The Gospel of the Christ, The Son of the Living God

Today’s selected reading is found in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically today’s passage is found in the first chapter of this New Testament book. “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye that way of the LORD, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; and preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of hose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost” (Mark 1:1-8).

 

            “And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: and there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1:9-11).

 

            “And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him” (Mark 1:12-13).

 

            “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15).

 

            “Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets and followed him. And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him” (Mark 1:16-20).

 

            “And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thin is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee” (Mark 1:17-28).

 

            “And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered untgo them. And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils: and suffered not the devils to speak because they knew him” (Mark 1:29-34).

 

            “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place and there prayed. And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. And he said unto them, Let us go intgo the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devil” (Mark 1:35-39).

 

            “And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus moved with compassion put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will: be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; and saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter” (Mark 1:40-45).

 

            When you come to the New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark you will not only find the second narrative and account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ but you will also find this gospel account written by one who did not walk with nor follow the Lord Jesus Christ personally. As you consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will be brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the fact that this would now be the second gospel narrative which was written to recount and describe the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and that which is found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the second of four different accounts concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh there is something truly astonishing and remarkable about this gospel narrative for within it we come face to face with the second of what would be four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must needs recognize and understand that which is found in this passage of Scripture for it brings us face to face with a new and different view and perspective of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. What makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the fact that this would be the second account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ which was undertaken by one who had not walked with nor followed the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            As I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture I can’t help but consider the fact that this account was undertaken and written by someone who felt compelled to write down an account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. What makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to consider it is when you read in the New Testament book of Acts and how John Mark was not one who originally walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ. The New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark would be one that was written by a companion of the apostle Paul who had accompanied both he and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. If you turn and direct your attention to the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth chapters of the New Testament book of Acts you will find that John Mark was chosen by the apostle Paul and Barnabas to accompany them on this missionary journey ordained and appointed by the Holy Ghost. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for very little is spoken of concerning John Mark other than that he accompanied Paul and Barnabas on this first missionary journey as they would follow the voice and calling of the Holy Spirit to be separated unto Him for the work whereunto they had been called. The apostle Paul and Barnabas would be those who would not walk with the Lord Jesus personally as the apostles had done and yet this John Mark would accompany them on their journey throughout their journey throughout the surrounding region preaching and spreading the gospel.

 

            If there is one thing we must needs learn and recognize when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s how John Mark would indeed accompany Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey, however, he would not only depart from the work which was ordained and appointed unto them but he would also depart from them. This would be something absolutely crucial to recognize and understand for when you think about and consider the words and language found in the book of Acts you will find that later on when Paul and Barnabas sought to visit again the churches whereunto they had ministered Barnabas desired and sought that John Mark accompany them. That which Luke writes and records is how there was a sharp disagreement and dispute between these two men that was so fierce that they actually decided to part ways and separate. The disagreement between these two men was indeed whether or not John Mark should accompany them along their journey in the work of the ministry of the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding Barnabas wanting to bring John Mark with them—this despite the fact that he had indeed departed from them on that first journey. While Barnabas sought for John Mark to come with them along the journey the apostle Paul was unwilling to permit him to accompany them along their journey. This disagreement would not only result in the parting of ways of the apostle Paul and Barnabas but it would be Barnabas who would bring John Mark with him as they went unto Cyprus to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

            What makes me so absolutely astonished when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture is when you consider the fact that this gospel narrative would indeed be written by one who was not a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ This gospel narrative would indeed be written by one who had not personally walked with the Lord Jesus Christ and had perhaps heard of His fame from others. We know from Scripture and even from the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke that his gospel was written based on eyewitness records and accounts of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. The New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke was indeed one that was written after carefully conducting a thorough investigation into the life and ministry of this Jesus of Nazareth whom the apostle Paul and others preached. Oh I can’t help but wonder what would prompt both the beloved physician Luke as well as John Mark to undertake writing an account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover I can’t help but wonder what they sought to accomplish when writing these accounts of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ during those days. Jesus had already come in the flesh and had suffered, had been crucified, had been buried and raised from death to life on the third day and had ascended unto the right hand of the Father. Jesus had already sent the promise of the Father which was the person and presence of the Holy Spirit as He had promised and said He would. The days of John Mark and the physician Luke were indeed days of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and those who would preach concerning His life and ministry.

