Trust - Mark 2:13-17

This is a family service talk by Nathan Buttery from the morning service on 24th November 2002.

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Now I want to begin today by asking for a volunteer to come up to the front. Now you need to be brave because what I am going to ask you to do is pretty tough! (Volunteer comes up) I am going to ask them to stand next to me and I am going to crack open some eggs on their head. Now in my egg carton I have got three hard boiled eggs and three raw eggs. And I am going to crack open three eggs on their head. And they will be hard boiled eggs. But the question is do you trust me to do what I say? Or will I slip in a raw egg for fun? Well let's find out! (Three boiled eggs cracked on volunteer's head!) So you can see that your trust in me was well founded!

Now today we're thinking about the whole topic of trust and particularly whether we trust Jesus when he tells us some big things. And today we're going to find out that Jesus is a doctor whose speciality is heart surgery. And he's going to tell us all that we are all suffering from a fatal disease, but he is able to cure us if we'll let him. (Acetate 1- Ambulance) Now I don't know what you think about doctors and whether you like hospitals and doctor's surgeries. I for one find them scary places. Do you agree? But Doctor Jesus is a doctor who never gets things wrong and who can cure us even of the most serious disease of all. And to help us hear what Doctor Jesus is saying to us, we're going to look at a story about a man called Levi, which we read earlier on. It's in Mark's gospel chapter 2 vv 13-17. And Levi's story is about a man who met Dr. Jesus and found that Jesus could cure his most serious problem. And we'll see through this story that the Jesus who cured Levi of his fatal disease is the same Jesus who can cure us of the same fatal disease. So let's look together at this story and we'll discover two things:

1) Jesus tells us we are all sick

2) Jesus offers us all the same cure

1) Jesus tells us we are all sick

(Acetate 2- Titles (first only)) And the first thing we discover is that Jesus tells us that we are all sick. (Acetate 3 Levi) Now our story begins when Levi is sitting by the road in his little hut. You see Levi was not the inventor of jeans but a tax collector. And in Jesus' time, tax collectors were hated. They were not the flavour of the month at all. (Acetate 4- Levi = Vile) Everyone thought they were the lowest of the low. They were the sort of people that no-one liked and no-one made friends with. And the reason was that they were working for the enemy the Romans, who had taken over the land. And tax collectors were collecting taxes from the people for the Romans. And to make things worse they always charged people a little bit more, so they could keep some for themselves. (Acetate 5- Camel) Can you imagine what people would think of them? You can imagine Levi zooming round town on his supercharged camel. Everyone would be very jealous wouldn't they? He would have spent hours counting his money, totting up all the huge amounts of money he'd made that week. (Acetate 6- Levi counting money) He was really rich, and rich on other people's money. So everyone hated him.

But Levi had a more serious problem. And that was that he was a sinner. Now a sinner in the Bible does not mean someone who eats a cream doughnut when they are on a diet or someone who commits horrible crimes. Rather a sinner suffers from a horrible disease called sin. It's the disease of putting me first in my life and leaving God out of the picture. And if it's not cured, it is fatal. It will kill us for good. So we could say that Levi was actually evil. It's not a word we like to use, but it's the word the Bible uses of all people who go against God. (Acetate 4 again- Levi = Evil). So Levi had two very serious problems. He was cut off from people, because they hated him. And he was cut off from God because he didn't go God's way. And that was a much more serious problem. He had a fatal disease called sin and he needed a cure soon. He was sick and needed a doctor.

And believe it or not the Bible says we are all suffering from the same disease. We may not all be tax collectors and hated by everyone, but we are suffering from the same disease that Levi suffer from, and that is sin. Sadly none of us have lived the perfect life God wants, and we have all let him down. We are all kings of our own lives. And because there cannot be two kings of our lives, one has to go. And that's God. So we all give God the boot and put ourselves No. 1. And the problem with that is that we're cut off from God, which is a very serious position to be in. In fact it is so serious that it means we cannot go to heaven. Now that may come as a bit of a shock to some of us, so let me illustrate it with a few scenes from the doctors' surgery.

Scene 1:

Doctor: Next!

Patient: Good morning doctor! I've just come to tell you how well I am. There's nothing wrong with me at all. My back is fine, there's nothing wrong with my neck or leg or arm. I don't have a migraine and I don't have sleeping sickness or rabies.

Doctor: Yes, I see

Patient: I don't have concussion, I don't have pneumonia, and I'm not at all depressed

Doctor: Yes, thankyou. Next please!

Patient: sleeping like a log and I'm as fit as a fiddle, that's me. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, nothing wrong at all!

Doctor: NEXT PLEASE!

You see many people think that we're like that with God. There's nothing wrong with us at all. We're fine. No serious problems. We may have the odd sniffle here and there, we may not be perfect. But God's not going to be worried by that. So we tell him we're fine without him. But the problem is that the Bible says we're suffering from a fatal disease called sin, putting us at the centre and leaving God out of the picture. Whilst we may look fine on the outside, whilst we may be respectable and nice, yet inside there is a terrible disease raging in our hearts. And if we don't go to someone who can cure it, then we won't be able to get into heaven. But others of us may be like the next patient

Scene 2:

Doctor: Next!

Patient: AaaGood morning doctor! Aaaa

Doctor: Well, I get the distinct impression that you are not very well at all. All the symptoms are here of a very serious disease. Coughing, sneezing. Yes, it's definitely Tinker's Disease. But like every disease, it's just a matter of doing a little bit better. Worker a little harder to make yourself better. Do you think you can do that?

Patient: Yes, I (sneezebelieve I can! Thankyou doctor

Doctor: Good day to you. Next!

