Summary: Mark Witnesses as to why Jesus is worthy to learn from and follow.
Message: He is Worthy!
Mark 1:14 –2:14
When we think of the Gospel of Mark, or any of the gospels for that fact, we may think of someone sitting down and recounting the sayings and actions of Jesus’ life and ministry. This would be a simplistic understanding of these writings. Through careful study of the text you come to see there is far more to these writings than just a simple recounting. There is more than just meets the eye. The scriptures and stories are not placed in the order they are in arbitrarily. The author of the gospel sometimes uses form,and specific words or phrases to point out wonderful and exciting things. Things that draw us to make careful examination of their relationship and meaning. Nothing is placed in the Gospels without the author’s great attention to detail for the sake of transfering meaning and purpose to the reader.
The Gospel of Mark is no exception. It is a work of art, a masterpiece of meaning. Wonderful themes and truths are woven throughout its tapestry. Gary Gallion once said that he did a paper on the Gospel of Mark in College and experienced some of the wonder and blessings of studying this great work. I am going to try and help you taste some of this today and hopefully provide you with a way to gather for yourself some of these wonderful and exciting things. I will hopefully help you approach the scriptures to enrich your own understanding and personal devotion.
After all we should want hear what the writer of the Gospel of Mark has to say to us.
J. Howard Pew, Chairman of the board of Sun Oil Company once said, “Like most people, I go to church to hear the heralded mind of Christ, not the mind of man. I want to hear expounded the timeless truth contained in the scriptures. The kind of preaching that gets its power from, “Thus sayeth the Lord.” Such preaching is hard to find these days.” With this in mind let us approach the gospel so we may hear and know about the heralded life and mind of Christ.
We have all heard of parenthesis. You place words or phrases in parenthesis to explain or modify a thought. The ancient world had a form of parenthesis. They would take words, phrases, or actions at the beginning and end of a passage to inform you that what is in between these two marks modifies these sayings, works, or actions. In your worship folder is a diagram that I have placed to help you understand what I am saying.
Look at the diagram. You see that in Mark 1:17 is a command Jesus gave to follow him to his disciples. After this calling of disciples is an account of Jesus teaching people. In 2:13 we see Jesus teaching again, and then another call to a disciple to follow me. These two calls to follow are an ancient form of literary parenthesis. The author wants us to see that what’s in between these two marks somehow modifies why Jesus is worthy to learn from and follow. Mark’s ultimate goal throughout his gospel is to explain to all who read and hear it the gospel that it is a worthy endeavor tolearn from and follow Jesus.
So the message today is the persoanl witness and testimony of the writer of Mark. It is this writer’s message to you. It is the witness of his faith. A witness many of us have heard and witness that many of us share.
1.Jesus is worthy to follow and learn from because he and his teachings have authority.
Jesus’ teachings are something the people marveled at and still marvel at today. In verse 27: It says, “What is this! It was a new teaching and with authority.” It was new to them because the one who was teaching taught it in a way that conveyed meaning and purpose that rolled them over like a boulder. Not only did they marvel at this they marveled because they recognized that this man was not a normal man, but had authority not only in his teaching, but had a supernatural authority. He cast out in front them something the scriptures describe as an "unclean spirit." The unclean spirit itself recognizes that Jesus was the Holy One of God.
Nestled in the center of all these passages is a section where Jesus is found praying. Early that morning he left while it was still dark to pray. The disciples rush to find him. What is most amazing to me is the point this passage makes with the words of the disciples themselves. At the center of these literary parenthesis are the words, “Everyone is looking for you.” This is followed by a statement of Jesus, let us go to all the surrounding villages and preach the message. The message that Jesus is preaching is found in Mark 1:14-15. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent and believe in the good news.” I believe that this passage is at the center of this literary parenthesis for a reason. I will explain this at the end of this message, because it is important and in our linear way of thinking it will best fit appropriately there for our benefit.