Mark 3:7-19 7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. 9 And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, 10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.
13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
The popularity of Jesus continued to increase exponentially at the beginning of His public ministry. After all, everyone enjoys a good show, and Jesus was performing all kinds of miracles so that a great number of people had been healed. How could He do this? Rumours about Jesus must have spread like wildfire so that an increasing radius of towns and cities had heard about Him. But what was the message that they were hearing? How many understood the Gospel message at this point? None would have understood yet what it meant that Jesus would die for their sins. But there was an increasing number of followers who genuinely saw their need of repentance toward God and of faith in their Lord Jesus Christ. They saw Jesus as the only means of their salvation, although they did not yet fully comprehend what this meant.
It was at this point in Jesus’ ministry that He directly chose the men through whom the Church would be established and the false convert by whom His betrayal would be fulfilled. How different Jesus’ perspective would have been from all who surrounded Him. In spite of the fact that the demons recognized Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God even they did not know what lay ahead at the cross. None but Jesus alone knew the ramifications of the decision He now undertook in choosing these twelve ordinary men. It was at this point that the stage had been set for what was to come. Only Jesus understood this.
How foolish the wisdom of man is compared to the wisdom of God. Mankind likes to think of himself as smart. We like to follow great men and many desire to be great themselves. But we are all fools compared to the wisdom of God. How often are we oblivious to what is actually transpiring in the events that surround us? How many really understand what is going on in the midst of this current pandemic? We are absolutely limited in ability to comprehend and understand what is going on around us. But not with Jesus Christ. He knows all and He knew as revealed by the Spirit of God, even as a man, what was in the heart of those who surrounded Him. He saw the heart of those in misery because of their sin and were being drawn to Him. He saw the joy in the heart of those whom He had healed but afterward had no interest in Him. He saw the wickedness of those Pharisees and Herodians who wanted to destroy Him. And He saw the entertainment seeking and half-hearted interest of most of those who followed Him. But in spite of all this, the message that He proclaimed was made to all. Equal opportunity was given to everyone to hear the Good News as His Words were authenticated by the signs that He performed proving that His is indeed the Son of God.
As Jesus appointed the twelve they were to be sent out ahead of Him to preach and to have the authority to cast out demons. In spite of the fact that they had not yet been baptized with the Holy Spirit as would happen years later after Jesus ascended up into heaven, they were given this ability. And even the false convert and betrayer among them, Judas Iscariot, was able to cast out demons. Mankind has a natural desire for power. And yet who is the only One that has true power?: only Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The only reason why the disciples had the ability to cast out demons was because they were sent out by Jesus. We are all utterly weak and hopeless apart from Jesus Christ. But even if we have any power from God, it does not reveal the condition of our own heart. For if this was true, Judas Iscariot never should have betrayed Jesus. And as we see further on in the book of Mark and elsewhere, the rest of the eleven were not yet in any place of spiritual maturity and yet they had received this power.
Things as they appear are often not as they are. This is why we must seek the Lord. No matter what situation you find yourself in, it is only Jesus Christ who knows the true condition of what surrounds you and the state of your own heart. Are you seeking Him? Even now, in the midst of the pandemic, are you drawing nearer to God or is it being revealed that you are farther from Him? Do you depend upon Him for your wisdom and power? Do you recognize Him as the Son of God? Do you know Jesus Christ personally or do you just pretend to know Him? Do you really love Jesus Christ with all your heart or do you actually hate Him? The Good News is open to all but where do you stand with Him? Is it He who you have been looking to after these many weeks of upheaval or have you found your own way?
There is great peace in resting in the knowledge and power of Jesus Christ if we are among the children of God. But there is reason for great fear if we are not His. If you know Him, rest in Him. He is the only One who really knows you and can and will raise you up for His glory! But if you do not know Him, one day it will be revealed who you really are. At the judgment seat of Christ it will be revealed to all who reject Him the wickedness of their hearts and they will be eternally condemned for it. For if we do not glorify our Creator, we deserve to be punished for this evil. But if we come to the cross of Jesus Christ, and in our desperate need cry out Him as the only means of salvation, He will save us! He will rescue us! He will make known to us that He is the Son of God! Thanks be to God for the wisdom and power of Jesus Christ!
