Sermon Transcript – The Greatest

Series B – Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost – Sunday, September 20, 2015 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
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Time StampTranscript
0:29the holy Gospel According to Saint Mark
0:31chapter 9 verses 30 through 37.
0:35they left that place and they passed
0:37through Galilee
0:39and Jesus did not want anyone to know
0:41where they were because he was teaching
0:43his disciples he said to them the son of
0:47man is going to be betrayed into the
0:49hands of men they will kill him
0:51and after three days he will rise
0:54but they did not understand what he
0:56meant and were afraid to ask him about
0:59they came to Capernaum when he was in
1:01the house he asked them
1:03what were you arguing about on the road
1:05but they kept quiet because on the way
1:08they had argued about who was the
1:12sitting down and Jesus called the twelve
1:14and said if anyone wants to be first he
1:17must be the very last and the servant of
1:20he took a little child and had him stand
1:22among them taking him in his arms he
1:25said to them whoever welcomes one of
1:27these little children in my name
1:28welcomes me and whoever welcomes me does
1:31not welcome me but the one who sent me
1:33in the name of Jesus
1:37all right this is an embarrassing text
1:39and the reason why it’s so embarrassing
1:41is because I think each and every one of
1:43us are guilty of things just like this
1:45our text begins where it left off last
1:48week if you remember last week the
1:51disciples didn’t exactly have their
1:54greatest successes Jesus went up on the
1:57mountain of transfiguration he took with
1:59him Peter James and John they got to see
2:01his glory hear the voice of the father
2:03declared that this is my beloved Son in
2:05whom I am well pleased listened to him
2:08they come down from the mountain
2:11and the other nine who didn’t go up the
2:14mountain were in an argument with the
2:16Pharisees and the scribes what was the
2:18argument about well
2:19some poor man whose child was
2:22demon-possessed had come to get help
2:25from the disciples and the disciples
2:27tried to cast it out and nothing
2:31absolutely nothing happened this isn’t
2:35one of those things that’s going to show
2:36up on the Highlight Reel you know what
2:38I’m saying this is more like the
2:40disciples greatest bloopers
2:42what it should be reading
2:44so Jesus interceded he ended up casting
2:48out the demon and the disciples asked
2:50the question why couldn’t we do this he
2:52says well this kind only comes out
2:54through prayer
2:55that’s the verse immediately before this
2:58kind only comes out through prayer so
3:01the disciples just had another thing to
3:03add to their blooper reel
3:05and then we hear this
3:07they left that place they’re heading
3:09back now to Galilee back to Israel and
3:11Jesus didn’t want anyone to know where
3:13they were they ended up taking some back
3:15roads if you would and the reason for
3:16this is because he was teaching his
3:18disciples remember when Moses and Elijah
3:21met with Jesus they were discussing his
3:22Exodus which means his departure to
3:25Israel to go to the Cross to suffer and
3:27to die for our sins and then rise again
3:29on the third day from the grave so Jesus
3:32begins to tell his disciples this quite
3:34plainly okay these words are not
3:36difficult to get here are Jesus’s words
3:38boys the son of man is going to be
3:41betrayed into the hands of men they will
3:43kill him and on the after three days he
3:46will rise
3:49seems pretty straightforward doesn’t it
3:50nothing confusing about that
3:53well the text says this they didn’t
3:55understand what he meant
3:57so they were afraid to ask him
3:59this is dying and Rising thing what what
4:02do you mean Jesus preaches to them all
4:05about what he’s going to accomplish for
4:08them on The Old Rugged Cross
4:11how he’s going to go to Jerusalem
4:13and how the father is going to place on
4:15him the sin of us all and how he is
4:18going to propitiate the wrath of God how
4:21he’s going to suffer bleed die drink to
4:24the dregs
4:26the full wrath of God so that we don’t
4:28have to
4:30atone for our sins
4:33and they go
4:35what’s he talking about
4:37but they were afraid to ask him about
