Thursday, January 29, 2015



The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  (Mark 1:1)

You may recall the TV commercial from years ago when people are conversing in public, then someone mentions their stockbroker—suddenly, there is complete silence as the name “E.F. Hutton,” is spoken.  There is another name that truly grabs that kind of attention— say the name “Jesus,” in a public venue.  Some respond to Him with indignation, some with interest—no one who knows anything about that name is neutral.  Jesus is easily the most polarizing figure in history.  No one has made such an impact on the human race as the peasant preacher from Nazareth. 

For a number of years, various members of the clergy were invited to open the meetings of our County Commissioners with prayer—and I was privileged to do so on several occasions.  I would be the last one.  Theological correctness, and not political correctness, was more important to me, so I concluded my prayer with the phrase, “In Jesus’ Name.”  That did it.  I said the magic word.  I dared to say the name, “Jesus,” and that transformed a very innocuous prayer for wisdom, direction and blessings in their deliberations into a firestorm.  You would think that someone let a skunk loose in the room.

Mark, a brash young witness in the first century, doesn’t beat around the bush either.  He doesn’t give the royal lineage that establishes Jesus as King of the Jews, as Matthew did.  He doesn’t deal with all the swirl of events leading up to and through the birth and childhood of Jesus, like Luke did.  Nor does he provide the deep doctrinal prologue that John does in presenting Jesus as God incarnate.  Mark confronts us with the name.  He dives into the Gospel presentation.  That is how the Holy Spirit directed him to write. 

Jesus—what a name!  As we hear it there may be comfort or discomfort that results.  The truth is that someday every knee will bow before Him and every tongue confess that He is Lord—even government officials who don’t want that name spoken!

Mark testifies to His SALVATION.  He is “Jesus,” and the name means Jehovah is salvation.  God’s salvation has shown up in a person—and salvation is only found in Him. 

Mark witnesses of His SOVEREIGNTY.  He is “Christ,” testifying to the reality that He is the Anointed One.  He is anointed Prophet, Priest and King, for those Old Testament leaders were anointed with oil and prefigured One who would fill each role superlatively.

Mark confronts us with His SUPREMACY.  He is “the Son of God,” not a mere man—even the greatest of men—but God in flesh.  That sets Him apart from all others.

The bad news is that we are all separated from God and sentenced to death because of our sin (Rom.3:23; 6:23a), but the good news is we can be saved by calling on the Name of Jesus (Rom.6:23b; 10:9-10).  Here is the promise: “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” (Rom.10:13)  That is good news indeed!

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