 

            I am absolutely convinced we must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found within these passages of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the incredible truth surrounding these two accounts and how they would be written by those who had not personally walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ. You would think that those who had personally walked with and followed the Lord Jesus would be qualified and permitted to put down in writing an account of His life and ministry. We know that the apostles Matthew and John each wrote their own gospel and account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. We also know that both of these men had personally walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only had both of these men walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ but they were also two of only five men whom we even read of Jesus personally calling and inviting them to walk with and follow Him. We know that Jesus would have called and personally invited the other seven disciples to walk with and follow Him, however, within the gospel narratives we find Jesus calling Simon and his brother Andrew at the sea of Galilee as well as James and his brother John who were by the sea of Galilee. This is something we must not miss and ignore for when we read the New Testament gospel narratives written by the apostles Matthew and John we are reading gospel accounts that were written by personal eyewitnesses who had not only witnessed and observed the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ up close but had also walked with and followed Him personally for three and a half years.

 

            The more I think about and consider this the more I am brought face to face with the awesome reality of the gospel narrative which was written by John Mark and how it was not written by one who had personally walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ during those three and a half years He walked upon the face of the earth. The gospel narrative written by John Mark was not one that was written from the vantage point of walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ but was one that was written based on hearing others talk about the Lord Jesus Christ. One question I can’t help but wonder when reading this gospel account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ is how John Mark would have come to the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We know that he would be chosen to walk with the apostle Paul as he journeyed throughout the region preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and it is quite possible that while walking with this apostle of Christ he heard a great deal concerning the Lord Jesus Christ directly from his mouth. What makes this all the more intriguing when you think about it is that the apostle Paul himself had not walked with nor had he personally followed the Lord Jesus Christ as did the others apostles. The apostle Paul had indeed received a revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus and he did indeed spend three and a half years learning from Christ before he would begin preaching the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ as we know it within the book of Acts.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in the New Testament book of Acts and how John Mark departed from the apostle Paul and Barnabas. While on the surface it might look like he departed from the work of the ministry there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if he didn’t depart from them as a means of finding and discovering the Lord Jesus Christ for himself. We know when reading the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto Philemon that Onesimus ran away from and fled from the house of Philemon his master at great risk and peril to his own life. What makes this all the more intriguing when you consider it is when you read concerning Philemon that he was indeed a believer of the Lord Jesus Christ. What would cause Onesimus who was a servant in the house of Philemon to run away from that house? What took place and what happened during those days and during that time that would have caused him to feel it was necessary to flee from the house of his master? What makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the truth that it would be while Onesimus had indeed run away from the house of his master that he would make his way unto the apostle Paul while he was in prison. We don’t know for certain whether or not he deliberately fled to make his way unto the apostle Paul or if he just happened to come across the apostle Paul while in prison. Is it possible that Onesimus fled from the house of his master in order to find the apostle Paul that he might hear directly from the apostle Paul concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ? Scripture is entirely unclear as to why Onesimus would indeed flee and run away from the house of his master and what he was seeking to accomplish as a direct result.

 

            Perhaps one of the greatest truths surrounding the gospel narrative written by John Mark is that although this was one who would depart from the apostle Paul and Barnabas while they engaged themselves in the work of the ministry he would indeed be permitted to write and pen a gospel account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus. Stop for a moment and consider the fact that there were only four gospel narratives and accounts of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ in the entire New Testament and John Mark was chosen and entrusted to be one who would write one of these four accounts. John Mark who would indeed walk with the apostle Paul and journey with him as he went along his first missionary journey would be permitted by the Holy Ghost and even by the Father and Jesus Christ Himself to pen an account of His life and ministry. Pause for a moment and consider how absolutely astonishing and incredible this truly is as it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding this one who would not personally walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ but who would be entrusted to write an account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more is this gospel account would be written by one who had accompanied the apostle Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey throughout the surrounding region preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and yet would depart from them.

