In Mark 6:7-13, we see so many practical and applicable principles for discipleship as Jesus instructs His disciples and as the disciples fulfill His command. We can benefit from these practical and applicable principles as we follow Jesus today. Here a some of those principles that we looked at in depth in our study this past Sunday:
(“…send them out two by two…” Mark 6:7)
Serving Jesus is so much better when you’re serving Him with someone. Two is really better than one (see Ecclesiastes 4:9). In fact, two serving Jesus together is not just two—but three. The Lord is with you and a cord of three strands is not easily broken (see Ecclesiastes 4:12).
(“…power over unclean spirits…” Mark 6:7)
Did you know that you have power over unclean spirits in Jesus’ name? You do not need to fear the devil and fallen angels if you alway keep Jesus between you and him. James 4 tells us how—Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you (James 4:7-8a).
(“…take nothing for the journey except…” Mark 6:8)
Where God guides, God will provide. When we follow Jesus and His call on our life, He will provide all that we need to fulfill that calling. He will give us what’s necessary to go deeper in our relationship with Him. That doesn’t mean that life will always be pleasant, but it will be an adventure full of faith and learning and following Jesus.
(“…stay there till you depart from that place…” Mark 6:10)
In first-century Judea, hospitality was a sacred duty. As the disciples would enter a city, they would be approached by someone to stay with them. Jesus told His disciples to stay with whoever approaches them first—not to look for something bigger or better. The lesson here is to not show favoritism to other. Every person has value in the eyes of God because every person has been made in His image.
Walk in Wisdom
(“…whoever will not receive you nor hear you…” Mark 6:11)
Just because all people have been made in the image of God does not mean that all people properly reflect the image of God. When we love, we can also walk in wisdom. We can see value in all of humanity, but also understand human’s capacity for evil and harm.
(“…they went out…” Mark 6:12)
You can’t just listen to God’s directions—you need to do them! The disciples didn’t stay put, they were obedient to go and do the Lord’s work the Lord’s way. They were faithful to fulfill the mission Jesus had tasked them with. Like the disciples, we can live out the mission that God has sent us to do for Him and His glory!
Jesus has a unique way of training, developing, and maturing those who freely choose to follow Him.
Consider the disciples. Initially, these men simply watched Jesus serve in their communities. Soon, Jesus invited them to serve with Him: “Follow Me.” They were able to see up close how Jesus served.
Soon, they wanted to be with Jesus, but you can’t be with Jesus for long before you start to be like Him (serving, ministering, and helping those around you). And before they knew it (or maybe without knowing it), Jesus was helping them serve. And soon He was watching them serve.
Now it was time for them to serve without Jesus present. But He gives them practical and applicable principles before sending them out. Watch or listen to our study of Mark 6:7-13 and learn how we can apply these practical principles as we follow and serve Jesus today.
Join us Sunday at 10am as we worship the Lord and continue our study in the Gospel of Mark. We gather in-person at 912 W. St. Germain Street, St. Cloud, MN; online at https://live.refuge.mn; and on the radio at 96.1 FM (St. Cloud) or at https://refuge.fm.
“Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.
Many people in Nazareth had an odd and unhealthy familiarity with Jesus. This made it difficult for them to receive from Him. They assumed that since they knew a little about Him, they knew all about Him.
But they didn’t know all about Jesus. He is so much more than all of our knowledge of Him put together. We will forever be learning about Jesus and His grace and love towards us.
Sadly, a majority of those in Nazareth became offended at Jesus—their odd and unhealthy familiarity caused a stumbling block in them that led to a contempt for Him and unbelief of who He is.
This should make you pause and consider. Do you have an odd and unhealthy familiarity with Jesus? Do you assume that since you know something about Jesus that you know everything about Him? Be careful! This kind of familiarity can lead to contempt and unbelief as it did for many in Nazareth.
If an odd and unhealthy familiarity with Jesus has influenced you, it’s time to approach Jesus afresh. Not with the familiarity of history, heritage, and culture. Simply come to Jesus—approach Him like a little child and believe.
“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” That’s a question Nathaniel asked in John 1:46 when Philip told him about Jesus. Nathaniel didn’t get excited about the Messiah. He got hung up on Nazareth.
He wasn’t alone. Nazareth was looked down on by people in the region as an insignificant backwoods community. But this was Jesus’ hometown—it’s where He grew up, where He worked, and where He lived for a majority of His life on Earth.
