In my retirement I have found myself exploring the Word of God, especially the Gospel of Mark. In doing this I have become increasingly aware that as a Gospel the Book of Mark’s primary is upon the Glory of the Son of God, the LORD Jesus Christ. It also, however, enables us to see just what the life of Discipleship is all about. Its focus is upon following Jesus, in faith, on the way to the cross. A number of years ago, when I was preaching on Mark’s Gospel I wrote this short reflection on its message.
Arthur Custance in reflecting upon Mark’s Gospel states that is little wonder that Mark in writing to Gentiles about the Lord Jesus Christ as the Servant of the Lord does not include a genealogy in his Gospel. The Gentiles would not be interested in the genealogy of a slave, and this was what Jesus was as He came among us to serve His Father. This got me to thinking about the Gospel of Mark. In recent months I have been studying this book quite extensively. It is clear that Mark goes to great lengths to make the point that Jesus was Isaiah’s Servant of the Lord who came to serve by giving His life as a ransom for many. In every chapter this seems to be the theme. He came to serve His Father by serving us. He came to offer Himself as a sacrifice for us.
As we explore this theme a related fact confronts us. This is that His disciples as they are coming to faith in Him are being prepared to be His body, exercising His Ministry in this world. These disciples are the Christian Church as it is in the process of being formed. To me this suggests that the task that is set for us, as the Church in the Twenty First Century, is to do as He did. We are called to serve Him by sacrificially serving our world. At the centre of this service is the Cross of the Lord Jesus. We are called to die to ourselves, living now by faith in Him as Paul tells the Galatians. Prayerfully and obediently we are sent out into this world, in His power, and with His grace, to love, and lead people to become vibrant disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our mission and ministry must be to love those in the community around us with the same love that we have received from the Lord. Whenever our approach becomes self-centred, focusing upon our needs, then our outreach withers. If we turn our focus back out to our world, offering Christ-centred service to others then we begin to see the grace of God at work among us. This is our task and challenge in the years to come, lovingly serving as Jesus served us.