Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mark Reflects on the Humble Servant.

The book of Mark focuses on Jesus as the humble servant, his Life in many ways serving as a parallel to our own spiritual walk. Jesus is portrayed as the suffering servant with the power to heal, who through His death would bring life. We too are called to be servants in this world, at times we will suffer for it, as we pick up our crosses and follow Christ. Yet as we die to our old selves, we will find life in abundance through our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Again the consistent theme throughout the bible, of God using the weak, is really emphasized throughout Mark. Christ makes it abundantly clear “If anyone wants to be first, he must be very last, and the servant of all.” He himself fulfills this command being the humble servant of all, who sacrificed for all and is first and Lord of all.

Christ set us a wonderful example to follow, as evidenced throughout the book of Mark. We continually see Jesus taking the time to stop what He was doing and minister to the needs of those who were struggling and in need. We are instructed in what it means and how it looks in practice to be a follower of Christ – to be His disciple.

I loved the emphasis placed on the power and authority to forgive someone their sins. It is one thing to have the ability to heal a man’s body of infirmity, but to heal their spirit, through the forgiveness of sins, is something only God has the power to do. The teachers of the law realized it is one thing to heal a man of paralysis with a touch of the hand, sure that is cool but to grant him forgiveness of his sins, well that is something no one has the power to do, except God. Yet they were blinded in their ability to recognize the humble servant as the one who was God. [2:5-12]

Throughout the book of Mark we also see statements that refer to Jesus knowing in His spirit what people were thinking in their hearts and responding to their heart condition. What a sobering and yet encouraging truth for us. There is nothing that can be hidden from Christ; the nature of our Heart is what is of upmost concern to Him, not our outward facades of religiosity. Our relationship with Christ is so intimate that he knows the thoughts of our heart, and will correct us from within.

There is a warning that we would do well to heed, perhaps a plumb line for us to measure our spiritual walk against. Jesus said to the religious leaders and teachers of the law “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions” [7:9] we would do well to ensure we have not let go of the commands of God and are simply holding on to the traditions of men and religion.

I have two favourite verses in Mark. First in chapter 5 verse 36 when Jesus told the synagogue ruler “Don’t be afraid; just believe” what a simple and profound comfort when faced with struggle, doubt, fear and opposition. I also loved the response of Jesus in Chapter 9 verse 23 “”If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”” It is not a matter of if you can it is a matter of belief and faith in the one who provides power.

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