So when He returns home (with a small following of disciples) after performing miracles and teaching about the Kingdom of God, you might think that this carpenter-turned-rabbi would be welcomed with enthusiasm.
But sadly, many in Nazareth were offended at Him. Why? Watch or listen to our study of Mark 6:1-6 and learn about the hazard of having an odd and unhealthy familiarity with Jesus.
Join us Sunday at 10am as we worship the Lord and continue our study in the Gospel of Mark. We gather in-person at 912 W. St. Germain Street, St. Cloud, MN; online at https://live.refuge.mn; and on the radio at 96.1 FM (St. Cloud) or at https://refuge.fm.
In Mark 5:21-43, we meet two daughters and a father who go to Jesus as a last resort. For the father (Jairus) and his daughter, time was of the essence. Jairus’ little daughter was dying…but he knew that Jesus could heal her.
For the other daughter, time was tormentor. For 12 long years, she suffered from a condition that caused her great distress and societal shunning…but she knew that Jesus could heal her.
For Jesus, time was no issue. Though these hurting people may have delayed in coming to Him, Jesus did not withhold His compassionate care to them. At just the right time, He willingly served them. Jesus is right on time—all of the time…even when His timeline doesn’t match ours.
Jesus’ character should prompt us to come to Him as our first choice instead of our last resort. Because of our pride or stubbornness, we often hold out on coming to Jesus in our time of need. We mistakenly think He will respond they same way—reluctantly or begrudgingly (or maybe even both).
But scripture erases these misconceptions. In the Bible, we see that we have a Savior who is willing to be our last resort and wanting to save—in His time. When we might expect His anger, frustration, or disappointment, we are met with compassion, mercy and grace. Jesus is able and willing, and ready and wanting to help us in our time of need.
You can come to Jesus—anytime and all the time. Whether He has been your first choice or your last resort, you can call out to Him in your time of need. He loves you no matter what and you will be surprised with how gracious He will be towards you!
Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve tried every alternative, exhausted every option, and overturned every stone until there is nothing left but to cry out to Jesus?
At one point or another, we all encounter a set of circumstances that will utterly exhaust our personal strength and resources so that there is nothing left to do but come to Jesus.
Thankfully, He is willing to be our last resort. But even though we know He is gracious and kind, we still hesitate coming to Him at times. When desperation overrules hesitation and we are finally face to face with Jesus, what will we find? Anger, frustration and disappointment, or compassion, mercy, and grace?
In Mark 5:21-43, we encounter two daughters and a father who were desperate for Jesus to help them. Watch or listen to our study of this passage and learn how Jesus’ character should cause us to call out to Him as our first choice instead of our last resort.
Our Small Group & Bible Study Training event on Sunday was a great time of learning how to study the Bible and how to prepare for small group discussion. If you missed it, we’ve put together a page on our website with links to some wonderful Bible teachers, free online resources to help study, and a short & simple break-down of the inductive Bible study method. Check it out at Refuge.mn/study.
As evening descended after a long day of teaching the multitude, Jesus tells His disciples their plans for the night—“Let us cross over to the other side.” The command is straightforward, but there’s an additional meaning with an application when we dig into what happened next.
During the night voyage, a violent windstorm came up and waves beat the boat (Mark 4:37). This storm was unlike any other. There was something dark about it…something demonic.
The disciples panicked, but Jesus was…sleeping. Sleeping? Like the disciples, we question why Jesus would be sleeping during such a storm (Mark 4:38). He was probably tired after a full day of preaching and teaching. But He was able to sleep because He said, “Let us cross over to the other side.”
And that’s where we find the application. If Jesus says, “Let us cross over to the other side,” then He’s going to the other side. It doesn’t matter how strong the wind or how high the waves—even if they are demonic—He will get to where He needs to be. Jesus had an appointment with a man who had his own personal demonic storm. And nothing would deter Him from getting there.
Maybe you’re on the boat with Jesus. The wind is beating you, the waves are battering you, the storm is relentless, and there is no peace in the midst of the storm. Take heart! Jesus has promised to get you to the other side. At His word, peace will come.
Perhaps you’re on that other side, battling a long, personal storm that seems to have no end. Take heart! Jesus has come for you. A word from Him will settle your troubled heart and bring you peace.
