Taken from my E-book: Challenges to Change Us
Mark1:1 The origin of the Gospel concerning the Son of God, Jesus Christ
Of all the books in the New Testament, I like the Gospel of Mark the most. It’s very concise and easy to read. John Mark, the Gospel writer, didn't waste any words, nor did he write any expanded descriptions of the events in Christ’s life. Like Captain Joe Friday of the old detective series ‘Dragnet,’ John Mark was only interested in ‘just the facts.’ He wanted his readers to quickly understand who Jesus actually was and still is – the Son of God.
Mark’s title for Christ might not mean much to us in church today because we've heard it so often and have learned to accept it completely. However, in Mark’s day, the title “Son of God” belonged exclusively to the Roman Emperor, so this was both a radical and subversive use of the phrase. The fact that John Mark stated this at the very beginning of his gospel was a very courageous thing to do. He was firmly putting his faith, reputation, and life in Christ’s hands.
This also meant that any Christians or churches that possessed a written copy of Mark’s Gospel were placing themselves in harm’s way. They were ‘gospel guerrillas’ whose Christian beliefs undermined most of what the Emperor and his empire portrayed – the divine mightiness, eternal majesty, and infinite power of Rome. It was a definitive moment for the Christian church. It could both quietly exist as a sub-culture of the Jewish faith and not bring any undue attention to its followers, or it could confront the evils in Roman society and challenge the Emperor’s divine status.
Fortunately for us, John Mark and the other first century Christians chose the difficult path which led to persecution. In meeting the cultural challenges of their day, the First Christians changed the history of the entire world. Their consistency and perseverance has led to our present day Christianity. Just like them, we are also faced with cultural challenges and serious changes that will affect the future of our faith.
Questions for personal reflection
Am I prepared to confront the cultural challenges that society inflicts upon my faith? Am I ready to stand with Christ as He seeks to change the world?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank You for the faithful witness of the Gospel pioneers in the First century. Without their dedication and perseverance, we would not have any faith in You today. Help us to face the present cultural challenges to our faith and enable us to overcome them with Your Gospel. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.