Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Why did Jesus come? 1. to preach

One of the big challenges for Christians is that we claim to believe in a God we cannot see. It's not all that unusual to believe in things you can't see, but there have to be pretty good reasons. Especially if that unseen 'thing' you're talking about is meant to be personal. How can we know God? How can we know that we’re not believing in someone who isn’t there? When we’re first introduced to Jesus in Mark’s gospel he is preaching to crowds, and healing many. One day a whole town gathers to have their sick healed (1v33). But, very early on Jesus gives priority to his preaching when he says: Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came...

This is the first of three clear statements (in Mark's gospel) of intent from Jesus about why he came. Why does he give priority to preaching?

Firstly, to reveal himself to us. Jesus knows the problem we face about how it can be possible to know God. And so he comes to show God to us. He comes as a lamp (4v21) to be put on a stand to light the room. Later in the Bible Jesus is described as being the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1v15). If we want to see God we need to see Jesus. As he comes and preaches he shows himself to us.

Secondly, to declare his rule of us. The first thing Jesus says in Mark’s gospel is in 1v15, he says “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel”. All the expectation of the Old Testament has been fulfilled and now Jesus says that God’s kingdom is near. God’s rule is at hand. It’s time to respond to Jesus, turning from our rebellion to believe his good news. As he speaks to us he stakes his claim on us.

Stay listening to God's word.

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