Let's Wreck the Roof

Dr. Jon Morrissette - 1/12/2020

We spend hours clicking through headlines, flipping our thumb through our texts, emails, and social media feeds. We’re so anxious to hear good news. If you are an Illinoisan, your attention is trained upon Springfield, IL—what is the governor up to? What do our legislatures have up their sleeve next? If you are an American, your attention is trained upon Washington, DC—what is the President, the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the national parties have up their sleeve? The one thing every human being has in common, is we perpetually find ourselves subject to various governing authorities—sometimes wise or foolish… sometimes benevolent or malicious. *So, we make it our duty, to discern whether there is “good/bad news” on the horizon.

If you were a Jewish person living in Palestine, there was a whole hierarchy of governing authorities from King Herod (if you lived on one side of the Jordan), to King Philip (if you lived on the other side), all the way to Caesar Augustus, the Roman Emperor—an emperor declared to be a divinely appointed Son of God and King. The Jewish people felt like they were still living in slavery, fear and captivity. For all practical purposes, they may have still be slaved in Egypt... wandering in the wilderness… exiled.

But along comes this rugged, bearded, locust-eating, brute of a man named John the Baptist. He’s standing at the edge of the Jordan River asking people to confess their sins, to straighten up their ways, to go down into the waters of the Jordan River, to be baptized and washed. But unlike us, the metaphor of baptism wasn’t lost on the Jewish people. They’d seen how in creation, God’s Spirit hovered above water, forming life and order out of chaos. They’d seen how in the days of Noah, God saved Noah and his family through water and destroyed evil. They’d seen how in the days of Moses; God saved an entire nation as they passed through the waters of the Red Sea and destroyed Pharoah. They understood how in birth, a baby passes from womb to new life through the breaking of water. They understood that to pass through the waters of the Jordan in baptism was a declaration of faith in God’s mighty hand to rescue them.

But John is explicitly clear. Their salvation, their rescue, their deliverance, their “good news” was that God’s King was coming into the world. In Mark 1:7 John the Baptist announces, “One who is more powerful than I am is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the strap of his sandals.” And then sure enough, God’s King, Jesus appears!

Jesus first official act is to be baptized. But not for the remission of his own sins. Like Moses, Jesus was standing before the people to lead them through! Upon Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit flutters/broods/descends upon Jesus from Heaven. The Father’s voice booms from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased.”

Mark 1:1, “[This is] the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

What we see next in Mark’s gospel, is a rapid-fire recitation of events. “Boom. Jesus did this. Jesus did that. This happened. That happened.” The pace of events is so dizzying, you might wonder if the gospel writer Mark has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I wonder, have you ever been so excited to share some bit of good news you that you forgot to breath between sentences or paragraphs? That’s how Mark’s gospel reads, especially compared to Matthew, Luke, and John. I mean Matthew and Luke break out Jesus’ family album and tediously walk you through his whole ancestry, they show you baby pictures from the nativity, they tell you (word for word) about the songs sung around Jesus’ birthday. They tell us about Jesus’ adolescent years. Mark is like, “Hey guys, there is a king… it’s God’s King… and he’s here, and he got baptized, and the spirit descended on him, and God spoke, and he was driven out in the wilderness, and…”

Mark’s purpose is to show us that Jesus is indeed, God’s King. Think about every (human) king you’ve ever known. In Mark 10:42 Jesus reflects on the character of Gentiles kings. He says, “You know [how] those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them.” Most every king that’s ever reigned follows a common script. They exercise tyranny. Appoint armies, officials, authorities, soldiers. Use brute force, amass wealth, intimidate and bully people into submission. A king’s currency is power and fear and punishment.

But in Mark 10:43-45 Jesus says, “But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus is breaking the script, breaking the mold! Outside of inducing fear and compliance, what authority does a king really have? In the Divine scheme of things, Caesar, Kings, Emperors, Presidents… have profoundly limited authority. They can reward/bless/curse—but beyond that they have no real authority. For instance, in Matthew 10:28, Jesus says, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Rulers can make your life hell on earth, or they can give you comfort, but that’s about it. But here is a different kind of king! He is a suffering, serving, self-sacrificing king. Not a fear-mongering, but a loving king. Not a malicious, but a willing, generous, benevolent king. Not a king with finite, limited, coerced, symbolic authority—but humble, eternal, destiny-altering, heavenly authority!

In scene after scene, Mark shows demonstrates Jesus breaking the mold. He is no Pharaoh, no Caesar Augustus, no Herod nor Philip. Not only does be possess true authority, but he actually uses his authority to serve the good of man. This morning we’re going to sketch a list of what Jesus, God’s King, has the authority to do in your life.

1.) Jesus has authority to baptize you with the Holy Spirit. This was John the Baptist’s big announcement! Mark 1:8, “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” God doesn’t just send his fire from heaven (as in OT times), he is doing a new thing, filling our very bodies with his fire, making our lives his very temple, in which he dwells! (A) The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of Sonship by which we can call God “Abba-Father.” When Jesus was baptized God affirms, “This is my son.” Over in John’s gospel, John 3:5 says that its Jesus who gives us the right to become children of God. It’s not something that we can just will—we can only become children by God’s sovereign choice, or authority. To all who receive Jesus, God gives the “right” to become children!

