Jesus, The Son of God

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Jesus, the Son of God

Mark’s gospel opens with
Mark 1:1 HCSB
1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Those opening words of Mark’s gospel not only state the purpose behind the book, but probably the original title. However, throughout church history the book has been known by it’s author — Mark.
Let me give you some introductory remarks about the man, Mark, and then some historical background to the book, and then we’ll get into the message of Mark.
Mark, the Man
Mark was a close companion of the Apostle Peter and a cousin of Barnabas, who accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey. Mark was also known in Acts as John Mark.
Mark is the one who deserted Paul and Barnabas along the way in Perga and returned to Jerusalem. When it came time to go on the 2nd Missionary journey, Barnabas wanted Paul to take Mark, but Paul refused. This disagreement led to Paul and Barnabas separating.
Acts 12:12 HCSB
When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many had assembled and were praying.
But Mark’s earlier vacillation evidently gave way to great strength and maturity and in time he proved himself even to Paul.
Colossians 4:10 HCSB
Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, greets you, as does Mark, Barnabas’s cousin (concerning whom you have received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him),
Mark had so endeared himself again to Paul that Paul writes Timothy in
2 Timothy 4:11 HCSB
Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you, for he is useful to me in the ministry.
This is amazing reality of Christian fellowship and community. Here was an apparently heated debate between Paul and Barnabas over Mark’s desertion. At the time, Paul seemed to be right about him, but Barnabas didn’t give up on Mark. Later we see that Mark matures and becomes vital to Paul and the Gospel. Mark is then used of the Holy Spirit to write the Gospel According to Mark. We should always be willing to forgive one another as we also stand for the truth. Paul apparently did not completely write Mark off. But the Lord grew Mark.
Mark’s restoration to useful ministry may have been, in part, due to the ministry of Peter. Peter calls Mark, “my son,” in . An interesting relationship, since Peter was no stranger to failure, having denied the Lord Jesus 3 times and later been rebuked publicly by Paul. So, Paul was obviously used by God to influence young Mark and help him out of the instability of his youth and into the strength and maturity he would need for the work to which God had called him. And so — we have the book of Mark.
1 Peter 5:13 HCSB
The church in Babylon, also chosen, sends you greetings, as does Mark, my son.
The Background of Mark’s Gospel
Mark is known as one of the Synoptic Gospels. Synoptic is a word used to describe Matthew, Mark, and Luke in their similarities. However, even a cursory reading of the three gospel accounts not only reveals striking similarities, but significant differences. Modern scholars have attempted to explain these differences by addressing the so called, Synoptic Problem. Syn means “together” and optic means “seeing.” Modern scholars have assumed that there is a literary dependence between the synoptic gospels. In other words, the theory is that Mark was written first and Matthew and Luke used Mark as a source of their Gospels. And that there is a second source called Q from the German word Quelle meaning “source.” The theory is known as the Two-Source theory. The argument is that the material in Matthew and Luke that doesn’t appear in Mark must have come from this source.
However, the weight of evidence is strongly against such a theory.
The church until the 19th century believed that Matthew was written first.
Why would Matthew, an apostle and eyewitness to the events of Christ’s life, need Mark’s account, who was not an eye witness?
There is no historical or manuscript evidence that the Q document ever existed. It is purely a fabrication of modern skepticism, used to deny the verbal inspiration of the gospels.
The answer to the perceived Synoptic Problem is — no such problem exists! God inspired each Gospel writer to write independently of each other to emphasize. If you read the Gospels, it should become clear how well they harmonize and lead to a more complete and fuller picture of the person of Jesus Christ. The accounts are not contradictory, but complementary, when brought together give a fuller picture of the message conveyed in each individual gospel account.
For example, Matthew presented Jesus as the Sovereign King. Mark now presents Jesus as the Son of God who came as the Suffering Servant. The same Jesus is shown as sovereign God and servant Man. While Matthew wrote to a Jewish audience and Luke to a specific individual, Mark wrote to Gentile believers in Rome. Mark’s audience was clearly non-Jewish, as evidenced by the fact that he translates Aramaic terms throughout his gospel account, such as in
Mark 15:34 HCSB
And at three Jesus cried out with a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lemá sabachtháni? which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
Mark also provides explanations of Jewish customs like
Mark 15:42 HCSB
When it was already evening, because it was preparation day (that is, the day before the Sabbath),
Mark 14:12 HCSB
On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrifice the Passover lamb, His disciples asked Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare the Passover so You may eat it?”
He also omitted the genealogy of Jesus, which was of particular interest to Jewish readers. He calculated time according to the Roman system and used Latin expressions in place of Greek equivalents. All of these details demonstrate that Mark wrote from Rome to believers there a divinely inspired and accurate historical record of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.
His purpose is indicated in the opening statement:
Mark 1:1 HCSB
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
The theme reaches its climax halfway through his 16 chapter account in 8:29
Mark 8:29 HCSB
“But you,” He asked them again, “who do you say that I am?” Peter answered Him, “You are the Messiah!”
You are the Messiah! — You are the Christ!
So, everything preceding that confession builds up to that declaration and everything after it flows out of it and builds on it.
Let’s look at that and the message of Mark as we see first that Jesus is the Christ, that Jesus is the Christ based on His words and miracles, and finally, that Jesus is the Christ based on His death and resurrection.
Jesus is the Christ — based on His words and miracles and death and resurrection.

