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A Stark Contrast

The contrast between Mark and John could not be more pronounced.  We have worked in the gospel of Mark the first couple of Sundays in Lent.  In it, Mark indicates that Jesus is the Messiah, but only as he suffers for others (Note: the Suffering Servant passages in Isaiah).  In fact, he charges his disciples to remain mum about his identity as he goes about his ministry.


This week, we see Jesus as portrayed by John.  In the second chapter, at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus comes to Jerusalem for Passover. We learn some stuff quickly. It is the “Passover of the Jews,” so we see how the relationship between Jews and Christians has deteriorated. Jesus will be quite critical of Judaism, not at face value, but as its being practiced.


Jesus’ first act in Jerusalem? Turning Temple Worship on its head by disrupting the proceedings in the outer court. Unblemished sacrificial animals and temple currency (not defiled Roman money) are important to keep the wheels greased while maintaining ritual purity. Yet, it has become its own business. Rather than enabling people to worship God in the Temple, it has become an impediment. In no uncertain terms, Jesus reacts forcefully.


Reference is made to Jesus’ resurrection in the second chapter of John.  There is no question about who and what Jesus is as he moves through his ministry in this gospel. Yes, he will suffer and die, then be resurrected, but strictly at his own direction. Jesus is large and in charge through the entire gospel.


I’m looking forward to our drawing comparisons between Mark and John on Sunday. I believe it will help us paint a more complete picture of Jesus, as the man and as the Christ.


Our Lenten Study continues at 9:00.


See you Sunday,


Paul

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