Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Mark Batterson » Mark Batterson - The Genius of Jesus

Mark Batterson - The Genius of Jesus

Mark Batterson - The Genius of Jesus
TOPICS: Genius, Jesus

On June 16th, 1991, the Chicago Bulls were playing the New York Knicks. I grew up in the Chicago area, I think I watched every game that Jordan played, because it would be a sin of omission not to. But I didn't just watch those games, after those games I would go out on my driveway and I would try to imitate and replicate every move that Jordan made. The ball fake, didn't work real well. The head fake, right? The crossover dribble, the fade away jumper, and I would even go out and duplicate some of those dunks. And this one still gives me goosebumps. You watch it.

And I remember this dunk like it was yesterday because I went out in my driveway and I blew by an imaginary John Starks, right? And did a little spin move on an imaginary Charles Oakley, and then I posturized Patrick Ewing. We got it, there we go. Now, if you're taking notes, I want you to jot this down. You'll find it on the NCC app. Pastor Joel. Are you ready? No matter who you are, no matter what you do, everybody is somebody's disciple. Turn to your neighbor and say it. Everybody is somebody's disciple Consciously or subconsciously, we pattern our lives after someone, how we talk, how we think, how we act and interact. It's patterned after teachers, and coaches, family, and friends, and heroes. And so for 10 years of my life, my life was basketball, high school, college, that's who I was, that's what I did.

My nickname in college was the Black Hole. 'Cause if you passed the ball to me, you weren't getting it back. 'Cause I never saw a shot I didn't like. And so I'd go out in that driveway, and I left out one little detail. I would duplicate his dunks with a trampoline, okay? My game was not on par with Michael Jordan, but my game was patterned after Jordan. I wanted to be like Mike, I wanted to shoot like Mike, jump like Jordan, I drank Gatorade, and I even pulled out a old pair of Air Jordans, 'cause you gotta wear the shoes. Now I've shared this before, would you indulge me, let me just share it again? Was speaking at a conference in Minneapolis a few years ago and Clark Kellogg was the MC, Clark was first around draft pick NBA, 1982, year before Jordan was drafted.

And so I get done speaking and I'm coming off the stage, and Clark Kellogg says you played ball, didn't you? I think I started blushing. And then he says, I could tell by the way you walk. Next to marrying my wife, this is the greatest moment of my life. Like I could have died and gone to heaven, okay? And what I realized in that moment, I wasn't just trying to dribble, or defend, I was trying to even walk like Jordan. Everybody is somebody's disciple. So when it came to basketball, I wanted to be like Mike. When it comes to life, I wanna be just like Jesus. I wanna love like Jesus, I wanna pray like Jesus, I wanna think like Jesus, I wanna tell stories like Jesus, I wanna do miracles like Jesus.

Max Lucado said, "God loves just the way you are, but he loves you too much to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus". Someone who follows Jesus is just someone who has made a conscious and conscientious decision to pattern their lives after the way of Jesus. That's what we're gonna talk about today. Welcome to National Community Church. Shout out to our campuses, our online family, extended family online. We're wrapping up a series called Genius, and it would be a sin of omission not to talk about the genius of Jesus, right? But where do you even start? Okay, to say that Jesus is genius is like saying that Chance the Rapper is a rapper. Like thank you, captain obvious. Like Jesus, so good, and so God, and so genius at so many things, I don't even know where to start.

So why don't we start with the first miracle? The genius of Jesus is turning water into wine. That's your amen right there, come on. And not just wine, fine wine. 37 recorded miracles in the gospels. I mean my favorite, man born blind, which means there's no synaptic pathway between the optic nerve and visual cortex in the brain. Jesus does synaptogenesis, genius.

The genius of Jesus was storytelling. Did you know that most of the parables, less than 250 words. But hear 'em once, you'll remember them forever. Sermon on the mount, just over a thousand words, how does he do this? And I dare say, no ethic in the history of humankind is as compelling or as counterintuitive, right? Like love your enemies, pray for those of persecute you, bless those who curse you, turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, and give the shirt off your back. Genius. Genius of Jesus was washing feet. The greatest of all is the servant of all.