 

            With all of this being said I find it absolutely incredible to read the words which are found in the New Testament book of Acts and how they describe this John Mark who did indeed depart from the apostle Paul and Barnabas while they were in the midst of the work of the ministry. Although John Mark would indeed walk with and accompany the apostle Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey he would leave and depart from them and go his own way. Perhaps that which makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the fact that Scripture does not reveal why John Mark departed from them and why he went his own way. I have to admit there is a part of me that wonders if John Mark departed from the apostle for the same reason Onesimus fled and ran away from his master’s house. Is it possible that while John Mark did indeed walk with and accompany the apostle Paul on his missionary journey throughout the region preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ he needed to encounter this Jesus for himself? Is it possible that John Mark needed his own encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ similar to that which the apostle Paul and even the other apostles had personally experienced? Is it possible that it would be during that time away from the apostle Paul John Mark would confer with a number of eyewitnesses concerning their encounters with the Lord Jesus Christ? Wouldn’t it be something to read the words found in this passage of Scripture and consider the fact that John Mark could have departed from the apostle Paul and Barnabas because he was still searching within his own heart and soul to know and understand the Lord Jesus Christ personally? Oh there is something truly captivating and telling when you think about this particular truth for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous reality of one who had walked with and accompanied the apostle Paul on one of his missionary journeys and yet chose to walk away and depart from him without scripture giving us any reason for his choosing to do so.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the awesome and tremendous reality of John Mark quite possibly departing from the apostle Paul and Barnabas in search of the Lord Jesus Christ for himself. While we might not want to think about or consider this I have to believe within my heart that something happened in the life of John Mark—first and foremost while he walked with the apostle Paul who had indeed experienced the risen and exalted Christ on the road to Damascus. There is not a doubt in my mind that when we read the words which are found in the book of Acts we are brought face to face with someone who had walked with the apostle Paul himself and had undoubtedly heard countless stories of the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more is I would dare say that John Mark might have heard the apostle Paul teach and preach concerning the Lord Jesus Christ countless times during that short time he was with him. With this being said I find it absolutely astonishing to consider the fact that John Mark would depart from the apostle Paul and Barnabas on that first missionary journey and he would end up writing one of the four gospel narratives concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. How do you go from departing from the apostle Paul and Barnabas while they were engaged in the work which the Holy Spirit had called them to do and end up writing one of the four accounts of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ?

 

            I have to admit the more I think about and consider this the more I am brought face to face with the fact that John Mark departed from the apostle Paul and Barnabas in order to do what only he himself knew. The beloved physician would write in the book of Acts concerning John Mark and how he would depart from the apostle Paul and Barnabas as they engaged in the work which the living and eternal God had called them to do. What makes this all the more intriguing when you think about it is when you consider the apostle Peter’s miraculous deliverance from prison—and not only his miraculous departure from prison but also his deliverance out of the hand of Herod. You will recall in the twelfth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts that after the apostle Peter was brought forth from the midst of the prison and led out past the city gate he would come to himself and knew of a surety that the Lord had sent his angel and delivered him out of the hand of Herod and from the expectation of the Jews. If you continue reading you will find that when the apostle Peter had considered the thing he would come to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark where many were gathered together praying. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this particular truth for there is something to be said about John Mark—and not only John Mark but also his mother as well. This passage seems to indicate that John Mark’s mother was a praying woman as she was playing host to the saints of God who were praying. Scripture is unclear whether or not her son John Mark was present during this prayer meeting but we know that the house of his mother was indeed a house of prayer.

