On Sunday we come to a “Y” in the road in our journey studying, reading, and praying through the gospel of Mark. We come to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem or for us a revisiting of Palm Sunday. In the gospel of Mark, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is a point that challenges the disciples and followers of Jesus as to which direction they are going to go in following Jesus. Are they going to continue to follow Him and the way of the Lord? Or are they going to follow the way of society? Those challenges are the same challenges we are faced with today. Life circumstances regarding government or health care or work or racism, etcetera, confront us today as it confronted the early followers of Jesus in the first century. The issues manifest themselves differently; however, they are the same issues. Which direction are we going to go? Are we going to follow Jesus and His teaching, healing, casting out of demons, and forgiveness of sin or are we going to follow the way of the world?
As Jesus enters into Jerusalem like the disciples we too are challenged in our CONFESSION … in our DECLARATION … in our LIVING IN THE WAY OF JESUS CHRIST. The disciples’ confessional challenge came at a time when the gospel of Mark was written. According to some scholars Mark is written for the Christian community in Rome. This community was either experiencing the persecution of Nero, 64-68 AD or was caught up in the apocalyptic fervor occasioned by the Jewish war when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD. For us today regardless of the dating of when Mark was written, it was written for the people of God in the midst of following Jesus Christ in a world that is hostile to their faith … to their discipleship.
Over a decade ago I was introduced to The Voice of Martyrs (https://www.persecution.com). The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) is a nonprofit, interdenominational missions organization that serves persecuted Christians around the world. Founded in 1967 by Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, VOM is dedicated to inspiring believers to deepen their commitment to Christ and to fulfill His Great Commission — no matter the cost. I periodically view the web site as a reminder that we have followers of Jesus who are being persecuted. We ourselves are persecuted from time to time in ways that we may not realize as it is a “soft” persecution because of our following the way of the Lord. I mention this for our prayerful awareness. To follow the way of the Lord. To follow Jesus Christ has a cost. A cost that we are confronted with on a regular basis. A cost that we will observe in chapters 11-16 of Mark’s gospel.
Today we enter Jerusalem with Jesus Christ. In entering Jerusalem I ask you to take time and read through or listen to the entire gospel of Mark. Whether it is through your reading, hearing, or the sermon we have been and still are immersed in the challenge of our CONFESSION … our DECLARATION … our LIVING IN THE WAY OF JESUS CHRIST. Our confession, declaration, living in the way of Jesus Christ is as challenged today by life’s circumstances as it was for the followers of Jesus in the first century.
What we discover in the challenge of the day is not only who Jesus Christ is as God incarnate, but who we are as followers. Who are we as followers of Jesus Christ?
Yours in Christ,