Mark Part LXV – Preach the Gospel (16:15-20)

November 22, 2009 in

As we come to the end of the Gospel of Mark, we find that Mark revisits many themes that he introduced in the opening verses of his Gospel. Once again we have reference to the Gospel, or glad tidings, about Jesus Christ. Once again we have messengers preaching – in the beginning John the Baptizer came preparing the way for Jesus; now we see new messengers going out into the world announcing the news about Jesus. Once again, for the first time since the opening verses, Mark refers to Jesus using the exalted title Lord, the Sovereign Ruler, the King. So let us see the way in which Mark brings his Gospel to a close and, in so doing, prepares us to look not just back to what Jesus has done but forward to what He is going to continue to do.

Mark Part LXIV: He is Risen (16:1-14)

November 15, 2009 in

The last couple of weeks we have explored the way in which Mark has taught us that the Cross is the full manifestation of Jesus’ glory as King. On the Cross Jesus manifested His glory as King by giving His life for the benefit of His people. Repudiating the temptation offered Him once again – ironically by his enemies as they cried out “Save yourself! Come down from the Cross!” – Jesus humbled Himself unto death, the shameful death on the Cross in order that He might give Himself an offering unto God in our place, that He might absorb the wrath and judgment of God which was due to His people, due to us, for our sin. Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath, was baptized on behalf of His people on the Cross, that we might partake of the cup of blessing.

But here’s the point that we need to grasp today: the Cross is only glorious because of the resurrection. If there had been no resurrection, then the Cross would have been just one more tragedy in human history. After all, many people have died unjustly throughout the history of the world. Jesus is not alone in that respect. But Jesus’ death is not just one more tragic tale among many – it is a tale that ends in glory because of the resurrection. If Jesus did not rise from the dead then our faith is in vain; we are still in our sins. Jesus’ death means no more than that of some other non-violent protester of injustice and tyranny. But thanks be to God, Jesus is risen from the dead. Today we see the way that Mark reveals to us the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection.

Mark Part LXIII: They Crucified Him (15:21-47)

November 8, 2009 in

As we examine the Gospel accounts, it is evident that the focus of their stories was not simple biography, nor mere history as it was practiced at the time they were written. The focus of their stories is on the climactic events of Jesus’ ministry – the last week of interaction with, condemnation of, and crucifixion by the reigning authorities – Jew and Gentile alike – as well as the overthrow of their plans in His resurrection from the dead and ascension to the right hand of the Father. Today we continue our study of Jesus’ crucifixion and observe the way in which both Mark and Jesus explain why this event was so central in the history of Israel and the history of the world, why believing this event changes the course of one’s whole life. By examining the metaphors that Jesus uses to explain the crucifixion, we will be equipped to understand why Mark was convinced that the Cross was the full display of Jesus’ glory as King.

Mark Part LXII: The King of the Jews (15:1-32)

November 1, 2009 in

One of the tasks that Mark has endeavored to achieve in his telling of the Gospel of Jesus is to set before his readers the nature of Jesus’ Kingship. What does it mean that Jesus is the King?

This lesson, assuming as tradition tells us that Mark wrote to the church in Rome, would have been particularly relevant to his first readers. After all, they were confronted frequently with the spectacle of empire. They would want to know – is this kingdom which Jesus established just another kingdom like the ones we see about us? Does it operate on the same principles as Caesar’s?

Again and again, in other words, Mark has been pointing us to the true nature of God’s kingdom and the true character of Jesus, the King. In our text today, in the crucifixion of Jesus, that lesson comes to the forefront. Who is this man named Jesus? What does it mean that He is the King? What has He done for His people?

