The Power and Wisdom of God are revealed in Christ Crucified, not in great miraculous displays or the exercise of political might.
We assume people are drawn to the biblical faith by displays of supernatural power, eloquent speech, ministerial success, and so on. Did not Jesus win the crowds by performing miracles? In fact, most of his contemporaries failed to recognize who he was despite his healing the sick, exorcising demons, and even calming a horrific storm with only a verbal command.
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Jesus is the “slain Lamb,” the true Messiah of Israel sent by God to redeem humanity and “shepherd” the nations.
The Book of Revelation is addressed to the “churches of Asia” and begins with salutations from God, the “seven spirits that are before His throne,” and especially from Jesus Christ, the “faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.” These labels not only establish his royal “credentials,” but point to how he obtained sovereignty over the earth.
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Jesus is the Messiah, the anointed Son of God. From the start, his life was characterized by the empowering presence of the Spirit – Matthew 1:20.
In Matthew, an angel informed Joseph that the child carried by Mary was “conceived of the Holy Spirit.” This indicated more than just the miraculous birth of the child or the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. From start to finish, the activity of the life-giving Spirit characterized the life and ministry of Jesus. He was “Jesus, who is called Christ,” the long-awaited Messiah.
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After Jesus healed the blind man, for a fleeting moment, the eyes of Peter were opened to “see” just who he was – Mark 8:27-38.
Jesus queried his disciples while he was “on the way” to Jerusalem: Who do men say that I am? At least nine times Mark declares that Jesus is “on the way.” His march to Jerusalem and his inevitable death was in fulfillment of Joh’s proclamation from the words of Isaiah: “I send my messenger before your face who shall prepare your way.”
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In Mark’s gospel, only at his death did a Roman centurion who was present at his execution recognize who Jesus was – Mark 10:45.
In Mark, all men prove incapable of recognizing who Jesus is, even his closest disciples. The only exceptions are John the Baptist and the Roman centurion at Golgotha, the very man in charge of the execution squad. Mark has threaded this theme throughout his gospel to make the point – The Messiah cannot be understood apart from his death on a Roman cross.
Continue reading RECOGNIZING JESUS – CALVARY
In the gospel of Mark, Israel’s Messiah, the Son of Man, is revealed in his death on a Roman Cross.
In Mark, men and women are unable to recognize Jesus as the Messiah until AFTER his crucifixion, and paradoxically, following his death, he is declared the “Son of God” by the unlikeliest person, the Roman centurion on duty at his execution. And in this gospel account, his self-identification as the suffering “Son of Man” caused many to misunderstand and even reject him.
Continue reading SUFFERING SON OF MAN