The genius of Jesus is offending Pharisees. So good at it, did it with great regularity, great intentionality, could have healed any day of the week. Why not heal on the Sabbath? Killed two birds with one stone, heal the person who's hurting and confront the self-righteousness of the Pharisees at the same time.

The genius of Jesus is rewriting the rules. He touched lepers, he ate with sinners, and he celebrated Samaritans.

The genius of Jesus is simplicity on the far side of complexity, 1,613 old covenant commands, and Jesus gives us the cliff notes called the great commandment. Love God, heart, soul, mind, and strength, love your neighbor as yourself, and he says, all the prophets, all the law hang on this one commandment, genius.

The genius of Jesus was forgiving 70 times 7. Hanging on a cross, says Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

The genius of Jesus was exercising authority with humility, caught in the perfect storm on the Sea of Galilee, stands up in the boat and rebukes the wind and the waves. Peace, be still. Genius. Edwin Friedman defined leadership as being a non anxious presence. You tell me, have you ever met anyone less nervous, less anxious than Jesus?

Genius of Jesus is spotting potential. Come on, none of these disciples were first round draft picks and Jesus turns them into world changers. Like we talk about our faith in God, what about God's faith in you? Religious leaders berating a woman for breaking open a alabaster jar of perfume. All they can see are her presenting problems. Jesus said, what she just did will be told of her until my second coming. And that prophecy was fulfilled again right now. Genius.

The genius of Jesus is empathy. We do not have a high priest who was unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who was tempted in every way just as we are, yet was without sin. No one could read minds or read rooms like Jesus. I'm just riffing, we're barely getting started, how are we doing? This is the tip, I love Jesus on a thousand levels. And not just because of what he accomplished on the cross and because of an empty tomb, I just love who he is and what he does.

Genius of Jesus was grace and truth. John 1:14, "The word became flesh, made his dwelling among us, full of grace and truth". Grace means I will forgive you no matter what, truth means I'll be honest with you no matter what. Listen, grace without truth is weak sauce. Truth without grace is hot sauce. Grace and truth, secret sauce. The way Jesus showed grace and moved with compassion. The grace of God, the very expression of the grace of God, didn't compromise his convictions. I mean this great moment where woman caught in the act of adultery, awkward, right? Religious leaders wanna stone her to death. Jesus, basically over my dead body, what does he say? He says, let the person who is without sin cast the first stone. Drop the mic, Jesus, right? It's genius, you can't argue with that. But then he flips the coin and says, go and sin no more. Why? 'Cause true wisdom has two sides. One more just to wet the appetite. And this is the appetizer, by the way, I'll let you into my world for a second. When I go to a restaurant, I can't figure out what I want, I get the sampler platter, 'cause I want ribs, and wings, and skins, and mozzarella sticks. So you're eating a sampler platter right now, okay? This is the appetizer.

The genius of Jesus is answering questions with questions. You know, I kinda like Jack Handey, one of my favorite philosophers, "SNL", "Deep Thoughts". He said, "Whenever someone asked me what it means to love, I spin around pin the guy's arm behind his back, now who's asking the questions"? Jesus does this all the time. There's this moment when the Pharisees are trying to trap Jesus, Jewish people under Roman occupation, right? And so they want a political savior to deliver them from Caesar. So they ask Jesus this trick question, is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not? And this is one of those no win situations. Because if he says no, don't pay taxes, it's rebellion against Rome, right? And if he says, yes, he's throwing the Jewish people under the bus. So you can't win, he can't win here, what does he do? Give me a coin. Whose image is on it? Caesar, well, why don't we give unto Caesar what is Caesar's and give unto God what is God's? Hmm, how does he do this? The wisdom, the discernment, the dexterity, unbelievable. I think Jesus is the least dualistic person to ever live. Wasn't just A and B, right or wrong, black or white, the genius of Jesus is divergent thinking. Ask no less than 307 questions in the gospels. Here's the thought, God gave us two ears, one mouth, what if we use them in that proportion? Just a thought.

The genius of Jesus is actually dialogue, it's listening, it's actually asking questions, and not just genuine questions, but asking disingenuine questions with another question. Do you know the average child asks 125 questions per day, average adult, six, somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we lose 119 questions per day. I would suggest becoming like a little child, becoming like Jesus is recapturing some of those questions. We are so polarized right now. Why? Because we politicize everything.

