Summary: Jesus reveals the pathway of true ministry - 1. Reaching Out To People 2. Connecting With People 3. Restoring People To Wholeness and Community
Title: "Love - In - Action"
Jesus reveals the pathway of true ministry -
1. Reaching Out to People
2. Connecting With People
3. Restoring People to Wholeness and Community
Grace and peace from God our Father and from His Son Jesus Christ who came to take away the sins of the world!
During his three and half years of ministry we know that Jesus took on the role of being a Rabbi. A rabbi was a Teacher who would devote his time to interpret the Torah, explain the Scriptures and quite often taught valuable life lessons through the use of parables. Most rabbis did not rise from the ranks of the wealth nor from the priestly classes. Most of them arose from the ranks of common everyday people. Individuals who were metal workers, farmers, shop keepers, tent makers, fishermen, wood cutter, and of course, carpenters and construction workers.
Some of these rabbis would work seasonally, traveling and teaching in the months when they were free. They would work for a while, save us some money and then set on a spiritual campaign. It was not uncommon for a rabbi to also take on some disciples and they would live together, learn together and travel together. Their classrooms most often would be in the local synagogues, in the open fields, in the marketplaces and in the vineyards.
The goal of any rabbi was to instill within his disciples a certain way of life. A way of life they believed was the life that God desired for His People to live here on His Good Earth. A way of life that would be a living example of what it meant to be an authentic human being reflecting God's image, honor and glory.
At the time of Jesus, rabbis/teachers were held in high esteem. The Jews believed that the greatest achievement any person could attain was to be a person who not only knew Torah but lived out a life of Torah on a daily basis. This way of life was seen to be more important than any amount of riches, wealth and/or popularity a person could accumulate. Knowing how to live a holy life and then living out that holy life was the ultimate human experience for the Jews.
Anyone who followed a rabbi did so because they wanted to become a person so similar to the rabbi that no one would be able to tell the difference between them and their rabbi. While the goal of a rabbi was to pour his holy life into others the goal of the disciples was to one day be able to be a rabbi themselves and do the very same ministry - to pour one's life into others and be an example of what it means to be an authentic human being reflecting God's glory and honor.
That is exactly what we see Mark trying to do in the Gospel of Mark. Mark is doing more than just providing us some academic information about Jesus. His desire is more than just letting us know that Jesus is Messiah, Redeemer and Lord. His desire is to be our rabbi, teaching us scripture, sharing with us the life of Jesus so that we can read, understand and live the life that Jesus wants us to live.
Mark had been following the life of Jesus for years. At first Mark followed from a distance and then as a close and trusted disciple of the Apostle Paul and Barnabas. Following that Mark was a disciple and co-worker with the Apostle Peter. From all of them, Mark learned what it meant to follow and live like Jesus. Now, he wants to share with us how Jesus lived here on earth so that as we read these stories we capture the way that we are to live. Mark is literally being a writing rabbi.
When we read a story about Jesus in the Bible it is to be more than an academic exercise. It is to be more than the uploading of certain data into our brains concerning this man called Jesus from Nazareth. We are to hear the words of our writers as they explain in detail that Jesus from Nazareth is God in Flesh, Israel's Messiah, Our Redeemer and LORD. We are to read how Jesus died on the cross for our sins and was raised again on the Third Day. We are to read how through Jesus Christ we can be cleansed of our sins, freed from the power of sin and infilled with His Holy Spirit. We are to read how Jesus lived, what He said so that we can know how to live a Spirit-filled life here on God's Good Earth.
This is all very simple and yet it so vital for us to understand. We must understand that as we read Mark's Gospel that he is taking on the role of a writing rabbi. He invites us to become his disciples so that as we read we are therefore able to capture the true essence of Jesus' life. We are to begin to understand what it means to live the life that Jesus made possible for all of us to live here on THIS EARTH. We are to understand that these are more than stories, they are sign posts of how we are to live - how we are to follow God - how we are to treat one another - how we are to spend our time here on earth.