I started the reading plan yesterday with Mark 1-2. For the sake of time/space, I’m only blogging my thoughts on certain chapters. So today is Mark 1. General format: first, my answers to those 3 questions, then I go deeper into the chapter and my thoughts.
1) What does this teach me about the character of Jesus?
Jesus loves and proves it. He touched the untouchable. He saw beyond the man’s words, and understood the need. And He met that need.
2) What verse or idea jumped out at me?
Jesus gets an immediate response. Whether good or bad, He gets an immediate response.
3) How can I apply this verse or idea today?
Don’t get so rushed that I only hear people’s words rather than understanding their need. And once I know the need, meet it to the best of my ability.
Also, do I represent Jesus well enough that when people meet me, they have to respond to Him? I don’t think I’m at that point yet. People can meet me without encountering Jesus. But my heart reflects the desire expressed by 21-year-old Jim Elliot in his journal (July, 1948):
“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.”
Thoughts as I read:
vs. 7: “After me comes He who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.” I am so unworthy to even touch the sandal of Jesus, yet Jesus “being found in human form, humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:8).” Lord, I am so unworthy of You. Thank you for loving me enough to die for me. Amazing, unfathomable love.
vs. 9-13: Jesus gets baptized by John, the Spirit descends on Jesus, God the Father speaks from heaven, and the Spirit “immediately” drives Him out into the wilderness. If that was me, I would be doubting that the Spirit ever descended, doubting whether I actually heard God speak, and questioning why I was lead from the spotlight to the wilderness. But Jesus is perfect and I’m so clearly not. Jesus endured temptation for 40 days and yet never succumbed to it once. His sustenance was the Word of God. That would be crazy hard for me to do, but I imagine it must have been even harder for Jesus because He knew who He is. He knew He is the Son of God. And He knew that He didn’t deserve to be in the wilderness. He knew what power was at His command. Yet He stayed “with the wild animals” and “the angels were ministering to Him.” I wonder how those angels felt–they too knew who Jesus was. Maybe they had seen Him seated at the right hand of God…yet now they saw the same Jesus living as a human…not in luxury, but in the wilderness. And they had the privilege of ministering to the Son of God.
vs. 14-15: John was arrested, but the kingdom of God is at hand. There is a gospel (“good news”) to believe.
vs. 16-20: “Jesus said to them ‘Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed Him…And immediately they left their father Zebedee…and followed Him.” Jesus didn’t explain what “fishers of men” means. He didn’t give them a detailed plan of what was to come. He didn’t offer promises, rewards, bribes, or comfort. He summoned them, and they immediately went. I don’t think I would have done that…I like knowing what to expect. But something in Jesus must have drawn them to Him. I would have never come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ if He hadn’t drawn me to Him. He called and I followed, not because of who I am, but all because of who He is. And daily, I must choose to follow. The initial decision was a lot easier than the daily decisions! But in the words of Elizabeth Elliot:
“One does not surrender a life in an instant. That which is lifelong can only be surrendered in a lifetime.”
vs. 21-22: Jesus spoke with authority. There is power in the name of Jesus.
vs. 23-28: “And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit…” There’s that word again…immediately. Jesus gets an instant response. He rebukes the unclean spirit and casts it out of the man. People start to notice Jesus and wonder what to make of Him. “And at once His fame spread…” Again, Jesus gets an instant response.
vs. 29-31. Jesus heals Simon’s mother in law. “And He came and took her by the hand and lifter her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.” She meets Jesus and her immediate response is service.
vs. 32-34: Jesus heals more sick people and casts out many demons, but prohibits the demons from speaking and revealing who Jesus is.
vs. 35-39: Jesus rises very early, while it’s still dark…goes off by Himself and prays. He knew the strength He would derive from the Father. Do we value our conversations with God that much? Do we treat speaking to the Father as a quick chore or a treasured necessity? After the search team found him, Jesus set out throughout Galilee, confident about His purpose.
vs. 40-45: POSSIBLY MY FAVORITE MIRACLE EVER. “And a leper came to Him, imploring Him, and kneeling said to Him, ‘If you will, you can make me clean.’ Moved with pity, He stretched out His hand and touched him and said to Him, ‘I will; be clean.’ And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.” Jesus had the power to speak healing…yet, He touched the leper. He heard the request, but understood the need. This leper had not been touched since the day he discovered the leprosy. Can you imagine the anguish? The pain of seeing disgusted looks? The despair and longing for acceptance? Jesus saw that. He heard the man’s plea coming from those dark places of pain and anguish. He touched him. The Son of God–the holy, pure Son of God–touched the leper. Jesus touched the untouchable. He went there. He got His hands dirty. He didn’t care how that made Him look, what people would think. He cared about that man. And He acted accordingly. Jesus changed the leper’s label: He made him clean and whole. It’s no wonder the man couldn’t keep his mouth shut! And it makes me so excited to serve a God like that.
My God is the one true God who loves the unlovable, touches the untouchable, wants the unwanted, and redeems the unredeemable.
All those “un” prefixes disappear in His presence. The labels change. The unlovable become loved. The untouchable become touched. The unwanted become wanted. The unredeemable become redeemed. Amazing.
God’s grace in my life today:
He hears me, He sees me, He satisfies my needs.
And He changes my label.