We've begun a new sermon series in the book of Mark. We'll be going through the entire book chapter by chapter and I trust that you will find as I do a deeper appreciation for what Mark writes, how it connects to the rest of scripture and how it relates to our lives. As we begin our time in the book of Mark it's helpful to keep in mind that his purpose in writing is to tell the story of Jesus. He writes in his own unique, succinct way, one story falling off his pen right after another. And, it's important to know that Mark writes with only one goal in mind: that his readers will all come to faith in this Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah of the world. That's it. Mark wants us all to have faith in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ.
Faith. Sometimes don't you wonder what it really is? Mark gives us the answer all through the book, through the stories beginning in the very first chapter.
Here's just one: Jesus calls his first disciples as they're out at work fishing. He calls out to Simon, and his brother Andrew, and then to James and his brother John saying: "Follow me and I will make you fish for people." Totally crazy thing to ask someone to do right? But, maybe even more crazily, they do just that! They immediately drop what they're doing and follow him. That's it. They don't go back to work the next morning, they just go off with Jesus to fish for men.
Mark wants us to think about this. He wants us to turn this story carefully around in our minds. To think that this is the sort of thing that Jesus does as he steps· into someone's life; that he might ask us to do something that takes us off our chosen path, takes us off our plan, our own personal "fiefdom-building" endeavors. Mark gives us this story and wants us to consider that faith very well might mean dropping what we're doing, abandoning what's taking up all the space in our lives and heading forward following Jesus.
That's a totally radical, counter-cultural, possibly crazy looking thing to do. But, there it is, and here we are, people maybe only curious, a bit intrigued by this Jesus guy. Or, possibly thinking we're pretty Jesus savvy people; that we know all about being a Christian, we've been one for a long time .... but, this story and this image of what faith looks like is for us old time Christians, too. In fact wherever we're at in our journey of faith, this book is for us. Because even if we've dropped our nets, so to speak, even if we've got some "following Jesus" years under our belt, this question of what our faith looks like is one we need to face afresh pretty much every day. And, what we perceive Jesus asking us to do and how to follow might look different today than it did 5 or 10 years ago. And, just maybe, we've gotten so used to; Jesus we don't even realize He's standing there asking us yet again to follow him. We've maybe sorta tuned Jesus out without really realizing it.
Well, for all of us, the book of Mark has got something to say. It's going to bring Jesus into clearer view for us, and at the same time we're going to see ourselves in sharper focus. It's going to be interesting, and maybe even a new adventure is ahead for us! So, let's dive in together! Let's pray that the Spirit sparks up our minds & hearts, and that we'll hear Jesus' voice in fresh new ways! Let's even pray and be open that Jesus Christ will change us in radically new and exciting ways!
Ready, set? Let's go! Pastor Wendy