Pastor Murray Hack
Mark 2:23-28 23 One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”
Mark 3:1-6 1 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. 2 And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” 4 And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
The Book of Mark is the shortest Gospel account describing the Good News- the events of the life of Jesus as He walked upon this earth to provide for our salvation. Jesus is right now seated at the right hand of God in heaven and one day in the future He will return to this earth in full authority to judge the world in righteousness. Already at the end of Mark 2 and the beginning of Mark 3 we see His authority directly challenged to the point of His enemies wanting Him destroyed. The sinful nature in man is such that all of mankind who are not drawn to the cross of Jesus Christ will at some point desire to destroy the One who is Lord over all. Why? Because if God has infinite authority over all of His creation we cannot claim authority ourselves. We are all in subject to Him and we must live our lives according to His desires and not our own. But the greatness of God is that He does not force us to obey Him and to love Him. He is looking for willing subjects who love Him with all their heart. His future perfect eternal Kingdom will only include those who willingly submit themselves to Him and rejoice in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
The leading religious authority at that time in Israel was the party of the Pharisees. The Pharisees attempted to raise the 613 laws given to Moses to even greater heights to prove their great wisdom and holiness. They added additional traditions- more rules to the Old Testament law by which their greatness could be displayed to all: fasting, long prayers, etc. They were the spiritual elite in Israel at that time and loved to display this by all the rules they followed. This set them above everyone else in the nation of Israel. And so Jesus’ spiritual authority was a direct threat to them and His teaching was very different to what they had taught the people.
The Pharisees had developed strict rules in their traditions to prevent any form of work on the Saturday to the point that plucking heads of grain in a field was a breaking of their man made laws. Their view of their relationship to God was found only in external actions: do this, don’t do that. They had elevated themselves through human effort to be above everyone else and in turn the view of their relationship with God was contingent upon others being less than they were. They did not compare themselves to the perfect standard of God but only how they perceived themselves in relation to others and what they thought God’s law required. There was no way that a “sinner” could have a relationship with God as they did. To be right with God meant that you had to be better than others. And so they challenged Jesus based on their own false beliefs.
Jesus knows the state of their hearts and so He uses an example from the life of David found in 1 Samuel 21. David, when he and his men were starving as he was fleeing King Saul, was provided the bread that only the priests were legally allowed to eat. It appeared that David had broken the law but somehow he was not condemned. How could this be? The Pharisees had a high regard for the Old Testament Scriptures but they had no answer for David’s actions. David’s actions demonstrated the true relationship of all who are in the Kingdom of God of which the Pharisees did not understand. Jesus was teaching the Pharisees what obedience looks like in the Kingdom of God as Jesus is Lord. The Christian does not obey God in order to be saved. The Christian obeys God out of the person of Christ being revealed in the Christian. All of God’s commands reflect His character. His laws exist as a revelation of who He is and what He desires just as the rules of parents within a home reveal the character of the parents. As Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, the rules related to the Sabbath were not restrictions about works but about true love and worship of God. The priests were only allowed to eat the bread of the Presence as they were set apart to bring the offerings of the people to God. But through Jesus Christ and His finished work upon the cross all who believe in His Name have access to God and can partake of the bread of the Presence. The Christian is united to Christ by His Spirit and enters into union with Christ by faith. This was foreshadowed in the life of David:
Revelation 1:5-6 5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood 6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
The entire religious system that the Pharisees believed was based upon rules and not a living relationship to the person of God. By Jesus claiming that He is Lord even over the Sabbath He not only was saying that He was to be worshipped as God but that their entire religious system was flawed. They were not looking for the Christ to save them but believed that they could save themselves through their obedience to the Law. Next, to prove His point, Jesus authenticates the Words that He spoke proving that He is Lord over the Sabbath by healing a man with a withered hand in front of them all.
Do you see the beauty of Jesus being Lord even of the Sabbath or are you trying to stand based upon your own efforts to be greater than those around you? Or do you feel so low that you can never live up to what others expect of you? The greatness of God is that he can take the worst sinner and glorify Himself through them if they will only repent and believe.
Pastor Murray Hack
Mark 2:18-22 18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”
Everything Jesus did brought attention to Himself. He acted in a manner that was above the rest of mankind and yet He who entered into creation in the likeness of sinful flesh faced all the same temptations and weaknesses that we face. But it is fascinating that He would do things that were different from John the Baptist who was the greatest of all the Old Testament prophets. Jesus performed all kinds of miracles while John the Baptist performed none and yet the message of the Gospel that they shared was the same. But there was another difference that brought confusion: Jesus never had his disciples fast. Both the disciples of John the Baptist and the Pharisees fasted but Jesus never required this of his disciples.
Fasting is performed when we long for something that we do not have. It is natural to lose your appetite when a terrible tragedy occurs. When you grieve the loss of a loved one you don’t have a desire to eat. The burden of grief may be so great that you don’t eat for days. You long for the one you loved and you know that you will never see them again in this lifetime.
But why did the disciples of John the Baptist fast to begin with? They fasted because of sin. The sin nature within each one of us causes us to desire evil. By nature we do not desire to love God as we should or those around us out of our love for God. We are rebels by nature and look out only for ourselves and have no desire for a relationship with the One who created us. The abuse that so many have suffered at the hands of others is a direct result of the rebellious nature that is in all of mankind.