The genius of Jesus is theologizing, it's the verb form of theology. It's treating everyone and everything in theological terms. And so we have a theology of dignity, a theology of equality, a theology of sexuality, a theology of diversity, we actually have theological thoughts about these things and it informs the way that we express who Jesus is. All I know is this, hashtags are not gonna get us where we need to go. Virtue signaling, not gonna get us where we need to go. Baiting, trolling, canceling, not gonna get us, Jesus is gonna get us where we need to go, and we're gonna follow him in all of his genius. Lord help us. Jesus, so good, so God, so genius, so many things we could spend hours on every single one of those. Part of me wants to talk about the fancy ones, but I'm gonna go old school and keep it so simple and so obvious and just major in majors. I wanna talk about three things.

The genius of Jesus is prayer. Genius of Jesus is the church, that's you. The genius of Jesus is the cross. Luke 11:1, "One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. And when he finished, one of his disciples said, Lord, teach us to do miracles". No, that's what I'm asking, isn't that what you're asking, teach us to cast out demons. Hmm, teach us to preach in parables, teach us to lead, teach us to disciple, teach us to start 501C3 nonprofits. All of those things are good, but that's not what they ask, Lord teach us to pray. How must he have been praying for them to just, you can feel it can't you? Oh Jesus, we wanna pray with that kind of intimacy, with that kind of authority. Don't you wanna pray like Jesus? Can I go on record? I think God is raising up a remnant, I think God is activating gifts of the spirit, I think God is calling us to dream big, pray hard, and think long.

So I'm gonna make an announcement, can I get a drum roll online, in person, campuses, little drum roll, it's Pentecost Sunday, you can keep going, keep going. It's Pentecost Sunday, that's significant, because two years ago we launched something called Upper Zoom. By the way, join us on Wednesday mornings, Upper Zoom, but keep going, keep going. But this Thursday night we're gonna launch something new, yes, we've been gathering on Thursdays, but when God does a new thing, he often gives it a new name. And so we're gonna launch something called House of Prayer. Why? Because as I read the gospels, I am hard pressed to find a moment where Jesus is more animated, goes into the temple, my goodness, turns over some tables with a homemade whip, jump back Indiana Jones, drives out the animals and the money changers, and he says from the depths of his soul, my house will be called a house of prayer for all people.

So two years ago, I'm on a silent retreat, need to declutter my head, declutter my heart, need to cleanse my ears, and I hear the still, small voice of God. And here's what I heard, okay? My house will be called a house of prayer, and it came with a promise. I felt like the Holy Spirit said, if you pray like it depends on me, if you will be a house of prayer, I'll make it a house of miracles, a house of healing, a house of dreams, I'll make it everything you want it to be. Hmm, I'm a little worked up. So House of Prayer, and it's only one expression, but would you join us Thursday nights, 7:00-8:00, Capital Turnaround.

I'm gonna make five promises, we're gonna, one, worship, we're gonna raise the roof. Two, we're gonna pray and we're gonna pray through to the breakthrough. We believe in the power of prayer. Three, we're gonna celebrate communion. And I'm gonna tell you why, I need more time at the foot of the cross these days. And so we're gonna make that pilgrimage back, Thursday night, celebrate communion. Number four, I'm not gonna preach a 30 minute message, but we'll have a Rhema word, and I'm gonna tell you, 'cause when I pray the word of God, I have a lot more confidence. Why? 'Cause his word doesn't return void, because God is watching over his word to perform it, Jeremiah 1:12, and number five, we're gonna aim at the altar, 'cause play and church isn't gonna work. We gotta get busy with the Father's business.

And so we're gonna aim at that altar and we're gonna see what God does. And so you don't wanna miss this Thursday, it's gonna be so fun, 'cause my favorite classes growing up in school were field trips and show and tell, those aren't really classes, but those were my favorite, favorite things. And so we already did a little show and tell, right, little show and tell, we're gonna take a field trip. Right now we're building out 30,000 square feet of office space on the east side of the Capital Turnaround. Very few of you have ever seen it, it's actually 58,000 square feet over there versus 43,000 square feet on the part that we have renovated. And we're gonna walk through there because for the first time in 26 years, we will have a dedicated space to pray, call it a prayer room, call it the upper room, it's gonna be a place we're gonna press in and pray through. And we need to get up there before it's finished painting, and all the trappings, and pen some prayers on those walls.

