Now let’s see what we will Discover from the Gospel of Mark as we go through it. This has to do with what I want to pay attention to as I study this book chapter by chapter. What can I remember and what can I discover about His service? There are three things this book constantly alludes to.
1. The Gentile Education
Listed are events and teaching that have a specific aim toward the Gentile believers. If the idea was to help connect the dots for Gentiles believing Jesus is the Son of God by seeing He is the Servant of God, then this book is full of things that will educate us about His service to humanity. We will discover things that teach us what it means to be a servant. For example: you will be shocked at how many times the book uses the word immediately. There is no procrastination with a servant. When asked to do something it is done on the Master’s time and not when finished with what the servant is doing.
I remember years ago reading Dare to Discipline by James Dobson and learning that the child who is asked to do something, but does it on its own schedule and time is really demonstrating a form of passive rebellion. If you cannot control what you do, you control when you do it. This still keeps the child holding some of the power of their will. If they do that enough, eventually they will no longer do as you’ve asked and overtly rebel.
You say to your son or daughter, “Clean your room”, and they respond, “Give me just a minute”, when they’re watching cartoons, you have just been relegated to something less than a cartoon. You must immediately regain at least your cartoon status. It’s at that moment you walk over and shut down television broadcasting. This goes for all types of things. The child that loves to read and does not put down their book to do immediately what you’ve asked and says instead “Give me a minute, I’m want to finish this chapter” is controlling you! When that happens you have a judgment call. They took to time to mess up the room, but can find no time to clean it. If it takes a half hour for them to finish a chapter you know you’ve being messed with. This book will show all types of little hints of what service is and what the meaning of immediately is. Mark is a parenting book!
2. The Peter Allusion
The second thing to look for is “The Peter Allusions.” As you read through the book see if you can notice how many times there are places where intricate personal additions appear and think of Peter. It’s neat to see these things as we can witness firsthand what a personal relationship in the flesh with the Lord looked like. What was it like to be His friend and walk with Him?
We come across men who have a sense of greatness about themselves. They are untouchable and above the rest. Contact with the real would is none existent. They have no peers and find pleasure in maintaining that distance. You can never hold too tight to an ice cube before you have to let go. There are people that are like this; they have very few personal friends and many acquaintances. Their sense of self worth and self-importance are apparent. This book gives a personal touch and view of the Lord that is unique. No doubt Peter influenced the writing in one way or another. And it is remarkable to see the humility and service in the Lord’s behavior with others.
I mentioned the cushion in the boat earlier. Let me give you another example:
NASB Mark 1:29 And immediately after they came out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
Is there not freshness to the fact that individual names are listed as being a place where the Lord visited? It is only mentioned in Mark that Andrew was associated in the house with Peter. He visited there home! It gives us a look into how close the family was and how open the Lord was to visiting them.
Or, look at the uniqueness of Mark 6:3:
NASB Mark 6:3 “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him.
This is the only place in the scriptures it is mentioned Jesus was personally a carpenter—a man with an occupation!
3. The Servant Demonstration
Finally, as we go through the book of Mark bare in mind all the narratives are of service. Over and over again we see Jesus working and laboring on behalf of humanity, bringing the good news and working toward the restoration of men and women.
How and what can we display from this book? There are two characteristics that become evident to me that I can apply to my own life as I see the example of Christ.
1. A Life of Service
His life was a life given in devoted service to His Heavenly Father. When His own family of the flesh believed Him to be too myopic in service, they came to set Him straight, His reply to their concern was “Whoever does the will of God is my brother, sister and mother” (Mark 3:35).
Again, another picture of the life of service is found in Mark 10:
NASB 43 “But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.”
This is backwards from the way the world is. Greatness is seen among servants and not the halls of power. This is what it takes to be a minister of Jesus Christ. If an individual wants to be pampered and have people waiting upon them, that’s ok—they will just never be a minister of truth is all. There is not a ministry of the filthy rich and affluent; at least if we believe what the Lord says.
2. A Life of Sacrifice
The last thing was can display as a result of reading this book is a life of sacrifice. The Lord’s time was the needy’s time. The Lord’s meal was the needy’s meal. In all He did, the needs of other were the focus of His service. He sacrificed, not only His time and talents; He sacrificed His very life on behalf of those who would never believe they were needy. He did this out of compassion! Just read this example:
NASB Mark 6:34 When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.
His compassion compelled Him to sacrifice:
NASB Mark 8:1 In those days, when there was again a large crowd and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples and said to them, 2 “I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat. 3 “If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a great distance.”
J. Robert Hanson