Why Bandwidth Matters

Dr. Jon Morrissette - 1/19/2020

One of the fascinating features of social media is the ability to see who is trending—right now—in real time! Yesterday, Golden Girls, Betty White was trending because of her 98th birthday. Rebel Wilson—the Pitch Perfect star—who lost 50 lbs and declared 2020 her “Year of health.” Rumor has it that Pitch Perfect IV is in the works! Connor MacGregor—UFC championship weigh-in. The Packers << Yuck. Choke >>. Alan Dershowitz, one of Trump’s impeachment lawyers. Bill Maher—who fist-bumped Nancy Pelosi for impeaching Trump. SpaceX—who announced their vision to make human beings the first interplanetary species! Couldn’t we just make politicians an interplanetary species? I’m sure there are other planets that would be so blessed to have them all! Oh yea, Harry and Meaghan were trending. I think Jeremy Nunes, our resident comedian, had the best take—he said, “I haven’t cared about the Royal Family since 1776!” Amen!

One thing is certain—we’re not going to care about any of these people or things a week from now, much less a month. They’re inconsequential. (Well not Rebel Wilson, but all the rest, I mean.) The gospel of Mark begins with a big announcement. Mark 1:1, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Boy if Jesus came today, he’d wreck the Internet! The truth is that from Day 1, Jesus has never stopped trending. Google has to block Jesus on their lists, because of course he’s trending! 

What facts does Mark wants us to know about Jesus? First, there is the FACT of Jesus’ Popularity and Appeal. Everywhere Jesus went, people “crashed the gates.” 

· Mark 1:5, “the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going to [John the Baptist], being baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.” 

· 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.” 

· Mark 1:45, “. . . Jesus could no longer enter a town openly. But he was out in deserted places, and they came to him from everywhere.” 

· Mark 2:1-2, “When Jesus entered Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many people gathered together that there was no more room, not even in the doorway, and he was speaking the word of God to them.” 

· Mark 2:13, “Jesus went out beside the sea. The whole crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them.” 

· Mark 3:7-10, “Jesus departed with his disciples to the sea, and a large crowd followed from Galilee, and a large crowd followed from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and around Tyre and Sidon. The large crowd came to him because they heard about everything he was doing. Then he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, so that the crowd wouldn’t crush him. Since he had healed many, all who had diseases were pressing toward him to touch him.” [I love how Paul characterizes Jesus’ to King Agrippa in Acts 26:26: “I’m confident none of this escaped notice, it wasn’t done in a corner.”] 

Second, there is the FACT of Jesus’ Power and Authority. In this modern age, we’re used to everything being hyped. Like the weather. Have you noticed how the Devil always hypes the weather report on the weekends to keep God’s people away from Church? Listen, everywhere Jesus went, people were awe-inspired. Their visceral reaction was, “What is this? Who is this? We’ve never heard anyone speak like this before! Never seen anyone do stuff like this before! He’s not like our rulers, kings, and authorities. Even the Demons. Even the wind/waves/weather obeys him.” If there wasn’t real Power/Authority to Jesus’ ministry, his Popularity/Appeal would have fizzled immediately. 

Last week, we saw how Mark provides a sweeping portrait of Jesus’ authority. Jesus has authority to baptize you with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of sonship, holiness, and love. Jesus has the authority to make you his son/daughter, to make you holy, fill you with God’s presence/power! Jesus has authority to change your destiny. To give you true wisdom. To drive any darkness out of your soul. To drive sickness out of your body and restore your health. To cleanse you of leprosy and make you touchable. Authority to forgive your sin once/for all. Authority to call you into God’s Kingdom and service. Authority to receive our worship/prayers/admiration. 

Third, there is the Fact of Jesus’ Preaching and Purpose. Some might assume that Jesus was some kind of populist preacher, or maybe a geo-social-political activist. People today want to be told they’re okay, “I’m okay, you’re okay. God just loves and adores everything about Perfect You.” How well does that mesh with Mark 1:5, “all the people of Jerusalem were going out to [John the Baptist], they were baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.” Mark 1:3. John the Baptist was telling people, prepare the way! You’re ways are screwed up, straighten up! Or how about Mark 1:14-15, “Jesus went to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God: ‘The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news.’” 

God’s certainly loves us, but he’s doesn’t love everything about us. Quite the contrary! He is not pleased with sin. Our sin stirs his displeasure and wrath. Neither John the Baptist nor Jesus were inviting people to come to God on their own terms. Their invitation was, “Repent and believe. Confess your sin. Be baptized and washed and forgiven. Walk in the Spirit. Do the Father’s will.” All of these commands have to do with authority. Just whose authority are we under? Our own? Caesar? God’s authority? 

There is a fascinating account in Mark 1:35-38, where after day of busy evening of ministry, we read how, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, [Jesus] got up, went out, and made his way to a deserted place; and there he was praying. Simon and his companions searched for him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘Let’s go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come.’” 

