The Gospel of Mark is a “no holds barred” sort of Gospel. Its matter-of-fact presentation of Jesus’s actions confront all of our preconceived notions as to what the promised Messiah is supposed to come and do and say. Whereas many fancied the Messiah sauntering into Rome on horseback with sword drawn, instead, he is sitting and dining with outcasts and sinners. Jesus continues his trend towards unexpectedness in Mark 4, as he relays the hallmark parable in all of his teachings.
I may seem like nothing but an already crotchety almost-thirty-something who has resigned himself to the “armchair analysis” stage of athletic participation. And while that holds more than a modicum of truth (a ruptured ACL and chronic back issues will do that), I also contend that the advent of the fitness culture is, indeed, a religious movement, and is, therefore, worthy of theological assessment.
There is a stunning verse in Matthew 10 in which Christ declares that he didn’t come to bring peace, “but a sword.” This, of course, is one of Jesus’s sayings that doesn’t fit the modern narrative most have for the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It’s a statement from Jesus that is brought to light in Mark 3, in which we find a stark contrast between Jesus’s enemies and friends — and what constitutes his family.
In this edition of the Ministry Minded Podcast, I sit down with Cameron Wood, one of the brothers and founding members of the Christian indie-rock band, Seeker & Servant. We cover a lot of ground in this conversation, with topics ranging from the mass-marketed Christian music scene to living as sojourners with Christ in the world.
Call me a sucker for the ’80s and I’d probably agree with you. Give me a smooth pop song stuffed with synth and I’ll be happy, especially if Phil Collins or Steve Perry busts out the vocals. I know this isn’t a nostalgia thing because I was born in 1990. Ergo, all of my knowledge of ’80s society is derived from the nostalgia-laden entertainment of those looking back on the decade with rose-colored glasses. Such is why I think I have been won over by Netflix’s flagship original series, Stranger Things.
The opening verses of Ephesians 2 are among the most significant in all the pages of Scripture. In a mere ten verses, the apostle Paul upends nearly every presupposed notion about religion, the church, and the believer’s life in Christ. In this text, the Spirit of God, through the pen of a stubborn apostle, single-handedly dismantles any and all preconceived notions about how the Christian life is supposed to work.
Around the age of nineteen, Jonathan Edwards, perhaps the greatest American theologian who has ever lived began recording what would eventually amount to seventy resolutions that would go on to define the rest of his ministerial career. Though I will never equate the theological prowess or eloquence Edwards displays throughout his evangelistic life, I am, nonetheless, determined to resolve myself to the Lord’s Spirit and grace for the duration of my ministry.
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It serves as King David’s magnum opus as he eloquently describes the incredible refuge God’s Word is for him. It isn’t certain what occasion in David’s life inspired these words, but whatever it was it must have been a truly terrifying circumstance to galvanize the kind of resolve on display here to trust in God’s Word alone. But the ending of Psalm 119 is the most telling, the most intriguing part as this glorious psalm seemingly ends with a fizzle.
There’s a fascinating scene that appears at the end of Matthew 19, in which Peter, speaking on behalf of the rest of the apostles, makes the same self-righteous claim that the “rich young ruler” made to Jesus’s face only a few moments prior. It’s this erroneous assertion by Christ’s disciples that leads him to tell, perhaps, the most intriguing and unsettling parable of the kingdom in all of Scripture.
One of the more intriguing sayings of Jesus which is recorded in each of the Synoptic Gospels is his comparison of the disciples of God to the “salt of the earth.” Found in Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:49–50; and Luke 14:34–35, one can read a similarly repeated axiom of the Lord Jesus. Yet, when one considers the contextual surroundings in each instance, a different hue is cast upon this illustrious saying.