This recognition of this evil within the heart of man should cast a person to fast. The Bible is full of accounts of when the nation of Israel fasted over its wickedness. The city of Nineveh fasted over the judgment that Jonah proclaimed by the Word of God and God spared them from the judgment that they deserved. But to fast over our sin in itself is incomplete. It doesn’t not come to a resolution or a final answer. It is hoping for a change but not looking for how the change can actually occur in our lives. There are all kinds of monks and religious people like the Pharisees who fast and strive and try to defeat the enemy within. There are all kinds of politicians who try to improve society but never are able to create utopia. Many recognize that there is a problem within the heart of man and in the world around us but they never come to a place of peace. Their heart remains the same no matter how hard they try to change it. And for those who try to create a perfect society they will always fall short.
John the Baptist went beyond the Pharisees as he truly believed that his only hope was to be found in the Christ who was to come. The Pharisees got caught up in their religious customs and although they claimed to desire the Christ they never truly fasted over their own sinfulness but only compared themselves to the state of others. Their fasting became a work proving their own status and position as compared to others. They were justified in their own eyes. But the disciples of John the Baptist were really looking for the answer as revealed by God. It had been revealed to John the Baptist that he would recognize the Christ. When he baptized someone in water God would show a sign from heaven confirming the Christ to John. And this did occur when John baptized Jesus at the beginning of His public ministry. John taught his disciples that they were to fast not just because of their sinfulness but to long for the One who could set them free from sin- Jesus Christ.
But once Jesus Christ had been revealed there was no reason for Jesus’ or John’s disciples to fast. There was no reason to long for the One who would save mankind from their sin- He was physically present! He was walking and talking and eating with His disciples. The Saviour had come! Salvation is found in a person and it was finally and fully paid for when Jesus of Nazareth died upon the cross and rose from the dead. When Jesus died, His disciples fasted until they saw Him risen from the dead. They longed to be with Jesus. And when Jesus ascended up into heaven, His disciples fasted until the Holy Spirit was poured into their hearts.
The illustration of sewing an unshrunk cloth on an old garment and new wine in old wineskins both make the point that when the Christ had been revealed there was no going back. God had previously given the nation of Israel a covenant of works by which they could be saved. You could go to heaven if you obeyed the Ten Commandments and the 613 Laws perfectly but no one succeeded in doing so except Jesus of Nazareth. But through faith in His Name anyone could be saved. Sin was defeated when our sin nature died with Him and our new nature was formed as the Holy Spirit regenerates our heart the moment we believe.
Although we do not need to fast looking for the Christ to be revealed there are still many reasons for us as Christians to fast. We fast as we long for Jesus Christ to draw near to us in our areas of need: in overcoming persisting sin in our own lives or in the Church, in overcoming demonic powers, in overcoming evil that surrounds us, and in receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But most of all we fast for God’s plan of salvation to be fully revealed. Our physical bodies which have been polluted by sin still remain. When Jesus returns those who believe in Him will receive a glorified body like His! We will see Him face to face! We will be in union with the infinite love of God for all eternity! All of creation will be glorified! But for this to happen all who are against Him must be removed forever. They will be cast into the lake of fire where they will never fast. They will forever be separated from the love of God whom they will never desire.
Has your heart yet turned to the Lord Jesus Christ or are you still blinded by your sin? Do you rejoice in Jesus Christ or do you rejoice in yourself and your own depravity?
Pastor Murray Hack
Mark 2:13-17 13 He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
As Jesus began His public ministry He performed all kinds of miracles that resulted in large crowds of people following Him but most were following Him for the wrong reasons. He performed the signs not to attract the crowds but to prove that He is indeed the Son of God and the Christ who came to save the world. He did not come to save us from our problems that are temporary but eternal. He came to save us from our sins and to restore a right relationship with God the Father through His sacrifice upon the cross. Continually He would correct the crowds and would surprise them by His actions. He healed a leper and yet told him to report to the priests and keep silent. The lepers actions showed that he didn’t understand the corruption within his soul and was only focused on temporal healing. A paralytic was lowered through a roof in order to be presented before Jesus. But rather than healing the man Jesus declares that his sins were forgiven. He claimed equality with God. And then He healed the man authenticating His Words revealing His power to forgive sins. And now, Jesus does something that would have turned even more heads.
The call of Levi, or Matthew which was the name given to him by Jesus, would have been a complete shock to all. No one would have expected it. Matthew was a tax collector. He was not like the paralytic or the leper who were a part of the nation of Israel but were outcasts because of sickness and disease. These were not outcasts by choice but the tax collector was. Anyone who was a tax collector was someone who was willing to betray his own people- to work for the Romans and collect the tax for Rome. They were despised by the Israelites. The lepers and the diseased were separate from the people but they weren’t hated as the tax collectors were. No one was upset when Jesus healed the sick but they would be with how he accepts Matthew as one of His disciples.
