rock Your World
LET JESUS ROCK YOUR WORLD
By Mark E. Hardgrove, D.Min.
Text: Mark 9:30-37
30 Then they departed from there and passed through Galilee, and He did not want anyone to know it. 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." 32 But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him.
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?" 34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest.
35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." 36 Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, 37 "Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me."
In the 1960s and 70s a philosopher of science by the name of Thomas Kuhn rocked the scientific community and became one of the most influential philosophers of science of the twentieth century, perhaps the most influential. His contribution was in the observation that the way science develops over time is that that it has periods of stable growth punctuated by revolutionary shifts in the way a given field of study and the perspectives of that field of study are understood.
For example, under the Ptolemaic theory the earth was at the center of the universe, this is known as the geocentric view, and for millennia it was held to be the way a modern scientist understood the universe. This view, known as the Ptolemaic model, seemed to account for the movement of the planets, the sun,
the moon, and so on. Then in the late 16th Century Copernicus, followed by Galileo and Kepler, offered a model of the universe which put the sun at the center of our solar system (called the heliocentric model) and put our solar system as just one among many in a larger universe, it changed everything the scientific community thought it knew about the space and time.
Thomas Kuhn referred to this type of shift in the way the entire scientific community viewed the universe as a paradigm shift. These types of sifts continue to happen in the scientific community, in medicine, in physics, and in social sciences. I would also argue that there was paradigm shift in Christianity during the Reformation when Martin Luther had a revelation that the just shall live by faith. This concept, a concept right from the Bible itself, rocked Martin Luther's world. He had been raised Catholic. He had been a Catholic priest and a monk, but one day the Word of God broke through the religious fog that he had been raised in and illuminated his mind and heart with a new reality.
It isn't all about the Pope, and the church is not the arbiter of salvation, a person doesn't have to earn his way into heaven by his works, and you can't buy your way out of hell by paying off a priest to pray for you after you die. What rocked Luther's world were these words from Romans 1:17, "The just shall live by faith." From that revelation, based solely on the word of God, the religious world of Christianity changed. Faith in God's grace revealed, in the works of Christ and not of man, became the source of salvation.
In our text Jesus rocks the world of His disciples and they go through a profound paradigm shift of their own. They thought they knew something about Messiah and about what Messiah was coming to do. But then Jesus rocked their world. They thought he was coming to conquer the Romans and establish the nation of Israel. But then Jesus rocked their world. They thought they were going to hold positions in this new kingdom. But then Jesus rocked their world.
Let me ask you something, when was the last time Jesus rocked your world? When is the last time you experienced a significant spiritual insight that clarified your world view and altered the meaning of life for you?
I) THE REVELATION
In verse 30 we see that for the second time in Mark's Gospel, Jesus begins to reveal to His disciples, what the true nature of the mission of Messiah was. It wasn't about political power. It wasn't about military might. Instead, it was a spiritual warfare; it was about the kingdom of light overcoming the kingdom of darkness. It wasn't about retribution, but it was about reconciliation. The Messiah hadn't come to bring down Rome by killing Gentiles, but the Messiah had come to build up the kingdom of God by dying for the sins of the World.
Notice that on one hand Jesus is trying to conceal Himself by traveling incognito, but on the other hand Jesus is trying to reveal something to those who are closest to Him. That's the way God works. There are some things God hides from us because we're not ready for them yet. Sometimes we want to get ahead of God, but God knows when we're ready and He knows what we're ready for. Sometimes He gives us revelation in bite sized pieces because we couldn't handle it yet. Notice that Jesus simply states the true reason for His mission, for the second time, but He doesn't dwell on it here. He moves on.
The Bible says, "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.' 32 But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him." This was paradigm shifting stuff for the disciples, they didn't get it, but they were afraid to ask. Maybe there were afraid that Jesus meant exactly what He said, so they just decided to whistle through the graveyard and act like they didn't get it.
