Make Your Mark
As we begin the new year, we encourage our Chapel Family to consider a commitment to reading their Bibles regularly. If you are not already engaged in a Bible reading plan, we might suggest starting with one of the Gospels. In the coming weeks on the Chapel blog, we'll share some thoughts on the Gospel of Mark and offer a passage to read for the week.
In archery, the phrase make your mark refers to hitting the object at which you take aim. It is a sport of focus and form, strength and precision. To the archer, there is no room for distraction, impatience, or anxiety. Ultimately, keeping one’s eye focused on the target is key to making the mark.
For the Christian, our “target,” our “focus,” our “mark” is Jesus Christ. Our aim should continually be to know Jesus and follow Him. No matter where we are in our faith – new believer or long-time Christian, that target never changes. The season of life that we are in may cause us to view Christ from different perspectives, but keeping Christ as our focus should be a shared constant of every Christian.
One of the ways that we achieve that focus is by studying the life and teachings of Christ as revealed in the Gospels: the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Each book documents distinct characteristics of Jesus, yet each does so in a different way.
Let’s continue with an archery analogy. Think of each of the Gospel writers as archers who are all aiming at the same target. The target is to help their readers come to know and follow Jesus. Though the target is the same, each one is shooting from a unique viewpoint or position. Just like an archer must select the best type of arrow and bow to hit the target under different conditions, the Gospel writers also selected the most appropriate details and accounts to illustrate their viewpoint.
Matthew wrote to the Jews. His position, “Jesus, Son of David,” established Jesus as a descendent of the Jewish royal line. He focused on Jesus’s teachings while reinforcing connections to the Old Testament. Luke wrote to the intellectually-minded Greeks, who were fascinated by the nature of humanity. Luke’s position, “Jesus, Son of Man,” reinforced the relatable human qualities of Jesus the man, while also revealing His Divinity. John also wrote to the Greeks, and his position advocated “Jesus, Son of God” and underscored the importance of believing in the Divine Savior alone for salvation.
In some ways, Mark’s Gospel is a little different. He wrote to the converted Christians in Rome, who would not have been as interested in the ancestry of Christ or any connections to the Old Testament. Set against the background of Roman rule and authority, Mark shot his arrows from the position, “Jesus, Servant of God.”
The Roman authorities enjoyed being served by those whom they ruled. In Mark’s descriptions of Jesus, he portrayed Jesus as a ruler who enjoyed serving those over whom He ruled. Mark contrasted the selfish and human desires of the Roman authorities with the selfless and godly acts of servanthood displayed by Jesus. The theme of the book is summed up well in Mark 10:45,
“For even the Son of Man
came not to be served but to serve,
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
As we study the Gospel of Mark, our target is to know Jesus and follow Him. The better we know Him, the better we can follow Him. As we focus on our Servant Savior as revealed in the Gospel of Mark, may we all make our mark and make it matter.
For this week:
FOCUS YOUR AIM: Look at the “big picture” of the Gospel of Mark. If your Bible uses subtitles, take note of them. Consider your first impressions and your questions. First impressions might include a key verse, something that stands out to you, a central theme, or your initial thoughts. Questions might be anything that you don’t understand or want to learn more about.