Introduction: “Man bites dog.” “Revenge of the nerds.” “Ugly guy
marries beautiful girl.” These phrases give us unexpected news.
Normally dogs bite humans, the smart, good-looking, popular teens
seem to prevail, and the handsome guy marries the beautiful girl.
What if the Kingdom of God has everything in reverse? Is God
leading a kingdom of nerds? Or, is that just what the world thinks?
If God has things reversed, why? Is there a blessing in this for the
average person? Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and find out!
- Triumph of the Unclean
- Read Mark 5:21-24. Why do you think Jesus went with
Jairus? (Jairus had an emergency situation. He had faith.
He was a ruler of the synagogue.)
- Read Mark 5:25-26. Put yourself in this woman’s place.
How would you feel? (Frustrated. She spent all of her
money looking for a cure, and she was getting worse.)
- Read Mark 5:27-28. What kind of a plan is this? (Read
Leviticus 15:25-27. She is not supposed to be touching
Jesus because she will make Him unclean. That will
require Jesus to go through the purification process.)
- Read Mark 5:29-34. Is it an accident that this woman was
healed? Does Jesus have no control over His own power?
(The story sounds like that at first, but we see that her
healing is the reward of faith.)
- Read Mark 5:35. If Jesus had not been fooling around with
the woman, would Jarius’ daughter have died?
- Put yourself in Jesus’ place. You have two people in
need: the young daughter of a synagogue ruler who is
in an emergency situation, and an unclean woman who
has a chronic, non-emergency illness. Which would
you see first? (From the point of view of the on-lookers, Jesus decision makes absolutely no sense.)
- Can you make any sense of Jesus’ decision? (Jesus
pays no attention to a person’s status. Jesus pays
no attention to time. If you continue to read this
story, Jesus raises the young girl to life. He makes
everything right, just on His own schedule.)
- Triumph of the Footwasher
- Read John 13:1-8. Why does Peter protest Jesus washing
- Read Mark 14:10-11. Why does Judas betray Jesus?
- Read Matthew 20:20-21. Why does the mother of James and
John (see Mark 10:35) ask that her sons will have the top
spots in Jesus’ Kingdom? (All three questions have the
same answer. Peter believes that Jesus is about to become
King. Judas believes that if he gives Jesus a little
nudge, Jesus will show His power and become King. The
mother believes Jesus will become King.)
- Let’s go back to John 13:3-4 and the Passover dinner.
What is going through the minds of the disciples? (They
want to show that they are the most important. They
deserve high places in Jesus’ coming kingdom. Therefore,
they dare not admit they are inferior by washing the feet
of one of their rivals.)
- What is going through the mind of Jesus? (Jesus
knows that everything has been put under His power!)
- How is this related to the Jairus story? (Jesus is
modeling a ministry that no one expected. He serves
everyone regardless of their station in life or
- Does this only work for those who (like Jesus) know
they are God? (Two things. First, Jesus had some
terrible, humiliating things ahead of Him. Second,
our relationship with God should be the source of
our confidence – a confidence that allows us to
- Triumph of the Accused
- Read Matthew 26:59-61. Assume that you are prosecuting
the case against Jesus? What is the problem? (The
prosecutors are looking for “false evidence” and they
have plenty of willing false witnesses. The problem must
be that none of these false witnesses have any
- Why are the two who finally testified credible? (It
sounds like what Jesus actually said in John 2:19.)
- Would you put this testimony in the record? (The
question is, “So what?” The way the testimony comes
out, it sounds like Jesus is crazy, not a criminal.)
- Read Matthew 26:62-63. Why do you think Jesus remained
silent? (Read Deuteronomy 17:6. Part of God’s law is the
right to remain silent in a death penalty case. Self-incrimination was prohibited. Jesus could be claiming his
right against self incrimination. It could also be that
the charge is so ridiculous that Jesus thought it
unworthy of an answer.)
- Read Matthew 26:63-66 and Leviticus 21:10. Who should be
on trial here? (The High Priest. He violates the “two
witness” rule in death penalty cases, and he violates the
rule against tearing his robe.) In Leviticus 10:6 Aaron
is warned that if he violates this rule he will die.)
- Why did the High Priest do what he did? (He could.
He had the power and authority to do it.)
- As Jesus was going through this process, what was coming
to an end? (The whole sanctuary system. Not only did the
High Priest rip his robe, but the curtain in the
sanctuary was ripped from top to bottom ( Mark 15:38-39).
The authorities corrupted God’s message of the Lamb of
God. Power had been substituted for piety.)
- Triumph of Humility
- Read Matthew 27:27-31. Notice that the symbols of a king
were the method of humiliating Jesus. Why would Satan
inspire this specific humiliation? What was going
through Satan’s mind? (Recall that Satan’s original sin
was wanting to be like God. Isaiah 14:14-15. The original
sin of humanity was wanting to be like God. Genesis 3:1-4. Satan believed that if he questioned and mocked Jesus’
status as God, Jesus would break.)
- How do you like it when people make fun of you? What if
they are serious about the fact that they think you have
- How do you react when people treat you
disrespectfully? What about when the people who are
disrespectful come from a “lower station” in life?
- Why didn’t Jesus break? (Because He was not like Satan
and He was not like Eve and He was not like you and me.
He was humble. And, His humility was what brought Him
through this terrible temptation. “[Jesus], being in the
very nature of God, did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped.” Philippians 2:6.)
- What do these last two stories teach us about the nature
of authority? (Satan and his agents used authority, and
the lust for power, to promote their kingdom of
injustice. Authority will not increase your status with
God, but it might increase your vulnerability to Satan.)
- Triumph of the Lost Garments
- Read John 19:23-24. What is the final humiliation of
Jesus? (That He is stripped naked and His clothing given
to his killers.)
- Read Romans 8:1-4. What did the humiliation of Jesus do
for us? (It gave us the opportunity for a glorious
- Let’s contemplate this series of stories about garments.
Jesus (at least for a time) prefers the unclean woman
over Jairus, Jesus models the humility of footwashing,
Jesus (the ultimate High Priest) is victimized by the
corrupt power of the High Priest, Jesus (the King of
Kings)is disrespected as a king, Jesus is humiliated at
the cross to give us life. What lesson(s) should we draw
from this? (If we truly want to be like God (see Eve),
then we would put aside our pride. God has reversed the
worldly order of things. He elevates humility. He does
not consider status. He is motivated by a love that
treats all equally.)
- Consider our last two lessons. In the prodigal story,
the older (“good”) brother is in jeopardy of losing
heaven, while the younger (bad) son enters eternal life.
In the story of the wedding of the king’s son, the
friends and worthies of the kingdom are rejected, while
the Walmart shoppers enter heaven. In this week’s lesson
we learn that humility is something to be grasped, and
authority is a trap. Has Jesus reversed the order of
- If so, why? Why is the world turned upside down and
nothing is as we expected it should be? (Read Micah
6:8. This is the heart of the gospel – to seek
justice and mercy and walk humbly with our God who
- Is this good news? (Yes! This path is open to
everyone. Even “average” people are qualified.
Indeed, they may have an advantage.)
- Friend, do you model humility? Do you care about the
underdog and the powerless? Or, is your goal in life to
seek power and authority? Why not ask the Holy Spirit,
right now, to change your heart?
- Next week: Clothed in Christ.