Summary: A series on the book of Mark
October 14, 2012
Series: “Markers Along the Narrow Way”
Imagine it’s 65 A.D….(about 30 years since Jesus walked the earth)…and now the church he left behind is in big trouble. These “Christ followers” were seen by the Roman government as a potentially subversive and dangerous movement. There were all kinds of misrepresentations and false stories circulating about this new religion & it’s founder. And worst of all…the eyewitnesses, the people who actually saw and knew Jesus were being killed off! If they were all gone, then who would be able to set the record straight? So a man named Mark wrote an account of Christ.
In case you don’t know who Mark was…He’s mentioned 10x’s in the N.T. From Acts 12:12 we learn that he was the son of a wealthy woman named Mary. Her home was kind of like ‘home-base’ for the early church and so young “John-Mark” was at the center of the early church movement. That’s one of the reasons he was chosen by his nephew Barnabas to go with him and the Apostle Paul on their 1st missionary journey. It didn’t turn out so well for young John-Mark because he deserted them and came back home (causing a major issue between Paul and Barnabas). But eventually they reconciled and Mark went on to not only become a trusted friend of the Apostle Paul, but of the Apostle Peter.
In fact, Peter felt so close to Mark that in I Peter 5:13 he referred to him as “my son”. Because Mark spent so much time with Peter, Marks gospel is really just the record of Peter’s sermons. Mark would listen to them and write down what He heard. So in reality, as we work through the book of Mark, we’re hearing Peter’s 1st person account of what happened during the 3 ½ years he was with Jesus. Mark put it all together shortly after Peter’s death as a martyr in A.D.65
It’s really the shortest and the simplest of the accounts of Jesus’ life and words, and so I like to recommend it to new Christians…as the 1st book to read after they make the decision to follow Christ. So just want to give you a kind of overview of the book of Mark this morning by sharing with you 3 Key Things that Mark wants you to know about Jesus when we’re done studying his book…
1st… He wants you to know that…
1. He came as a REIGNING KING
From the very outset of the book, Mark wants us to know that Jesus’ coming was the initiation of God’s rule on the planet earth! It’s not on the way…it’s not coming in the “sweet by and by”…NO! It’s here … right NOW! That’s why in the very 1st verse of Mark is really the title of the book!
”The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God!” Kind of abrupt sounding isn’t it? Well, if you were a Jew it was even MORE abrupt sounding! Because here in the very 1st words Mark is announcing (like a messenger announcing a kings arrival)...”Here is the Christ!” Now, when the average Jewish person reading Marks words would read the words “Jesus Christ” they would say, “Whoa! whoa! whoa! Back-up the “Jesus truck” for just a second!” Because what Mark had just proclaimed was packed with power! “Wait a sec…did I just hear you say…”Jesus Christ, the Son of God?”
See, when we hear the name “Jesus Christ” it doesn’t mean that much anymore! For some people the words “Jesus Christ” are nothing more than a cuss words. Most people think that “Jesus” is his first name and that “Christ” was his last name…(like Chris Kelly, or Jeff Walters, Davin Garcia)…but that’s not what the average Israelite heard! To the greek speaking Jews of that day…the word “Christ” meant “Messiah”!
“Messiah” was the title of the person who would liberate Israel from the Romans! Just the mention of the name would bring a surge of excitement to their minds. Kind of like saying “Justin Beeber” to a crowd of pre-teen girls! They’d go crazy! Most Jews felt that the coming Messiah would be the 2nd coming of Moses! That he would dramatically come on the scene delivering them from their slavery & smashing their enemies! Just like he did when he came the 1st time. This “Christ” (this Messiah) would subdue all the nations in his path, crush their rulers and establish Himself and His heavenly kingdom here on earth! In fact, Mark was soooo adamant at this point that He compared Jesus to Caesar. Everyone knew that Caesar came to power in an 8-stage coronation process…and so starting in chapter 11, Mark organizes Jesus’ last week on earth (Passion Week) by using those SAME 8 stages. What was he saying? He was saying that JESUS is King…not Caesar! You could be executed for saying something like that!