 

            The more I think about and consider this the more I am brought face to face with the awesome reality of the house of John Mark’s mother being a house of prayer and his being deliberately and intentionally chosen by the apostle Paul and Barnabas to accompany them on the journey engaging in the work they were separated and called by the Holy Ghost to do. John. Mark was specifically chosen by the apostle Paul and Barnabas to accompany them along their missionary journey and yet somewhere during that journey he felt the need to depart from them. What we must needs recognize and understand is that there is most likely every indication that John Mark was a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ at the time the apostle Paul had chosen him to accompany them on this missionary journey. I do not for one minute believe that John Mark was not a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ for I also don’t believe the apostle Paul would have invited a non disciple to accompany them on this missionary journey. What we must also recognize and understand is that not only was John Mark chosen to accompany the apostle Paul upon this journey but he was chosen to accompany them on the first of three missionary journeys they would engage themselves in that which the Holy Ghost had spoken and separated them unto Stop and consider the fact that John Mark was chosen to accompany this apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ on the first. Missionary journey which would include his and Barnabas’ teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder how many times John Mark heard the apostle Paul teach and preach concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and whether or not hearing such words ignited a fire within his heart. Although he might undoubtedly have been a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ there might have been this deep and inward longing to learn more about the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            If I stop and consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture I find it absolutely necessary to consider how of the four gospel authors there were two who actually walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ while the other two had no such encounter and experience. Neither John Mark nor the beloved physician Luke personally walked with and followed the Lord Jesus and the gospel narrative written by Luke was such that would be based entirely and altogether on eyewitness accounts between himself and those who had personally walked with, followed and/or experienced the Lord Jesus Christ. There is something absolutely astonishing about the words which are found in the New Testament book of Acts as well as within the New Testament book of Acts for the one would describe the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ while the other one described the life and ministry of the body of the Lord Jesus Christ after the Holy Spirit would not only come upon them but also fill them. The beloved physician Luke made it absolutely clear when writing both of these accounts—both the account of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ and the works of the apostles as well as the account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ—that he had personally spoken with those who had experienced the person and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact I would invite you to consider if you will the following words which are found in the opening verses of both the first chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke as well as the book of Acts which was also written by the beloved physician Luke:

 

            “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed” (Luke 1:1-4).

 

            “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he thought the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which saith He, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the woman, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:1-14).

 

            If there is one thing we must needs recognize concerning both of these passages of Scripture it’s that both the gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as the account of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ were written based on eyewitness accounts. Oh there would be part of the book of Acts that would be written in the first person as Luke would speak of his own encounters and journeys with the apostle Paul. When he would write the gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ he would not write it based on having personally walked with the person of the Lord Jesus Christ but having spoken with countless men and women who had experienced the person and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh I can’t help but wonder how many people Luke actually spoke with who had personally encountered and experienced the Lord Jesus Christ during their time upon the earth. In order for the beloved physician to write the gospel narrative concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ how many interviews would he have to conduct in order to have enough information to put in writing the narrative of the life of the Lord Jesus Christ? What’s more is that the gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke would not begin with an adult Jesus as would the gospel narrative written by John Mark but it would begin even further back to the angelic visitation of the angel Gabriel unto Zecharias in the Temple of the Lord as he would speak unto him of the birth of John the Baptist according to the prophetic word of Isaiah and even Malachi.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the gospel narrative written by John Mark and I am brought face to face with two incredible truths. The first is that he undoubtedly penned this gospel after interviewing and speaking with countless individuals who had personally encountered the person and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. The second is that I am convinced when he departed from the apostle Paul and Barnabas during that first missionary journey he might very well have done so that he might go on his own spiritual pilgrimage. I would dare say that his departure from the work of the ministry might have actually done something within and inside him that perhaps continuing on with the apostle Paul and Barnabas might not have accomplished. Would it shock and surprise you to think about and consider the fact that it might be necessary at times within the lives of those who are the ministers of the living God to take a step away from ministry that they might not only find and rediscover the living God but might also engage themselves on their own spiritual pilgrimage? I am absolutely convinced there are countless men and women among us who might very well feel tired, burdened, weary, worn out and exhausted and one of the greatest things for them is to take a step back and go on a spiritual retreat. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder whether or not John Mark departed from the work of the ministry because he simply wanted to learn more about the person of the Lord Jesus Christ in his own way.

