Jesus and Opposition

Cross, Gospel of Mark, Jesus, Kingdom of God

(This post is part of a blog series on the Gospel of Mark. I am sharing a few little tidbits from my own personal study of Mark over the last few months. Here is the post regarding chapter 1).

A Few Notes From Mark 2

And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 

Take note of the phrase, “When Jesus saw their faith…” Faith is always demonstrated beyond the level of thought or intent. It involves a specific action or series of actions that are often visible and observable.

Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? 

At the end of verse 8, the NRSV translates Jesus’ question as “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts?…” But I really like the way N.T. Wright translates it in his KNT (Kingdom New Testament) version: “Why do your hearts tell you to think that?” The origin of their question was not from their intellect. The question originated in their hearts and then began to take shape in their minds. Jesus accurately diagnoses that their issues with him were way beyond the cognitive level. The actual issue was resistance within their hearts.

How Does Jesus’ Death Save Me?

Christian history, Cross, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Salvation

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

At the core of the “good news” of Jesus Christ, there is this fantastic exchange where Jesus takes on our sin, and we get his righteousness.

If you have been a churchgoer for a considerable length of time, this is a teaching you have likely heard dozens, if not hundreds, if not thousands of times.

But here’s the thing. While we can believe this to be true in our minds, it’s very easy for this teaching, as profound and beautiful as it is, to stay in our heads and not penetrate the soul where it actually can transform the way we live on a moment-by-moment basis.

For one thing, to a lot of people, this whole message of salvation just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Even if a person intellectually assents to this belief and begins following Jesus, there can still be nagging questions.

“Why did Jesus have to die for me to be saved? How does his death save me?”

Many have trouble connecting the dots. And for some people, because they can’t understand what happened on the cross, it makes it harder for the beauty of Calvary to get on the inside and feel like a real thing.