In Jesus’ Words: I am willing. (Mark 1:40-45)

I am willing.  What comforting words to hear.  Whether it’s from a friend we call when our car breaks down late at night, or a big favor we ask of someone and they agree to our request, or hearing those words from a future employer willing to give us a chance, it causes us to breathe a sigh of relief.  I am willing to help you.  I remember clamoring for last-minute transportation to and from my son’s school when I was stuck at work or had to go in for an early meeting all the way across town.  For me to hear someone on the other end of the phone say, without hesitancy, I am willing, just because they care and even though it is an inconvenience to them, is priceless.  This type of willingness can’t be bought, it can only be given.

This is how Jesus is.  He is willing to come to us in our time of need, regardless of how we got ourselves into our current situation.  He opens his arms with a smile.  Even better than friends or family or co-workers, Jesus has the power to fix anything.  Sometimes he chooses immediate healing and sometimes he takes the time to work with us for a while.  But either way, Jesus is always willing.  And we have two responses: we can walk away, or we can stay.  I think I will stay and see what Jesus is willing to do.

~ Mark 1:40-45  Cleansing a leper ~

Then a man with a serious skin disease came to Jesus and, on his knees, begged Him: “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”

Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched him. “I am willing,” He told him. “Be made clean.” Immediately the disease left him, and he was healed. Then He sternly warned him and sent him away at once, telling him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go and show yourself to the priest, and offer what Moses prescribed for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”  Yet he went out and began to proclaim it widely and to spread the news, with the result that Jesus could no longer enter a town openly.  But He was out in deserted places, and they would come to Him from everywhere.

In Jesus’ Words: This is why I have come (Mark 1:21-39)

Mark continues writing his fast-paced account and concise words from Jesus.  He shows Jesus on the move with a mission.  Matthew wrote about Jesus’ compassionate sermons, parables and dinners with sinners.  Mark gives us a glimpse of the man who had a single, divine purpose for being here.  Even the demons recognized who Jesus was and why he was here.

~ Mark 1:21-28   Jesus in Capernaum ~

Jesus went into Capernaum and right away He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and began to teach.  They were astonished at His teaching because, unlike the scribes, He was teaching them as one having authority.

Just then a man with an unclean spirit was in their synagogue. He cried out, “What do You have to do with us, Jesus – Nazarene? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are – the Holy One of God!”

But Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit convulsed him, shouted with a loud voice, and came out of him. Then they were all amazed and began to argue with one another saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” His fame then spread throughout the entire vicinity of Galilee.

From there Jesus went to Peter’s house where he healed Peter’s mother-in-law.  By the evening, the whole town was at his door.  Jesus healed many, but he would not permit the demons to speak.  The demons wanted to destroy his ministry.  They knew the truth but rejected it.  And by early morning, Jesus had gone out to a deserted place to pray.  The disciples found him and said, “Everyone’s looking for you!”

~ Mark 1:38-39  Jesus in Galilee ~

And Jesus said to disciples, “Let’s go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too.  This is why I have come.”  So He went into all of Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

Everything Jesus did had a purpose and a reason.  His healing was immediate.  His confirmation of people’s faith was immediate.  He didn’t require the people do certain rituals first or show their extensive knowledge of the Torah.  Jesus came to serve mankind, to teach them about life, and ultimately lay down his life as a sacrifice.  And  Mark is telling us: Exciting things are happening fast!

In Jesus’ Words: The Gospel of Mark

Over a year ago, I started on a journey to tune out the needless noise, the constant back-and-forth of our society, the politics and debates, and go directly to the source – Jesus’ words – to see what He really has to say about all of this.  For if Jesus really is who he said he was, then his spoken words should mean everything to us and how we live our lives.

There is a book called “Five Seconds After You Die”, in which Mike Connell writes, “In the first five seconds after we die, we will know how we should have lived.”  That’s a startling thought.  Jesus talks a lot about the after-life and how we should be living now.  His advice is wise and timeless.  We get no do-overs in this life.  It is worth a few minutes of our time now to think about those five seconds later.  What if Jesus’ words are true?

In this journey of going directly to the source, I have just finished Matthew’s historical account of Jesus’ words.  Matthew was an outcast, a sinner, a deceiver and a thief.  Yet Jesus chose him, called him out of his lifestyle and he repented.  Matthew was so happy over this that he invited all of his rowdy friends to dinner at his house to meet his new friend, Jesus!  It certainly caused attention.  Matthew was also a Jew who wrote primarily to the Jewish audience to show them that Jesus was in fact the long-awaited Messiah and King of the Jews they were looking for in their prophecies.

Mark writes with a different purpose.  Where Matthew had been one of Jesus’ original disciples, Mark was a contemporary of Peter and Paul.  He wrote to a Roman audience and focused on the servanthood of Jesus.  Matthew showed us who Jesus is, Mark will show us what Jesus does.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life – a ransom for many. 
Mark 10:45

There were many different types of witnesses, many different accounts of Jesus’ life, but the message in all the gospels is always the same and remains the same today.  Jesus did not engage in political rhetoric or protests.  He did not challenge the Roman government.  He did not waste time on fruitless arguments.  He looked at each person individually, and he looked at their heart.  No one was a “less” sinner than another.  Not a single one.  All of Jesus’ words lead to one thing – repentance – and to believe in the One who can and will forgive.  It will be your five seconds.  Between you and Jesus only.  I hope you will join me as we begin to look at the words Jesus spoke to us as recorded by the Apostle Mark.