I. Jesus is the Christ.

Mark 8:29 HCSB
“But you,” He asked them again, “who do you say that I am?” Peter answered Him, “You are the Messiah!”
Mark 8:
“Who do you say that I am?” This is the most important question that any human being will ever answer…Who is Jesus Christ? Everybody in human history is accountable to God to answer that question. The wrong answer means hell, the right answer, heaven. Philosophers have answers, liberal theologians have answers. Skeptics have answers. Muslims have answers. Jews have answers. Atheists have answers, humanists, the religious, the common man has answers…answers, that are wrong and condemn them.
What is your answer? Who is Jesus?
Peter answers — “You are the Christ!”
What does this mean?
Mark begins his gospel account with the statement
Mark 1:1 HCSB
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
And then immediately goes to the witness of John the Baptist.
Mark 1:2–3 HCSB
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Look, I am sending My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way. A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight!
Mark 1:2 HCSB
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Look, I am sending My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way.
So, this confession of Peter declares that Jesus is the Christ and Mark extends this — Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Jesus is the Son of God, by nature, man, and by nature, God. This is the confession of Peter. But notice — This is not the result of experience, or empiricism, or human reasoning. Peter is not just connecting the obvious dots. Because in Matthew’s account Jesus immediately answers Peter.
Matthew 16:17 HCSB
And Jesus responded, “Simon son of Jonah, you are blessed because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven.
Experience, empiricism, human reasoning — only get you so far. This is the divine work, divine intervention.
1 Corinthians
1 Corinthians 12:3 HCSB
Therefore I am informing you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
So, this is the revelation from God the Father as to who Jesus is — Jesus is the Christos, the Anointed One, the Messiah, the One who came as the prophet like Moses, the Priest, and the King to reign and rule — You are the Christ.
The whole world is saying Jesus is someone else, but God reveals that Jesus is the Son of God, the Son of Man — the Christ.

II. Jesus is the Christ based on His words and miracles.

Everything leading to Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ is based on His authoritative words and miraculous deeds. Mark launches his account with the witness of John the Baptist who declares —
Mark 1:7–8 HCSB
He was preaching: “Someone more powerful than I will come after me. I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the strap of His sandals. I have baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
And so we see that Jesus is more power than John the Baptist.
Beginning in 1:21 we see Jesus drive out a demon.
He then heals Peter’s mother-in-law.
He heals the man with serious skin disease.
Heals the paralytic — But in such a way that demonstrates His the truth of His authoritative words:
Mark 2:10–11 HCSB
But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” He told the paralytic, “I tell you: get up, pick up your mat, and go home.”
He healed the man with the paralyzed hand.
He calmed the wind in the waves in chapter 4.
He drove demons out of the naked man in the tombs.
He healed the woman who suffered with bleeding and resurrected Jarius’ daughter.
He fed 5,000 and walked on water and healed all the sick who came to Him.
He cast the demon out of the Gentile woman’s daughter.
He fed 4,000 and healed a blind man so he could see everything clearly.
He taught by parables, called and commissioned His disciples, and while in Capernaum entered the synagogue and began to teach.
Mark 1:22 HCSB
They were astonished at His teaching because, unlike the scribes, He was teaching them as one having authority.
Mark 1:
Though Mark emphasized Jesus’ humanity including His emotions and human limitations, he also highlighted Jesus’ deity as the Son of God by His power over demons, over disease, over sin, and over the forces of nature.
Mark 3:11 HCSB
Whenever the unclean spirits saw Him, those possessed fell down before Him and cried out, “You are the Son of God!”
Jesus is the Christ!

