On the Road to Jerusalem

Jesus faced suffering resolutely because He found strength in drawing close to God: Jesus had been in God's presence in prayer; He knew Scriptures had to be fulfilled; and it was His delight to do the Father's will.

Scripture: Mark 10:32-52

Sermon Notes:

  1. As the Lord's path turns away from Galilee toward Jerusalem, His followers react with amazement, fear, and self-ambition.
  2. By contrast, the blind beggar reacts by springing up, casting aside his cloak and following Jesus, glorifying God.
  3. The disciples are amazed at Jesus' determination to go to Jerusalem where there will be conflict, rejection and suffering.
  4. Jesus goes to Jerusalem resolutely because He found strength in drawing close to God: Jesus had been in God's presence in prayer; He knew Scriptures which had to be fulfilled; and it was His delight to do the Father's will.
  5. To face the Jewish leaders was a path that promised suffering. The Lord will ask us at times to do things that won't appear strategic to those outside.
  6. Instead of engaging with Jesus' teaching about suffering, the disciples are stuck on kingdom thoughts and the question of who would be the greatest.
  7. We are most inclined to believe what we want to believe, and this is where Satan can really use his schemes to bring us down. For example, tens of thousands believe the prosperity gospel because it takes us out of the path of suffering.
  8. We overlook the fact that Jesus says tells us to deny ourselves and take up our crosses to follow Him, and that those who enter will enter through tribulation (Mk. 8:34; Acts 14:22).
  9. The emergent church avoids conflict, telling us not to judge people's lifestyles or talk about hell and the need for repentance.
  10. Most of us expect some suffering, but we envision a life that involves maximum pleasure with minimal pain. When this ideal is threatened we experience fear and resentment: “why has God allowed this?”
  11. We need to raise a generation prepared to face the tough stuff of life with courage and self-discipline.
  12. We see John and James seeking a place of prominence. They were right in wanting Christ's kingdom to come, but the crown of life is for those who are faithful unto death (Rev. 2:10) and those who endure temptation (James 1:12).
  13. The Lord tells the disciples that the way to the kingdom goes by the cross. This is true for us too.
  14. The disciples' claim that they could face Jesus' call to suffering was noble, but it was rooted in self-confidence. Let us not boast in what we will do for the Lord.
  15. This whole problem with the desire for prominence is a great evil and it is found in the church context almost more than anywhere else. Promoting self under the guise of Christ is so common it's little-noticed.
  16. Our pride can be defeated only by gazing into the face of Jesus. You cannot preach or study it out of your system.
  17. Then Jesus demonstrates His answer to fear and self-ambition as He performs the last of His healing miracles (Mk. 10:46-52).
  18. We manifest the heart of Christ when we serve those who cannot repay.
  19. Like the blind beggar, we see things in a different way as the Lord restores our sight.
  20. We need to understand where our path of suffering ends. It ends in the kingdom with God where His Spirit abides with us.
  21. When the Lord touches our eyes we see all things clearly. Seeing Christ in His glory needs to be our motivation for serving others.

Application Questions:

  1. Why does the Lord allow suffering?  (See 2 Cor. 4:17)
  2. How does the Lord direct us to deal with the perplexity, anxiety, and fears that grip us?
  3. Is the direction we most fear the path to that which we most desire?
  4. What is the remedy to the problem of self-promotion within the church?
  5. Do you hate the selfishness in your heart?  Where can you find freedom?