In either scenario, we see that both the disciples and the man on the other side simply came to Jesus. You can too—right now. Just come to Jesus. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).
In Mark 4 and 5, Jesus encounters two different storms. They were different from one another—one was an external storm, and the other was internal. But these storms were also different from the typical storm clouds and thunderclaps. These storms were more severe.
These two storms were satanic.
The first was a storm that directly threatened Jesus and His disciples. The second was a tempest that had tormented a man to the point of unimaginable suffering.
And Jesus confronts the dark force behind each storm to bring peace.
What did Jesus do? How did He react? Is Satan any match for Jesus? Watch or listen to our study from Mark 4:21-5:20 as we see how Jesus rules and reigns over the natural and supernatural.
In Mark 4, Jesus tells a parable about a sower, the seed that the sower scatters, and the types of soil the seed falls on. Fruitfulness does not depend upon the sower and His ability to sow; nor does it depend on the seed and its ability to grow. But fruitfulness is determined by the condition of the soil.
In this parable, the soil represents our hearts. And it causes us to pause and consider the condition of our own hearts…
Is your heart hardened by life (or maybe by others)? Does it seem like no matter how many times you hear the Gospel, it just doesn’t quite pierce your heart? God wants you to know that there is hope for you. Your heart needs to be softened—He can do that for you, but He needs your permission.
Maybe your heart is harder than hard—stony and cold. There is hope for you, too! God wants to remove your heart of stone and give you a new heart—one sensitive to Him (see Ezekiel 36:26).
Is your heart crowded by the cares and concerns of the world? Is the deceitfulness of riches choking out fruitful living for Jesus? There is hope as you pour out your heart to the Lord and tell Him your cares and concerns. He can guard your heart and mind and give you true peace that lasts when you ask Him.
Perhaps your heart is broken and busted up—yet you are eager to hear what God has to say and apply. Take heart—soil that is broken offers the perfect conditions for growth. You have hope—and the promise of fruitfulness that only God can supply.
Whatever the condition of your heart today, there is hope! Whether packed down, full of stones, choked with weeds, or broken, your heart—like soil—can be cultivated to hear and apply God’s Word. This continual transforming work of listening to the Lord and living out His Word will yield a fruitful harvest of blessing in your life, the lives of those around you, and ultimately for Jesus.
Wherever Jesus would go, a multitude would follow. But not everyone who follows after Jesus follows Him for the right reasons. Some look for His miracles—their interest isn’t in Him, His teaching, or the Word of God, but in what He could do for them.
That’s a dangerous position to be in—but not for the reasons you might expect. Jesus taught the multitude…a lot. And every time they heard the Word of God clearly, they would be accountable to it. That’s why Jesus said to “Take heed what you hear.” (Mark 4:24)
It’s great when people are attracted to Jesus. But if their focus is on what He can do for them instead of Who He is, they will not follow Him for long. We saw that in our study of Mark 4 as Jesus begins to teach the multitude in parables. Watch or listen to our study from Sunday and see how Jesus—in His mercy—ministers to those who follow after Him for the right and wrong reasons.
God cannot and will not force you to believe the gospel. He cannot and will not force you to receive forgiveness. You either believe and receive or you don’t.
If you believe and receive God’s testimony about His Son, you’re part of His family forever!
So when Jesus looks around the room and claims that those around Him are His mother and brothers (see Mark 3:31-35), it isn’t a rejection of His birth mother or His blood-born relatives. It’s an acknowledgement of the amazing grace that would accept whosoever would believe and receive into the family of God.
Do you believe this? Do you receive this? Then you are a brother or sister of Jesus and have become a son or daughter of your Heavenly Father!
Do you reject this? Do you refuse this? Heed the warning Jesus gives—there is only a finite number of times that the Holy Spirit will endure being called a liar before He will simply stop giving you His testimony. This sin of blasphemy is unforgivable. Repent today, return today, and receive today what God wants to give you!
Jesus says all sins will be forgiven…except for one particular sin. That particular sin has to do with blasphemy against a particular person. That particular person is the Holy Spirit.
But who is the Holy Spirit and what does He do? What is blasphemy and why would blaspheming the Holy Spirit be unforgivable?
These are great questions with answers we can find in the Bible. It just takes a little bit of digging. Once we start digging, the Lord will direct us as we discover the answers.