(B) The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of Love. When Jesus was baptized God affirms, “This is my Son whom I love.” We don’t have a Spirit of fear, but a Spirit of love and assurance. (C) The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of Righteousness. When Jesus was baptized God affirms, “This is my son, whom I love, with him I am well-pleased.” The Holy Spirit makes us holy. In fact, in Mark 1:12-13, Mark immediately describes Jesus being driven by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted by Satan, being ministered to by angels. What if everything you’ve needed to overcome temptation comes not from you, but rather from God? Jesus has authority to fill you with the Holy Spirit of God. There is not a single greater gift you can receive in all the universe the Spirit of the Living God.

2.) Jesus has authority to change people’s destiny. In Mark 1:16-20 Jesus calls Simon & Andrew, James and John (who were cleaning their nets) to be “fishers of men.” The imagery was not lost on the Jewish mind. In the OT, fishing nets were an image of coming judgement. The net would be thrown, and God humankind would be sorted. But here Jesus is calling his disciples to “catch men” and “save men” to escape judgment!

3.) Jesus has authority to teach/impart true wisdom. Mark 1:21-22 says, “They [Jesus/disciples] went into Capernaum, and right away he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and began to teach. They were astonished at his teaching because he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not like the scribes.” The teachers in Jesus day had no real authority. They did what we do today—we’re perpetually name dropping, quoting experts, deferring to other people’s expertise/degrees/credentials. We intuitively know when someone is full of bologna, and when they truly know something. Jesus was his own source! The truth needs no qualifying—it simply needs to be announced, declared, preached. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free. As Jesus taught people were astonished. God’s wisdom slices through, dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges thoughts/attitudes of the heart.

4.) Jesus has authority to drive out darkness. In Mark 1:23-28 a man with an “unclean spirit” comes before Jesus. From a human perspective, this man’s spirit was chaotic, and unpredictable, and perhaps even dangerous. Have you ever met a person controlled by some mysterious darkness within? In college I taught the Bible Study at a retirement complex. The women were generous to help me pay my tuition! But at our studies there was a troubled woman. Her behavior could be so erratic, and most of the time she would speak total gibberish. But whenever I read Scripture, she would focus her gaze on me, and call me “Captain Oh Captain.” And as I taught, she’d take whatever Scriptural truths I spoke, and speak condemnation over the women in the circle. They’d ignore her… but whatever darkness within her clearly sought to interfere with my ministry and was clearly engaged in satanic work!

As Jesus taught in the synagogue an unclean spirit spoke forth out of a troubled soul! Can you imagine? I can! Mark 1:24, “What do you have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” But Jesus rebuked the Spirit! “Be silent and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit threw him into convulsions, shouted with a loud voice, and came out of him. 27 They were all amazed, and so they began to ask each other: “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28 At once the news about him spread throughout the entire vicinity of Galilee.”

We manage darkness. We send folks to therapy. We pump people full of medications. We restrain people in straight suits. We send folks away to treatment facilities, mental health facilities, or prisons. Nowadays folks are literally turned lose on the streets, left to create chaos and die. But here this Jesus demonstrates authority to rescue a man from darkness and bring him into the kingdom of light!

5.) Jesus has authority to drive us sickness. You can kind of imagine the picture. Jesus calls Simon Peter to be a disciple. But seeing Jesus’ power Simon (more than likely) says to Jesus, “Hey Jesus, what about my mother-in-law? There is this person in my life that I love and care deeply about!” Mark 1:29-31, “As soon as they left the synagogue, they went into Simon and Andrew’s house with James and John. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was lying in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31 So he went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she began to serve them.” Okay, Jesus passes the mother-in-law test. What about the late-night shift at the community Emergency Room? Mark 1:32-34, “When evening came, after the sun had set, they brought to him all those who were sick and demon-possessed. The whole town was assembled at the door, and he healed many who were sick with various diseases and drove out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.” Jesus had authority to clear emergency room! BTW the reason they waited until evening was because it was thought “illegal” to heal on the Sabbath!

6.) Jesus has authority to cleanse lepers. In Mark 1:39-45, hearing about Jesus, a leper came to Jesus, and on his knees begged Jesus. “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Oh man, there was no greater stigma then leprosy. Leprosy was thought contagious, so the leper had to withdrawal from all social contact. If approached by people he was legally obligated to cover his mouth, turn away, and shout a warning, “Unclean, Unclean.” If you were a leper, it was thought better you die than live. But Mark 1:41-42 tells us, “Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched him. “I am willing,” he told him. “Be made clean.” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.” What king… whose sandals were not even worthy to untie… ever embraced a leper much less had authority to heal him and restore him to common life?

