Introducing The Cross & The Crown: Getting to know the Real Jesus

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John Mark was a missionary traveling companion with the Apostle Paul, and later functioned as the Apostle Peter’s secretary, so he had a front row seat to learn about the life and teaching of Jesus Christ and went on to write ‘the gospel according to Mark.’

Mark’s biography of Jesus is action packed. When you read this particular gospel account, you quickly lose track how many times the word immediately pops up. “Immediately the Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness” (1:12). “Immediately they left their nets” (1:18). “Immediately he called them” (1:20). “Immediately the leprosy left him” (1:42). Immediately appears 36x in the whole gospel. When we look at Jesus’ life through this lens, there is a distinct movement. Jesus arrives on the scene, proclaiming “the kingdom of God is at hand.” We see the Crown, but Jesus’ life goes to the Cross. The movement in Jesus’ life, which ultimately ends with his exaltation, goes to the cross.

So what does this mean for us, as his followers?

As we see Jesus go from place to place, we are confronted with not-so-subtle demands on our life.

  • “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people” (1:17, CSB).

  • “They were astonished at his teaching” (1:22, CSB).

  • Immediately he got up, took the mat, and went out from everyone. As a result, they were all astounded, and gave glory to God, saying, ‘we have never seen anything like this!’” (2:12, CSB)

You can easily keep going. But the picture Mark gives us is clear: Jesus is our King. He calls us to follow him, to count the cost, to pick up the cross. We must surrender and let his rule govern and shape our lives. The whole gospel account goes on to clearly describe, in getting to know the real Jesus, what it means for us to be his disciples.

This coming summer we are going to look at the gospel of Mark, focusing on 16 very specific moments to show us both who Jesus is and what that means for our life.