BIBLICAL JOY
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THE GOSPEL OF MARK

by Steve Dunn

We live in a day and age where people are spiritually hungry, yet intellectually suspicious.  Dan Kimball has written an excellent book anaylzing the church’s  ministry in today’s culture called They Like Jesus, But Not the Church.  People believe that truth is subjective and challenge authority constantly.  When the church is so “bold” as to say that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God, people respond, “Who said so?”  And when we try to say that Jesus is essential for life both now and eternally, they ask. “And how do you know?”

Quite often they reject the idea that the propositional claims of the Bible prove anything.  And because there is often so much doctrine attached to our introduction.  The hurting and the faint of hurt often glaze over or slide away while we pontificate and/or elaborate.  Scott McKnight says, “What people first need to do is simply meet Jesus.”  When they meet him, all the rest begins to make sense.

 New Christians are often invited to start getting to know Jesus by reading the

Gospel of John, generally because it was John’s intent to explain the meaning  of Jesus’ teaching about discipleship.  I generally send them first to The Gospel of Mark – so they can find out who he is and what he did and what he said and how people responded to him.  In many ways, Mark is the simple story of Jesus, when told straightforwardly helps make him a person with whom they now can have a relationship.

A simple straightforward telling of the Jesus’ story seems to have been Mark’s intent.  This doesn’t make it lightweight theologically.  There is no seeker-sensitive removal of the Cross to make him more approachable.  There is no hint of his  being a misunderstood, good-hearted rabbi who was a kinder and gentler version of the Old Testament Yahweh.  He is the powerful Son of God.  A bloody cross and empty tomb are at the heart of this story.  But when you are done – you see a man of humility and power, whose life and death transforms the world.

So let’s get started.  Go ahead, wade into chapter one and we’ll learn about who Jesus is and who he intends us to be.

I will post Friday with my first questions about the text.

(C) 2012 by Steve Dunn

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