More Than a Biography
PRAY: Humbly ask God to give you wisdom to understand this portion of the Bible and the faith to live out what He reveals to you.
READ: Mark 1:1-11
I love biographies! Specifically, I love learning about the inner workings of people’s lives and the unique way true stories impact my own life. One book that has deeply impacted me is Me, Myself, and Bob by Phil Vischer who also created, VeggieTales.
Me, Myself, and Bob chronicles Vischer’s remarkable creativity and determination to bring bible stories into every American household through. This was a daunting task during an era ruled by television shows like MTV and The Simpsons. Vischer dreamed of turning VeggieTales into a major competitor of Disney, but his ambitions were too lofty, and he was forced to sell the company. Towards the book’s end, Vischer humbly reflected:
I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity. And that was a pretty serious conviction. You can say, 'Hey kids, be more forgiving because the Bible says so,' or, 'Hey kids, be more kind because the Bible says so!' But that isn't Christianity, it's morality.
The Gospel according to Mark offers 16 chapter of the world’s most important, historical biography. While their recorded contributions are significant, not even Steve Jobs, George Washington, Julias Caesar, Buddha, Muhammad Ali or the Prophet Muhammad surpass the Son of God. Not even in the same category!
Mark is more than a biography, an inspiring memoir, a reflection on how to be a better business person, or an exercise in historical research ; it can be deemed earth-shattering news and is unequivocally “the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (1:1).
This gospel is unique in that it chronicles the dozens of healings performed by Jesus along with the forgiveness of sins. Thousands of people were being baptized in the Jordan River, but none of them experienced what Jesus did. The Son of God emerged and was met by the Holy Spirit who descended like a dove and the thundering voice of God the Father declared, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (1:11).
Can you picture that? What does that mean for Jesus, for those watching, for you?
Mark’s account of Jesus’ life is also different from the plethora of religious writings that offer spiritual self-help or even the Quran or The Book of Mormon. While they offer advice, it is not the vital truth: Jesus is the only way, truth and life capable of connecting us with God. Even VeggieTales, offers us morality, but it is the gospel alone that offers us Christ from several vantage points. It tells us, what has already happened, and the sinless life of Jesus, the Son of God, who died to earn the way to God for sinful mankind.
As we begin to study the life of Jesus together, I offer you this compelling thought from Dr. Tim Keller:
“I trust that you will find the figure of Jesus worthy of your attention: unpredictable yet reliable, gentle yet powerful, authoritative yet humble, human yet divine. I urge you to seriously consider the significance of his life in your own.”
- What message do you portray in your interactions with others, that you live “Christianly,” as Phil Vischer says, or that you have been rescued by Jesus?
- When you hear someone say “Jesus” what comes to mind?
- Do you actually believe God loves you and is 100% pleased with you? (see vs. 11) If you are in Christ then you have God’s Fatherly affection and pleasure, even if you don’t feel it. Does that reality change anything for you?
Memorize: Mark 1:10-11
This week's devotional is written by Zach Jones. Zach is an FSU student and City Church Owner apprenticing to be a college City Group Leader.