“Christ’s Redemption & Our Response, Part 1:

Through the Eyes of the Disciples”

Mark 5:1-20

April 23, 2023

Faith Presbyterian Church – Morning Service

Pastor Nicoletti

The Reading of the Word

We continue this morning in our series in the Gospel of Mark, and we come to another very full text, which we will once again spend two sermons on.

This morning we will consider the events of this passage as they would have been seen through the eyes of Jesus’s Jewish disciples, who were with him in the boat as they arrived in the country of the Gerasenes. Next Sunday we will consider the events of this text as they would have been perceived through the eyes of the Gerasenes who were dwelling in the land which Jesus suddenly and disruptively arrived in.

With that said, we turn now to our text, Mark 5:1-20.

Please do listen carefully, for this is God’s word for us this morning:

They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.

14 The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

This is the word of the Lord. (Thanks be to God.)

“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” [1 Peter 1:24-25]

Let’s pray …

Prayer of Illumination

Lord, we know that those who walk in the ways of your word are blessed –

those who keep your testimonies

and seek you with their whole heart.

Lord, make our ways steadfast

in keeping your statutes.

Keep us from dishonoring your name,

by fixing our eyes now on your word.

Teach us the way of righteousness,

so that we might praise you with upright hearts,

Grant this for Jesus’s sake. Amen.

[Based on Psalm 119:1-2, 5-7]


So today we are approaching this passage through the eyes of the disciples … which on one level is a little odd because the disciples’ responses are not recorded for us here … but on another level is quite fitting because Mark, as a gifted storyteller, has told this story in such a way that it’s natural for us to put ourselves in their place.

And as we think about this text through the eyes of the disciples, I want to consider three things that would have been prominent for them. I want to consider:

  • First, the judgmental instinct.
  • Second, the disruptive interaction.
  • And third, the shocking outcome.

So: the judgmental instinct, the disruptive interaction, and the shocking outcome.

The Judgmental Instinct

The first thing for us to think about – the first thing that the disciples would have experienced – is the judgmental instinct.

And we can miss this, but for the disciples, this fact would have framed and dominated their experience of this entire event. And their knee-jerk reactions of judgment would have taken the form of three different emotions as this text unfolded. They would have felt: indifference, revulsion, and fear.


First, they would have felt indifference.

They would have been struck by the feeling that they just left a group of people who matter, in order to go to a people who don’t.

In chapter four, Jesus had been preaching to a large crowd of Jews. But then, at the end of the chapter, he leaves them in order to go to the country of the Gerasenes. This was a gentile region – a region of pagans. [Edwards, 155] And there Jesus is met by a man with an unclean spirit, and a bunch of pig herdsmen.

At worst, these were the sort of people the disciples actively hated, but even at best they were people whose well-being they felt utterly indifferent about. Their suffering and their spiritual wellbeing were not things that the average Jew worried about at all.

And indifference is, after all, a form of judgment – it’s a judgment about whether another person or another people group matters. It’s a judgment about their worth.

And the first kind of judgment – the first feeling the disciples likely felt about the people before them – was probably that kind of indifference.


But the second thing the disciples felt would have been stronger. The second thing they probably felt would have been revulsion.

The scene in this text is filled with things that would have repelled them. To begin with, this was a gentile and pagan city – a place that was inherently spiritually repellant. But then, the scene is also saturated with things that were ceremonially unclean to a faithful Jew. In verse three we’re told that we have a man who lives among the tombs. A faithful Jew could be made ceremonially unclean by contact with the dead, or even things associated with the dead, and so this would have made the scene repellent to them. Then, in verse eleven, we’re told that a great herd of two thousand pigs was there. Pigs were also ceremonially unclean to Jews. In addition to the spiritual and the ceremonial components, you then had the appearance of the man himself: wild, unclothed, crying out, covered with self-inflicted wounds – a repellant sight. Finally, at the heart of it all, you have the distressing presence of an unclean spirit. [Edwards, 155]

Everything in that description would have caused the disciples not just abstract concerns or esoteric religious objections, but gut-level revulsion. They would have been repelled by the man running towards them, and by the scene as a whole.