It is not likely that Matthew was a disciple of John the Baptist prior to the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Matthew’s tax booth was by the Sea of Galilee- the lake where Jesus had preached in the past and Matthew must have heard Jesus and was moved in his spirit to repent and believe. But Matthew never left his tax booth. He simply sat there and listened. God had changed his heart but nobody knew it. He had been born again by the Spirit of God as he heard the words of Jesus. He would have wept over his sins and was drawn to Jesus as the only means of his salvation. But what could he do? He was a tax collector. He was hated by everyone. He couldn’t go with the crowds who followed Jesus. What could he do now?
And then Jesus passes by his booth. Jesus, the Christ of God, who sees the heart of every man knew that Matthew was a changed man. He was no longer a tax collector but a child of God! He could not go back to the life that he once lived. A man who was despised by the people was now loved by God! And so Jesus says to Levi, “Follow me.” Everything was different from Matthew from that point forward! He was taught by Jesus Himself and was among those who willingly gave up their lives for Jesus! He would end up writing the book of Matthew recorded in the New Testament. How could this be that God could use such a man for His glory who was despised by his own people? Because the grace of God can cover any sin!
Matthew’s previous friends were not among the respected people in Israel. As Matthew had been an outcast, his only friends and companions were among those who were like him. And unlike the leper who went to tell everyone about Jesus for personal gain and benefit, Matthew tells his friends of the salvation that Jesus can provide them! He had tasted first hand the love of God at the hand of Jesus and he desired that the people he knew would come to know the Christ who had saved him! Jesus would eat with them and preach to them and witness to them. He came to call sinners to Himself!
But what a contrast with the scribes and the Pharisees who were among the religious elite in Israel- respected and looked up to by all the people. They would follow the Old Testament Law (all 613 commands) to the letter (or so they thought) and would have nothing to do with these sinners. In their eyes they could not be saved. They had chosen the path to destruction.
But the Good News is that anyone can be saved! It does not matter what evils we have done or what predicament we are now in that has caused us to be hated by those around us. If we will look upon Jesus Christ, if we will hear His voice, and His call for us to turn away from our evil ways and to surrender to Him, we can be saved like Matthew! Jesus Christ has the power to wash us clean and to keep us for Himself- a holy and a pure people separate from the world! Not in the way that the scribes and the Pharisees believed by living in self righteousness but by living in the eternal Kingdom of God where Jesus Christ is King and He is the One at work in us to use us for His glory!
It is often those who are outcasts that see the love of Jesus Christ for what it truly is. The scribes and the Pharisees and most in the large crowds that followed Jesus could not see the state of their own hearts because of how they viewed each other. They were righteous in their own eyes. They did not recognize their condition before God. They were sick and in need of the Eternal Physician but could not see it. But not so with Matthew- God used his state of misery and despair to enable him to see Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ! He knew he was a sinner and his only hope was found in Jesus Christ!
Can you relate to Matthew’s condition or is the state of your heart still the same as the scribes and the Pharisees and most of those in the crowds? Jesus came to call sinners to Himself!
Pastor Murray Hack
Mark 2:1-12 1 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
If there was any doubt that the crowds were following Jesus for the wrong reasons this passage makes it abundantly clear. Last week we saw how the crowds had increased in size to the point that Jesus could no longer preach in the towns. A leper who had been healed did not obey the command of Jesus and spread the news of his healing everywhere. By the time this initial preaching tour came to an end in Galilee (in northern Israel), Jesus was becoming more restricted in how and where He could share the Good News because of the excitement of the crowds.
Jesus’ public ministry was in complete contrast to John the Baptist before Him. John the Baptist preached in the wilderness- in the most remote places. John the Baptist performed no miracles and it took great effort for those to be able to hear him preach. You had to go seek him out and find him. He led people to repentance and would baptize them in water symbolizing their purification from sin as they also came to believe in faith in the coming Christ- the Saviour that would come from God. When Jesus of Nazareth was revealed to John the Baptist as the Christ, from that point forward John the Baptist pointed all of his followers to go and follow Jesus instead. Jesus on the other hand was as accessible as He could be. He went to every town to share the Good News. He performed all kinds of miracles and continually made it known in different ways that He is the Christ as the Son of God. It was easy to find Jesus. He made the Good News available and accessible to all. He was absolutely approachable as the Gospel was for all people. The way of salvation appeared to be made hard by John the Baptist while on the surface it appeared easy through Jesus. But it was exactly the same message of salvation. It would take the infinite power of God to save a single soul. The crowds did not understand the reasons why Jesus’ actions were so different from John the Baptist and yet how they were in perfect harmony in the message of salvation that they both preached. In the same way the crowds did not understand the Word of God that had been revealed as recorded in the Old Testament that pointed to Jesus as the Christ.
As Jesus returned home to Simon Peter’s house in Capernaum the crowds continued to press in around him to the point that people were willing to take apart a roof to get access to Jesus! A man who was paralyzed was lowered down into the presence of Jesus. A dramatic scene was about to unfold of which no one had expected. Instead of healing the man, Jesus says to him, “Your sins are forgiven.” The paralyzed man had obviously shown signs of genuine repentance before God and faith in the Christ to whom he had been laid before. This proclamation of forgiveness is not what the people had expected. They expected Jesus to heal the man. But not this time, at least not yet. Jesus would forgive sins! Jesus was getting the reputation of a great miracle worker as well as a great preacher but now He claimed to be able to forgive sins!
