Summary: Introduction to "Discovering Jesus," a series exploring the life of Christ from the book of Mark.
I hadn’t really thought about it until just recently, but for all of my adult life I have been on a quest. The goal of my quest is to ascertain, apprehend and acquiesce to the person known, in English, as the Lord Jesus. I have wanted to go beyond my immediate, personal and subjective experience of Christ to an objective, accurate and Scriptural understanding of Who He is.
For many people, even many who would be His followers, the Jesus of their own construction or imagination is enough. They’re not so much interested in Who Jesus really is as in how they imagine Him to be, or how they would be if they were Him.
This quest, to know and serve the real Jesus is something I have to constantly stay on top of, because my flesh wants, repeatedly, to justify itself. I want Jesus to affirm my behavior, or at least look the other way. And my flesh wants gentle Jesus meek and mild – or baby Jesus in a manger – even Jesus on a cruel, rugged cross, dying there in my place, but I don’t like reading about King Jesus, warrior Jesus, righteous Jesus and Jesus Who warns me to repent or perish.
The Christian sects and cults reimagine Jesus to the point where early Mormon Apostle Orson Hyde stated that Jesus was married and had children and Brigham Young agreed. Jehovah’s Witnesses, like Mormons, teach that there is more than one God, since they believe Jesus is a lesser (created) God. Even Christian movies often portray a Jesus Who is so soft-spoken, meek and mild that He couldn’t have possibly held crowds of thousands absolutely spell-bound for hours on end. In fact, they wouldn’t have even been able to hear Him.
And all of that matters, but even worse than having a false view of the demeanor and emotional disposition of Jesus, is the disastrous result of believing false notions about Jesus – the kinds of notions that cause many to spiritually perish.
For example, Muslims believe in a sinless, perfect Jesus, but not a suffering and dying Jesus. And unless Jesus died for you and you received that gift as payment for your own sin debt you are still in your sins.
If you have the right Jesus you are right for all eternity, but if you have the wrong Jesus, you are wrong for all eternity. A false Jesus cannot save you. A Jesus in your own image, of your own imagination and according to your own thoughts and understanding is not just dangerous but deadly.
Because of that, the study of the life of Christ is the most important undertaking of your life. And that’s true even if you don’t believe He is Who He says He is. Without question He is the single most influential person to have ever lived. No part of life or culture, on any far flung portion of the planet is unaffected by the fact that He lived. Even the way we count time is split in two – B.C. from A.D. – to acknowledge the fact that His appearance radically changed everything that followed.
For those of us who are convinced He is Who He says, once you know Who Jesus is you can respond to Him in ways that secure your future and guard your eternity. When you know the real Jesus you can understand His heart and more easily discern His will. When you know the real Jesus you can respond as He does – as His ambassador to men and women on His planet – for His purpose and His glory.
It’s absolutely mission critical for every follower of Christ to have an accurate, clear, objective and Scriptural understanding of Who Jesus is.
That’s why we’re going through this overview of the attributes, character and nature of Christ from Mark’s gospel. Along the way we’ll look at 10 events in the earthly life of the Lord Jesus – events which I believe are helpful to give us a general overview and understanding of Who He is.
It’s not my intention to do a chronological book study of Mark’s gospel, but rather to use this, the shortest, most dynamic and action packed gospel to study the earthly life of the Lord Jesus.
Now, right off the bat, you’ve probably noticed that I keep referring to “the earthly life” of the Lord Jesus. Here’s why:
Jesus has lived forever in the past and will live forever in the future. There has never been a time when Jesus did not exist. Before the incarnation, in Mary’s womb, He was known in eternity past as the “Word of God,” the second person of the trinity, or the God-head. At the incarnation, when God became flesh, He was given the name “Yeshuah.” That name passes through Greek and Latin before getting to our English spelling and pronunciation of “Jesus.” By the way, “Yeshuah” means salvation and deliverance. His name defines His role.