 

            The words which we find in the gospel narrative written by John Mark are absolutely and incredibly unique when you take the time to think about them for they call and draw our attention to the fact that this gospel narrative was written by someone who had not walked with the Lord Jesus Christ personally but had walked with one of his apostles—the apostle Paul. With this being said, however, there is something to be said about John Mark departing from walking with the apostle Paul and Barnabas while they were on this missionary journey. I firmly believe that John Mark might very well have departed from this particular endeavor that he might go on his own spiritual pilgrimage and discover the Lord Jesus Christ. There is not a doubt in my mind that there are countless men and women among us during these days who might very well need to step away from ministry and engage themselves in a spiritual pilgrimage to find and discover the Lord Jesus Christ. I say and mention find and discover the Lord Jesus Christ, however, for some it would not necessarily be about finding and discovering the Lord Jesus but about re-discovering Him. There is something to be said about those who are self aware enough to recognize that they need to step away from ministry that they might engage themselves in a quest and journey to find the Lord Jesus Christ. There are countless men and women who need to encounter and experience the Lord Jesus Christ in a new and fresh way.

 

            Upon these lines of those who might need to rediscover the beauty of the person and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ I find it absolutely incredible how John Mark begins and opens this gospel narrative. If you take the time to read the words which are found in the opening verses of this passage you will find John Mark writing the words “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Pause for a moment and consider how absolutely powerful those words truly are for they call and draw our attention to that which John. Mark understood concerning the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. John Mark was indeed writing concerning the person of the Lord Jesus and he would write of Him as being Jesus Christ who was the Son of God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for it calls and draws our attention to that which John Mark had discovered concerning Jesus of Nazareth. We know that Christ is not Jesus’ last name and that it was and still is a title that refers to Him as the Messiah and anointed one. When Scripture refers to Jesus as “Jesus Christ” it is referring to Him as Jesus who is the anointed One and the Messiah whom the ancient Hebrew prophets had spoken of. The fact that John Mark chose to begin and open his gospel narrative with the emphatic declaration that Jesus was indeed the Christ and the Son of the living God is absolutely astounding for he would begin this gospel the same way Simon called Peter would respond to the Lord Jesus when He asked the disciples who they said that He the Son of man was. Jesus would initially ask them who men said that He the Son of man was, however, He would shift gears and ask them who they said that He the Son of man was. With this being said I am convinced we must also consider the final words which are found in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by the apostle John:

 

 

            “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ” (Matthew 16:13-20).

 

            Having read of this powerful declaration which the apostle Peter would make concerning Jesus being the Christ and the Son of the living God I am absolutely convinced we must also consider the following words which are found in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John. After many of the disciples who walked with Jesus turned back and walked no more with Jesus and after many of the Jews were offended with the Lord because of the words which He spoke we find the Lord Jesus turning to His disciples and asking them if they too would depart and walk no more with Him. Pause for a moment and consider how absolutely incredible this truly is for there is something to be said about Jesus’ question to the disciples after many who had previously walked with and followed Him would turn back and walk no more with Him. The Lord Jesus Christ would turn and direct His attention to the disciples and would ask them if they too would turn their backs on Him and would walk no more with Him. It would be Simon called Peter who would speak up and who would emphatically declare that they had nowhere else to go for He alone held the words of eternal life. The Lord Jesus would watch as countless of those disciples who had walked with and followed Him turned back and walked no more with Him and how a number of the Jews were offended because he offered Himself as life and sustenance unto them. The Lord Jesus would declare unto them that unless they ate of His flesh and drank of His blood they would not have eternal and everlasting life. It would be as a direct result of the words which the Lord Jesus spoke that would cause many of these disciples to turn back and walk no more with Him. With this being said, however, we must needs recognize the words which Simon called Peter would also declare unto Him concerning His identity and his walking with and following Him:

 

            “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning whom they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father” (John 6:60-66).