Many people tend to trivialize sins in our day. Our evil actions and our rebellion against the God who formed us is not seen as a great evil. Many people think that they can wipe away their own sins by doing something good. But there is no way that any one of us can truly have a single sin washed away apart from the work of Jesus Christ. And the scribes, who knew the Scriptures well, were right in saying, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” They knew that Jesus’ words were a claim of equality with God Himself. This was a greater sign than all the acts of healing that Jesus had performed thus far and yet nothing physical had occurred. The paralyzed man was still paralyzed. This is what the healed leper did not understand as we discussed last week from Mark 1:40-45. He had been healed physically but his sins had not been forgiven. Here was a paralyzed man forgiven by the Christ and yet his physical ailments remained. It would have been infinitely better for him to live the rest of his life as a paralyzed man with his sins forgiven than a healed man with his sins remaining. Do we comprehend the need for our souls to be healed? Do we genuinely desire a relationship with God through Jesus Christ or are we just looking for a Christ who will ease our suffering?
To authenticate His own words, Jesus heals the man. He says in Mark 2:10-11 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”
He showed everyone present that He is the Christ, the Son of God. The act of healing proved the authority of the Word that Jesus spoke. And we know that His Words were confirmed and completed in Jesus’ death and resurrection. It was on the cross that this paralyzed man’s sins were paid for.
Are you beginning to see more and more how different this Kingdom of God is than our present world? In the midst of this pandemic are you consumed with what is going on in the world around you or are you more and more focused on the presence of God and the Kingdom of God recognizing the King whose authority is above all? Do you know if your sins are forgiven? Are you amazed and do you glorify God that this is true of you? How can it be that any of us could be forgiven by so great a Saviour? Praise be to God!
Pastor Murray Hack
Mark 1:29-45 29 And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
32 That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, 37 and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” 38 And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” 39 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.
As Jesus began His public ministry and demonstrated His authority as the Son of God and the Christ who came to save mankind from sin, He quickly drew the attention of all the people in Galilee in the northern part of Israel. Crowds very quickly were forming wherever He went. But what was their motivation in following Jesus? In seasons of revival and spiritual awakening all kinds of people who had no interest in God before all of a sudden begin to attend churches and show interest in the things of God. But do they all remain? As many churches in our day are not able to attract a large crowd there would be great excitement if this happened in our day. But crowds do not necessarily mean converts and Jesus knew this better than anyone. The crowds that so quickly followed Jesus at the beginning of His ministry would abandon Him at the end. The purpose of the great signs that Jesus performed in healing the sick and casting out demons was to authenticate the Word of God that He spoke, proving that He is God in the flesh and confirming the words that would be recorded in the New Testament that we have today.
Simon Peter and the disciples didn’t understand this and got caught up in the excitement at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry especially with the signs and wonders that Jesus performed. Jesus’ ministry began very differently from John the Baptist who performed no miracles. It would have been very natural for Simon Peter and the disciples who had previously followed John the Baptist to get caught up in this for this was something new and exciting from what they had seen before. When Jesus disappeared from Capernaum to a desolate place, Simon Peter couldn’t understand why Jesus was in hiding. After all, everyone was looking for Him. Why would the Christ not be reveling in this attention from man? Because the attention of God the Father was far more important. Jesus’ goal was to preach the Word of God in all these places- not just to perform signs and wonders. He didn’t come to perform healings that would be temporary. Those who were healed would still taste physical death in their future. Jesus came to proclaim the Good News of what He was about to do upon the cross. He came to perform eternal healing of the root problem of sin in the soul of man.
We then read the account of Jesus healing a man from leprosy- a terrible disease. A leper was required to live outside the camp and cry out “unclean, unclean” when any other person was near them. Imagine if someone today with corona virus was required to say this? The corona virus is very contagious while leprosy is not. But the disease of leprosy was a picture of sin for the people. Leprosy was "the outward and visible sign of the inner spiritual corruption; a picture of its small beginnings, its gradual spread, its internal disfigurement, its destruction little by little of the whole body, of that which corrupts, degrades, and defiles man's inner nature, and makes him unfit to enter the presence of a pure and holy God" (Maclear's Handbook O.T).
Jesus shows this man compassion, touching him and making him clean. But it is what Jesus says next that is so fascinating. He sternly charges him in verse 43 to not tell anyone but to show himself to the priest and to offer a sacrifice as commanded by Moses. Jesus spoke to him in a stern voice. It was very important for the man to obey what Jesus said. Leviticus 14:1-32 describes the laws for cleansing leprosy. But, even though this man was a Jew, he had no regard for the Word of God in carrying out what was commanded in the Law of God as emphasized by Jesus or in not telling others of what Jesus had done. Rather he ended up preventing Jesus from being able to share the Word of God in the towns because the crowds were now too great as the healed leper spread the news about what Jesus had done for him.