The people were seeking Jesus on their own terms—they wanted the benefits. But Jesus’ priority was to go elsewhere and keep preaching. The whole purpose of preaching is to bring people under God’s authority once and for all. Nowadays people want the healing “benefits” of being under God’s authority while rejecting his very authority! If you are under Jesus’ authority you make your paths straight, you confess your sins—which means you agree with God on what sin is, and, recognize your need for forgiveness, and accept God’s free gift of grace! If under Jesus authority, you get baptized into Jesus name, you get baptized into his lordship, his leadership, his kingly reign, with his Holy Spirit. You “repent” and “believe” and “obey.” 

How can you benefit from authority while rejecting that very authority? The Bible says if you submit to your parent’s authority, you’ll live a long and prosperous life. In contrast, rebellion invites ruin. The Bible commands us to submit to governing authorities. If you are going to suffer, it shouldn’t be as evildoers, but only for doing good. Rebellion invites punishment and ruin. It’s like that with God. Nowadays we want the benefits of Jesus’ authority without being under Jesus’ authority. We want healing, but want to leap over the confession, repentance, baptism. 

Fourth, there is the fact of Jesus Mission and Strategy. If Jesus’ mission is to bring all humanity under God’s authority, what his strategy? God’s strategy is men! Jesus’ first order of business was to call Twelve disciples. Mark 1:16-20, “As he passed alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew, Simon’s brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 17 “Follow me,” Jesus told them, “and I will make you fish for people.” 18 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 Going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat putting their nets in order. 20 Immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.” 

Mark 2:13-17, “Jesus went out again beside the sea. The whole crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 Then, passing by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the toll booth, and he said to him, “Follow me,” and he got up and followed him. 15 While he 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. 16 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?” 17 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.” 

Mark 3:13-19, “Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, to send them out to preach, and to have authority to drive out demons. He appointed the Twelve: To Simon, he gave the name Peter; and to James the son of Zebedee, and  to his brother John, he gave the name “Boanerges” (that is, “Sons of Thunder”); Andrew; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.” 

God’s strategy is also women. There were as many women as men that became close followers, companions, and servants of Jesus. Jesus chief strategy is discipleship. In the Bible older men disciple younger men, older women disciple younger men. What is the essence of ministry? What is the essence of discipleship? The church has one chief purpose, and one chief purpose alone—its to extend Christ’s authority to the ends of the earth! In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus says to his disciples, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

After Jesus’ resurrection, in Mark 16:14-16 we read how, “Later [Jesus] appeared to the Eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table. He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who saw him after he had risen. 15 Then he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” The issue of repentance, confession, baptism, and belief is authority. If we’re not inviting people to come under the umbrella of God’s authority, we’re not being faithful to our mission! We may very well be blessing people, we may be giving them full bellies, we may be healing their bodies, we may be giving them a false basis for self-esteem. . . but if people are not preached into, and baptized into the name, and taught to obey, and led to submit to God’s authority), we’re ultimately leaving them condemned! 

The Highest Calling and Duty of Man… It’s to love God and love people right? What is the essence of loving God? It’s to submit to his authority? It’s to love God with all our heart, mind, body, and soul! To repent, and believe, and obey and please God in everything! He’s King. He’s Lord. I come under the umbrella of his authority, which puts under the protective blessings/benefits of his authority! 

What is the essence of loving People? It’s to help them submit to God’s authority. It’s to help all creation love God with all their heart, mind, body, and soul! It’s not that we shouldn’t do good things for people. It’s that we shouldn’t neglect doing the most ultimate good for people… making disciples! Repent. Confess. Be baptized. Believe. Be forgiven. Obey. Do we realize that for a person to come under the umbrella of God’s authority, is for them to also come under the protective blessings/benefits of his authority! Again, the church has one chief purpose, and one chief purpose alone—its to extend Christ’s authority to the ends of the earth!

Scripture Verses

Mark 3:7-35

Worship Playlist

Raise a Hallelujah by Bethel Music

This I Believe by Hillsong Worship

In Christ Alone by Passion

No Longer Slaves by Bethel Music

Study Questions

  1. When have you felt most overwhelmed by the needs of your family? What about other people? How would you describe the limits of your personal "bandwidth" for meeting the needs of others?
  2. Read Mark 1:29-37, 45. How would you characterize Jesus' bandwidth, as a man, for ministry? If bandwidth was a concern for Jesus, how much more should it be a concern for us and Lakeside leaders?
  3. How did Jesus address his bandwidth challenge on the front end of his ministry (Read Mark 1:16-20, Mark 2:13-14, Mark 3:7-12, Mark 3:13-19)? How can we achieve greater bandwidth as a church?
  4. Read Mark 3:13-19. By what criteria did Jesus select disciplemaking leaders? How did Jesus speak into their potential? Why was it important for Jesus, and us, to lead with people we enjoy?
  5. Read Mark 3:20-30. Why is unity such a big deal in the church? In what ways are we united in the disciple-multiplying priorities of Jesus? In what ways do our personal needs and concerns divide or distract us from Jesus' mission?
  6. Read Mark 3:31-35. In what ways can we sometimes value relationships at the expense of God's will?
  7. How can we better respond when the expectations of people (i.e. friends, loved ones, spouse, children, workplace) are at odds with God's will for your life?
  8. What boundaries do we need to put in place as leaders and disciples to give greater priority/bandwidth to the disciple-multiplying mission of Jesus?

Apply It!

Resources

Lakeside Bookshelf

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