Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

The Hidden Son
Pastor Steve Schell
Mark 6:1-6
God disguised His Son. You couldn’t tell who He was by looking at Him. He appeared to be so normal… so human. In order to discover His true identity you had to listen carefully to what He said and watch what He did. But if you really loved God, then when you thought about it after He left you realized it was God’s voice you’d heard when this man spoke and it was His power and compassion you’d seen when this man ministered. If you were willing to listen to your heart you found it was telling you something your mind simply couldn’t understand. It was as if God Himself had become a human and was walking among us. How could that be, and why would He do such a thing?

If you think about it, it’s not surprising that so many people didn’t believe in Jesus. What’s surprising is that so many did… and still do… in fact, more people believe in Him today than any other religious figure on earth.

When He came to His hometown of Nazareth they couldn’t see past His humanity. They had watched Him grow up. They knew His family. He was a carpenter! So they refused to listen to His words or watch what He did. They “took offense at Him” “…and He wondered at their unbelief.”

The Nazareth phenomenon
Every year Christmas confronts us with a mystery. The events of Jesus’ birth could not be more unlikely. It can’t be an accident. God clearly did this on purpose. He intentionally disguised His Son. He hid Him from the eyes of the world.
• Israel, not Rome
• Bethlehem, not Jerusalem
• A village girl, not a queen
• A stable (or shepherd’s cave), not a guest room
• A manger, not a crib
• Shepherds, not the capitol city ten miles north (Jerusalem)
• Magi from Mesopotamia, not the elders of Israel
• Nazareth, not (any other town)
• Galilee, not Judea
• A carpenter, not a king, priest, military leader, scholar…

There was nothing in the circumstances of Jesus’ birth or childhood years that said “This is the Son of God.” In fact, the events around His birth are unusually miserable: Mary alone, in a stable, with only Joseph’s help.

Listen to the prophets
Only if you’d studied the prophets would you have had a clue about these humble circumstances, and the prophets themselves didn’t even understand what they’d written (1Pe 1:10-12).
• Micah 5:2, 3
• Isa 53:1-3

Nothing in Jesus’ personal appearance revealed His true identity, because God was and is testing us. He’s looking for those who long for Him… the real God, not like the gods that humans invent. He’s looking for those who hear His voice when Jesus speaks and see His heart at work when Jesus ministers. And those who don’t love God, won’t. It’s like a great parable. You have to look deeper than the surface to find the meaning. Let’s listen to Jesus explain the process.
• John 12:36-50
• John 14:8-14
• Matthew 13:10-17

Jesus is telling us that our heart knows more than our mind can explain. We recognize spiritual truth and receive or reject it based on whether or not we’re willing to repent and follow God, not on our mind’s ability to understand it. This means we’re not nearly as spiritually ignorant as we pretend to be. He quotes Isaiah who says those who become spiritually dull do it to themselves in order to avoid surrendering to God. In other words, we’re often playing a game. A lot of processing is going on at the spiritual level, even while the cognitive mind is blanking it out. If that’s the case, then more information isn’t necessarily a help. It only increases our guilt when we don’t obey. So God in His mercy hid His Son so that only those whose hearts are honest and willing to repent will see Him.

Now listen to Paul explain this process:
• 1 Corinthians 1:18-29

The incarnation
The Bible tells that God “begot” a Son and it doesn’t tell us how. This Son fully shares His Father’s divinity in every way and has dwelled from eternity with Him in heaven. Then “when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman…” (Gal 4:4). He laid aside the glorious privileges of heaven and became a man (Php 2:6, 7) in the “likeness of sinful flesh” (Ro 8:3). The Son became a man, and will remain a man forever. Where is He now? At the right hand of the Father in heaven (Heb 1:13) and present with us and within us by the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:1-21). And someday, when the Father decides the time has come (Mt 24:36) He will return to earth for His Bride… all those who fell in love with Him when His glorious power and authority were still hidden from our sight.

The Hidden Prince
In fact, it’s like a familiar children’s story about a prince who disguised himself as a peasant and went to live among the common people. His goal was to find true love… a bride who would love him for who he really is, not for his wealth and throne. And if I recall the story properly the prince always meets a peasant girl with whom He falls in love, and she with him… and then the time comes, when he has to return to his father’s palace. But he promises to come back for her, and when he does she’s shocked to discover that he’s the King’s son. Yet he’s determined to marry her because he knows she really loves him. She loved him before she saw his glory.

This children’s tale is not unlike what God did when He sent His Son. He disguised Him and hid Him from the eyes of those who would accept Him only because of His riches and power, and revealed Him to those who would truly love Him… because He’s just like His Father.
• An ancient Jewish wedding
• John 14:1-3

God is still looking for those who will love His Son. His glories are still hidden from our eyes, but He shows Himself to the world through His Word, and through us, His people (Mt 25:34-40; Jn 17:18-23). Let’s go back and see what happened after He left Nazareth.
• Mark 6:7-13

Once again, He’s hidden, only this time in the humanness of our flesh. And isn’t it amazing… many still see Him and fall in love.

1) When did you fall in love with Jesus? What did you see? What did you hear Him say?
2) Describe a time you recognized Jesus at work through one of His people. If you think it would embarrass someone you don’t need to mention anyone’s name. Just tell us what you heard or saw. 

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