On the surface it seemed as the healed leper had done the right thing in telling everyone about what Jesus had done. But did this man understand that his leprosy was a picture of his sin? Did he see that the man who healed him of his leprosy could also heal him of his sin? Did he see any need for this? Did he understand why he was supposed to show himself to the priest and to offer a sacrifice as commanded by Moses? He had been healed but his sin nature remained. He had been touched by Jesus and was made clean but his soul was still stained by sin. The cross of Jesus Christ was still a mystery to him.
What a contrast with the healing of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law of her fever. When she was healed she immediately began to serve Jesus in humility. But for so many who were healed by Jesus they had no genuine regard for the Word of God. Rather than a desire to serve Jesus and to obey the Word of God they only wanted this miracle worker to serve them- to remove what was troubling them. Is this your desire for the things of God in the midst of this pandemic or are you seeking Jesus Christ for the right reasons? Has Jesus cleansed your soul? Have you been thoroughly made clean by His finished work upon the cross or are you as this leper?
Pastor Murray Hack
Mark 1:16-28 16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
21 And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.
Last week, as we celebrated Easter Sunday I shared with you how Jesus Christ is King of a Kingdom that is not of this world. So many people do not understand this and how unique Jesus of Nazareth is among all the people who have walked on this earth. The only way to enter into this Kingdom is to know the King- Jesus Christ and to be united to Him through His shed blood upon the cross.
At the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry it is recorded that Peter and Andrew and James and John left their professions at the call of Jesus. Being with Jesus of Nazareth was more important than anything. So much so that the Good News that they heard from Jesus and would come to fully understand after Jesus’ resurrection would send them on a path to preach this message to the surrounding nations and to die for the One who called them. Their lives became consumed with Jesus Christ who was their Saviour! Are you consumed with Jesus or is He just another person who may or not have lived upon this earth? Does His very existence mean everything to you or have you not even examined who He is?
No one comes to give up everything to follow Jesus all at once and Peter and Andrew and James and John were no different. They had already been looking for the Christ when Jesus had called them. They had been prepared by John the Baptist who had declared to them in reference to Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:35) and they knew to follow Him. They had already been born again by the Spirit of God. It is only by a close examination of Jesus Christ that anyone will hear Jesus calling them and turn to Him.
But no one will examine Jesus Christ unless they have a reason to. Peter and Andrew and James and John under the preaching of John the Baptist had come to know the God of the Bible, they had come to see the wicked state of their own hearts, and they had come to see that they needed to look for the Christ, the Saviour, who was to come. In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis how many people are searching and are in distress but do they see a need to examine Jesus Christ for who He really is?
From the very beginning of Jesus’ public ministry Jesus demonstrated that He was unlike any other man. He demonstrated that He was a King from a Kingdom not of this world. He had an authority that was far and above any other man. He entered the synagogue on the Saturday and taught the people and astonished them! He spoke the Word of God in such a manner as led by the Spirit of God that they had never heard before! Everyone was hanging on every word that He spoke and looking at Him in wonder! Who was this man? Does the Word of God amaze you? In the midst of this COVID-19 crisis have you heard the Word of God as enabled by the Spirit of God? Not just reading the Bible like any other book but the very Truth of God is revealed to you by the Spirit of God as you read it? Jesus Christ Himself is made known to you and you are amazed!
In the synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit, someone who was demon possessed. At the proclamation of the Word of God the demon spoke to Jesus saying:
Mark 1:24 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”
Satan and his demons know that there is a judgment awaiting them for their rejection of the Holy One of God. This final judgment will be revealed to them when Jesus stands before them one day in the future in all His authority as Judge. They had been created as angels in eternity past but at some point they had rejected the authority of God. They had gone their own way and had become demons- fallen angels and no longer had fellowship with God. The demon within this man was afraid that the time of their judgment had come and so he cried out to Jesus. Jesus could see this demon. His Kingdom is not of this world. He could see the forces of darkness in that synagogue unrecognized by the Jews around him. Jesus’ Kingdom is a spiritual Kingdom where no darkness reigns.
And what does Jesus do? He authenticates His Word in casting out the demon:
Mark 1:25 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him.
All the forces of darkness will one day be removed with the second coming of Jesus Christ. This was shown at the very beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. But His first coming was not as the Judge but the Saviour. He rebuked the demon and cast it out setting the man free! What authority Jesus has! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him!
Do you recognize the One who has authority? Do you know the King of a Kingdom that is not of this world? Or are you too living in fear of the Judgment? Are you afraid of being cast out forever with the demons apart from the presence of God? Do you continue to reject the Holy One of God? He came in authority to set you free! He came to call you to Himself!