II) THE DISPUTATION
Notice that after Jesus reveals this truth about the mission of Messiah, the disciples following Jesus to Capernaum are having a disputation among themselves. Jesus has just taught them about His betrayal, about His death, and His resurrection, and they are arguing about who is going to be the greatest among them. Their orientation of life in the kingdom of God was way off. They were focusing upon themselves and not on Jesus, and certainly not on the world that Jesus was about to die for. Jesus had challenged their paradigm, but they were still thinking like the world. They were still coming to church, but they were still thinking like the world. They were singing the psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, but they were still thinking like the world.
In their view, which was also the view of the world, the greatest people held the highest seats in political and religious power. In their view of the world, the greatest people received the loudest applause, the most recognition, and received the highest honors. But Jesus was about to rock their world.
III) THE REORIENTATION
Look at verse 35 and following. Notice that Jesus sat down. This was the posture of a Rabbi when he was teaching. "He sat down, called the twelve to Him." Jesus knew this was going take a little time, so He sat down and called class into session. Look at what Jesus said:
35 . . ."If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." 36 Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, 37 "Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me."
This was radical, world rocking, paradigm shifting teaching. To be first, to be the leader, you have to be last, that is you have to put others ahead of yourself and you must be willing to serve. Wow! That's mind blowing. In the world's paradigm the leaders are served. They have armor bearers; they don't bear the armor for others. People serve them, they don't serve people. Jesus is turning their world upside down, and this is the nature of a paradigm shift, it results in a reorientation, or a reordering of one's world view. It changes how you see things. It changes your perspective of life.
(Illustration: My little dog's paradigm shift when I brought home a 4 month old German Shepherd. My little Jack Russel Terrier thought he was the big dog until he had to deal with a much, much larger dog. After that his whole concept of life and the meaning of life changed.)
The disciples were thinking about leadership from the human political perspective, and Jesus rocks their world by saying if you want to be first you must be last. If you want to be a leader, then you must learn to be a servant. If you want to hold a position, then you must learn to be like a child. Children are humble, their motives are pure, they never put on masks, and you see them for who they really are.
In that culture children were respectful of adults. They said, "Yes sir, and yes ma'am." They never interrupted adult conversation. They knew to be obedient, to work hard, and to be grateful for whatever they received. Mark tells us that Jesus picked up a child in His arms, in the Greek it literally means that Jesus cradled a small child in His arm and said, "Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me." In the parallel to this account (Matthew 18:4) Jesus says, "Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
In this world rocking paradigm, you don't gain favor by kissing up to the boss, or trying to butter up the higher ups. It isn't about "knowing the right people," and socializing with the elite of society. Instead, being great in the kingdom is about looking to the least, the littlest, and the last of society. It is about receiving them, ministering to them, and loving them, because when you do that you are truly showing the characteristics of greatness in the kingdom of God and it reveals that you have received Jesus and your worldview has been transformed by His message.
Friends, it is easy to come to church, to go through the motions of Christianity and still be firmly fixed in the paradigm of this world, to be so ensconced in the culture in which we live that we do not or will not embrace the paradigm shifting, world rocking, radical message of love, humility, and service that Jesus preached and practiced. It is so easy to be arguing among ourselves who is greatest while the Savior is speaking about sacrifice and dying. It's time that we let Jesus rock our world. Eventually the disciples got the message because later it was said of them, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too" (Acts 17:6, NKJV).
What about it today. Has Jesus rocked your world? Have you allowed His message and His example to transform your view of what is really important, or great, or worthy of your time, talent and treasures? If not, then I invite you to join me today in prayer. It's time that we as a church begin to evaluate what is really important to us and to begin to view life through God's eyes and not through the eyes of our cultural and media driven bias on greatness. Some of the greatest people will never be paraded on television or patted on the back in front of the crowds. Some of our greatest people are like the widow woman who gave all she had simply because she loved the Lord.