And so the second emotion they would have felt would be that gut-level revulsion.


But then third, along with that, the disciples would have also felt fear. The man who was running toward them was frightening. We’re told in verses three and four that other people had tried to bind him, but they couldn’t – not even with chains. No one had the strength to subdue him. If someone like that is running towards you, crying out, seemingly out of his mind, fear is an understandable response.

And so, taken together, as the disciples arrived at the shore, as they saw this man, they would have felt indifference, revulsion, and fear – that’s how they would have felt about the Gerasenes, and that’s how they would have felt about this man with an unclean spirit.

The question for us is: Who are our Gerasenes? Who are the people with an unclean spirit in our minds? Who makes us feel indifference, revulsion, or fear? Who do we experience the judgmental impulse towards?

Now, if you’re like most modern people, you would decry such judgments against other people. You would say that you believe every person has value and dignity. It’s other people – people quite different from you – who are judgmental and repelled by those who are different from them.

And yet … the truth is that we all, in our hearts, do this. We all judge others. We all feel indifference towards certain individuals and certain groups. We all feel revulsion towards certain kinds of people. We all feel fear about certain types of people.

And if we reflect honestly on our internal world and our emotions, we can see it.

Who causes you to feel those kinds of feelings?

Maybe it’s a particular political tribe that you have these kinds of feelings about, whether it’s woke progressives or MAGA conservatives.

Maybe it’s a class of people you feel this way about – whether a class above you or a class below you.

Maybe it’s people of another religion, whether secular atheists, conservative Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, or evangelical Christians that make you feel this way.

Maybe it’s someone who struggles with or who has committed or who even embraces a sin or a behavior that you find especially troubling. And if you’re honest, you find yourself not just denouncing the sin itself … but in your heart you are revolted by anyone who would commit it … fearful of somehow being contaminated by their presence … and generally indifferent to their spiritual wellbeing or welfare.

Or maybe it’s some other type of person. The homeless. The drug addicted. The mentally unwell. Members of some other troubled group.

I don’t know who it is for you … but I do know it’s someone. So be honest with yourself right now – at least in your own head – who are your Gerasenes? Who is unclean to you? What kind of people repel you?

And once you admit it, look out for the immediate thoughts of self-justification that will follow – the reasons that will spring to your mind about why when other people feel such feelings towards various groups, they are being unjust … but in your case, it’s justified – your feelings of indifference and revulsion and fear are rational and fair.

The disciples would have felt that their feelings of indifference, revulsion, and fear were justifiable too. But Jesus rejects their judgments anyway.

Where they would justify their avoidance, Jesus leads them across the lake, into the territory of the Gerasenes.

Where they could justify their revulsion, Jesus reaches out, and draws close to the very man who would have repelled them.

Where they could justify their fear, Jesus puts himself before a man whom others could not control.

Without a word to them, Jesus brushes their justifications aside. He refutes them by his action rather than by argumentation.

So the first thing for us to do with this text is to consider our own judgmental instincts … to consider those we have become comfortable feeling indifference or revulsion or fear towards … and then to let Jesus call us to repentance by his actions here.

That’s the first thing for us to see: the judgmental instinct, and Jesus’s rejection of it.

The Disruptive Interaction

The second prominent feature of all this for the disciples would have been the disruptive interaction. And we see this in verses six through eight.

There we read this:

And when he [that is, the man with the unclean spirit – when he] saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”

I would argue that both this man’s response to Jesus, and Jesus’s response to this man, would have disrupted the assumptions and expectations of the disciples … and it might disrupt some of our assumptions and expectations as well.

Let’s consider it.

The Man with An Unclean Spirit

And let’s start with the response this man had towards Jesus.

The man with the unclean spirit responds to Jesus in two contradictory ways, at the very same time.

First, he says “What have you to do with me, Jesus?” These are words meant to communicate that the two have nothing to do with one another. [Edwards, 57] And so with those words, the man seems to be pushing Jesus away. And that is exactly what the disciples would expect from such a man.

