Monthly Thoughts from Pastor Fred Naumann

GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MARK

 

The mighty deeds of Jesus, the Servant of God.

 

"Gospel" or "Good News" to the first century person living in the Roman empire meant some news from or about the Emperor. They believed that the wisdom and power of the Emperor gave peace and prosperity to the average man. The emperor was the saving, delivering force for the empire.

 

Mark writes to the Romans the"Good News" about Jesus, the Servant of God, Savior and Deliverer. The Romans never missed a chance to add another God to their temples. Mark seizes this opportunity and answers the questions, "Who is Jesus?" "What does faith in Him mean?" and "What can Jesus do for one?"

 

Mark answers these questions in a brief 16 chapters, 678 verses or 15,171 words. His style is alive, abrupt and terse, racing from point to point, miracle to miracle. Mark's style is three-pronged: 1) He uses simple connectives like, "and, but, then, after" thirty times in chapter one alone. 2) words like "immediately, straightaway, afterwards, without delay" appear forty times in this book. 3) Mark summarizes and condenses large sections of Jesus' life.

 

The two-part outline for Mark is given in chapter 10:45. The first eight chapters: "Jesus the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve." Chapter nine to sixteen: "And to give His life as a ransom for many people."

 

Too simple? Perhaps until you realize that this definition of God runs counter to the popular Roman idea of god. Gods in the Roman empire had to be served and placated. Mark caught the undivided attention of the Romans with powerful works of Jesus. He confused the Romans with a Jesus, Who as the Son of God, came to serve, not be served. The notion of the Son of God giving his life for people was truly amazing. In Rome, it was always the other way around.

 

In Mark we find the fascinating mix of reactions from the people amazed, overwhelmed and approving one minute and shouting, "Crucify Him" the next.

 

Mark summons us to view the mighty works of Jesus and draw our conclusions. And Mark gives to us lessons, warnings, directions to define a disciple and refine the Christian.

 

And in Mark's Gospel, we see the Jesus Who displaced and replaced all the laws of the religious leaders with just one law - the law of love toward God and toward our fellow man.

     

          Pastor Fred