Watch or listen to the replay of our study in Mark 3:28-35 and dig with us as we discover the treasure just below the surface of these verses.
Jesus had a strategy for ministering to the multitudes. This strategy changed the world…and it’s pretty simple. He didn’t take everything on Himself—not because He was lazy—but because He knew what would give Him the most impact and intimacy.
Jesus simply poured His life into a small group, who poured themselves into small groups of their own, who poured their lives into…well, you get the idea. If we learn to follow Jesus’ example, there’s no limit to the impact and intimacy for the Kingdom you can make in your community.
Just be with Jesus—then be a really good friend to the few that God has given you. Bless them, love them, pray for them, pour into them well—just like Jesus has done for you. Whether it’s one, two, or three—or eight, ten, or twelve—you can be a good friend in whatever capacity the Lord has entrusted to you.
Last week, we considered how much Jesus wants to be with us. So much so that He has appointed us to be with Him forever. Fellowship with Him is first, foremost, and forever. Everything else is out of the overflow of that fellowship with Jesus—everything else becomes secondary.
But if the secondary becomes the primary way we find our identity—if what we do for Jesus is how we identify ourselves—we’ll be in trouble. God didn’t save us so we could just do amazing things for Him. He saved us so that we could enjoy fellowship with Him—forever!
Our identity, purpose, and worth in every season of life comes from this fact—Jesus wants to be with us and He has appointed us first and foremost to simply be with Him.
Watch or listen to our study of Mark 3:20-27 as Jesus shows us what His radical strategy for ministry looks like.
During His ministry on earth, Jesus had the habit of retreating to be with His Heavenly Father. He made the time to get away and enjoy fellowship with God the Father to receive instruction, encouragement, and strength for the battles that would come His way.
If Jesus needed regular times of retreat, how much more do we? For most of us, making this time for fellowship with God is difficult—but why?
Maybe pride prevents you from retreating with the Lord. You want to do great things for Him, so you don’t have the time just to be with Him. Or maybe you don’t think that God would want to be with you. You might feel like you’re bothering Him with your ordinary and unimportant problems.
Nothing could be further from the truth!
God wants to be with you more than anything! God wants you—that’s what this is all about. It’s never primarily about the fight and battle. It’s always primarily about the fellowship He wants to enjoy with you. It’s not just about what God can do through you, it’s mainly about what He’s doing in you.
First, foremost, and forever—He wants to be with you…He wants you!
During His ministry on earth, Jesus regularly withdrew from the busyness of life and ministry to ask His Father what He should do. Fellowship with His Father was so essential to Jesus that He prioritized His time so He could just be with His Heavenly Father. If Jesus needed to do this, how much more so us?
Watch or listen to our study of the Gospel of Mark 3:7-19 as we unpack the importance of regular times of withdrawing and retreating with God so that we might enjoy what He saved us for—fellowship with Him.
tHurting people hurt people.
This is an important truth to remember as a servant of Jesus. Jesus loves people—that includes people who are bound by sin, struggling with sin, or weary or heavily burdened. And since Jesus wants to heal hurting people, He sends His followers to hurting people to minister to them.
So when you are helping a hurting person, they just might criticize you, oppose you, or fight against you. When this happens, remember it’s not really about you—so don’t take things personally.
Instead, follow Jesus’ example. Gently lead them to Him—the Healer for their hurt. Show and tell them what His word has to say about the real root issue they are dealing with. And love them as He has loved you.
If you are hurting, there is hope and healing in Jesus. Come to Him—not as His adversary, but with humility and He will lift you up (James 4:10). Ask a brother or sister in Jesus for help and be ready and willing to talk about the real root issue that is causing you pain so He can heal you.
The Herodians, the Scribes, the Pharisees, the Saducees…there were many groups who saw Jesus as their enemy. In Mark 2:18-3:6, we observe three interactions Jesus had with these people, who weren’t really enemies from Jesus’ point of view. Although they came at Him in the craziest and pettiest of ways, Jesus didn’t consider them His enemies. To Him, they were hurting people who hadn’t yet found the courage to confront what was really going on in their hearts. Jesus didn’t take it personally. Instead, He gently led them again and again to God’s word and to God’s work.
Watch or listen to other messages in our series from the Gospel of Mark.
“I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Did Jesus come to call you?
