3/16/14: The Greatest Story Ever Told: THE GOSPEL OF MARK (2)
Have you ever wondered why there are four different Gospels? Not only did Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John offer varied perspectives on the life and ministry of Jesus, but they addressed different communities with different needs. Mark wrote to Gentile believers in Rome; John wrote to second-generation believers in Ephesus. Every Sunday morning the same thing happens in Covenant Life Church…depending on whether they are teaching in Discovery Land or in 12:13 or in the adult service, different pastors present the same gospel truths in very different ways. It’s all about packaging the truth in a way that will best serve the audience.
As we continued our study of Mark’s Gospel, we focused on the main subject of Jesus’s teaching: himself. He referred to himself frequently as the “Son of Man” — a title that captured both his human and divine natures and his calling as messenger and Messiah. As Mark Dever describes in The Message of the New Testament, the teachings of Jesus about himself reveal three main themes.
He Will Rule With Authority. With help from student readers, we discussed key passages from Mark that revealed the Lord’s authority to…
- Teach with power (1:21-22). The crowds were “astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes” (vs. 22).
- Drive out demons (1:23-28).
- Forgive sins (2:9-12). When the religious leaders accused him of blasphemy for forgiving a paralytic’s sin, he displayed his authority by healing the man and telling him to rise, take up his bed and go home.
- Be Lord of the Sabbath (2:23-28). The author of the Ten Commandments has the power to interpret them as he thinks best!
He Will Suffer In Our Place. Though Jesus did not hesitate to reveal himself as the mighty Lord, he also made it clear that he was appointed to be the suffering Servant described so vividly in Isaiah 53. At three key moments in the second half of Mark’s Gospel Jesus outlines his ultimate mission for his disciples: he has come to suffer and die and rise again.
- After Peter’s confession (8:27-33)
- After the Transfiguration (9:30-32)
- On the road to Jerusalem (10:32-34)
Interestingly, in two of these instances Jesus predicts his suffering and death immediately after his glory has been revealed. He sought to help his disciples see that his glory and his death were closely connected. He did not want them to be surprised when their Rabbi and Messiah was nailed to a cross: “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise” (Mark 9:31).
He Will Return To Judge. Jesus knew that Calvary was not the end of his road. The crucified Savior would ascend to heaven and one day return as the glorified Lord “seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62).
We ended the class by considering the same question Jesus asked his disciples: “But who do you say that I am?” According to C.S. Lewis, Jesus’s teachings about himself in the Gospels leave only three possible options. He was either a liar who made false claims about his identity…a lunatic with delusions of divinity…or the Lord of heaven and earth.
Who do you say he is?
FOR DISCUSSION WITH PARENTS
- How were you affected by the passages from Mark that showed what Jesus taught about himself?
- If Jesus asked you the question in Mark 8:29, how would you answer?