People are Always the Point

Gospel of Mark, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Salvation

(NOTE: This post is part of a blog series on the Gospel of Mark. I am sharing a few little tidbits from my own personal study of Mark over the last few months. Below are a few of my notes from Mark 3.)

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. (Mark 3:1-6)

Notice that there is no mention of the man asking for healing. Jesus intentionally seeks him out on this Sabbath day. By healing this man in this fashion, Jesus wants to make an emphatic statement about what God values. People are always “the point.” When we elevate agendas, rules, or tasks over people, we are out of sync with the heart of God.

A New Era Emerges

Gospel of Mark, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Salvation

(Note: A few months ago I began an in-depth study of the Gospel of Mark. For the next several blog posts, I plan to share some of my ongoing reflections on a chapter-by-chapter basis. Nothing fancy. But I hope you can gain something in each entry. For space reasons, I will only include a small portion of my actual notes & reflections. Unless otherwise noted, I will be using the New Revised Standard Version. For theo-nerds like me, my primary commentary sources are Ben Witherington and N.T. Wright).

How Does Jesus’ Death Save Me?

Christian history, Cross, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Salvation

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

At the core of the “good news” of Jesus Christ, there is this fantastic exchange where Jesus takes on our sin, and we get his righteousness.

If you have been a churchgoer for a considerable length of time, this is a teaching you have likely heard dozens, if not hundreds, if not thousands of times.

But here’s the thing. While we can believe this to be true in our minds, it’s very easy for this teaching, as profound and beautiful as it is, to stay in our heads and not penetrate the soul where it actually can transform the way we live on a moment-by-moment basis.

For one thing, to a lot of people, this whole message of salvation just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Even if a person intellectually assents to this belief and begins following Jesus, there can still be nagging questions.

“Why did Jesus have to die for me to be saved? How does his death save me?”

Many have trouble connecting the dots. And for some people, because they can’t understand what happened on the cross, it makes it harder for the beauty of Calvary to get on the inside and feel like a real thing.