If all I knew about Christ could be found in Mark’s Gospel, here’s what I would know:
- Jesus clearly understands himself to be the world’s Savior, sent by God to die a sacrificial death that will redeem us from our sins and give us eternal life.
- Jesus fulfills Jewish prophecy concerning the Messiah and repeatedly predicts his own betrayal, crucifixion, and resurrection.
- Jesus has supernatural knowledge of current and future events and shares critical details with his followers.
- Jesus demonstrates his Lordship over the natural world by healing physical diseases, miraculously feeding thousands, walking on water, calming a raging storm, and raising the dead.
- Jesus releases men, women and children from the demonic spiritual forces that imprison them.
- Jesus is intolerant of religious hypocrisy and religious traditions that misrepresent his Father’s love and oppress humanity.
- Jesus shows compassion to the poor, the sick, and the socially unacceptable while challenging the rich, the self-satisfied, and the powerful.
- Jesus tells his followers that our devotion to him is expressed by how we serve others, especially the helpless and hopeless.
- Jesus loves children.
- Jesus’ life is saturated with Scripture and prayerful conversation with his heavenly Father.
- Jesus illustrates Kingdom principles through stories and parables rather than through a systematic theology.
- Jesus invites his friends into the most intimate moments of his life, looking beyond their weaknesses to the unique potential that will be realized in each of them.
- Jesus teaches that one day he will return to judge the living and the dead and to reign over a new heaven and earth characterized by his Father’s power and love.
- Jesus is a person of compassionate action who expects no less of his disciples.
Is this the Jesus you know?
Is this the Jewish rabbi you’ve heard and read about? Or has culture—or the church itself—made him out to be something dramatically different?
Does Mark’s gospel present a compelling case for Christ’s divinity? For his resurrection? For his imminent return?
Is it reasonable to accept the moral teachings of Jesus while rejecting the radical claims he makes about himself?
Can intellectually honest people living in the 21st century actually put their faith in a 1st century revolutionary who claimed to be God’s Passover lamb for the world?
I say yes.
Because for me, it’s easier to believe than not to.
To accept the things I can understand while taking the rest on faith.
To insist that truth and beauty and love are real and not just electrical impulses in our brains.
To reject the lie that life is random and accidental. To find meaning and purpose in a the divine plan of a caring Father.
To find comfort and peace in the certainty of eternal life.
To hear God’s voice in my heart and see God’s hand in the world.
To live my life… according to Jesus.