Friday, 19 September 2014
Mark 1: The Lord, a Servant
The Martyr Mom Syndrome.
I hate it when I get an attack of it. I’m going along, doing this and that around the house, not looking for any thanks or even acknowledgement. I’m a mom, I don’t expect my life to be glamorous. And then suddenly it happens. The socks lying in the middle of the living room shout, “Pick me up! Slave!!” I suddenly feel taken for granted by everyone including the dog. That’s when I erupt, “Would somebody get in here and pick up these SOCKS!!!”
It’s not the socks. It’s the principle of the thing.
Make way for the King!
We just started into the Gospel of Mark in our women’s Bible study. I’m working up an appetite for it.
One reason I’m excited about this study is that Jesus didn’t suffer from a martyr complex, even though he deserved to. His coming was the stuff of media buildup. Prophets, promises, a long silence and then his dramatic appearance. “Prepare the way of the Lord!” The crowds should part, fall silent and drop to their knees. He deserved it.
Yet from the earliest days of his public ministry there were surprises. He didn’t act like they expected. And the crowd didn’t respond like they should have. If I were he, I would have fallen on the ground and thrown a tantrum. It’s the contrast that makes me eager. I want to watch him enter his public ministry with a blast of authority and then I want to see him get busy…serving. I want to understand the dynamics of his decisions to stop doing one thing and start doing another. I want to feel the demands that would have pushed my martyr mom buttons and then see him react differently.
I want to see my Savior, the Servant King, in action.
Mark’s editorial choices.
I won’t have long to wait. The first chapter of Mark blasts through nine different scenes, bringing us right into the middle of Jesus’ public ministry. This gospel is different from the other 3. Kent Hughes comments:
Mark is the oldest of the Gospels. Matthew and Luke made such great use of it in writing their own Gospel accounts that between them they reproduced all but a few verses of Mark’s! So in this Gospel we have for the very first time in history a systematic account of the life and words of Jesus.
Each of the four Gospels was crafted by a human author, yet faithfully represented the thoughts of the Divine Author. From the raw material of Jesus’ life one scene is chosen while another is left out. Some words are repeated while others are not used at all. The pace, the shape, the order of events, even the verb tenses reflect editorial choices. Keep this in mind as you read the familiar words. Try to read them with first time eyes. Remembering that each word was weighed and chosen will make you more alert.
Our church is using the Tim Keller Gospel of Mark study materials, but just in case you don’t have those handy and want to study along with us, here are some questions to help you dig into the first chapter:
Day 1: Context–Read Mark Chapter 1
- How does Mark’s opening differ from Matthew, Luke, and John?
- Jesus’ first public words are “the time is fulfilled.” What two Old Testament prophecies does Mark choose to highlight? How are these two fulfilled by his coming?
- Based on these prophecies, what were they expecting?
Day 2: Observation–Read Mark Chapter 1 as 9 separate scenes
- Who are the main characters in each scene? How does Mark describe each one? How do they describe themselves?
- What are the settings and time frames?
- What would you say is the high point of this chapter?
- What would you say is the theme of this chapter?
Day 3: Meaning–Read Mark Chapter 1 and notice Jesus’s identity and calling
- What names are given to Jesus in this chapter?
- How is his authority highlighted?
- How is his service highlighted?
- What is the message he proclaims?
- Who is Jesus and what did he come to do from this chapter?
Day 4: Application–Read Mark Chapter 1 and reflect personally on it.
- How is his authority good news to you today?
- How do his priorities change your perspective on what is important?
- How does his baptism demonstrate the source of his power for service?
- What is your favorite verse from this chapter?