This year we are going to be journeying through the book, Following King Jesus by Scot McKnight and Becky Castle Miller. The book itself works through the McKnight's books King Jesus Gospel, The Blue Parakeet, One Life, and A Fellowship of Differents. The purpose of the book is to focus on following Jesus as a disciple. It can be done individually or in a group setting.
This week we are looking at what it means gospel today? The lesson had us reading the Gospel of Mark chapters 1-8. To accomplish this in our meeting time, we separated into two groups, and each read a part of the gospel. Two big points stuck out too me. The first point is that the Gospel of Mark is filled with references to Jesus as lord. More to the point, it talks about Jesus' lordship through authority. Jesus is using his authority as messiah or people are talking about his authority. I feel like reading so much of the gospel in one sitting helped me see just how much Jesus' authority is brought up. The constant topic of Jesus' authority coming up in the gospel makes sense when you realize Mark begins the gospel with, "The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God."
The second point that I think comes up is that the main message that Jesus goes around declaring is, "repent for the kingdom of God has come near." I had a hard time trying to wrap my head around the kingdom of God-language and the coming near. The Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels has helped me translate Jesus' message. The way I translate it is, "radically turn away from anything getting in the way of your full trust in God because the reign of God as king has come near." Now it is a less condensed version then Jesus' saying. However, I think the translate helps me to get away from the language that I don't use in everyday conversation. The translation also helps me to describe Jesus' primary message to people who are not familiar with church and Christianity.
Speaking to a non-christian audience is also something the lesson seeks to impart. We should be translating and molding the gospel to fit our audience. When attempting to reach out, share, and invite people to follow Jesus, I feel this is a step in the right direction. It communicates using modern words that emphasize the same meanings Jesus was seeking to communicate. Hopefully, as followers of Jesus, our churches have been sharing the same gospel message of Jesus. Even if they have not been sharing this message, it conveys the meaning behind Jesus' message so a person today can understanding it.
What are your thoughts on the central point of Jesus' message? Have you interacted with the authority of Jesus and its prevalence in the gospels? Have you been following along in our series with us? Let us know.