But then, at the very same time, we see the same man, also doing the opposite of that. In verse six we’re told that when the man saw Jesus from afar, he ran to him, and then he fell down before him. Then, even as he spoke words that sound like rejection, he also identified Jesus as the “Son of the Most High God” – a Gentile version of Mark’s introductory title for Jesus [Edwards, 156].

The man with the unclean spirit is simultaneously running to Jesus and pushing him away. And that combination is a perfect window into the complex relationship that lost men and women have towards God, their Maker.

James Eglinton, drawing from the work of Johan Bavinck (Herman Bavinck’s nephew), has said that the Bible’s description of humanity’s natural, fallen state, is that with one hand, each person reaches out to God, longing to know their Maker … but then, even as they reach out to God with one hand, they use their other hand to try to cover God’s mouth as he speaks to them. In every human heart – made in the image of God, yet tainted and twisted by sin – we find these twin impulses. Each person cannot help but long for God, and each person, in their sin, cannot help but try to suppress and silence what God is saying to them. [While I did not track down the specific episodes, James Eglinton uses this image multiple times on the podcast Grace in Common to describe Johan Bavinck’s theology of unbelievers.]

We often want to think of human unbelief as simple. Sometimes we want to think of it as a simple lack of information. Other times, we want to characterize it as an uncomplicated rejection of God. But the Bible’s picture is more complex – it is a tortured, twisted combination of impulses inside the unbeliever – a desperate longing for God and a frantic rejection of him, all at the very same time. And we see that here in this man with an unclean spirit. He runs to Jesus, bows before him, and at the same time pushes him away with a declaration of separation from him.

This would have disrupted the disciples’ worldview. It refuted the two-dimensional caricature of unbelievers they may have had in their head, and forced them to see such people as three-dimensional human beings, bearing God’s image, and longing for God, even as they resist and reject God.

And it should disrupt our worldview in the same way.

Think again of those whom you feel the judgmental impulse towards. Do you too tend to oversimplify their inner world and their relationship to God? Do you too tend to reduce them to a two-dimensional caricature?

This text challenges us to cultivate a more biblical imagination when it comes to the internal world of those we might easily judge, as we think about their relationship to God. Maybe the complexity is conscious for them, or maybe these complex impulses are going on deeper, below the level of consciousness, in the conflicting desires of their hearts. But either way, our text challenges you to consider that those people you would judge find themselves trapped in complex and competing impulses towards God and his Word. At the very same time, they want to run towards him, and renounce him. They want to reach out to God, and cover his mouth. They want God to free them, and they want God to leave them alone.

If you were to take even just a few minutes to imagine that … to think of how painful it would be to be trapped within those competing impulses at the deepest level of the soul … if you let your imagination be that biblically informed as you think about such people … then how might your attitude towards them change? Would you still feel the same revulsion … fear … and indifference towards? Or would you feel something else?

That’s the first half of the disruptive interaction at the heart of this text: the man with the unclean spirit’s response to Jesus.


The second half of that disruptive interaction comes as we consider Jesus’s response to the man.

Because Jesus’s first focus, as we see in verse eight, is one of rescue. He is battling not the man, but the unclean spirit. “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit.” he says.

What’s noteworthy is that Jesus treats this man first and foremost as a captive, before he addresses him, as a rebel.

Now, don’t get me wrong, as an unbelieving gentile, this man was a spiritual rebel. And it’s difficult to believe that he bore no responsibility for his current condition. We may wonder what sins, what choices, what bad decisions led this man to his current condition.

But what’s noteworthy is that that’s not where Jesus starts. He doesn’t start by confronting and rebuking the man … he starts by pitying the man and seeking to rescue him.

And that’s worth reflecting on.

I think that pity gets a bad rap in our culture. It’s spoken of mostly negatively, either as condescending when other people give it to you, or self-centered when you give it to yourself. But for J.R.R. Tolkien, pity was an act of love and compassion that we are called on to cultivate.

Tolkien portrays compassionate pity as a virtue that comes from heaven, and which we must integrate into our hearts and lives, to help us respond to those who repel and even hate us.