Many people believe that though they might not be perfect, yet they can get better. And many believe that all God wants us to do is live a better life. Simply try harder and he'll let us into heaven. As long as we're good people and try our best, then God will say that's OK. But no matter how hard we try, we are still not good enough for God, because his standards are perfect. We can never make ourselves better. We can never cure ourselves of the disease called sin which everyone suffers from. But maybe some people are like our third patient.

Scene Three:

Doctor: Next!

Patient: (Frailly) Good morning doctor, I think I'm ill.

Doctor: Urgh! Goodness me, man, you are! You look terrible. You've got a very serious life threatening disease, and I don't want anything to do with you. Get out of my surgery and never come back. SECURITY!

Some people think God is like this doctor. We know we're not perfect and in fact we know we fall far short of God's standards and our own, but we think God will have nothing to do with us. But in fact the opposite is true. Because God knows we have a life threatening disease. He knows we cannot get to heaven on our own. But he wants to cure us, and that brings us on to our second point for this morning.

2) Jesus offers us all the same cure

(Acetate 2 again- titles) So we've seen that Jesus tells us all we're sick. And now we find out that Jesus offers us all the same cure. Let's go back to Levi. We left him outside his tax office, with no friends and cut off from God. (Acetate 4 again- reveal first two lines- Vile and Evil) Do you remember what he was like? We saw that he was Vile and Evil! So what does Jesus do? Does Jesus walk by and ignore Levi like everyone else? No. (Acetate 7- Jesus and Levi) He stops and says to him in verse 14: 'Follow me.' And Levi got up and followed him. It's amazing isn't it? Levi stops everything and follows Jesus. And then Jesus comes to Levi's house and has dinner with Jesus. Now why on earth would Jesus do that? Why would Jesus go out of his way to mix with someone like Levi, who is vile and evil. Well Jesus tells us the answer in verse 17. He says: 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners.' Jesus says that he's come precisely for people like Levi. He is the doctor that can cure Levi's illness. He is the one who can help Levi. Jesus came to help people like Levi become friends with God again. He could help in curing the disease called sin that Levi was suffering from. So what did that mean for Levi? (Acetate 4 again- Last line- Levi = Live) It meant he could live. Not just live life on earth, but live life with God and his friend and King in heaven for ever.

And amazingly the same can be true for us two. You see whilst we also suffer from the same disease, yet we too can come to the same doctor to be cured. Let's go to the doctor's surgery for the last time.

Scene 4:

Doctor: Next!

Patient: (Weakly) Good morning doctor. I think I'm ill

Doctor: Yes, you're quite right. And it's very serious. But you've done just the right thing. You've come to the right place. I can cure you if you'll let me

Patient: Thankyou, doctor, I'd love you to cure me!

It is possible for you and I to be cured of our life threatening disease called sin. Because Jesus came to do just that. (Acetate 8- Verse) What did Jesus say in verse 17? 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners.' Jesus didn't come for those who think they are OK. He came for those who know they are sick and need a doctor. If you don't admit you're sick, then there is no way you can come to the doctor to be healed. But Jesus says he's come for those who will admit they are sick and who know they have not lived their lives as God would want and Jesus will come and heal them. He is willing to forgive all the wrong things we have done and make us friends with God again. And how does he do it? (Acetate 9- Cross) He did it by dying on the cross in our place, taking our sins on himself. So he is a doctor who is willing to receive the disease of the patient and die himself so that his patient, you and me, can live. What an amazing doctor. Have you ever met a doctor like that? Well that is what Jesus does for you and me. He is willing to cure us and bring us to heaven. But we need to trust him. You see right at the start, when we were cracking eggs on scouts' heads, it was vital for them to trust me. And the same thing is true for every one of us here this morning. Will you trust Dr Jesus to tell you what is wrong? Will you accept that he tells us all we're sick and we cannot get to heaven on our own? And will you trust him that he is able to cure us when we accept that he died for us on the cross? For although we are seriously ill, yet Jesus provides for us the cure we need, and then shows us how to live life as new, cleaned up, forgiven people. And that's an offer worth thinking about and taking.

Scenes 1-3 are in the first point, scene 4 in the second.

Scene 1:

Doctor: Next!

Patient: Good morning doctor! I've just come to tell you how well I am. There's nothing wrong with me at all. My back is fine, there's nothing wrong with my neck or leg or arm. I don't have a migraine and I don't have sleeping sickness or rabies.

Doctor: Yes, I see

Patient: I don't have concussion, I don't have pneumonia, and I'm not at all depressed

Doctor: Yes, thankyou. Next please!

Patient: sleeping like a log and I'm as fit as a fiddle, that's me. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, nothing wrong at all!

Doctor: NEXT PLEASE!

Scene 2:

Doctor: Next!

Patient: AaaGood morning doctor! Aaaa

Doctor: Well, I get the distinct impression that you are not very well at all. All the symptoms are here of a very serious disease. Coughing, sneezing. Yes, it's definitely Tinker's Disease. But like every disease, it's just a matter of doing a little bit better. Worker a little harder to make yourself better. Do you think you can do that?

Patient: Yes, I (sneezebelieve I can! Thankyou doctor

Doctor: Good day to you. Next!

Scene Three:

Doctor: Next!

Patient: (Frailly) Good morning doctor, I think I'm ill.

Doctor: Urgh! Goodness me, man, you are! You look terrible. You've got a very serious life threatening disease, and I don't want anything to do with you. Get out of my surgery and never come back. SECURITY!

Scene 4:

Doctor: Next!

Patient: (Weakly) Good morning doctor. I think I'm ill

Doctor: Yes, you're quite right. And it's very serious. But you've done just the right thing. You've come to the right place. I can cure you if you'll let me

Patient: Thankyou, doctor, I'd love you to cure me!


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