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Learning From the Perfect Servant: Mark

The waterfall reflects the continual work of God's perfect Servant, Jesus Christ.
Photo Credit: Sarah Joyce

June 28, 2023

Praying Partners,

Thank you for praying each Wednesday for our prodigals and for revival. Prayer is one of the greatest acts of service that believers can participate in.

The Gospel of Mark is one that presents Jesus as the perfect Servant. It is considered by many scholars to be the first written and was used by Matthew and Luke for reference. The testimony of the early church is that Mark was a close associate of the Apostle Peter and therefore received a lot of information through him.

Mark is most likely the same person as the one later referenced as John Mark. John (from the Hebrew), also called Mark (from the Latin), is referenced in 10 other places in the New Testament. If this was the case, he was a Jewish man who lived in Jerusalem, his mother was Mary, and their home was an early Christian meeting place (Acts 12:12).

For some unknown reason, Mark deserted Paul and returned home while on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:13). After this, Paul refused to take Mark on his second journey and there was a sharp disagreement between Paul and Barnabas who was a cousin to Mark. As a result they split into 2 groups, going their separate ways (Acts 15:36-41). Later, he went to Rome and was helpful to Paul in his imprisonment (Colossians 4:10).

Possibly, his home was where Jesus and His disciples ate the last Passover (Mark 12:12-16). Also, it is believed that Mark was likely the “young man” who fled the garden of Gethsemane naked after Jesus’ arrest (Mark 14:51-52).

One of the unique characteristics of this gospel is that the emphasis is on the deeds of Jesus over His doctrine. Mark recorded 18 of His miracles, but only 1 major discourse and 4 parables.

A term that is often repeated (20 times) is the Greek word “eutheos” meaning “immediately, at once, as soon as and without delay.” This reminds us that Jesus was the ready Servant. He was ready to do the will of His God.

The words of Life Application Study Notes are good, “Action—moving, doing, helping, getting going, making things happen. Some people think, some talk, but a few get involved, not content to observe from the sidelines. They get into the game—they get into life! This is the picture of Jesus that Mark presents in this Gospel.” Jesus was the active Servant.

Having shared that, Christian service is much more than just action. True service that glorifies God flows from a life that is motivated by God’s love.

Jesus was the devoted Servant whose service flowed from the reality that He was loved. He heard this explicitly at His baptism, “And a voice came from heaven ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased’” (Mark 1:11).

“There is a freshness and vigor about Mark that grips the Christian reader, and makes him long to serve somewhat after the example of his blessed Lord” (August Van Ryn).

The service, the mighty deeds, of Jesus proved that His mission was from God and was for the blessing of the needy. He did what He did for the good of others. Whether it was casting out demons, giving mobility to a paralytic, curing a man’s withered hand, calming the storm, feeding the multitude, stopping the bleeding of a hemorrhaging woman, bringing back life, or providing hearing to the deaf or sight to the blind, they were all actions that enhanced the lives of the vulnerable. He was the caring Servant.

The central theme of Mark’s Gospel comes out during the conversation Jesus had with His disciples over the nature of true greatness. James and John were requesting special sitting rights in the coming kingdom and Jesus reminded them that true greatness is found in being a servant of all.

He then said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Service is not meant to be done from the mere leftovers of one's resources, but rather from our fullness with the willingness to give all. Jesus paid the ultimate price in giving His life and also giving us an example of what true service means. Jesus was the sacrificial Servant.

In closing, the second last verse of Mark’s Gospel reminds us of the present place and work of God’s servant, “The Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).

Some jobs can be done from a standing, moving position, while others can be done from a seated position. Jesus is seated at His Father’s right hand. His service on earth completed, and His service in heaven continues. He is there in His Father’s presence for us. Jesus is the present available Servant of God’s people. How beautiful to enjoy and avail ourselves of the One who lives for us in that holy place. He is our present connection with our God.

Love in Christ,

Bryan and Rachel


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