The virtuous cultivation of pity begins in Tolkien’s creation story, as Nienna, an angelic servant of God, attends to the wounds of the fallen creation, lovingly grieving for them, and teaching others pity and endurance in hope, which are needed for a faithful life in a fallen world. [Tolkien, The Silmarillion, 28]

One person who learns such pity in the house of Nienna is Gandalf, who will show up as a wise old wizard in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. And Gandalf will try to exhort Frodo – the hobbit at the center of The Lord of the Rings – to cultivate such compassionate pity as well. [Note: Gandalf’s time in Nienna’s house is mentioned in The Silmarillion, 30-31. There, he is identified as Olórin, but in The Lord of the Rings, 670 (Book 4, Chapter 5), Faramir reveals that Olórin was Gandalf’s name when Gandalf was in his “youth”.]

It comes up early on in one of their conversations.

Frodo was a good and respectable hobbit. People looked up to him. He sought to do the right thing. But as he was caught up in larger events, he also had to deal with a wider range of people.

One of the people he would have to deal with was Gollum. Gollum had once been a hobbit, not unlike Frodo. But his mind had been captured and dominated by the evil power behind a ring of Mordor – the same ring that Frodo now had to carry and destroy. The ring had come to enslave Gollum’s mind – driving him from society, driving him from relationships, reducing him to a shadow of what he had been. The evil of the ring had made Gollum into a shriveled, twisted being that Frodo felt revulsion and fear towards.

As Frodo learned more about Gollum, he also learned that his friend Bilbo had once had a chance to put an end to Gollum – to put him to death.

When he heard that, Frodo exclaimed “What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature, when he had a chance!”

“Pity?” said Gandalf, “It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need.”

But Frodo confessed that he could not relate. He felt no pity for Gollum. Only fear, and a desire to see him struck down in justice. [Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 59 (Book 1, Chapter 2)]

But as the story goes on, Frodo would learn pity. He’d learn it first by carrying the ring himself, and seeing more clearly his own weaknesses – his own susceptibility to sin and temptation. And he’d learn it as well through coming to meet and spend time with Gollum himself, and seeing in him the goodness that still existed, along with the brokenness and slavery that Frodo realized he himself could have been subject to, had circumstances been different.

And as Frodo learned compassionate pity, he learned to have it not just towards those who repulsed him, but even towards those who hated him. In a later portion of the story, not included in the movies, Frodo is face to face with an enemy who has attacked Frodo and his home directly, and who’s done it purely out of spite and hate. But Frodo by now has learned pity. And so Frodo was able to respond not with judgment, but with compassionate pity. He pitied one who would seek pleasure in injuring others. [Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 1018-1019 (Book 6, Chapter 8)]

Across the epic tale of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien calls on his readers to value and to cultivate the virtue of compassionate pity in our daily lives – a virtue of divine origin, which is cultivated in part by seeing more clearly the weaknesses of ourselves, and the miseries of others – even of our enemies.

And I think our text this morning calls us to something similar. When others repel us – even when others threaten us – we are called to resist the judgmental instinct, and to respond, instead, as Jesus does, with compassion and pity.

That might mean looking to heaven for the origin of this virtue in Christ. It might mean looking more honestly at ourselves to see our own weaknesses. And it might mean seeing others more as Jesus does – trapped in the misery of their sin, longing for God even as they push him away.

Maybe then we can respond to those who would repel us like Jesus does here, instead of like the world does all around us.

So, zooming out again: First, we see our instinct towards judgment. Second, in Jesus’s disruptive interaction, we see a call to compassionate pity.

The Shocking Outcome

Third, we see a shocking outcome. And that shocking outcome comes here in three forms: there is a shocking engrafting, a shocking exchange, and then a shocking commission.

An Engrafting

First, there is a shocking engrafting.

As we saw last week, Mark often evokes Old Testament imagery to make a point in his Gospel. And that happens again here.

