In the last four months we’ve spent a lot of time with our friend Mark and learned a great deal about this guy Jesus that has caused some of us to stop and think and question our preconceived ideas about who Jesus is. The fast pace of this book makes me want to yell “PAUSE” and remain a little longer in each section. I just want to know this Jesus and understand the life he lived.
Before Mark, we were in our series “Every Member Mission: Pursuing the Jesus Life Together” where we cast the vision for 2017 and wrestled with the question: “what is the Jesus life?” After that we came to studying together “The Jesus Life According to Mark.” There it is again, the Jesus Life. Not the VCC Life or the Western Christian Life or the Millennial Life or the Traditional Life but the Jesus life. That is what we are seeking to know, to touch, to taste, to experience, to be. And if we’re going to understand the Jesus life, we need to understand Jesus’ life, we need to know who this Jesus is. Who is Jesus?
Which brings me back to where we are today, four months into the literary genius of Mark. What have we learned so far? Like really, stop reading and think about that question. What have you learned so far about Jesus?
In Mark’s gospel Jesus has been baptized, he’s prayed (a lot), he’s eaten with some really funky folks, he’s been tempted, he’s surrounded himself with people who he can pour into and who can partner with him, he’s sent those people out, he’s exercised power over dark forces in this world, he’s taught (a lot), he’s shown deep compassion for the sick and the hurting and used his power to heal, he’s reimagined family, he’s shown tremendous calm in tempestuous storms, and…that’s just the beginning.
If this is Jesus’ life (so far) than what does that mean for our “Jesus life”? Was Jesus’ life marked by fear? By busyness? By hurriedness? By anger? By isolation? By manipulative control? By striving? By self-righteousness? By discrimination? By defensiveness? No, not at all. Jesus moves through Mark’s narrative with purpose, with patience, with love and kindness, with prayerful meditation, with deep wisdom, with immense power clothed in humility, with openness. Read through Mark and listen to the way he paints this man of Nazareth. Jesus is on a radical and revolutionary mission to overthrow the powers that rule the world without a sword or a gun or a new religion but with wisdom and love emanating from a vulnerable, humble heart. This is Jesus’ life and in Jesus the Messiah, it is our new life too.1
This Jesus life is available to us, it’s up for grabs. It is not some fancy ideal us INFP’s want to put before you; it’s real. It’s life. It’s messy flesh and blood empowered by the helper, the Spirit sent to us at Jesus’ request2. It’s the life Levi, whom the Pharisees labeled as “such scum” 3, was invited into by Jesus himself.4 It’s the life of the good soil where the seed planted produces more fruit than could ever be asked for or imagined.5 It’s a life of wisdom, vulnerability, and power to overcome darkness.6 It’s the life of being perfected in love without fear of punishment.7 It’s the life of a new creation in the new kingdom Jesus himself was ushering in.8
I want to challenge you to challenge yourself. What is the Jesus life? What is it in your context, in your community? What has Mark taught you about the Jesus life? Next time you sit down with your comGroup or you grab lunch with a friend or head to the park with a pack of kids and Jesus-loving moms, ask that question. What do you think the Jesus life is? Pause. Reflect. Remember. The Jesus life isn’t a bunch of to-do’s we must accomplish, it’s doing life with and through the only truly Human One.