Monday, June 25, 2007

Mark: Jesus, Servant, Savior, Sovereign

Mark

The verse that is almost universally acknowledged to be a kind of thematic capsule of Mark’s Gospel is 10:45:

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

If you read through the first nine chapters and came across this verse, you would not be surprised. Mark is a Gospel of action—the action of the Son of God among God’s people. Mark does not portray Christ through several long teachings, but through his action. There are parables in Mark, but they are all short. By the time the reader is settled into the first chapter, Mark is already into the life and deeds of Jesus. The word “immediately” shows up more than 40 times in this short Gospel. And though it is significantly shorter than every other Gospel, Mark records more miracles.

It is true - Mark wants us to know that God himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, came to serve.

Jesus Christ also came to give his life so that we might live. As The Message puts it, Jesus came, “to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.” A full half of the Gospel is dedicated to Jesus’ journey to the cross. In the middle of chapter 8, Jesus begins to make his way to Jerusalem in the last physical journey he will take with his disciples. Mark devotes a great deal of time and space revealing to us how Christ walked to the cross, and what it means to follow him there.

When we picture Roman persecution of Christians, the images we conjure up are typically dominated by mass arrests and innocent families in the Coliseum preparing to meet the wild beasts. Those images represent a small fraction of the actual persecutions of the early church, but Mark writes to the Christians who do represent that persecution. Nero burned Rome to the ground, and in an effort to curry favor with the angry masses, turned their hatred on a common enemy, the despised and misunderstood Christians. During this persecution the Christians who were not driven into the catacombs were arrested in droves and tortured to turn in their fellow believers. As the Roman historian Tacitus put it, “their deaths were made farcical.” They were dressed in animal skins and torn to pieces by wild beasts; they were crucified; they were turned into torches to light Nero’s garden by night.

Jesus not only came to serve, he came to be the Suffering Servant. Jesus willingly walked into Jerusalem toward the cross so that in this life and the next we might live.

There is one more element that is crucial to the purpose of Mark’s Gospel. Jesus is not only the Suffering Servant, he is sovereign. Jesus is never out of control of events and their consequences. The Son of Man has power over sickness, disease and death, and the cross does not take him by surprise.

The cross is not a moment of failure for Jesus, but the defining event of his sovereignty. Even that level of hatred and suffering does not diminish the power of a savior who came to serve and give his life so that I might live.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree. The whole purpose of Jesus' time on earth was what occurred at the cross: when He defeated death for all mankind. Before He ascended into Heaven, He descended into hell and won the keys to the gateway, thus conquering satan and death. Nothing God does is by chance. His plan is a miracle from Alpha to Omega.

Anonymous said...

Please understand that Jesus Christ the SON of God came to serve, NOT God himself. The belief in the Trinity robs Christ of the glory due to Him.

Anonymous said...

www.thekingdommessage.moonfruit.com

landindp said...

Belief that Jesus Christ was not God and that the Trinity does not exist is a heresy condemned at the Councils of Nicaea, Constantinople, and Chalcedon. What you're saying is a heresy. Good thing you made it anonymous.

Anonymous said...

God is Jesus in human form. He plainly states this in 2 Corinthians 5:17-19. Another Plain statement of this is John 1:1-3. You may want to pray and ask for the knowledge of God to truely understand what you are reading when you are reading his word.

Anonymous said...

The Lord our God is ONE God,--In the begining was the Word, and the Word was with God,-and the WORD WAS GOD,---couldn't bemore clear,----you need to read the Whole of scripture,-not just cherry pick to back up your wicked thought,----

Lacey said...

Jesus never judged. He only guided. He never attacked. He was always forgiving. He was giving a command from God himself so he was an angel on earth in my opinion. He did not want to die, as anyone of us would not. He trusted God and believed in him without questioning his motives. As all of us should. Faith.

Anonymous said...

God, Jesus , and the Holy Spirit are one. Jahova is a plural word meaning all three. Genesis ,"the Spirit of the Lord moved through and formed the earth" Is God not spirit.The only way to get to the father is through the son.These were jesus words to describe that only in him their is salvation and redemption of our sins.Has any man come back from the dead after three days.Only Jesus not mohamed not budda .The bible tells how he covered the jews eyes so they would not accept him because the messiah is not just the messiah of the jews but of all who give their hearts to him.Jesus my lord and saviour is wating for all with a willing heart to accept him and when you do he will bless you with his holy spirit and you will never be the same . Only his love will rule youre life.Read the word of God and the truth shall set you free.

Anonymous said...

Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin. Jesus, the Christ, came that we might not die the second death and that we live in the Kingdom of God to serve and worship The Lord God Almighty. I thank God for His love toward us, Especially for the Cross that Jesus had to bear.

Che Joubert said...

I disagree. Jesus was not the suffering servant. That character was far more closely associated with 'end times,' something Jesus alluded to in his day, but which was clearly negated by the fact that no end times came in his time. In addition, there's evidence that Jesus was the recognized King of the Jews during the same period. The suffering servant was no king, and many of Jesus's attributes do not fit the description in any sense, unless you stretch and embellish small incidents in the life of Jesus into unrealistically large themes.

Anonymous said...

The word "immediately" only appears 17 times in the book of Mark in the King James Version.

Anonymous said...

In Genesis is plainly states God made man in OUR image . To emphasize the fact of 3 in the Godhead . The Father , Son , and Holy Spirit . Jesus is the 3 in human form and was here to spread the Word , Laws and Commands of the Father . To teach man what was needed to be right with The Lord . H . O . L . Y . B . I . B . L . E . ( H )e ( O )nly ( L )eft ( Y )ou ( B )asic ( I )nstructions ( B ) efore ( L )eaving ( E )arth . Take Care and God Bless .