The Gospel According to Mark is often referred to as the Gospel of Action. That's really a great description. Mark has a story to tell and he won't waste any time in its telling. Scene after scene, with breakneck speed, he introduces us to Jesus.
Over the years I have divided Mark's gospel in different ways. However, for the purposes of our next few studies I want to offer a simple outline:
- Mark 1:1 - 8:22: The Kingdom Revealed (The Jesus of Galilee)
- Mark 8:22 - 10:52: The Kingdom Requirement (The Nature of the Kingdom)
- Mark 11 - 16:20: The Kingdom Fulfilled (The Jesus of Jerusalem)
In the first section, The Kingdom Revealed: The Jesus of Galilee, we are introduced to the One who is the Source of Authority. . .
. . .Over mankind
. . .Over the realm of Truth
. . .Over the spiritual realm
. . .Over the physical realm
. . .Over every realm - even over sin and death!
It's in this section that we see what the Kingdom is all about. The Kingdom of God has come near and it stands in stark contrast to the kingdom that had been established by the religious leadership of the day.
It doesn't take long for us to see that the Jesus of Galilee is very attractive. It's evidenced by the crowds that are constantly gathering. That's what happens when lame people dance, lepers are restored, evil is driven out of lives, and bellies are filled. People flock to this Jesus. Mark has a way of revealing that the hysteria of the crowd always hinders what Jesus has come to do: To present His Father's Kingdom. Instead, they get caught up in the spectacle, the show, the miracles. In their excitement over these things they simply miss Him.
In the last section, The Kingdom Fulfilled: The Jesus of Jerusalem, we see how this Kingdom is realized. In our earthly minds we are tempted to see palaces and thrones, but this is a Kingdom that is established on a cross. The one place Jesus should have avoided He willingly enters. This entrance is not in the spirit of conquest as the crowds would recognize or even prefer. Rather, it seems He enters with a willingness to be conquered.
The Jesus of Jerusalem is not very attractive. Yet, it's through this that the Kingdom is fulfilled! The cross does not puncture the hopes of mankind. . . It opens the door to the Kingdom and invites every man to walk through and take their place in this Kingdom!
So, how does Mark transition from the Jesus of Galilee to the Jesus of Jerusalem?
How is it possible to be part of this movement, this Kingdom?
The evangelist transitions us with a section that could possibly be described as the heart of the story, The Kingdom Requirement: The Nature of the Kingdom. Positioned between the revelation of the Kingdom and it's realization, sandwiched by stories of blindness, the nature of this Kingdom is revealed.
It's an exciting journey that I want to invite you to walk with me. It will begin and end with movement from backdrops of blindness to sight.
I want to see fully.
Will you join me?