The Gospel of Mark--Who Needs Jesus?
It is quite astonishing that it only takes a little over two chapters in the Gospel of Mark for the religious and political powers to “conspire” to destroy Jesus. By Mark 3: 6 we find out that after Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, the “Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.” Clearly this “violation” of the Sabbath, as well as other actions prior to this healing, is a threat that needs a decisive response.
The authorities are threatened by Jesus. Others, however, desperately want him. Simon, Andrew, James and John—common laborers—left everything behind to join his movement Mk. 1:14-20). In the first two chapters of Mark, we find that the sick, the possessed, a leper, and a tax collector either seek him out or follow him without hesitation. When Jesus goes off to a deserted place, “everyone” is searching for him. We are also told that the “whole crowd” wants to gather around him to hear his teaching. Some guys wanted to see him so badly that they literally climbed through roof of his home (2:4).
In many ways, the response to Jesus today is the same as it was 2000 years ago. Religious leaders like myself are often the most threatened by Jesus. When Jesus challenges the church to take a stand against injustice, we often argue that to do so would be too “disruptive.” After all, what if taking such a stand causes people to leave the church? We don’t conspire to destroy him; we just ignore him. However, those oppressed by injustice find Jesus attractive. They welcome someone who challenged the status quo. This Jesus is Good News! Political and religious leaders also tend to pretend they have it all together, and therefore aren’t begging to be touched by Jesus’ healing power. The sick and possessed are desperate, and want him to give them a new lease on life.
Whatever our station in life, Jesus threatens our self-sufficiency. All too often we would just as soon try to live life relying on our own resources. In the early chapters of Mark, we find that many are willing to bring their needs to him. What about you?