Mark Part LXI – Sitting at God’s Right Hand

October 25, 2009 in


Part 61 – Sitting at God’s Right Hand Outline


Today Mark tells the story of Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin. It is important to note that he intentionally joins the stories of Jesus and Peter together. He wants us to view these two stories as a whole. Two trials are taking place. The first finds Jesus before the Sanhedrin; the second, Peter before the servants. In context, both trials ultimately point us to the same truth: though unbelief rages against God and against His Christ, nothing shall ultimately prevail against Him and His Church. He is the Ruler of all; further, our Lord Jesus Christ has been installed as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He shall reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet. He shall not fail nor grow discouraged until He has established righteousness in the earth. And so our calling as we face the agendas of men is to trust Him; He shall vindicate us.

Mark Part LX – Striking the Shepherd (14:27-52)

October 11, 2009 in

In the course of His ministry, Jesus has articulated, on the basis of a thorough reading of the Old Testament, that His calling as Messiah is to give His life a ransom for many, to be the Passover Lamb. As the moment of His betrayal into the hand of sinners arrives, the moment from which there will be no turning back, Jesus is incredibly lonely, full of fear and trepidation. Have I been right, he asks himself? Is this really what God wants Me to do? Is there perhaps another way? In the midst of these struggles, Jesus found himself completely alone. Deserted by his sleepy friends while suffering in the garden, betrayed by Judas, one of the Twelve, forsaken by his disciples, Jesus is alone. But during His wrestling with the Father in the garden, Jesus had received His answer. He knew that what He was doing was what the Father desired. And so Jesus’ doubts vanish and once again He faces the ordeal before Him in confidence and trust, teaching us not only the joy of doing the will of God but His glory as the Second Adam, the founder of a new humanity.

Mark Part LIX – He Ate My Bread (14:12-26)

October 4, 2009 in

From the beginning of Israel’s history, when God called Abraham and anointed him to be the founder of God’s elect people, God promised that in Abraham all the families of the earth would be blessed. Therefore, God’s salvation of Israel from Egypt via the Passover was good news not only for Israel but for the world – for it meant that one day God would act to rescue all humanity from death. And this would be accomplished (Isaiah would later reveal) by one Man, the Righteous Servant, sacrificing Himself not only for the life of Israel, not only to redeem Israel from her darkness and chains, not only to bring Israel out of slavery, not only to rescue Israel from death, but to rescue all the world. He would come to give His life a ransom for many.

And it is this feat of our God – sending the Righteous Servant to become the Passover Lamb, the Lamb who would take away the sin of the world – that is remembered in our words today and that is commemorated in the Supper that His people share every week. Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

Mark Part LVIII – Embracing the Shame (14:1-11)

September 27, 2009 in

We find ourselves reckoning in this chapter with the consequences of Jesus’ rejection. He has rejected the scribes, chief priest, and elders and they have rejected Him, plotting His destruction. Now He will be handed over, delivered over – but how will it take place? By whom?

Once again Mark uses the literary device of inclusio to drive home his point. We begin with the plot to destroy Jesus and end with Judas arranging the betrayal. In the midst of these two stories, Jesus is anointed at Bethany. The stories on either side serve to highlight the significance of the story in the center. Various men are plotting Jesus’ destruction, endeavoring to destroy Him. Meanwhile, Jesus Himself knows full well that this destruction is determined for Him by His Father, and He rejoices that this woman has grasped to some degree the point of His ministry – He has come to give His life a ransom for many. She is not ashamed to confess as such and to endure the scorn of the disciples in the process.

Mark Part LVII – More than Meets the Eye (13:1-37 Part Two)

September 20, 2009 in

We find ourselves once again studying the Olivet Discourse. Last week we emphasized that there are three questions that must be answered as we approach this text. First, what is it that Jesus is addressing? Second, when did he imagine that these things were going to take place? Third, why does he use the type of language that he uses to describe these events?

Last week we answered the first two of these questions. Today we take up the third of these questions. If Jesus is intending to describe the destruction of Jerusalem in his discourse, why does He use the language that He uses? Much of His language seems far too extreme to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem. Indeed, it is this difficulty of the language that has led many commentators to insist that this discourse must still be future. Jesus’ words simply were not fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem. Or were they? Well that is the question before us today.