Today we come to the very familiar passage in
which Jesus deals with the issue of prayer and
specifically he covers prayer from our side and
also from God’s side.
This morning I want to challenge you with the most glorious truth about
the Lord Jesus. Most of you I have never met before, and I know nothing
about you. I don’t know whether you’re a committed follower of Jesus;
or someone who’s interested in finding out more about Him; or you’ve
come because this is what you always do on Sunday mornings; or you’re
here somewhat unwillingly because of pressure or an invitation you
But whatever the reason that brings you here this morning, I’m glad that
you’ve come. For whether you are a keen follower of Jesus or not, there
is a certain truth about the Lord Jesus that I want to turn your attention
The winds obey Him – and now the demons! Mark recounts all the
incidents that built up Peter’s confession in Chapter 8 “You are the
Christ!” Peter was a person who had to struggle towards faith in Jesus
Christ as the Son of God over a period of time. Each incident Peter
witnessed was a hammer blow to his unbelief. Peter found faith hard to
come by! We see what convinced Peter – not just one incident or two, but
a whole flood reaching its crescendo in the feeding of the 4,000 and then
Decapolis: Damascus, Philadelphia (modern Amman), Canatha,
Sythopolis (Beth Shean), Gadara, Pella, Gerasa, Hippos, Dion, Raphana.
Hellenistic cities founded by Alexander the Great’s soldiers. Centres of
Hellenism. A Gentile area.
Faith in Christ rests on credible witnesses.
It all depends on whether you think ordinary people can be credible
witnesses. Without knowing anything much the first century people
involved, we often write them off as credulous country bumpkins. Peter,
the owner of a fishing trawler, is impetuous rather than credulous.
Matthew is well educated and cynical. Paul is well educated and willing
to go to any depths to crush what he considers a dangerous religious sect.
All these men report what changed their minds and hearts convincing
them that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, our Redeemer – far
more than a religious teacher from the mists of history.
Consider the story: Jesus in the boat, asleep. The storm, the boat filling,
the danger, the fright, the hopelessness – then they wake Jesus – the
sudden calm. Who is this? Who have we come to?
“A picture is worth a thousand words!” A saying of 19th Century
Jesus went on to tell three more Kingdom parables after the Parable of
the Soils with its focus on the mystery of the Kingdom.
People then as now faced many things that pull a person away from faith
in the God of Abraham. These three pictures build a vision of God’s
sovereignty and power that heartens perseverance and hope in our
The parable of the soils! The purpose of this parable does not fix
us eternally into one category or the other. The categories are real
but they bring us to the great mystery at the heart of Christ’s
At its very heart is the mystery of God’s judgment on all sin, and
His purity, love, grace and mercy towards sinners. The mystery of
His covenant, of His covenant promises!
But before we look at this passage today, I want to take a minute to just firstly talk about 9/11. We would all remember this that tragic event that happened in America, that changed the world in so many ways. But the reason I mention 9/11, is for something that happened the week after it. Not 9/11 itself, but something that came as a result of 9/11.
The week after the terrorist attack, President George Bush addressed a special sitting of congress. Obvious after such an event there was a lot to say, and something very memorable was said. This is what George Bush said the week after 9/11…
"Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."
Tamworth Community Presbyterian Church
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