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Monday, January 5, 2009

Speaking of Jesus: The Gospel of Mark and Sharing the Faith

As noted in the Pastor's column, this month we are beginning a long series on the Gospel of Mark. This will be a wonderful series in which we will see the purpose of Christ's coming which we have just finished celebrating at Christmas! This book, I think, can be very helpful for us as we try to find ways to talk about Jesus with our friends. It used to be, when folks would go door-to-door to share the Gospel, they would take little copies of the Gospel of John with them to hand out. This is a great idea with all the right intentions. God's Word is powerful and can change hearts. But, I think, John is a better book to hand out to someone who we are close with so we can sit down with them and work through it. Much of the imagery and language in that book is a bit inaccessible to those who do not know Christ, and so, part of our job as those who have been sent is to explain what it means, for example, for Jesus to be "the bread of life" or "the good shepherd."

However, Mark, I think, is a much more accessible book for those who do not know much about the Christian faith or do not believe at all. The stories are simple and straight forward. Mark likely wrote the book with an evangelistic purpose. He wanted people to know who Jesus was. You will notice as you read through Mark that Jesus will perform miracles or forgive sins and the question will constantly come up, "Who is this man?" Mark includes this question in order to put it in the mouth of the reader, so as we witness Jesus act on the pages of Mark's Gospel we are forced to ask, "Who is this man?" And Mark leaves no doubt in our minds, this man is the Son of God come to save the world from sin and the devil!

Mark's goal is our goal when we set out to share our faith, that is, to introduce people to Jesus so they may know who He is and why He has come for them and believe. That is why this is an ideal book to have your friend read when you are sharing the faith with them. They will be forced to ask (maybe, Lord willing, even ask you!) "Who is this Jesus?" It is my prayer that as we work through this Gospel, we will be so caught up in the life of Christ, that we will not be able to help but bring others along with us for the ride!

Pastor Bob

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