Jesus of Nazareth
We begin our story with Mary Magdalene. She and two others were on their way to anoint the body of one who they had recently lost, someone they deeply cared about. Anointing spices in hand, they approached the tomb. They had been wondering who would help them roll away the stone that covered the entrance, but as they neared the tomb, they saw the stone already moved aside, and when they arrived and looked inside, they found that there was no body there to anoint. Instead, they saw a young man in a white robe, and they became quite afraid. The young man told them not to be alarmed and said, "You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here!" The women, still afraid, quickly fled. Jesus of Nazareth was not there.
King and Son
Jesus of Nazareth had been crucified, put to death by order of Pontius Pilate, the representative of Roman authority in the region. Jesus had been brought to Pilate's attention by a group of chief priests, scribes and elders, who collectively represented Jewish authority. With the help of some armed guards, and information provided by one of Jesus' close followers, who betrayed his whereabouts, they arrested him because they did not appreciate what he was doing, like healing the lame and the sick, and forgiving sins. He was doing these things on his own, and in the name of his father in heaven. The Jewish leaders felt that he was a threat to their authority; they felt that only God could heal and forgive sins, and the only way to God was through them and the temple.
Jesus knew that he would be betrayed, and that his time was near. He had been praying that these things might not come to pass just before his arrest. But he was taken and brought before a council headed by the high priest. After failing to find sufficient evidence for the desired death penalty, the high priest asked Jesus directly, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" Jesus answered in the affirmative and that was all the high priest needed. Jesus was guilty of blasphemy. He was then beaten and spit on, while the council made the decision to bring him before Pilate in order that he suffer the punishment of crucifixion.
In the presence of Pilate, Jesus was accused of many things, accusations to which he did not answer, but when Pilate asked him if he was the King of the Jews, he again gave a yes answer, and that was to be his crime. He was once again beaten and mocked. The Romans dressed him in royal colors and bowed before him, putting on him, a crown of thorns. Pilate then agreed to the wishes that Jesus be crucified. They returned to him his own garments and took him out to be executed. And so, Jesus of Nazareth was to experience the torturous fate of crucifixion.
Jesus continued to be mocked while in agony on the cross, but there was one there who had been a witness to the entire punishment, and being in his presence for that time, he began to realize who this Jesus really was. When Jesus cried out in in anguish and pain, breathing his last, it was the Roman Centurion, standing opposite the cross who said, "Truly this Man was the Son of God."
Son and Healer
Days before Jesus' arrest, a man had brought his son to him. This boy had been possessed by an unclean spirit since childhood, and when he was before Jesus, the spirit took the boy, convulsing him. The father asked Jesus to have compassion on them and to help them. He was told that anything was possible to those who believe. After the father, crying, professed his belief, Jesus rebuked the spirit and commanded it to come out of the boy, and not to enter him again. The spirit, crying out, left him, and the people thought that the boy was dead, "but Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose."
Some time later, a blind man was sitting by the side of a road, begging, when Jesus and his followers were passing. When the man learned that it was Jesus who was going by, he cried out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Some in the group told him to be quiet, but he cried out again, so Jesus asked him what he wanted, and he replied that he wished to receive his sight. He was told that his faith had made him well, and that he could go his way. So he received his sight. And he followed.
Healer and Forgiver of Sins
At an earlier time, some people had come to the house where Jesus was staying to hear his teachings and to be healed. A paralytic was brought, carried by four men. When they were unable to enter the house because of the crowd, they decided to climb, remove a part of the roof, and lower the paralytic on his mat into the room. Jesus saw the strength of their faith in this act, so he told the man on the bed that his sins were forgiven. There were some there who questioned Jesus actions, for only God was able to forgive sins. Jesus asked them if it was easier to tell the man that his sins were forgiven, or to tell him that he was healed and that he could take up his bed and walk, showing them that he did have the power to forgive sins. So he told the man to take up his bed and go home. "Immediately he arose, took up his bed, and went out in the presence of them all."
Days later Jesus came upon a man with an unclean spirit. He had been living among the tombs, crying out wildly and the local people could neither tame him nor bind him; he would just break his chains and continue in his misery. When he saw Jesus, the demon knew who he was, and had the man cry out, "What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?" Jesus commanded the demon to come out of the man, and the people were amazed when they found the man tame and untroubled.
The deeds and teachings of Jesus are many, much more than this story can cover, so we continue, moving forward, forward to the beginning.
We conclude our story with John the Baptist. He had been baptizing, in the river, all who came to him and confessed their sins. Through this baptism, their sins were forgiven, as they repented, vowing to begin a new life. Before Jesus began his ministry of teaching, healing, and forgiving, he had gone to John to be baptized. As he arose from the water he heard a voice, as from above, "You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
He is the beloved Son, the Son of the Blessed, the Son of God. And He is risen, risen to be with us always, within us and around us. He is the Christ, the anointed one, the good one. He is the Christ, and He is alive in us. He is the Christ, and we are alive in Him.
We now come to the end of our story, which is the beginning, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." He is risen.
This article expresses my own views and feelings concerning the gospel message, and is not intended to challenge any traditional views or any beliefs based on them.
All Bible passages are from the NEW KING JAMES VERION of the GOSPEL OF MARK:
- "You seek Jesus of Nazareth...." - Mark 16:6
- "...the Son of the Blessed?" - Mark 14:61
- "...the Son of God!" - Mark 15:39
- "...and he arose." - Mark 9:27
- "...Son of David...." - Mark 10:47
- "Immediately he arose...." Mark 2:12
- "...Son of the Most High God?" Mark 5:7
- "...My Beloved Son...." Mark 1:11
- "...Jesus Christ, the Son of God." Mark 1:1
© 2015 Paul K Francis