4:39so no sooner does I don’t know what
4:41Jesus is talking about no Sinners does
4:44Jesus get these words out and they don’t
4:46understand it that they then commence in
4:48having an argument
4:50oh this is a great one this is a great
4:52argument which of them is the greatest
4:56what kind of bone-headed argument is
4:58this to have
4:59nine of them just couldn’t cast out a
5:02demon the blooper reel is getting longer
5:04and you guys are going to have an
5:06argument about who’s the greatest
5:09let’s rewind the tape a little bit here
5:12they’ve witnessed Jesus walking on the
5:15water Healing The Sick giving sight to
5:18the blind giving the ability to hear to
5:20the deaf giving speech to the mute
5:22feeding multitudes with only Loaves and
5:25Fishes and they’re going to ask the
5:27question and have an argument about who
5:29is the greatest
5:32are you guys brain dead
5:34are you on drugs
5:37what on Earth are you thinking
5:40there is the greatest right there among
5:43you and you’re squabbling about who’s
5:45the greatest
5:47you couldn’t cast out a demon Jesus
5:50could and you’re having an argument
5:51about who’s the greatest the greatest is
5:56don’t you get it
5:58and by the way the fact that this little
5:59story is in the gospel of Mark
6:02as embarrassing as it is actually lends
6:06credibility that this is eyewitness
6:09because if this were written centuries
6:13by people who are trying to write a
6:15mythology they wouldn’t include details
6:17like this generally I don’t know if
6:19you’ve noticed this when people write
6:21things they have a tendency to a
6:23grandize you know to make themselves
6:25look good the disciples over and again
6:27honestly tell the story and honestly
6:30telling the story requires them to say
6:32yeah listen
6:34Jesus was speaking we were hearing words
6:36it might as well have been Charlie
6:38Brown’s teacher why
6:42he was preaching the most beautiful
6:43words the most amazing gospel announcing
6:47something that was beyond our
6:48comprehension and then rather than ask
6:50him to explain it to us we were afraid
6:53to do so and no sooner did Jesus tell us
6:56about going to the Cross where it was
6:58quickly out of our mind and we were
7:00having a squabble about who is the
7:04now like I said at the beginning of the
7:05sermon the reason why this is
7:07embarrassing is because I’ve done this
7:09same stupid thing too
7:13and if you’re honest so have you
7:17how many of us are obsessed in our
7:20thinking about making sure that
7:23everybody knows how great we are
7:26I want everybody to know how wealthy I
7:28am so I’m going to go and I’m going to
7:30buy the most expensive car possible I
7:32want everybody to know how much money I
7:33have so I’m going to buy the most
7:34expensive clothes and get one of those
7:36bags that has like one of those Italian
7:38names on it so that everybody knows how
7:40great I am
7:43I’m gonna wear one of those shirts with
7:44one of those logos and that logo lets
7:47everybody know I’ve I’ve arrived right
7:53just think of all of the different ways
7:55in which we try to Telegraph to
7:58everybody how great we are
8:02and you know what that is
8:05that is idolatry
8:08that’s idolatry not only is it idolatry
8:11it’s satanic idolatry
8:16because we read in Isaiah 14 about the
8:19devil where the devil says I will Ascend
8:22to the highest Heaven I will everyone
8:25will bow to me and we read in the Book
8:27of Revelation that when the Antichrist
8:29appears he will exalt himself above
8:32everything that is called God so that
8:34the whole world worships him
8:37but each and every one of us are just
8:39like the devil and we really want
8:42everybody to tell us how great we are
8:48in little ways we really relish the
8:51thought of somebody saying you know you
8:54are just so great
8:58that’s what we want
9:01and it’s satanic
9:03it’s wicked to the Core
9:05and it’s evil
9:07it is self-identry it is making yourself
9:12there are people burning in hell right
9:14now because of this sin
9:16is this not the Temptation Of The Devil
9:19in the Garden of Eden
9:22eat of this fruit because you will be
9:24like God
9:27and all the different kinds of ways we
9:31desire to be like God and we want our
9:35religion to in a way glorify us rather
9:38than Jesus we don’t have
9:41our minds to comprehend a dying and
