"…to the praise of the glory of His grace…" Ephesians 1:6

The Gospel of Mark

I want to take some time over the next few weeks to write some summary thoughts on our study through the Gospel of Mark.  This Sunday, Lord willing, I will finish up our study (about 15 months and 55 messages). The Lord has been gracious to meet with us through this firsthand account of the life of Jesus.

When we began the study I said, “The gospel of Mark is one of the first written accounts we have of the life of Jesus. Why did Mark write the life of Jesus down? Or, for that matter, why did Matthew, Luke, and John do the same thing? For about 30 years or so after the life of Jesus and the death of Jesus, there were no written accounts. The gospel of Jesus Christ was spread orally. It was spread verbally.

One of the reasons why there weren’t any written accounts was that it was difficult for any distorted accounts of who Jesus really was to take hold. It was hard because of the presence of eyewitnesses….(THIS SUNDAY WE WILL LOOK AT THE EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS) ….About one generation after the death and resurrection of Jesus, when the apostles were starting to die off and when the eyewitnesses were starting to die off, then arose the danger that people could decide who they wanted Jesus to be.

They could make up a Jesus of their own. They could lose touch with the real Jesus, and therefore, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the gospel writers, began to pull together the eyewitness accounts of the apostles, and they turned them into these lives of Jesus, these books we have in front of us.

This isn’t true everywhere but here in Tulsa most people believe in Jesus – they have a concept of Jesus – many – not all – have heard some concept of Him – only if it is in some association with Christmas or as a curse word. And so you have this person or this church saying this is who Jesus is and you have another church saying – no this is what Jesus is like. Or this is what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

It seems like most people are interested in Jesus, but on their own terms. And yet, here’s the irony. A Jesus you shape, a Jesus you make up, that fits in with your desires, a Jesus of your own, ironically, can’t really change you, can’t really transform you, because a Jesus you make up can’t challenge you, can’t contradict you. Why? Because he’s just you. You made him. So the irony is a Jesus you create, that doesn’t have his own reality, can’t really change, renew, and transform you. If you want a Jesus who can really help you, if you want a Jesus who really can spiritually change you, you have to get the real Jesus.

In fact (and I have to say this carefully), in some ways, Mark, of the four gospels, might be the best place to go to really get the naked, unadulterated, undistilled , straight-up, real Jesus, because all the other gospels are longer. Mark is the shortest…Mark starts right in on Jesus.  In fact, not only don’t you have much teaching about Jesus and commentary about Jesus, you don’t even have much teaching by Jesus in the book of Mark. Mark just wants to give you Jesus (his character, his actions), and that’s why, because we are in the midst of a culture that desperately needs the real Jesus, and because that is what this book is written to give us … a Jesus who can change our lives … we’re going to look at the gospel of Mark . Many of us have seen Him more clearly. I pray that this gospel will continue to open your eyes to see the real Jesus!