The Gospel of Mark was likely the first written record of the life and ministry of Christ; it is likely that Peter was a primary source for Mark. One thing that doesn’t always come through in English translations is just how active and vibrant the narrative is. Mark clearly wants to get across the activity and agency of Christ. Jesus was “at work.” This is not a mere “retelling.” Mark wants us to see Jesus moving and doing. Jesus is a real man who is not passively responding to things that happen to Him; He is in the driver’s seat, performing His ministry as a servant to the sick and suffering of Israel.
This is important when it comes to His death and resurrection. He is not passive, even as He is being tried by night, nailed to a cross, and buried in a grave. Jesus is the active character in it all. Ultimately this shows us what Jesus said elsewhere, “No man taketh [my life] from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father (John 10:18).” Jesus is the servant, come to heal mankind’s disease. But He comes not as a sad puppy waiting for attention before acting. Jesus is the instigator of all the events that come to pass. Including––most importantly––His redemptive work.
We’ll read Galatians at the end of the week. As you read this epistle, read it as Paul’s case for which way the vote should go at the Jerusalem Council. What was in question at the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15 was whether Gentile believers needed to be circumcised in order to become Christians. Paul clearly thought that requiring this would be tantamount to undermining the entirety of the gospel. Galatians was written very much in the midst of all the debate and lead up to the council. We can be grateful for his defense of the liberty from the law which Christ won for us, and that our salvation is in no other than Christ and Him crucified.