9:44Risen Savior we’re like the disciples we
9:47hear those words yeah yeah whatever
9:49let’s get on to the important stuff
9:51let’s talk about how great I am
9:55is that not how we are
9:58do we despise the hearing of the Gospel
10:00do we not understand the way of the
10:05who here is not saying out inside of
10:08their conscience
10:12I know I am saying that
10:14because I’m guilty of this like you
10:15wouldn’t believe
10:19so Jesus
10:21asked them
10:23when they got to Capernaum what are you
10:25arguing about
10:27it says they kept silent
10:32utterly embarrassed
10:35it’s another one of those fig Leaf
10:39remember in the garden Adam and Eve
10:41sinned where are you
10:45this time they’re hiding with silence
10:49they kept quiet because on the way
10:50they’d argue about who was the greatest
10:52just in hearing Jesus ask a question
10:55what were you arguing about they
10:56realized oh my goodness what have we
11:03it’s important to note here that Jesus
11:06is kind
11:07and he’s merciful
11:09he doesn’t scold them
11:11he doesn’t say all right that’s it
11:14I gotta you guys are gone you know let’s
11:16go look and find 12 other guys that can
11:19do this you guys clearly aren’t getting
11:23he didn’t do a Donald Trump on them
11:24you’re fired
11:29instead Jesus understands
11:32that it’s through patient instruction
11:34and the work of the holy spirit that we
11:37come to understand the glory of the
11:41the thing that everybody despises
11:44the shame of that thing
11:49you think about what the cross really
11:51represented to those who were alive when
11:53crucifixion was still an in thing
11:57I mean we have jewelry now people wear
11:59crosses they look beautiful I mean I
12:02always love the 24 karat gold ones you
12:04know that are very elaborate and stuff
12:06like that we everybody’s got a cross I
12:08mean movie stars have crosses even if
12:10they don’t believe in Jesus I mean it’s
12:11the in Vogue piece of jewelry to have
12:14but for a people living at the time of
12:16Jesus they would never have thought to
12:18put a cross on a gold chain and wear it
12:21as a piece of jewelry and yo the reason
12:24for that is
12:25the reason for that simple is because
12:27they’d seen what happens to people who
12:30were killed that way
12:32it was designed to be the most gruesome
12:35horrifying spectacularly awful thing to
12:38look at and experience
12:42we have words that are derivative of the
12:46word crucify the word excruciating comes
12:50from that
12:53when we describe something painfully as
12:56excruciating it comes from crucifixion
12:59these are people who the Roman Empire
13:01basically said you are going to be made
13:03an example of we’re going to let
13:04everybody know what happens to people
13:06who oppose our laws break our laws or go
13:09against our Authority
13:10we’re going to nail you on a cross Stark
13:12naked after flogging you
13:15and then you’re going to die and it’s
13:17not going to happen quickly it’s going
13:19to happen really slowly
13:21and it was the lowest of the low who
13:23were crucified and everyone who was
13:25crucified according to the Mosaic
13:27Covenant was considered cursed because
13:29God’s law says cursed is everyone who’s
13:32hung on a tree
13:38so Jesus tells them of the cross
13:44and none of it registers with them
13:48does it register with you
13:52you want to know
13:54the consequences of sin in their full
13:58you look at Jesus bleeding and dying on
14:00the cross
14:03you want to know what it cost
14:05to save you
14:07from your selfish idolatry and worship
14:10of yourself you look at the cross
14:13and on the cross you see the exact
14:17of you glorifying yourself you see the
14:20one who is God by Nature
14:24humbling himself and becoming obedient
14:26and having all of your idolatry your
14:30self-love your wretched sinfulness
14:33placed on himself and him serving you in
14:38the process and serving the whole world
14:41Jesus didn’t exalt himself on the cross
14:45that is the place of Jesus’s ultimate
14:50the ultimate emptying of himself
14:53emptying of himself even to the point of
14:55losing his own life willfully because of
14:58his great love for you
15:01and that’s what Jesus is preaching about
15:02and it just goes over their heads
15:07beloved I have great news
15:10that though the disciples didn’t
