Sermon #65 Mark Sermons
Title: A GREAT SAVIOR
FOR GREAT SINNERS
Text: Mark 14:26-31
Subject: The Smitten Shepherd And The Scattered Sheep
Date: Sunday Morning - November 8, 1998
Tape # U-92b
Reading: Zechariah 13:1-9
I have often told you that when John Newton was an old man he made this statement - “I am an old man now and cannot remember as well as I used to; but I do remember two great things. I remember that I am a great sinner; and Jesus Christ is a great Savior.”
That is what I want to preach to you today. I want you to see and rejoice in the fact that…
Proposition: The Lord Jesus Christ is a great Savior for great sinners.
My text is Mark 14:26-31.
I. WHAT A GREAT SAVIOR CHRIST IS!
This is the primary thing to be seen in these verses. Therefore I will spend the bulk of my time talking about his greatness as our Savior. Christ’s greatness as our Savior is set before us here in three things: the people he saves, the punishment he suffered, and the perseverance of his love. First, we see the greatness of our Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior in…
A. THE PEOPLE HE SAVES.
1. Our blessed Savior knew exactly what he was getting when he saved us.
My sin often astonishes me; but it never astonishes him. The Lord Jesus knew when he chose me, he knew long before he saved me, what a vile, fickle sinner I would be. He knew before he saved me that I would constantly be in need of his grace and his forgiveness. Just in case you are wondering, he knew the same about you.
We see this clearly exemplified in our text. Our Lord knew the weaknesses, sins, and infirmities of his disciples. He told them plainly what they were going to do. Their pride was offended when they heard it. None of them really believed they were capable of such evil. He said, “All ye shall be offended because of me this night.” He told Peter, specifically, "Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.”
Yet, our Savior’s knowledge of what poor disciples they would be did not prevent him from choosing these men to be his disciples, even his apostles. His knowledge of what poor disciples we would be did not prevent him from choosing us.
· The Lord Jesus loved us and chose us, though he knew we would never choose him and would never love him in return, except he create that love in us and cause us by his grace to choose him.
· Our Savior loved us, though he knew that our love for him, as long as we live in this world, will be an alloyed love at best.
· The Son of God chose us, as he did these disciples, to be his intimate friends and companions, though he knew beforehand what great evil we would do.
2. With such a charitable, gracious, forbearing Savior, you and I ought to be charitable, forbearing, and gracious with one another.
We ought never conclude that a person has no grace, or does not know Christ, because we perceive that he or she has many weaknesses and much corruption.
J.C. Ryle wrote, “The church of Christ is little better than a great hospital. We ourselves are all, more or less, weak, and all daily need the skillful treatment of the heavenly Physician. There will be no complete cures until the resurrection day.”
We see something of our Savior’s greatness as our Savior in the people he saves. "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). Then, we see something of his greatness in…
B. THE PUNISHMENT HE SUFFERED.
The last sentence of this verse is a direct quote from Zechariah 13:7. Turn back there, and look at that blessed prophecy.
In order to redeem and save us, the Son of God assumed our nature, bore our sins in his own body on the tree, and voluntarily suffered all the infinite fulness of God’s holy wrath to the full satisfaction of his justice as our Substitute. Look at this verse line by line.
1. “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd.”
The Lord Jesus Christ is Jehovah’s Shepherd. These are the words of God the Father concerning his Son as our Mediator. He calls the God-man, “MY SHEPHERD,” because…
· He was chosen, appointed, called, and trusted God the Father as the Shepherd of his sheep in the covenant of grace before the world began.
· He is the One on whom the Father has laid the iniquity of his sheep.
· And he is the one responsible and accountable for the sheep.
Those words “AWAKE, O SWORD,” speak of the violent death of our Lord Jesus Christ and of glittering sword of divine justice, which was drawn out against him, when he was made to be sin for us. That sword, once unsheathed in Jehovah’s angry hands of omnipotent wrath, was never sheathed again until it was sheathed forever in Immanuel’s heart.
The sword of justice is here called to “awake” because it appeared to sleep, and to have been asleep for a very long time. It had been a long, long time since…
· Sin first entered into the world by our father Adam demanding satisfaction.
· Christ became our Surety and pledged himself to satisfy the justice of God for us.
· The promise was first given that the Son of God would be stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted as our Substitute.
2. “Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts.”
· He is a man.
· But this man, who is our Substitute and Savior, is and must be Jehovah’s fellow - God incarnate!
3. “Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd.”
The order was given by God himself to the sword of his justice to smite his darling Son to death. The Lord Jesus Christ was delivered to death and slain by the hand of God, according to the decree of God, at the command of God, for the glory of God. Now, look at the next line…
4. “Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.”
