O The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus
Text: Mark 10:32-34
Proposition: The cost of salvation for Jesus meant not only His death but also the clear knowledge of the suffering and separation that would lead up to it demonstrating the deep, deep love of Christ for an atrocious mankind.
Introduction: One of the familiar traits of God is that He knows all things, which implies He knows our thoughts, the things we have done and even the things that will occur in the future. Perhaps we don’t often stop to consider how difficult and even painful it is for God to know what is coming next. I think that foreknowledge for God, for the entire Trinity, is one of the most painful of His attributes as He deals with mankind. This foreknowledge of God is one of the most readily accepted attributes of God, whether we hold opinions that exalt the sovereignty of God or opinions that exalt the free will of man we all begin at the place that acknowledges the very real existence of the foreknowledge of God. And yet this opens for us all kinds of implications that speak deeply to the insistence of God’s love, His deep, deep love, for a fallen world. Jesus has just finished speaking about what it takes to enter the kingdom of God, the trust and dependence of a child, the willingness to yield up first place things and move them to last place things that Christ would have first place. These He taught and then began to lead them on the upward and winding road that led to Jerusalem. Turn with me to Mark 10:32-34 as we see the deep, deep love of Jesus manifest itself through His foreknowledge of what will soon be.
I. It Is An Exciting and Yet Fearful Thing To Follow Jesus. Following a Jesus who has the same foreknowledge as the Father can be a lot like if a good friend blind folds you and then quickly leads you outside. Down the path and into the bush he takes you, along the banks of a fast flowing river you stumble. Your senses pick up a lot of clues as to where you are and your foot hesitatingly reaches forward, yet your friend takes your hand as he tells you when to duck a branch and how to step over a rock. He leads you at a pace that is much faster than you want, telling you that he can see what you can’t so just trust him. It’s an exciting and fearful thing to follow Jesus because He knows what is coming next. In verse 32 it paints the picture of Jesus leading the pack of disciples as they collectively realize that Jesus has left the Jordan road and is leading them to Jerusalem. There is a little confusion in the wording here for it says, “…and they were amazed and as they followed they were afraid.” In a number of translations they make the distinction for you that this refers to two different groups of people. The ‘amazed’ crowd, are the 12 disciples, the ‘afraid’ crowd, are the larger group of followers. The amazement of the disciples is more like a deep apprehension, twice before He had told them about what lay ahead (8:31; 9:31). To them it must have felt like they were moving towards the enemy’s camp and a certain destruction lay ahead. To the other crowd who followed Jesus up that winding road they were losing their joy and laughter as they began to realize that the closer they got to Jerusalem the more dangerous it would be for them if they were associated with Jesus. It is an exciting and yet fearful thing to follow Jesus, because the direction He chooses to go can to us be baffling if not even intimidating. He knows we cannot see what He can, He knows our blindfold is in place and that we sometimes fear, yet He has our hand… and even more…He loves us with a heart that says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
II. Glimpse the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus in His Foreknowledge.Jesus knows what they are thinking as they lean into the upwards trail, He takes the 12 aside and tells them what is going to happen to Him. In the most detailed account yet Jesus lists 9 things that in His foreknowledge He knows are about to take place. We’ll look at those in a minute but first consider what this was like for Jesus. There is a great weight that comes from seeing through a glass clearly as opposed to seeing through a glass darkly. Jesus could see betrayal, jealousy, hatred, the effects of sin in man that lead to volcanic anger, disgust, racism and humiliation. In His foreknowledge He could see the failures of man, He sees atrocities that man would commit, He could see Himself being put to death by a mob of sinful humanity. He could see the depths of what it would mean to be forsaken by mankind as God the Father determined to place upon Him the judicial verdict of mankind’s sin, and the Holiness of Jesus would be weighted to the depths as the Son accepted the verdict of being the great sin bearer of all mankind, the Passover Lamb fulfilled. Jesus saw not only the great agony that sin impressed upon holiness would cause but saw also the wisdom of God in doing so to put an end to the way that sin separates man from God. He saw the resurrection after three days, He saw the way that He would lay His life down and the way that He would pick His life up again and that this transformed body and soul would be the way for the many billions who would trust in Him as their Lord. That’s the technical description, but the reason why God has ordained that His Son would do this is encased in one word…love. The word, “know”,which is the center of foreknowledge, means,” to know deeply and intimately”. Foreknowledge does not refer to an awareness of events and situations as much as it refers to people. In almost every case foreknowledge refers to God’s awareness of people because He intimately knows them and loves them. Why does Jesus tell the disciples what is about to occur, it’s because He loves them, it’s not just the ability to reveal how things will unfold. Consider the nine particular details in the passage we have been reading in Mark 10:32-34.
1. The Son of Man will be betrayed- the love of Jesus sees betrayal and does not flinch from it. To be rejected by those you have been close to, those you have laughed with and eaten meals with, this is a love that sees the greater gain.
2. To the chief priests and to the scribes- these who had studied the word of God more than most and who were the spiritual guides of the people were to be the very ones that would deny His deity. The deep sorrow of seeing their hardness of heart was only overcome by a deeper love. The Jesus who had directed the prophets in what to say about Himself was now persecuted by those who loved these writings.
3. They will condemn Him to death- the love of Jesus moves past the injustices of man. His love of you, whom He has known before you were woven together in your mother’s womb, cannot be separated from you by man’s injustice.
4. And Deliver Him to the Gentiles- the love of Jesus is for the world, it extends past just the Jewish peoples. He has foreknown Gentile and Jew, both groups would be culpable in His death yet both would contain the elect because of His deep, deep love.
5. And they will mock Him- the ignorance of the Gentile is different than the ignorance of the Jew, they mocked God with impunity, they dared God to respond and the deep, deep love of Jesus saw to the core of their foolish hearts. “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”
6. And scourge Him- the deep love of Jesus accepts the punitive judgment of scourging as an act of the wrath of God against sin. The scourging by Pilate was meant to be an appeal to the consciences of men to see His innocence. The deep, deep love of Jesus reaches out to us past our hardened consciences.
7. And spit on Him- the full weight of the contempt of man is expressed when someone spits on you. It is tantamount to saying that you are despised among men. The deep, deep love of Jesus was that He was willing to be despised that we would be delivered.
8. And kill Him – the cessation of life though it happens at the hands of men is in truth an act of the Son. He lays down His life, the method he does so is by their hands. The deep, deep love of Jesus allows mere mortals to have role and design even in His death.
9. And the third day He will rise again- the deep, deep love of Jesus for the Father, and for the Holy Spirit Whom He was about to employ in mankind according to the Fathers foreknown plan from all eternity past, was brought to its next step in the resurrection. It is out of the foreknowledge of God that the deep, deep love of Jesus is made manifest and is now the cause of our deep, deep love of Jesus.
"For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us." (2 Corinthians 1:20)