Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Exploring Mark

In these past couple of months, I set out to study the Gospels in a slightly different way than I have before. My goal is to know Jesus better. Jesus, the man that lived upon this earth. God in man-form.

I started with the Book of Mark and as I read, I placed myself in the context of the situation, taking on a persona of one who may have been observing first-hand. I have really enjoyed studying this way because it has made Jesus more personal to me, it has challenged me to step beyond what I have been taught by "authorities" all these years and consider Jesus from a more human perspective. This is important because, so often, Jesus' deity can leave us estranged and discouraged, even bitter. We may think, Jesus is God after all, and thus, he has an unfair advantage...he couldn't really understand what I am experiencing.  There are times when I have felt this way and it is part of why I endeavored to study the life of Jesus a little differently. I want to know Jesus personally, and know that his diety didn't skew his life in such a way that any one of us could not also live like Jesus.

I did not hold back as I went through this book. I questioned. Some of the thoughts that arose from studying the life of Jesus via the book of Mark included the following:
  • Jesus was focused, he needed solitude, he moved around, people came to him.
  • Mark 5.11-The entry seems anticlimatic - purpose? 
  • Mark 14 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation(?)-passover partying?-prophetic? What did Jesus expect, these guys were tired?
  • Mark 14:62 ...right hand of the mighty one - more figurative? 
  • Mark15:34...why have you forsaken me? How is this possible?
So, as I read and scribbled notes, I would pray about my questions and observations. Sometimes, I would be led to go deeper and research the historical context, the original interpretation, or commentaries on certain verses.

I feel that in our walk with God today, knowing Jesus is really not the priority for a lot of us who claim to be Christians. And when I say that, I say it with respect, not so much condemnation.  God draws us to Him as He wills and that is, gratefully, an individual calling - for we are individuals, not carbon-copy robots. (Nor are we meant to be!) 
For me, this exploration has helped me identify more closely with Jesus, the man. I am learning that he didn't just have all the answers to how things were going to unravel around him as he began his ministry in earnest, and how he handled his relationship with others in a consistent manner, yet individual - meeting the need of the person, not just spouting off a generic response as they interacted with him. I have also learned I have more to learn.

Next Gospel...? Well...I think I will read over Mark again.

How are you getting to know Jesus more personally?

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