This is the part of the text which our Lord Jesus applied to his disciples, when he said, “All ye shall be offended because of me this night.”
I am so thankful that the text does not end there! Read on…
5. “Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.”
These “little ones” are the sheep who were scattered, the straying, scattered sheep, the disciples of Christ who forsook him. Yet, the text in Zechariah clearly speaks of more than just those sheep. It speaks of the certain salvation of all the Lord’s sheep. Zechariah’s prophecy asserts emphatically that all those sheep for whom the Shepherd was smitten at Calvary shall be saved (Zech. 13:7-9).
There is a remnant according to the election of grace (here called a third part of the earth), which shall be saved because Christ died for them. The Lord God says, “I will turn mine hand upon the little ones” - not his hand of wrath and justice, but his hand of mercy, grace, and power.
Are you beginning to see something of the greatness of Christ as our Savior? Certainly, you cannot fail to do so, when you consider the people he saves, the punishment he suffered, and…
C. THE PERSEVERANCE OF HIS LOVE.
Go back to Mark 14. I will say nothing about the perseverance of our Savior’s love for us through all the ages of time and all the stages of our rebellion and ungodliness. Let me simply remind you of the perseverance of his mercy, love, and grace to his erring, fallen, sinful people.
What great comfort I find here. The Lord Jesus does not cast off or forsake his people because of their faults, failures, and sins. He knows what we are. “He remembereth our frame. He knoweth that we are dust.” Like a loving husband who has taken a wife, takes her forever, and never dreams of putting her away because he later finds some fault in her, so Christ took us, knowing our deformity, to be his bride forever. Did you hear me? The Lord Jesus chose us, redeemed us, called us, and took us for his bride, knowing full well what he was getting!
1. He is a merciful and compassionate High Priest.
2. It is the glory of Christ to pass over iniquity, transgression, and sin. “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing” (Pro. 25:2).
3. Our Lord Jesus knew what we were before he saved us; yet he saved us.
4. He knew what we would be after he saved us; yet he saved us.
5. He cannot be induced for any reason, by anything, or at any time to cast us away now!
He says, “I will never leave the nor forsake thee.” He is our unchanging, unchangeable God, “Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, and today, and for ever!”
Now, briefly, let me tell you…
II. WHAT A GREAT THIEF UNBELIEF IS!
Our Lord Jesus spoke plainly to his disciples about his death and his resurrection. Look at verse 28.
He could not have been more clear. Yet, his words seem to have just passed over their heads altogether Not one of the disciples laid them up in his heart. Not one of the disciples remembered them. When he was betrayed, they all forsook him. When he was crucified, they were almost driven to despair. When he was raised from the dead, and they were told about it by credible witnesses, none of them were quick to believe it.
A. Only in eternity will we know how much we have robbed ourselves by our unbelief.
Our unbelief robs God of his glory; and robs us of more peace, joy, and contentment than we can imagine. Like Hagar’s well in the wilderness, we have the truths and promises of our God right here in his Word, but do not see them, because of unbelief (Gen. 21:19).
What anxiety, what tears, what misgivings, what sorrows we might avoid if we simply believed God!
B. Here is a word specifically for preachers, pastors and teachers.
If those men who were instructed by Christ himself so frequently ignored what he said, we ought not get too upset when those to whom we preach ignore, fail to learn, or quickly forget what we preach to them.
Now, look at our text and these poor disciples once more, and let us be reminded…
III. WHAT GREAT SINNERS WE ARE.
There is in all of us an enormous measure of pride that must be abased, a huge portion of self-confidence that must be destroyed, and a hideous mass of self-righteousness that must be slain.
Peter simply could not believe what the Lord Jesus said. He argued in defense of himself. He was highly offended and insulted that the Lord should even think he might forsake him. He said, “If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee.” He did not stand alone in his arrogance. All the other disciples were of the same high opinion about themselves. “Likewise said they all.”
· Peter told the truth. He was truly willing to die with his Lord, and eventually did.
· But Peter, as well as the others, were unaware of the great evil still in them, which had to be exposed and dealt with.
In just twelve hours, all these men forsook the Master. Their bold, proud claims were forgotten. Their promises of fidelity were swept away. Their imagined strength withered. Their great faith failed.
Yet, even in this, we see the overruling hand of our God in goodness, grace, and providence.
· Had Peter not trembled before the maid and denied his Lord here he could never have preached so boldly as he did at Pentecost or confessed Christ so fearlessly as he did in Acts 4.
· Had Peter and these disciples, our brethren, not forsaken the Lord Jesus, we could never have known the goodness, grace, love, and faithfulness of our great God and Savior, in his absolute immutability toward his fallen saints as it is here revealed.
1. There is no sin into which the most eminent saint will not run, except God hold us by his grace.
2. Salvation is by grace alone.