Jesus’ Presence in the Gospel of Mark

The officers answered, ‘Never has anyone spoken like this.’   (John 7:46)

One night at dinner during my last year in college, a man introduced himself and invited me to ask him the questions I had about God. His name was Richard, and he was our chaplain. He sought me out because he’d been hearing about the questions I’d been asking during classes. Shortly after that introduction, I weekly began to visit him.

After one of our sessions, he said, “Jim, every time we get together, you ask question after question. Of all your questions, what’s the most important one?”

I thought for a few moments and said, “Who’s Jesus?”

He said, “Before I try to answer that question, I want you to read the gospel of Mark.”

I asked, “All of it?”

He said, “Yes, all 16 chapters. Come see me when you have.”

After my homework that night, I decided to read one chapter. I ended up reading the whole gospel. I did the same the next night.

As I read chapter after chapter, I wondered why I’d never heard about “this” Jesus before. The Jesus I’d heard about was soft and mild, dull and safe, tame and nice. But the Jesus I was reading about spoke with incredible power and tremendous authority.

The longer I read, the more I began to see and hear Jesus calling the disciples at the shore, teaching the crowds, holding the children, and battling the religious leaders. Jesus was powerful and tender, bursting with energy and at peace. Although I didn’t yet quite know who Jesus was, I knew I wanted Him in my life.

I didn’t wait for my standard weekly appointment with Richard. After two days of reading, I showed up at his office ready to talk about Jesus.

I encourage you to read Mark. Yes, all of it. Maybe not at one sitting, but read through it and pray to hear Jesus’ voice and to receive a glimpse of His presence.

There’s a reason why those Jesus first called dropped everything to follow Him. It was because He was the most interesting and exciting person they had ever met. May you read Mark’s gospel until you know, or until you’re reminded, of the same.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Have you ever heard God speaking while reading scripture? If so, what was the passage, and what did it mean to you? If not, when was the last time you read scripture and asked God to speak?
  1. Like me, were you taught about a Jesus who was only meek and mild, soft and cozy, and rather boring? If so, when and how did you begin to encounter the “real” Jesus?
  1. Behind all the questions you might like to ask God, which one’s the most important for you?

Leave a Reply