 

            “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and arte sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve” (John 6:66-70).

 

            The words and language we find in this passage of Scripture must needs be recognized and understood for with them we find the second of two declarations the apostle Peter would make concerning Jesus of Nazareth. It would be in Caesarea Philippi the apostle Peter would emphatically declare that Jesus was indeed the Christ and the Son of the living God and here was are again finding him make the same declaration. When Jesus asked the twelve if they too would turn back and walk no more with Him Simon would not only profess Jesus as being the Christ but He would also profess Him as being the Son of God. This is especially significant when you consider how the gospel narrative written by John Mark opens. It is in this gospel narrative where you will find John Mark writing concerning Jesus that He was the Christ and the Son of the living God. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding this one who not only walked with the apostle Paul and accompanied him on his missionary journey but would be entrusted to write one of the gospel narratives and accounts of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. John Mark would depart from walking with and accompanying the apostle Paul and Barnabas as they would endeavor to fulfill that for which the Holy Spirit had ordained and appointed them and here we find him writing one of the four major accounts of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more is that his gospel narrative would indeed be considered one of the “Synoptic gospels” as his gospel narrative would be in direct alignment with that which the apostle Matthew and the beloved physician Luke would write.

 

            Here within this gospel we find John Mark beginning and opening with the declaration concerning Jesus of Nazareth and that He was indeed the Son of the living God and the Christ. This is something we must needs acknowledge and understand within our hearts and minds for when we come to Jesus we must needs acknowledge that He is both the Christ and the Son of the living God. In fact this is what is so incredibly important about the words which are found in the first and second chapters of the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews. It is within these two chapters where we encounter firsthand a powerful account of Jesus being the Christ and the Son of the living God. It is within these passages where we find the author emphatically declaring concerning Jesus that He was both divine and fully human. What we must needs understand concerning this is that when John Mark opened the gospel narrative which he wrote concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ he sought to bring his readers and his audience to the same reality and understanding concerning Jesus as he himself did. You do not write one of the four gospel narratives and accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus and begin it with the declaration that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God without having received personal revelation from the Father. If what the Lord Jesus said and declared unto Simon called Peter was true then for John Mark to begin and open his gospel narrative by declaring Jesus as being the Christ and the Son of the living God means that he would have had to have had a personal encounter with and received a revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ. I would dare say that John Mark not only encountered many eyewitnesses who walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ but he also had a personal encounter with the Father who would reveal unto Him the truth that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Christ and the Son of the living God.

 

            There is something incredibly unique and powerful about the words we find here in the opening passage of the gospel narrative written by John Mark. In the opening passage we find this disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ who had not walked with the Lord Jesus Christ personally but who had walked with the apostle Paul emphatically declaring that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of the living God. We must make absolutely no mistake about this when we attempt to read this gospel for as we read it we must read it through the lens of Jesus being the Christ and the Son of the living God. When you read the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you read it through the lens of Jesus being both the Son of David and the Son of Abraham. The more you read the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew the more you will find those who encountered the Lord Jesus referring to and identifying with the Lord Jesus as the Son of David as they would ask Him to have mercy upon them. When, however, you come to the gospel narrative written by John Mark you will find him beginning and opening with the declaration that Jesus was the Son of God and was indeed the Christ. In all reality this serves two purposes for on the one hand it forces those who read it to confront whether or not they believe that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God while on the other hand it calls them to read the gospel through the lens of that reality. I am perfectly convinced that as you read this New Testament gospel you must needs settle within your heart that Jesus is indeed the Christ and the Son of the living God. This reality is also seen and manifested in the other two gospels for Luke presents Jesus as the Son of God who was eternal and begotten while the apostle John presents the Lord Jesus as the Word which was made flesh and dwelt among us.