III. Jesus is the Christ based on His death and resurrection.

III. Jesus is the Christ based on His death and resurrection.

Mark 8:31
In response to Peter’s confession, Jesus then began to teach them about His death and resurrection.
Mark 8:31 HCSB
Then He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, be killed, and rise after three days.
This is the first of three times that Jesus proclaims His death and resurrection. The second happen in .
Mark 9:
Mark 9:30–32 HCSB
Then they left that place and made their way through Galilee, but He did not want anyone to know it. For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill Him, and after He is killed, He will rise three days later.” But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him.
And the third is found in .
Mark 10:32-
Mark 10:32–34 HCSB
They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. They were astonished, but those who followed Him were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, He began to tell them the things that would happen to Him. “Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn Him to death. Then they will hand Him over to the Gentiles, and they will mock Him, spit on Him, flog Him, and kill Him, and He will rise after three days.”
What’s the point of all this?
This is Mark’s point in his account.
The point is found in this last proclamation.
Mark 10:45 HCSB
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life —a ransom for many.”
Jesus is the Christ — the Suffering Servant. “The Son of Man didn’t come to be served, but to give His life a ransom for many.”
Did they understand all of this?
Three times our Lord teaches them this important issue — not only who Jesus is, but why He came.
We see in chapter 9:32 that though the disciples got who He was they struggled with God’s Plan. He would be rejected, killed, and rise again. Peter takes Jesus aside and rebuke Him. Brash? Yeah. Presumptuous? Absolutely! But he seems to be encouraged by a sense of importance from the Lord’s affirmation that he received his confession from God. He has kind intentions. No question about it, but doesn’t understand the plan of God.
And this is one of the greatest illustrations of Jesus’ humanity? Peter treated Jesus like a man, pulling Him aside to rebuke Him. he treated Jesus like a man because He was a man.
Mark 8:33 HCSB
But turning around and looking at His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan, because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns, but man’s!”
Mark 8:
Has a man ever been so high and so low so fast?
Peter and the other disciples were caught in the narrowness of the present. They failed to grasp the echoes of the prophets, to see the reality of the present, and the future glories of the resurrection.
Youre not thinking about God’s concerns, but mans!”
Peter must have been crushed, don’t you think. Can you imagine?
But here’s the point. Here’s the point of Mark and here’s the point of Jesus coming. Man’s way and Satan’s way is the path to glory, blessing, and power without suffering. God’s way to glory, blessing, and power is only suffering — always suffering.
Not only was it proof that Jesus is the Christ through His authoritative words and miraculous deeds, but also through His substitutionary death and victorious resurrection.
Peter learned the fullness of this lesson of God’s plan, not only for the Savior, but also for His disciples.
1 Peter 2:21–23 HCSB
For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps. He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth; when He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He was suffering, He did not threaten but entrusted Himself to the One who judges justly.
1 Peter 2:21
Not only did Peter understand the purpose of the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God as the substitutionary death and victorious resurrection. This was not only monumental for Peter and the other disciples, as Peter failed miserably — but also Mark, who also failed. Peter needed to be confirmed, strengthened, established, and perfected. It was through suffering that would come. Mark experienced the same.
And what about you today?
You question God’s plan in your life? Have you considered that you may not understand God’s plan in your life, because you have never really understood God’s plan concerning Jesus Christ, the Son of God who must come, be rejected, die — and resurrect!
Mark’s gospel account reveals the true Jesus, the Son of God.
Let’s Pray.
Father in heaven, we’re here to worship you, because this is the glory of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Confirm this to our hearts we pray, in Christ’s name. Amen.
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