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From The Pastor's Pen - The Gospel of Mark

The Gospel of Mark

Posted by Matthea Haecker on

If you have been following along with us as we read through the New Testament this year, you should be almost finished with Matthew by the time you read this. This means that we will spend most of February in the book of Mark.

This book was written originally for Roman Christians, who were beginning to undergo some intense persecution from the Roman government. They had been expelled from Rome in AD 49, were currently caught in growing tensions with the government, and were just a couple years away from intense persecution under Roman Emperor Nero.

Therefore, Mark, perhaps more than other gospels writers, emphasizes the suffering of Jesus on the way to the cross. While the first half of the book highlights Jesus’ ministry, the last half begins with Jesus teaching about his death, and from there all events begin moving towards
the cross.

Mark’s aim is to show the Roman community the centrality of the cross in regards to suffering. Even though Jesus would suffer both on his way to the cross and on the cross, ultimately victory over death would be found in this suffering. Therefore, the Roman community could cope and eventually find victory in their suffering so well, so long as the cross was central in their lives.

Therefore, as you read through Mark, I ask you to consider whether the cross is central in your life, particularly as it relates to suffering? We are reminded in Mark 8:34 that those who want to follow Jesus must take up their crosses to follow him. Therefore, it is expected and assumed that we would suffer in this life as we live for Jesus. Yet, for many of us, we are often surprised and shocked that we would indeed encounter suffering in the Christian life.

Thankfully, the book of Mark not only reminds us of the reality of suffering as we live for Jesus, but also reminds us of the reality of the future hope we should have if we live for Him. For the centrality of the cross not only points to Jesus’ suffering, but also to His victory over sin and death.

Therefore, as we encounter the sufferings of this world, as we endure persecution for our faith, let the cross be central in our lives. Let it remind us that even as we obey to Christ we should expect to suffer. But let it also remind us that for all who trust in Jesus for their salvation, He has achieved victory for us over sin and death. Therefore, we can have hope that our suffering has an end date when we will celebrate with God in heaven.

I cannot wait for that day! But for now, let us take up our crosses, suffering together, so that the world would know Christ’s victory over death as well!

In Christ,
matthea

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