 

            The more you read the words found in this passage of Scripture the more you can and will be brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the words which John Mark wrote within this gospel. I do not believe it is any coincidence that when you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you must needs recognize and understand that what we have here is a truly powerful picture of Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God and as the Christ. I am convinced that you cannot and must not read the words found in this passage without and apart from recognizing and understanding this incredible and all important truth as it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth that each and every interaction and encounter we read within this gospel is with Jesus who was indeed the Christ as well as the Son of God. The same emphatic declaration Simon called Peter made in Caesarea Philippi and in Capernaum concerning Jesus being the Christ and the Son of the living God would be the same declaration John Mark would make and how he deliberately chose to open his gospel. Stop and consider that this was not only one of four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus but it was the second of such gospel narratives and begins with the declaration that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of God. As you truly take the time to consider this you must needs recognize and understand that this reality directly confronts your own heart and your own spirit and whether or not you believe that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God. Can you truly confess and profess that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God? Upon reading the words found in this passage of Scripture can you truly allow yourself to come face to face with the tremendous truth that Jesus is indeed the Christ and the Son of the living God?

 

            Oh the more I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the reality of the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Rome. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which the apostle Paul wrote in this epistle for in the tenth chapter he calls and draws our attention to the reality of those who make the confession with their mouth that Jesus is Lord. I am absolutely and completely convinced it is not enough to declare that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God for we must also confess that Jesus is Lord. If you with to come after, walk with and follow Jesus of Nazareth you must needs confess with your mouth that He is Lord, you must confess with your mouth that He is Christ, and you must confess with your mouth that He is the Son of God. It is with this being said I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the tenth chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome beginning with the first verse:

 

            “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (That is, to bring Christ down from above) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (That is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For. Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world” (Romans 10:1-18).

 

            It is absolutely necessary to call and draw our attention to the words which are found here for within this passage the apostle Paul emphatically declares that the gospel which he preached was such that if one made confession with their mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and believed with their heart that God raised Him up from the dead they would be saved. OH we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding that which we believe within our hearts—and not only that which we believe within our hearts but also that which we confess with our mouths. We must settle within our hearts whether or not we believe that Jesus is the Christ, that Jesus is the Son of the living God, and that Jesus is the Lord for it is out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. If you truly believe that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God within your heart than you should by very nature make such a confession and declaration from your lips and from your mouth. This is what makes the opening verses of the gospel narrative written by John Mark so incredibly unique and powerful when you take the time to think about it for within the opening verse John Mark not only settles what he personally believes concerning Jesus but also calls and draws the attention of his readers to settle within their hearts that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God. When you read the words concerning Jesus coming forth into Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God calling on men to repent and believe the gospel for the time was fulfilled and the kingdom of God was at hand we must needs read them as the words which were spoken by the Christ and the Son of the living God.

 

            When we read of Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee and calling and inviting the brothers Andrew and Simon as well as James and John to walk with and follow Him we must needs read and understand this through the lens of His being the Christ and the Son of the living God. That which would cause these two sets of brothers to leave their boats, leave their nets, leave their profession—and even the brothers James and John to leave their father—would be because of what they believed concerning Jesus of Nazareth. The narrative we find and read concerning the Lord Jesus in Capernaum and entering into the synagogue must needs be read and understood through the lens of His being the Christ and the Son of God. In fact when we read of Jesus casting out the unclean spirit from the man within the synagogue we find that spirit not only referring to Jesus as “Jesus of Nazareth” but we also find them declaring that he knew who He was which was the Holy One of God. You cannot read this narrative without and apart from coming face to face with the belief and understanding that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Christ and was in fact the Son of God. As Jesus healed Simon’s mother-in-law of the fever which plagued her body we must recognize and understand this in terms of His being the Christ and the Son of the living God. Not only this but when we read of Jesus desiring to go into the next towns that He might preach the gospel there as well we must understand that He would enter into these towns as the Christ and as the Son of the living God. When Jesus healed the man with leprosy and would that he would be clean we must needs recognize and understand that he was indeed the Christ and the Son of the living God. Oh the question I would leave you with is whether or not you do in fact believe with your heart that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God—and not only whether or not you believe this but whether or not you are willing to make such a confession with your mouth.

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