---- Now regarding Jesus’ Kingly authority, by the end of Mark 1, the cat is out of the bag. Jesus asked the leper to quietly go and show himself to the priest. The priest would verify his healing and restore him. But instead of obeying Jesus, Mark 1:45 says, “Yet he went out and began to proclaim it widely and to spread the news, with the result that Jesus could no longer enter a town openly. But he was out in deserted places, and they came to him from everywhere.” ----

7.) Jesus has authority to forgive sin. A little Jesus fact. Jesus lived in Nazareth, but after a while, he moved to Capernaum. In Mark 1 we were just at Simon/Andrew’s house. In Mark 2:1 says, “When Jesus entered Capernaum again after some days, it was reported that he was at home.” The latest scholarship on Mark 2:1 (i.e. N.T. Wright) believes Jesus is at his own home! There is no mention of an owner. But so many people gathered together that there was no room, not even in the doorway of Jesus’ home. And here come four men bringing their friend on a stretcher, a paralytic. Since they couldn’t come through the front door, they WRECK the roof to get their friend to Jesus. They claw through the roof and lower their friend on a mat to be healed by Jesus. To their astonishment, instead of healing their friend, seeing their faith, Jesus tells the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Of all the things Mark’s outlined, this is the straw the break the camel’s back. Mark 2:6-12 says, “6 But some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts: 7 “Why does he speak like this? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 Right away Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were thinking like this within themselves and said to them, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat, and walk’? 10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he told the paralytic— 11 “I tell you: get up, take your mat, and go home.” 12 Immediately he got up, took the mat, and went out in front of everyone. As a result, they were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” We could go on and on.

#8.) Jesus has authority to call Sinners. Next Sunday we’ll talk about the calling of Jesus disciples. In Mark 2:13-17, Levi (Matthew) is called. Mark 2:16-17 says, “While [Jesus] was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who were following him. When the scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard this, he told them, “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

#9) Jesus has authority to receive worship. Mark 2:18-22, Jesus is asked why his disciples aren’t fasting and Jesus tells them, “Because I’m the bridegroom!” Mark 2:23-28, Jesus is asked what right his disciples have to pick some heads of grain on the Sabbath and eat. The Sabbath is to be a day set aside for worship, not work. In Mark 2:27-28 Jesus tells them, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. So then, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” What’s the implication? Jesus is announcing his authority to receive and dictate true worship!

Remember how everyone came to be healed back in Mark 1 after dark because they were afraid to come to Jesus to be healed on the Sabbath? Mark 3:1-6, “Jesus entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a shriveled hand. 2 In order to accuse him, they were watching him closely to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 He told the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand before us.” 4 Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 After looking around at them with anger, he was grieved at the hardness of their hearts and told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So, he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 Immediately the Pharisees went out and started plotting with the Herodians against him, how they might kill him.”

Alright, Mark is driving us to an obvious conclusion. In Matthew 28:20 Jesus announces, “All authority in heaven/earth has been given to me.” If we truly understood the nature/scope of Jesus’ authority we’d wreck the roof to be saved. We’d heed John’s the Baptists to go down into the water, to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sin. We’d heed Jesus’ kingly authority and command to “repent and believe.” We’d also wreck roofs to bring the people we care about to Jesus.

Never has there been a man whose walked this earth that’s demonstrated such authority as what Christ. There is only one to whom we turn as our king and its Jesus. We pray in his name. We seek Jesus in prayer. We’re inviting people to put their faith in Christ as king. The good news isn’t that people don’t need a thrill, a pick me up, a superficial stroke of religion. They need a King with real authority. Jesus came to call sinners to himself… So, are we part of that mission?

Scripture Verses

Mark 2:1-3:6; Matthew 28:20

Worship Playlist

Faithful to the End by Bethel Music

Tremble by Mosaic MSC

Great Are You Lord by All Sons and Daughters

O Come to the Altar by Elevation Worship

Study Questions

  1. What are the most audacious actions you've ever taken to help someone in need? What happened?  
  2. What was the primary concern of the four men in Mark 2:1-4? What were they willing to do for their friend? Who are you most concerned about and trying to help right now?
  3. What was the primary (not only) concern of Jesus in Mark 2:5? Why is forgiveness such an urgent matter?   
  4. Read Mark 2:13-17. What categories of people are most difficult for religious people to understand? Who are the modern equivalent of "tax collectors and sinners" today? Why is it difficult to eat with people who are radically different than yourself? Why is it important to do it anyway?  
  5. What physical obstacles prevent people from knowing Jesus (Mark 2:1-12)? What spiritual attitudes prevent people from knowing Jesus (Mark 2:13-28)? What barriers might you unknowingly be creating?  
  6. What was the primary concern of the religious authorities throughout this chapter (v. 6, 16, 18, 24)? Why did these things matter to them? What types of things do we obsess about today?  
  7. Why are religious people so protective of their rules and traditions? How does our obsession with religious rules and traditions block people from discovering God's grace?  
  8. Read Mark 2:23-28, 3:1-6. Is our religion a means of serving people, or are people a means of serving our religion? What kind of fruit are you bearing in your relationship with Jesus? Are you growing in compassion?    

Apply It!


At the Lakeside Bookshelf:

Jesus the King: Understanding the Life and Death of The Son of God by Timothy Keller