Depending on your understanding of your own sinfulness or self-righteousness, this verse either comforts you or disturbs you.
You see, everyone needs to realize that everyone has sinned and every single one of us has fallen short of God’s glorious standard…which means all have been called by Him to be saved!
But something has to happen in your heart first. You need to realize that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. And then realize (and be greatly comforted by this fact) that Jesus came for you—to help you and forgive you; to heal you and to make you whole.
Yes, Jesus is calling YOU into His service as one of His followers.
Have you answered His call? Has something happened in your heart so that you realize your condition and your need for Him? Self-righteousness can’t save you. Despite how good you try to be, it will never be good enough. But God, in His love has made a way for you to be reconciled with Him through His son, Jesus.
Turn away from self-righteousness and let it go. Ask Jesus to forgive you and receive what He has been longing to give you—His righteousness!
Jesus once said, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” This statement confounded and upset the religious leaders of His day. Jesus was eating with sinners, ministering to sinners, forgiving sinners, healing sinners, and (worst of all) calling sinners to be His followers. In short—Jesus was getting into trouble…for all the right reasons!
So why were the religious leaders bothered with Jesus’ statement? They thought they were already righteous. They couldn’t compute in their self-righteous hearts how the Messiah would come for sinners, but not for them.
But what they had failed to see is that Jesus really had come for them too. But something needed to happen in their hearts first. They weren’t really righteous—they only thought they were.
Watch or listen to our study from the Gospel of Mark 2:1-17 and hear how Jesus comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable.
One day, God told Abraham, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. With knife raised over his son, God stopped Abraham because He saw that Abraham did not withhold his only son from Him.
In the book of Hebrews, we read why Abraham was willing and ready to obey the Lord: “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.” (Hebrews 11:17-19)
Abraham (the father) had faith God would raise Isaac (the son) from the dead. 2,000 years later, there was another Father and another Son. The two of them went together to the same hill. But this time, no one stopped the knife. Jesus, the Son, was crucified. This had to happen this—there was no other way to accomplish the purposes of God:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)
God (the Father) gave His son (Jesus) so that you could enjoy life with Him—forever! Have you received this free gift He offers you? You can, right now. Ask God to forgive you & fill you with His Spirit. He is willing and wanting to save you!
"God will provide," the Patriarch said,
And faith gives every doubt away;
Fearless he climbs Moriah's mound,
And sees afar Christ Jesus' day:
Yes! God provides, and God accepts
His sacrifice, and his alone:
No blood of beasts, not Abraham's son,
Nor ought, save Christ, can ever atone.
We remember the details of what occurred between Palm Sunday and Good Friday, but we must recall the heart of it all: “God [the Father] loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”
The Son and the Father—the two of them went together. Often, we look at this week called Passion only from the perspective of the Son and rarely from the perspective of the Father—and almost never from the perspective of both.
But don’t forget that the Son and the Father—the two of them—went together. This is the reason we turned to the book of Genesis on Resurrection Sunday. The scene in Genesis 22 vividly paints the picture of what God the Son and God the Father did together.
As Jesus approached Jerusalem on the day we now call Palm Sunday, He wept over the city. The Prince of Peace saw the city of peace and was overwhelmed with sorrow. Why? Because they did not have peace with God.
They did not recognize the specific day that God had come to them to give them peace. And sadly because of their rejection, destruction came when the Romans completely destroyed Jerusalem.
Have you recognized Jesus coming to you to seek and to save that which was lost? One day, we will all have to stand before God alone. He will inspect your heart to see if you have peace with God. Do you know the things that make for your peace?
If you don’t know and haven’t received Jesus, the coming destruction will be eternal—eternal separation from God. But it doesn’t have to be that way! This is why Jesus came—to save you from destruction.
You can ask Jesus today—right now—to forgive you of your sins, to fill you with His Spirit, and to make you a brand new creation in Christ. Cry out to Him and He will save you! Trust Him as your Savior and follow Him as the Lord of your life.
Palm Sunday is the day we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. A day foretold by prophets, a day for celebration, and day for weeping. It was a day that Jesus was concerned—not for Himself, but about us. In this study, we considered what Jesus was doing and what was happening one week before His resurrection and a few days before His crucifixion.
From Pastor Dom...
When I first gave my life to Jesus, there were friends in my life who helped me to grow in my understanding of God, through His word, and for those friends