The Gospel of Me

In the Gospel of Mark, there is a pretty large cast of characters who appear in the story during the last week of Jesus’ life.  Yesterday at CrossWay we zoomed in on a passage that features two different groups: a centurion and his fellow Roman soldiers, and a group of women who followed Jesus to Jerusalem from their homes up north.

In both of their stories, we see a contrast between their simple, Christ-centered faith and the self-centered religiosity that Jesus’ mockers–and many of us–slip into.

It’s natural to perceive everything through the lens of how it affects us.  If it benefits us, it’s good; if it’s detrimental to us, it’s bad; if it doesn’t affect us either way, it’s irrelevant.  This view puts us at the center of the universe with everything else revolving around us.  That’s the Gospel of Me.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, however, has Jesus at its core.  Everything in creation revolves around Him.  (That’s why His pronouns get capitalized!)  We see in Mark 15:37-41 how the centurion and the women demonstrated this.

When the centurion saw how Jesus died, he declared: “Surely this man was the Son of God!”  Many times we let our faith be undermined by something bad happening.  If we get hurt, we ask: Where was God?  How did He let this happen?  Yet this Roman soldier had a simple understanding that God can die and still be God.  (And he didn’t even know anything yet about the resurrection!)  The other day I read a great sermon that offers insight into this reality.  It’s by Dr. J.A.T. Robinson, from the introduction to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book Letters and Papers from Prison.  He talks about how Jesus could have avoided the cross, but He was after a bigger purpose than pain avoidance.  Dr. Robinson says of the cross of Christ: “It was here that love as the clue to everything was to be sought–not ‘out there’ failing to prevent the evil, but in the midst of it, triumphing over it.”  On the cross, Jesus leapt right into the center of evil itself and whupped it.  When things are at their worst and we’re in our greatest pain, it could be then that God is up to His greatest good in our lives.

Then there’s the group of women.  The Bible makes a startling, remarkable statement about them: “these women had followed him (Jesus) and cared for his needs” (Mark 15:41).  How many of us can say that?  I’ve noticed in myself and many others that we tend to be like most of the crowd in New Testament times: they followed Jesus so that He could meet their needs, not the other way around.  These women, on the other hand, were motivated by love for Christ to follow Him and care for His needs.  Jesus is no longer in human flesh on the earth, so He no longer has any needs, but we can still be of use to Him.  Is that one of our primary reasons for following Him?

The Gospel of Me, or the Gospel of God.  Which one are you embracing?

Published in: on April 6, 2009 at 10:22 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Nathan,

    I say that I am into the Gospel of God! I say this based on the very fact that when my life takes a wild turn (which it seems to do a lot of!), I thank Jesus. Out of every bad event (And I know a lot of these events!), good stuff seems to happen.

    And this is all because Jesus is on my side and I know that.

    Events: In the past 1 month I wrecked a car; actually it was so old that the insurance company just totaled it. So with a lot of the money I got for it, I was able to pay off some dumb credit card bills. Jesus was there!

    Then on April 16th, my used, but new for me car got hit and once again, totaled. With the money I will be receiving from them, I will once again be able to pay off some dumb bills and buy yet another car.

    I was not physically injured in either accident.

    This is the Gospel of God at work!

    Jesus knows I am indeed trying hard to clean up my debt record and He is helping me in His way.


  2. That’s cool, Judy. But, um… debt consolidation might be a safer approach. : )

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