Here, in chapters four and five, Mark in his writing, and Jesus in his actions, are evoking Exodus typology. We have Jesus leading his people across a sea at the end of chapter four, followed by Jesus drowning his enemies in the same sea in chapter five. This evokes Exodus 14, where God delivers Israel across a sea, and then drowns the military forces of Pharaoh in the same sea. [Horne, 94-95]

That same two-fold pattern is repeated here, and the link is reinforced by military vocabulary that’s used throughout in the Greek. [Myers, 191]

But there’s a shocking twist. Because here in Mark 5, the one who is filling the role of Israel in this re-telling is not the Jewish disciples … but it’s the gentile who has an unclean spirit. This gentile is portrayed as oppressed and enslaved by militant demonic forces – forces like those of Pharaoh – and then, as he did for Israel, Jesus takes this man’s oppressors and drowns them in the sea.

By doing that, Jesus casts this unclean gentile man in the role of Israel. He effectively engrafts him into the story of the people of God. And that would have been a shock for the Jewish disciples.

But that’s what Jesus does.

He takes a man who was about as outside of the people of God as anyone could imagine, and engrafts him into the story of God’s people.

Now, of course, as Jesus does this, he does not leave the man as he was. He’s not simply engrafted, but he’s freed, he’s transformed. Even by verse fifteen he is clothed and in his right mind, sitting at Jesus’s feet, presumably receiving Jesus’s instruction.

But even so, that transformation came out of Jesus’s saving, engrafting work – it was not a prerequisite for it. Jesus didn’t first require the man to get clothed and in his right mind, and then rescue and engraft him.

No, his saving work came first. Jesus saved the man right where he was. And then Christ’s saving work changed the man’s heart and his life.

But the engrafting, saving work of Jesus came to the man while he was still an outsider.

Which is a reminder that no one is so far off that God cannot snatch them up and engraft them into his people.

Neither you, nor those you are repulsed by are so far off that they cannot, in a moment of grace, be engrafted into the people of God.

That is the first shocking outcome we see: those who are far off and unclean are engrafted into the story of the people of God.

An Exchange

Second, there is a shocking exchange.

It’s subtle, but it’s worth noting (and it’s not the only time Mark notes this). We’ll look at this a little more next week, but this man who had an unclean spirit had been an outsider in his country. He lived, we’re told in verse five, among the tombs and on the mountains. He had no community. But now he is clothed and in his right mind, we read in verse fifteen. Now, we read in verses nineteen and twenty, he is returning to his family and his friends, to live among society again. He has gone from the outside to the inside.

But this man’s acceptance came at a price. And the price of his acceptance was Jesus’s rejection. At the same time this man is allowed back in, Jesus, in verse seventeen is being cast out – the people ask him to leave.

Redemption always has a cost – there’s always an exchange. In the gospel, our acceptance with God and with God’s people comes at the cost of Jesus’s rejection on the cross. He experienced the rejection we deserve so that we could have the acceptance that only he had a rightful claim to.

The shock of this text is that Jesus was willing to take on that exchange – he was willing to pay the price of rejection – not just for the good … not just for those a little ways off from the people of God … but even for those who are far off – even for one possessed by an unclean spirit, dwelling in and among death. Even for such a one, Jesus was willing to pay the price of redemption.

That is how great Jesus’s love is for those who are far off.

And so the second shocking outcome of this text is the exchange Jesus was willing to make: a reminder that his love is so great that no one – however broken, however twisted, however depraved – no one is beyond his redeeming love.

A Commission

The third and final remarkable outcome we see here is a shocking commission.

In verse eighteen the man who had an unclean spirit before, now wants to go with Jesus. But Jesus says no. This may, at first, seem like a negative thing. But then we come to verses nineteen and twenty. And there we read that Jesus “said to him, ‘Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’ And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.”

Here we realize that rather than distancing this man from himself, Jesus is commissioning him. He sends him out to preach to others about Jesus.

And that is all the more baffling when we realize that at this point in Mark’s gospel, while the twelve have been appointed as apostles, we don’t read about them being sent out to preach until chapter six. But here in chapter five, even before that, even with such little instruction, Jesus commissions this man to ministry and begins to work through his proclamation.

This healed demoniac becomes “the first missionary-preacher sent out by Jesus.” [Edwards, 160] Years before Jesus would send Paul to the gentiles, Jesus would first send them this man. [Wright, 57]

And it’s worth reflecting on how the disciples would have felt about this. They, at this point, had spent so much more time with Jesus. They had heard so much more of his teaching. But in their last interaction with Jesus, in the boat, they had been rebuked for their lack of faith … while this man, who at the start of the day was possessed by an unclean spirit and living in a graveyard – this man Jesus is already sending out into the world to do his work. That wouldn’t just shock the disciples – it probably shocks us too! We want to protest – we want to warn Jesus about the folly of this plan.

