Been reading through Mark lately. I have a confession. I’ve only now just gotten into a really consistent, diligent Bible study. Sad, but true. I’d been coasting too long, relying on generally being a good person, going to church, and not moving my feet when I dance. (You have to be Baptist to get that joke. Sorry.) Anyway, God gave me a big whop on the noggin, and I’ve buckled down. So, I’ve worked my way through a couple books with my sister, and we decided Mark needed some attention. I felt a little sorry for it. It seems overlooked to me. Matthew and Luke get all the props, and poor Mark just gets lost in the shuffle, despite the fact that it was probably written first.
Anyway, it’s been interesting. Mark chronicles the ministry of Jesus. This includes His parables and miracles, which, after being a Christian for 26 years, I’m pretty familiar with. No pat on the back, I’m just saying. So I wasn’t sure what I’d get out of it. I am loving it, though. What’s really stood out to me is all the passion and drama of the people around Jesus. Nothing was mild or lukewarm-everything was so extreme.
I see this specifically in the people’s desperate need of Him. They were sick and maimed and possessed- they had leprosy or bleeding diseases or they were DEAD. Their circumstances were dire- catastrophic even. Their need was fierce, and they would do anything to get close to Him. They thronged Him in the streets, reaching, straining, just to touch His garments. They would knock holes in the ceiling to get closer, they would leave their jobs and change their names and follow Him without question, even across the water’s surface. Their numbers were so great that He had to get in boats, or on mountains, to preach to them all. Their desire to see Him was so intense that thousands of people would leave home with no food, no money, no preparation for a journey, no thought but seeing and hearing Him. And He fed them all, more that once, with baskets of loaves leftover. They followed Him from town to town, lining the streets, filling the temple, the squares, the homes. At times the crowd was so overwhelming, He had to flee to deserts, mountain tops, islands, just for rest. They were everywhere, all the time, with constant petitions and needs.
I mean, WOW. Can you imagine? He came to a desperate people. They were lost, hopeless without Him. They knew it, knew He was the only way to salvation from their ailments – knew He could cast out the demons, heal the lame, the blind, raise the dead… they knew it and did whatever they could to get to Him. Their physical conditions urged them to Him, but He not only answered those needs. Most importantly, He addressed their spiritual conditions. He healed them, in body and in soul.
And what was true then is no less true today. I need Him. As urgently and critically as the leper, the widow, the taxcollector… I need Him and I must go to the ends of the earth to follow Him. I must climb mountains, go hungry, scale a tree — I must do whatever is necessary to touch His robes. He is my only hope.
I think it is only when we can begin to see that in ourselves, see our broken state, that we can start to understand how desperately we need a Savior. Going to church is good. Keeping the ten commandments, good. Learning Bible verses, yup, that’s good, too. But it’s not enough. It never will be. We’ve got to see that no matter what we do, how good we are, that we are blind and lame and DEAD before God. We need Him in every sense of the word. We must seek Him, and seek Him, and seek Him. And seek Him some more. Whether it’s the mountains or the valleys or the deserts, whether we’re rich or poor or hungry or fed or walking or lame or bleeding or in the middle of something… wherever and whatever we are, we need Him or we’ll perish.
Anyway, so that’s what I’ve gotten out of Mark so far. Good stuff.