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Oct 10, 2021

Please, Don’t Admire Him

Please, Don’t Admire Him

Passage: Mark 1:1-20

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Follow: Learning from Mark about Jesus’ Most Misunderstood Command

Keywords: kingdom, repent, follow, believe, baptized, fulfilled

Of all the commands Jesus spoke, perhaps the most misunderstood was the call to follow Him. The misunderstanding stemmed from a similar misunderstanding of who he was, what he was coming to do, and what following him would, and would not, require. For the next several months we will ask the simple question: what does it mean to follow Jesus? We begin by ruling out one thing it simply cannot mean: please, don’t admire Him.

Readings & Scripture

PREPARATION: Based on Colossians 2:3; Revelation 5:12

LEADER: The Lord Jesus who calls us to worship him today is the same Jesus who refused the temptation to worship the evil one. Rather than receive the glorious kingdoms of this world, he endured the shame of the cross, rose and ascended in power, and today is Lord of lords and King of kings. Now are gathered in him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, glory, and power. With the saints of all ages we say,

ALL: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

Central Text: Mark 1:1-20
Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Mark 1:2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,
“Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way,
3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”

Mark 1:4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Mark 1:9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Mark 1:12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.

Mark 1:14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Mark 1:16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.

CONFESSION OF OUR FAITH: Our World Belongs to God, st. 1-2
As followers of Jesus Christ, living in this world—which some seek to control, but which others view with despair— we declare with joy and trust: Our world belongs to God! From the beginning, through all the crises of our times, until his kingdom fully comes, God keeps covenant forever. Our world belongs to him! God is King! Let the earth be glad! Christ is Victor; his rule has begun. Hallelujah! The Spirit is at work, renewing the creation. Praise the Lord!

BENEDICTION: Adapted from The Worship Sourcebook
LEADER: May God the Father bless you, God the Son heal you, God the Holy Spirit give you strength. May God the holy and undivided Trinity guard your body, save your soul, and bring you safely to his heavenly country, where he lives and reigns for ever and ever. May the presence of our Triune God be with you all.

ALL: And also with you.


  • Isaiah 40:3 / Malachi 3:1
  • Luke 11:28-30
  • John 6:44; 1 Corinthians 12:3
  • John 7:39; 14:16; 16:7
  • 1 Timothy 4:8
  • Revelation 3:2-3, 19


  1. To put it a certain way, who most has been a painting of Christ for you? Who has most shown you what He is like? Why has that stuck with you?
  2. Name several things we’re meant to learn about Jesus here at the beginning of Mark’s account?
  3. Specifically, what do we first learn about the Holy Spirit? Both in what it shows us about Jesus, but also in the Spirit’s place in a follower’s life?
  4. What does Jesus say following him begins with? How is what following begins with what a whole life of following Him requires?
  5. What might He have meant by “fishers of men”? Describe the profile of one with that inclination into which he/she was made by Jesus (“I will make you…”). How could that profile fit into both the so-called extroverted and the introverted? Why does it make sense that one who follows Jesus would become one who seeks/wants others to follow Him? 
  6. Don’t answer quickly–only after stillness, reflection, prayer: where has repentance perhaps become necessary? What have you come to trust in as a substitute?
  7. Extra credit: If one cannot submit to following Jesus, why is ignoring Him more reasonable than simply admiring Him?


  • The ultimate question is absolutely plain, even to the man in the street to whom . . .culture and theology are all closed books.  It is this: is Jesus to be worshipped or only to be admired?  If he is God, then he is worthy of our worship, faith, and obedience; if he is not God, then to give him such devotion is idolatry. John Stott
  • Jesus is not just an historical figure, but an eternal contemporary. F.F. Bruce
  • There is no more straightforward way of describing the Christian life than to call it discipleship. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is the core, the focus, and the form of what it means to be a Christian. . . .To put it bluntly, following an ascended, enthroned Lord is bound to look different from following an itinerant, pedestrian Master. Fred Sanders
  • . . .if you follow Jesus, you follow him to his Father by the Spirit. Fred Sanders
  • The story of Christianity is the story of humanity’s rebellion against God. John Moriarty
  • I have been reading poems, romances, vision-literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one of them is like this. C.S. Lewis
  • Soon after I graduated, passionate about justice and wanting to make a difference in the world, I ran a church-based group that helped support undocumented immigrants and provided tutoring to their kids. I ran into the friar and we caught up. He looked at me and said matter-of-factly, “You do not have the life of prayer and silence necessary to sustain the work you are doing.” I was a little insulted. What the hell did he know? But over the course of the next two years, he was proved right. Tish-Harrison Warren
  • Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.  Mary Oliver
  • I am completely bound in inner union with the Lord. Franz Jägerstätter