Pastor Murray Hack
John 18:28-38 28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” 32 This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.
33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.
John 19:14-16 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.
Last week, I shared with you about the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry at His baptism. The Kingdom of God was at hand. Jesus of Nazareth was revealed! The means of our salvation was finally publicly made known as Jesus came onto the world stage and He began to perform miracles and teach people the Word of God in the nation of Israel and surrounding it. But our salvation is not found in just following the teachings of Jesus or seeing signs and wonders performed by Him but in what this god-man has done for you and for me. And this is the significance of Easter. We are not commemorating a religious leader or a set of teachings but we are reflecting on this historical event that occurred over 2,000 years ago that established Jesus’ Kingdom.
There are many different kingdoms in this world but Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world as He said to Pilate the Roman governor in John 18:36. Pilate questioned whether Jesus was the King of the Jews. Pilate points out that if Jesus was only the King of the Jews it didn’t reflect very good upon Him that His own people and the chief priests had delivered Him over to be killed (verse 35). But Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world and Jesus confirms this to Pilate by telling him in verse 36, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
Jesus stood before Pilate alone. He acknowledged to Pilate that He was a king (verse 37) but of a different kind of kingdom of which at that time it appeared there were no subjects. No one defended Jesus. No one fought for Him as Jesus was facing imminent death. His disciples had fled for fear of their own lives and none of the women who followed Jesus stood up to the Jewish authority. Pilate was speaking with Jesus whom He recognized as a man of authority but who was this man who claimed to be a king of an empty kingdom?
Over three and a half years, in spite of all the amazing miracles that Jesus had performed and all of the teaching that demonstrated a unique authority from God as He taught as one with authority and not as their scribes (Matthew 7:29), Jesus stood before Pilate without a single servant fighting for Him. There was not a single person in the nation of Israel or in the entire world within that generation that stood with Jesus. And there is not a single person throughout any generation that could have stood with Jesus in His defense. Why? Because all of mankind has been corrupted by sin. All of us have been defeated. All of us were born with a sin nature that is prone to evil and turning away from God. The devil has defeated us all. All of us have been born into a kingdom where darkness reigns. All of us by nature are not in this Kingdom where Jesus is King. Jesus, as the King of a kingdom which is not of this world, was flogged and beaten alone, He was sentenced to death alone, and He went to the cross and died alone- a king of an empty kingdom.
But He did not remain alone and His kingdom would not be an empty kingdom! On the Lord’s Day, on Sunday, He rose again! His relationship to all of His disciples was restored as He appeared to them! When He rose again He bore witness to the truth- the truth that He had proclaimed to them before He rose from the dead. Pesus said to Pilate in verse 37-38, “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Jesus bore witness to His disciples that He had died and rose from the dead in order that they could be forgiven of their sins and be transferred into His Kingdom- the kingdom of His beloved Son. This is why He had to die:
Colossians 1:13-14 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The darkness had been overcome! The Kingdom of God had been formally established! Our sins were placed upon Jesus’ body as He died and He bore our punishment and through faith we receive His righteousness. This is the only way to enter into this Kingdom where Jesus is King- by hearing this truth and believing it, by listening to the voice of Jesus Christ and believing in what He has done for you and for me. There is no other way to enter into this eternal kingdom that is not of this world. But so many people know nothing of this Kingdom that Jesus speaks of. They think that Jesus’ kingdom is of this world. They say as Pilate said to Jesus in verse 38, “What is truth?” They are still in darkness and will not listen to the voice of Jesus. If this is you, repent and believe. Come into the Kingdom of God through His Son Jesus Christ!
Pastor Murray Hack
Mark 1:9-14 9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
The Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, was revealed in a person who is the Son of God, in the person named Jesus of Nazareth over two thousand years ago. This was first publicly made known when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River in Israel. When Jesus was baptized a visible sign confirmed to all of mankind that this was no ordinary man. He was revealed at the very beginning of His public ministry as being equal with God and yet just like you and me. He came in the likeness of sinful flesh and yet is the Son of God.
The only means by which we may enter into the Kingdom of God was publicly revealed for the first time as Jesus of Nazareth came up out of the water and the voice of God the Father was audibly heard and the Holy Spirit was visibly seen coming upon Him in the form of a dove. This was an amazing and dramatic scene of which the very thought of should elevate our soul and spirit into the presence of God! The Kingdom of God was at hand! The Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God was being publicly revealed for the first time! The veil of secrecy had been lifted! The first 30 years of Jesus’ life upon this earth was hidden from public view and very little is described in the Scriptures. But now, in the fullness of time, the means of our salvation was revealed!