But Jesus delights in using what is foolish in the eyes of the world in order to shame the wise. [1 Corinthians 1:27] And so we should not be surprised that Jesus will often use those who seem weaker, or less equipped, to do great things in his kingdom … while less may come of the ministry of those who appear to be better trained and better prepared for kingdom work.

And so it’s not just that God might save those we least expect … he may also then use them in ways we never would have imagined.

That’s the third thing we see here: a shocking commission.

And so, with this shocking engrafting, this shocking exchange, and this shocking commission we see that Jesus loves, and saves, and works through those whom we, like the disciples, might least expect.

And with that truth, our text calls us to repent of our judgmental instincts, to learn from Christ’s disruptive interactions, and to come to expect the shocking outcomes from the gospel that only Christ could bring about.


Each of us should examine our hearts and consider where we may be like the disciples would have been – for which people we are guilty of sinful judgment … for which people we need to replace our indifference, revulsion, and fear with compassionate pity … for which people we need to more sincerely believe that Jesus really can rescue them, and engraft them, and do great things through them. Each of us should honestly consider how this text calls us to approach other people.

But some of you, I suspect, need to hear this message not just for how you view other people … but also for how you view yourself.

Perhaps it’s not just for other people … but when you look in the mirror, you feel revulsion towards yourself. Perhaps it’s yourself that you fear. Perhaps it’s your spiritual state that you’ve fallen into despairing indifference about.

If that is you – if it’s yourself that you feel the judgmental instinct towards – then Jesus here reminds you that whatever you’ve done, whoever you’ve been, you also are not beyond his grace. Jesus draws close to you. And as he does … perhaps you feel that dual impulse to reach out towards him, and also to push him away. As you do, Jesus simply calls you to bow before him, and to accept his compassionate pity.

He loves you so much that he was willing to exchange his own life for yours. He desires you so greatly that he is willing to engraft you into his people. And he can transform you so profoundly that you can become one of his agents in this world – commissioned to his service.

Whatever unclean spirit you feel enslaved to, he is able to free you from it. You cannot free yourself. But he can free you.

And so call on him, and entrust yourself to his grace this morning.

And then, standing firmly in his grace, we are all called to obey Christ’s commission to go into unclean places –into hostile places –into places that evoke indifference and revulsion and fear in our hearts – we are called to go there as his representatives.

And so let us go. And let us tell them how much the Lord has done for us … and how much he can do for them.


This sermon draws on material from:

Bayer, Hans. Introduction and notes to Mark in The ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008.

Edwards, James R. The Gospel According to Mark. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002.

Eglinton, James. Grace in Common. Podcast. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/grace-in-common/id1609942093

Horne, Mark. The Victory According to Mark: An Exposition of the Second Gospel. Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2003.

Keller, Timothy. Jesus the King. New York, NY: Penguin, 2011.

Leithart, Peter J. The Gospel of Matthew Through New Eyes: Volume One, Jesus as Israel. Monroe, LA: Athanasius Press, 2017.

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Silmarillion. Second Edition. Edited by Christopher Tolkien. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1977. (2001 Edition)

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Lord of the Rings. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004 revised text one-volume 50th anniversary edition.

Wright, N.T. Mark for Everyone. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.

Note: In my preaching I often cite and draw from a range of sources, which includes material from Christians within my theological tradition, Christians outside my theological tradition, and also (following the Apostle Paul’s example in Acts 17) non-Christians who are well outside of Christian orthodoxy and orthopraxy. And so, when I cite an author or a source, that citation should not be understood or construed as me necessarily agreeing with, endorsing, or recommending to others anything else from that author or source, except for what I explicitly say I agree with, endorse, or recommend. When engaging with different materials and thinkers, all Christians must exercise wisdom and discernment to determine what is helpful, appropriate, and edifying for each person, where they currently are.

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