Such observations, however, seem to be backed up by other parts of the
Bible, specifically the "living creatures" that are seen in visions by
people hundreds of years apart. Hundreds of years before Jesus, Ezekiel
saw a vision of living creatures:
Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a man, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle. (Ezekiel 1:10)
About 60 years after crucifixion, Apostle John was exiled to the island of Patmos, and there he saw a vision of four living creatures similar to Ezekiel's:
Biblical scholars have studied these living creatures for centuries, especially their facial appearances.
Lion - Jesus as the Messiah, the King of Kings (Matthew)
Ox - Jesus as the servant (Mark)
Man - Jesus as a human (Luke)
Eagle - Jesus as God (John)
1. Why do you think it takes four books to fully describe Jesus?
2. Do you see the appearance of the "living creatures" and the different emphases of the Gospels as coincidental? If not, then what does this tell you about the Gospels?
3. The emphases of Matthew and Mark seem to be contradictory at first. What does this tell you about the Christian definition of leadership?
4. What does the humanity of Jesus tell us about ourselves? When was Jesus a human?
5. The emphases of Luke and John may seem to be miles apart. What does this tell you about our potential?
* demands obedience, forces people to do things * earns obedience
* gets resources from people * gives his life for us
* looks glorious * humble, even though he is powerful
* claims authority for himself * gets authority from God, the final authority
What the Jews envision in their "Messiah:"
* powerful prince leading a military force to drive out the Romans
* establish the old kingdom of David
* enforcer of their old laws, leading people back to the days of Moses
==> salvation from oppression, glory in their nation state
What Jesus was:
* humble savior to save them from spiritual oppression, death
* teacher of the heavenly system of morality
* fulfillment of the symbolisms in their old law, the Torah
==> salvation from spiritual void, introduction of a new era where law is truly fulfilled, not just covering up sins
Some Jews were disappointed in Jesus when he was crucified. Some of his disciples (e.g., Judas the Zealot) were possibly politically active. The Palm Sunday was like a welcome for a king. Yet this King of kings came to die for the people, not to overthrow the government.
What did Jesus do in Mark?
1. performing services, including healing (physical & emotional), casting out demons, and blessing
* these services show the loving care of God and help demonstrate the power of God so people would want to know more about God
* these services are not the "ends" of a Christian ministry, but "means" to people's spiritual growth - we need to focus on God, not demonstrations of God's power
2. teaching the gospel
* teaching is an important part of servanthood - it gets people to grow spiritually and to follow God, which is the real purpose of a servant of God
* the greatest commandment (12:28-33)
* the last words in Mark (16:15-18) - a to-do list for Christians
3. obeying the plan of God the Father - accepted the crucifixion
* he defended his identity before the high priest, but did not argue about the false accusations (our sins) before Pilate
* Teachings and miracles complement each other - teachings add substance and more value to miracles and miracles help authenticate teachings
Key concepts - try to see in Jesus' perspective:
* To serve: to explore the needs of others and meeting them - could be very frustrating, demanded lots of patience, had to see all the filth and sin first hand
* To sacrifice: to temporarily give us his "sinless" state and endure what is intolerable for God - crucifixion is not just painful to Jesus; it forced him to experience "sin" - something that could not be possible for Him as God, to be separate from God the Father (15:34)
to serve to use, to control
based on love based on desire to dominate and use
for the Kingdom for oneself
with God's power & authority with one's own (fake it if needed)
Compare & Contrast
Matthew & Mark focus on the two characteristics of God: kingship & servanthood
For us, they are opposite, but for God, authority and leadership leads to service - can we understand why?
1. love and concern - how much of these should we have? how can we get enough?
2. God gives us authority for us to serve others (16:17) - "in my name" = claim the authority I have for yourself in your services to others
3. God could have used His authority on us without serving us, but He chose to serve
humility - what's more humble than a great man serving the least (e.g., Moses)? Mark demonstrates Jesus' humility and wants us to do the same
Mark is the best book for a new believer to read
Last updated: 2/10/2000