Monday, May 28, 2018

Year 8, Day 148: Mark 1

Theological Commentary: Click Here

Mark’s Gospel is all about immediacy.  There is no birth narrative.  Jesus’ own baptism is little more than a prelude to the greater story.  Even John’s ministry is abbreviated to the bare bones.  Mark wants us to get to the story as quickly as possible.

Even within the story, Jesus does things with little wasted movement.  He immediately goes into the desert to be tempted.  He immediately begins to preach on the Sabbath.  He immediately casts out demons.  He immediately heals Peter’s mother-in-law.  There is little wasted motion with Jesus.  He sets his mind to something and it happens.

Peter, Andrew, James, and John immediately follow Jesus when he calls.  They see a man of action and follow his lead.  They imitate what they see in Jesus.  They see a leader who is making things happen and they get caught up in the movement.  They want to be a part of what Jesus is doing.

What does all of this immediacy tell us besides the point that Jesus can accomplish what He sets His mind to do?  Jesus knows from day one that there is a race between Himself and His mission.  Every day that goes by means that the cross is one day closer.  Jesus has much work to do.  He has disciples to train.  He has a message to teach.  He has miracles to perform.  He has scripture to fulfill.  The clock is ticking on Jesus, and Mark’s Gospel helps us feel that ticking clock like no other.

This is one of the reasons that I love the inclusion of the last story in the first chapter of Mark.  Jesus heals a leper.  Knowing the clock is ticking and not wanting the clock to advance faster than it needs to advance, Jesus asks the leper to say nothing.  The leper disobeys, spreading the word of what happened.  As a result, we are told that Jesus can no longer go into the populated areas.  We don’t know if this is because He got mobbed by the needy or because of religious persecution.  Either way, though, we see why the immediacy is necessary.  We aren’t even through the first chapter of Mark when Jesus’ ministry starts to become hampered by human sinfulness.

Jesus understands the stakes.  He came to accomplish a mission.  He then invites us into that mission.  We need to be like James, John, Simon, and Andrew.  We need to see the immediacy of God’s plan and join Him where He leads us.  That doesn’t mean we are always going to jump from big mission to big mission.  Jesus Himself doesn’t always jump from miracle to miracle.  Sometimes He spends a quiet day in prayer or a quiet evening in the house of Simon’s mother-in-law.  But Jesus is always doing something, big or small.  We should likewise be doing something in God’s kingdom, promoting God’s love and His grace with each moment we can – big or small.