What was Jesus doing for those 30 years as He was hidden away from public view? What are you doing as you are hidden away in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis as we are all forced to isolate and keep distance from others? For many they are acting as if nothing is going on. They live under the words found in Isaiah 22:13 “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” They live as if there is no God and there is no fear of God before their eyes. They live for the pleasures of this world and have no fear of the final judgment. For others they are gripped by fear and anxiety but they do not turn to Jesus Christ as their only hope. In secret they are falling apart. And as a result they are responding out of their flesh and lashing out in anger and lust and carnal thinking. They don’t know the Savior and as a result they have no peace.
But as Jesus remained hidden from public view for thirty years He was living in perfect obedience to His Father. His isolation was a time for holiness. In that time of secrecy and being alone with the exception of his earthly family He was at total peace with God. He was waiting to begin His public ministry but at the same time He prepared perfectly for our salvation to be revealed. For if Jesus did not live a perfect life of obedience to God in those thirty years of secrecy there was no way that He could be the perfect sacrifice to die in our place. Without His perfect submission to the Father in these thirty years the signs surrounding His baptism would never have occurred. What was hidden in secret was revealed in glory.
Immediately following Jesus’ baptism He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. As the Christ was publicly revealed so came the greatest opposition against Him. Satan had been able to defeat every other man in human history and cause them to sin against God but not so with Jesus of Nazareth! He remained perfectly within the will of God. His thirty years of love to God in secrecy was confirmed in His obedience to the Father in the face of the devil’s temptation in the wilderness. Truly the Kingdom of God was at hand!
So how are living in isolation right now? If you do not know Jesus Christ are you being drawn to Him? Has this begun to peak your curiosity and is this intriguing to you? Do not think for a moment that Jesus Christ does not know what you are going through. He absolutely does and He came to this earth for the very purpose of saving you if you will only repent and believe in the gospel.
But do not think for a moment that we can live in wickedness right now and God will be pleased with us. We should be in every way desire to live in the same manner that the Son of God lived for thirty years in secrecy. He loved God the Father with all His heart. He lived a life of holiness. This is how we are to be living right now. Are you drawing near to Him or are you living as if you can do whatever you want? The glory of God will be revealed in us in the future if we love Him in secrecy. What is hidden will be made known.
Pastor Murray Hack
Mark 1:1-8 1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, 3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” 4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
As we are unable to meet for church at the Good News Chapel because of the COVID-19 crisis, we will be preparing a devotional each week. I will be going through the book of Mark with you. Mark is the shortest Gospel account describing the life of Jesus.
It is at times like this that we need to hear good news. The only hope for all of mankind is the Gospel message. The word “Gospel” means “Good News.” There is much fear and uncertainty because of this current crisis. We have been placed under restrictions and don’t know when they will be lifted. Everyone is looking for “good news” or a “gospel” message. But the only real “Good News” that we can ever know is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The only lasting hope; the only eternal hope, is by knowing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
But before the Good News can be revealed preparation is needed. In crisis everyone wants an immediate solution. Everyone wants immediate relief. But without knowing what is the real problem temporary relief will only lead to another crisis. There is a much greater crisis than the COVID-19 outbreak. The major crisis in Israel at the time of the Gospel of Jesus Christ being revealed was the occupation by the Romans. The Israelites were a defeated people and wanted to be a free nation. But the message that John the Baptist preached in the wilderness was a message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. He did not speak to what was perceived as the crisis of the day but the real crisis that is behind all crises: sin against God.
It is mankind’s disobedience to God which leads to all crises. It began in the garden of Eden and it continues to this day as we live in a cursed and dying world. The crisis of the moment will not compare to the eternal crisis of which we all by nature are the cause of- a final judgment of eternal separation from God. Many are struggling in this crisis with being separated from their friends and family and other people in general. But have you considered your separation from God because of sin? Has the way of salvation yet been prepared in your heart? Or are you just looking for good news that is temporary and the real crisis is beyond your sight?
For those whose hearts were prepared by the message of John the Baptist, they saw their need for forgiveness from God and they confessed their sins to God. They came and were baptized in water symbolizing their being washed clean from their sins. In this pandemic cleanliness is of the utmost importance. The COVID-19 virus can so easily spread from a contaminated person without anyone even being aware that it has happened. But with washing the risk of being contaminated is lessened. The problem of sin is much more pervading and serious than any virus and water and soap cannot cleanse us. Only God can cleanse us from our sins. The power is within Him.
The message that John the Baptist preached opened the eyes of the people to see the real crisis in their day and this same message is the real crisis in our day. But John the Baptist knew that the Good News could not be fully revealed by himself but only by the Son of God who was to come after him. One was coming who was mightier than him. Although John the Baptist was the greatest of all the Old Testament prophets he was nothing compared to the One in whom the Gospel would be revealed: it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is His Gospel. The Son of God came to reveal His infinite power in forgiving you of your sins! Do you know Jesus Christ? Do you know the One who can baptize you with the Holy Spirit? Is the Name of Jesus Christ the One to whom you are calling to and resting in during this crisis? It is He, and He alone, who can give you the Good News that you need to hear.
Pastor Murray Hack