Mark is a great Gospel. It’s frank, brief, sharp, and edgy. It reminds you a little of a guy who has something really important to say, but not a lot of time to clarify, qualify, or dress up his words. It’s an eyewitness account of a guy who wants to shoot straight. The author seems more concerned with what is said than the way it is said, or whether or not it will offend. It makes sense that church tradition attributes the content to the Apostle Peter, who dictated this account to the younger John Mark (known as “Mark”), who wrote it down while in Rome shortly before Peter’s death.
For 8 chapters we worked our way up to the great confession in Mark 8:29, when Peter dropped the bomb about Jesus’ true identity: “You are the Christ.”
It was a great moment until Jesus (right away) began to teach about what this actually meant. The air got sucked out of that room fairly quickly when Jesus began to tell his followers about the rejection, suffering, and death that were at the heart of his mission as Messiah. And if the situation wasn’t awkward or uncomfortable enough, it certainly became so when Peter’s attempted rebuke was shot-blocked into the 5th row by Jesus’ counter-rebuke “Get behind me Satan, for you’re mind is on the things of man, not on the things of God!”
I think we can safely say that those following Jesus weren’t quite getting it yet. What follows this amazing scene in Mark 8:27-33 are a number of passages where Jesus begins to work the reality of his identity and mission into the thick skulls of those who are seeking to follow him. The gloves come off.
As you read the next 10 weeks worth of passages in Mark 8, 9, and 10 it’s as if the ticking clock counting down to Jesus’ death and resurrection begins to get louder and louder. Jesus doesn’t mince words, he doesn’t soft-peddle it, he doesn’t read the faces of those listening to him to make sure what he’s saying is making everyone’s tummies feel good. He just lets it loose.
As we dive into these 10 passages over the next couple months at LifePoint, we’ve chosen to call this portion of Mark’s Gospel “Jesus Uncensored.” These texts contain a pretty radical call to discipleship through a clear set of teachings about what it truly means to follow Christ. Join us this Sunday for Dying to Live, installment #1 in Jesus Uncensored.