ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 270


the ministry of Jesus centers on the restoration of God’s people, announcing the forgiveness of sins and releasing people from illness and
spiritual oppression.
As the first half of Mark’s Gospel progresses, Jesus spends more time
teaching his disciples in private. It is especially important to him that
they understand who he is and what his message means. Right at the
midpoint of the book, as Jesus is about to end his ministry in Galilee
and journey south to Jerusalem, Peter finally declares, “You are the
Messiah.” But Peter and the other disciples still do not recognize what
kind of Messiah Jesus is. Jesus isn’t preparing an army to fight the
­Romans; his battle is against evil at a deeper level, and it will be won
by following the way of the cross.
From that point onward, Jesus repeatedly informs his disciples that
he will suffer, be killed, and rise from the dead. Furthermore, he teaches
them that this path of suffering and service for others will be their path
too. This is a hard adjustment of expectations for them, as evidenced
by their fleeing when Jesus is arrested. Ironically, the Roman officer in
charge of Jesus’ execution recognizes who he is from the way he dies,
exclaiming, “This man truly was the Son of God!” This officer serves as
a model for the Roman believers to whom Mark was writing.
There are some historical questions about how Mark concluded his
story. But regardless of the possible endings, the message of Jesus’
resurrection is clear: Jesus really is the Messiah, and God vindicated his
unexpected path of servanthood and sacrifice by raising him from the
dead. Knowing this should inspire the believers in Rome to fulfill their
roles in sharing the story of Jesus: “For the Good News must first be
preached to all nations.”

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