Series Introduction

As you read the Gospel of Mark one thing becomes quickly apparent. Jesus is really good at confounding people’s expectations of him. He just won’t fit into the preconceived categories that others have created for what he should do or who he should be.

One Saturday morning he shows up at a synagogue to preach but doesn’t preach in the manner that the people expected him to preach. Mark reports that the people were “astonished at his teaching” because he “taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes (1:21).” The people had a category for those who teach but they didn’t have a category for the depth and particularly the authority that Jesus exhibited as he taught the Scriptures. They were left full of astonishment and wonder.

When Jesus encounters the sick and demon-possessed he offers not only a prayer but miraculously and instantly brings healing.   On one occasion, a paralytic is brought before Jesus. By now the people believe they know what is coming next, but Jesus confounds them yet again.   He looks at the man lying at his feet and declares what only God is able to declare that his sins are forgiven.   When moments later he tells the man to get up and walk—and the man obeys!—Mark tells us the people were “amazed” and exclaimed, “We never saw anything like this (2:12)!”

On another occasion Jesus and his disciples are caught in a squall and moments away from the finding their boat at the bottom of the sea (4:35-41). The disciples are frustrated that Jesus has managed to sleep through the whole ordeal. They wake him up perhaps hoping he will help them bail out the boat that is quickly filling with water.   When Jesus wakes up, he addresses not the disciples but the sea: “Peace! Be still!” Mark tells us that the disciples were “filled with great fear” and asked one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him(4:41)?”

As we study the Gospel of Mark together it is my prayer that Jesus would also confound our expectations as well.   It is my prayer that we would see Jesus in a new and fresh light and that as we encounter him, we too would be full of the wonder and amazement.   Would Jesus be taken out of the boxes that we tend to put him in!

This will be a 3-month sermon series covering the first 5 chapters of Mark’s Gospel. (I will preach through another section of Mark in the winter of 2018 and then another in the winter of 2019.) As I did with our Philippians series in the fall, I will put out a commentary and discussion questions to accompany each sermon. Rather than put this in book form, this material will be posted online at this site the week leading up to the sermon.


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