By Retired Pastor Harold P. Martin
How do we know Jesus? It is a question considered in every age. It is a struggle to understand. And, it remains a mystery for us to expand.
When we think to ourselves that all I need is my Bible to know Jesus, and then stop thinking, we deprive ourselves of rich dimensions of satisfaction in our soul. We cannot study and know the greatness of God’s word in the Bible without commentaries. The Holy Spirit participates with us in the reading and hearing of the scripture. The scripture comes to us through centuries of faithful filtering and applying the meaning to life. Our lives are deepened and enriched by all our ancestors who have traveled the sacred journeys. My own mind and culture interprets scripture for me in my day. My mind is my commentary.
Knowing Jesus in a variety of images begins in the Bible itself. And we are thankful. Each of the four Gospels sees Jesus through a different culture and view of “Who He Is.” The Apostle Paul and the book of Hebrews understand Him in unique ways, peculiar to themselves. To understand those views we study and go back to see Him as they saw him.
Mark’s Gospel is the simplest, most direct, and shortest of the four Gospels. Mark’s Gospel says bluntly “Here He Is.” At the Baptism and Transfiguration we read, “this is my Beloved Son” (Mark 1:9, and 9:7). It was a dream that the Messiah would come on the clouds of heaven. This message echoes in Mark’s Gospel from above. There is wonderful mystery about it all. Jesus kept it quiet. He often told people whom He had healed “go and tell no one.” Mark puts a heavy emphasis on suffering and the cross for Jesus as a man. He knows our life and participates in our culture, today.
Mark does not include a Christmas story. Yet he knows Easter and the resurrection as the heart of his gospel message. We look at Jesus through the mental and spiritual filters of Lent and Easter in the history of the Church. Mark helps us see the humanity of Jesus through Mark’s own personal experiences. Jesus was born and He died. It is important that we keep on asking “who is He?” Who knows Him?