As we have been working through Mark’s gospel we have been asking ourselves the question, “What amazes you about Jesus?” And I wonder if you have been surprised by your answer as you have reflected on that question. I certainly have! Because I’ve found that I have been amazed by Jesus’ boldness.
Listen to some of the ways Jesus speaks and acts with incredible boldness…
As we’ve seen in recent weeks, Jesus has no problem at all with walking up to certain individuals and simply saying, “Follow me”, expecting that they will immediately leave whoever they are with and whatever they are doing, giving up everything, to travel with him for the next few years (Mark 1:16-20; 2:13-14). A bold request!
All throughout the gospel of Mark we see Jesus’ boldness repeatedly as he comes into conflict with the Jewish religious leaders. He openly challenges them with words like:
“Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?” (2:8)
“Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do what is good or to do what is evil, to save life or to kill?” (3:4)
“Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written: These people honour Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men. Disregarding the command of God, you keep the tradition of men… You completely invalidate God’s command in order to maintain your tradition!” (7:6-9)
“Why does this generation demand a sign? I assure you: No sign will be given to this generation!” (8:12)
“Are you not deceived because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God?” (12:24)
“Beware of the scribes, who want to go around in long robes, and who want greetings in the marketplaces, the front seats in the synagogues, and the places of honour at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and say long prayers just for show. These will receive harsher punishment.” (12:38-40)
Again the high priest questioned Him, “Are You the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus, “and all of you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” (14:61-62)
What boldness in the face of those who could do him great harm, and who did do him great harm when they accused him and had him crucified!
And even to demons, powerful and evil spiritual beings, he repeatedly and boldly rebuked, saying things like “Be quiet, and come out of him!” (1:25)
Our Lord is amazing because he is bold. Bold to call people to follow him with their all. Bold to challenge and speak the truth to the Pharisees and Sadducees. Bold to battle with demons. Our Lord is amazing because he is so bold.
And how should we respond to our Lord’s boldness? Here’s 2 quick thoughts:
1. We should respond to his boldness in reverence.
Jesus is the Lord, the one we must submit our whole lives to. So when he speaks with boldness, we had better make sure that we are listening to what he says and we do something about it!
2. We can learn from and imitate his boldness.
We can imitate Jesus in being unashamed by God and his honour, whatever the personal cost might be. We can be bold like Jesus in speaking the truth of the gospel in love, encouraging each other to press on living for Jesus, and challenging those sins which dishonour Jesus, both in our lives, and the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ. We can be bold like Jesus in declaring the praises of God and proclaiming him to our anti-God world, telling our friends and family what they need to hear, so they too can turn to Jesus and be saved!