So we're gonna take a field trip on Thursday night, you join us, we'll pop up there. It's gonna be a special moment. Here's what I know for sure, prayer is the difference between the best we can do and the best God can do. Prayer is a difference between us fighting for God and God fighting for us. Prayer is a difference between letting things happen and making things happen. Prayer is the way we write history before it happens. And prayer is when, and where, and how we get the God ideas that we need, 'cause we need to bring some supernatural solutions to the table, we need God's anointing right about now.

Can I share one more thought? I think, and I'm afraid that prayer has become a little bit of a hashtag, it's what we say when we don't know what to say when there's some kind of tragedy, which these days seems to happen every day. And then we don't really do it. Prayer, it's not some platitude, prayer isn't even offering condolences, prayer is not some kind of cop out, prayer is our greatest privilege and our most powerful weapon. We are talking to the Almighty Creator of the heavens and the earth, and it's how we approach the throne of grace with confidence to find mercy and receive grace to help us in our time of need. You know us well enough, we're gonna pray like it depends on God, we're gonna work like it depends on us, and miracles are gonna happen in the process. Isn't it interesting? Prayer is not our last resort, prayer is our first retort. Greatest tragedy in life are the prayers that go unanswered because they go unasked. Right before the ascension, yeah, Jesus says go, go into all the world, but what does he say first? Wait, wait, wait. You better get up to that upper room, you better pray through for 10 days, now you have the power, now you have the outpouring and infilling of the Holy Spirit to do supernatural things. Hmm, house of prayer.

Alright, number two, the genius of Jesus is the church. Matthew 16:18, "I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it". Now I'm gonna say a few things up front, okay? There are no perfect churches. 'Cause there are no perfect people. And there are no perfect pastors. As soon as I am completely sanctified, I will let you know, but I would not hold your breath. Right, cops pulled me over half hour before service. They should have given me a ticket, I totally deserved it, I'm just confessing right now. I was literally in a hurry to get here and I cut someone off and I deserved a ticket. They showed me grace, praise the Lord, just putting that out there, okay? But I will say this, and it grieves my heart and it grieves the heart of God. So many people have been hurt by church. But you're here. That's what I'm talking about, because then we don't just throw the baby out with the bath water, no, because I don't see anything else. This is the body of Christ, that's what we're called.

And so let me talk ecclesiology for just a second, little theology of the church, okay? One, you can't go to church 'cause you are the church. We have thousands of campuses, we are wherever you go, we do whatever you do. What is this whole series about? Passion, gift, history, personality that you are a unique expression of his kingdom. I mean, there are 17 things that we care so deeply about, but there's not a single person in this church that can do all 17. But we can rally around each other's God-given passions, I will say this, there has to be a baseline of obedience. There has to be a baseline of caring, that the things that break the heart of God should break our hearts. But here's the thing, you can't let what you can't do keep you from doing what you can. I'm gonna love on you a little bit, I hope I hope this is okay, one of the primary reasons people leave churches, including this church, is because your passion, which I wanna affirm, isn't the only thing we're talking about, and we weight things differently. But this is the genius of Jesus, like we're a body, like the foot can't say to the hand, you should be a foot. No, we need to be all of these things.

So pastor Mark, then what does that look like? I'll tell you what it looks like. I mean, I think it was a few years ago, we were resettling 65% of the refugees to the DC area. How does that happen? I'm gonna tell you exactly how it happens. It's a few really passionate people who care deeply, who then exercise their energy to stand in the gap and make a difference. Every single day, we're turning hope into a habit at the DC Dream Center, every day, loving on kids. Why? Because we think the best way to change things is you go upstream and you love kids, and disciple kids, and you lay a foundation early on.