15:12understand it
15:13Jesus kept his word what he said was
15:17he did go to Jerusalem
15:19he was betrayed he was handed over to
15:23men they did kill him
15:25and he did rise again
15:27and all of this he did out of his great
15:29love for you
15:31because God demonstrates his love for us
15:33and that while we were yet sinners
15:35Christ died for our sins
15:41so while the disciples were arguing
15:43about who’s the greatest
15:45the greatest goes to the cross and
15:48bleeds and dies for them and now Jesus
15:50gives him a little bit of an object
15:51lesson boys come over here sitting down
15:54Jesus called the disciples to himself
15:56and said
15:57if anyone would be first
15:59he must be the very last
16:01and the servant of all
16:04in that sentence Jesus is describing
16:08who is the one who was the servant of
16:13who humbled himself and served the whole
16:17it was only Jesus and he did it for you
16:20and he did it for me and then he took a
16:23little child
16:24had him stand among them
16:26taking him in his arms he said whoever
16:28welcomes one of these little children
16:29and here’s the important part in my name
16:34in the name of Jesus
16:36welcomes me whoever welcomes me does not
16:39welcome me but the one who sent me
16:41you got to keep in mind back then
16:43children didn’t represent Glory they
16:46represented a lot of work
16:48they didn’t participate in the gross
16:50national product
16:54they’re humble
16:55and they can only be given to
16:58I don’t know if you’ve noticed this
16:59about children especially small children
17:01they don’t have a tendency to wake up in
17:03the morning and sing the Praises of
17:05their parents
17:08instead they wake up in the morning and
17:10say I’m hungry I gotta go potty I don’t
17:13feel well
17:14I’m bored play with me
17:20and see that’s the way of the cross the
17:22way of the Cross is loving and serving
17:24your neighbor humbly for the sake of
17:26Christ because you’ve been set free in
17:31so keep this in mind today we witnessed
17:34God bringing into his church
17:37two new members
17:40Kinsley and Mason a miracle took place
17:42although it looked only like water was
17:46poured on their head
17:47Mason didn’t enjoy the experience
17:51right and see those are the last gasps
17:54of his sinful nature
17:56so now drowned in the waters of his
18:00but we welcome them in our congregation
18:03this morning welcome them as members
18:05because a miracle took place you
18:07couldn’t see what was happening
18:09spiritually all you saw was what
18:10happened physically with your eyes but
18:12what you saw with your eyes was water
18:15and that’s the sign to you from God the
18:18sign to you from God that God was at
18:21work there this morning washing away
18:25circumcising their hearts making them
18:28clean and white as snow and applying the
18:30death and resurrection of Jesus to them
18:33individually and raising them from the
18:36that’s what scripture says happens in
18:37our baptisms and all of you who’ve made
18:40this trip to the font you too have been
18:43washed your sins have been blotted out
18:46you have been made new in Christ Jesus
18:49and as a result of the powerful working
18:51of Christ and him applying what he did
18:54on the cross to you as an individual you
18:57have confidence that you have a right
18:59standing before God
19:02and now having been set free from sin
19:05death in the devil
19:07we’re able to say to our sinful nature
19:09who wants to be glorified
19:12not today sinful nature
19:14today we’re going to deny ourselves
19:18we’re going to take up our crosses
19:21and follow Christ
19:25we will love God
19:27and we will humbly serve our neighbors
19:29in need not for my glory
19:32but for his
19:35not for my exaltation so that people can
19:38see Christ at work in me
19:41this is what our gospel text teaches us
19:44and what an amazing gift that God has
19:46given us that he has set us free washed
19:48away our sins forgiven us and hasn’t
19:50scolded us and hasn’t said to us to hell
19:52with you like we deserve
19:54instead he mercifully forgives teaches
19:58and Comforts us with the assurance that
20:01he is the greatest who has humbled
20:03himself and served us all by going to
20:06the cross in the name of Jesus
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