Well, how does that happen? A few really passionate people, let's go, Pastor Ernest, Louis, Ms. Tammy, Jason, so many people, Jill, so many people that are investing so much time and energy. For two decades, we have loved on our friends experiencing homelessness, we have blessed, and ministered, and cared for. Every Wednesday night we turn Ebenezers into the Living Room. How does that happen? A few really passionate people exercise their gifts through their history, through their personality. Now the church is the church. What I'm getting at, you are the genius of Jesus. We are the genius of Jesus. We are the manifold wisdom of God, polipoikulos in Greek, it means multicolored. But your passions are gonna be different than mine, mine are gonna be different than yours, but together we rally around each other. Yeah, let's go. 'Cause now we're gonna make a difference and turn a city upside down. Hmm.

Finally, the genius of Jesus is the cross. Hebrews 12:2, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that was set before him, Jesus endure the cross, scorning its shame". Did you catch that? Nothing more shameful, that the cross was not just a device to kill, but to torture. Do we understand this? No more painful death, no more shameful death, and genius of Jesus is he turns this symbol of death into a symbol of life that people wear around their neck. What? That he turns this symbol of pain and suffering, I'm gonna tell you right now, you need healing, you need deliverance, you need salvation, you're gonna find it at the foot of the cross, where a sinless savior paid the price for my sin. God made him who had no sin to become sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of Christ. You mean the cross to Christ? He loves you. You, you, you. He loves you. He loves you. Loves you. Loves you enough to go to a cross. This is the genius of Jesus.

Let me close with this, five years old, family went to see a Billy Graham film called "The Hiding Place". And it was after that film, a story about Corrie Ten Boom surviving a Nazi concentration camp with her faith. And it was after watching that movie that my five year old self asked my mom if I could ask Jesus into my heart, and it was a small step, giant leap for me.

Now, I grew up going to church, I memorized Bible verses like John 11:35, "Jesus wept". Had some easy ones and some harder ones, by the way, the genius of Jesus is weeping over Jerusalem, is collecting your tears in a bottle. I could just keep going today. We're worshiping and I'm thinking, the genius of Jesus is he's the only one who can open those seals in revelation, 'cause no one else has the authority, the power, stands alone. Ah, but we can't preach another sermon. I went to Sunday school, I went on mission trips, I shared my faith with my friends. Oh, I had a relationship with Jesus, but if I'm being honest, it was less about me following Jesus and more about Jesus following me, come on. More about him serving my purposes than me serving his purposes. Oh Lord, here we go, big final exam, give me revelation, God, 'cause I didn't study, just kidding. I'm at that free throw line. Oh Lord, help me, for your glory, God, right? Oh, I'm in trouble, Jesus bail me outta jail, need a little bit of help.

Something shifted when I was 19, I don't have time to tell the whole story, but I had an inverted relationship with Jesus. I'm gonna ask you a question. Who's following who? Is Jesus following you. Come on Jesus, come on. Let me tell you my good, perfect, and pleasing will. Or do we have a whatever, whenever, wherever, you are Lord of my life, not my will, but thy will be done. How many of us today, how many of us online, we need to flip it right here, right now? I wanna lead us in a prayer, and we used the word Lord or Lordship, this is when they translated the King James this made most sense in a futile kind of society. I think you could say polymath, I think you could say genius, by the way, I had this hilarious flashback, pastor Joel preached a message like 20 years ago, I think he was in college, and I'll never forget this line. He said this about Jesus, Jesus is the man and the God.

I just have always thought that's such good theology, fully God, fully man, total aside, I just like it. But what we're doing is we're making a conscientious, we believe the most important decisions ought to be the most informed decisions. This isn't about pastor Mark spinning you around like Jack Handey and pinning your arm behind your back. Do you believe he is who he said he was? Then he is worthy of my praise. Do you believe he did what he did? Then oh God, I devote myself to you, I can do nothing less, and then I take up my cross, my cross, and carry it. I'm gonna invite you to stand at this campus, all of our campuses, even online, if you're online, you can stand, you can kneel, you can take whatever posture you want. I'm gonna lead us in a prayer, and I just wonder how many of us today need to commit or recommit our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. So ready or not, here we go, you can pray it after me.

I confess with my mouth That Jesus is Lord. And I believe in my heart. That God raised him from the dead. Right here right now. I surrender my life. My time, my talent, my treasure. My past, my present, my future. Heart, soul, and mind, and strength. To the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Jesus is my savior. God is my Father. The Holy Spirit is my helper. And heaven is my home. In Jesus' name. And amen and amen.

Are you Human?:*