Mark writes a fast-tempoed, action-oriented Gospel of Jesus Christ. In it, everything happens “immediately” (Mark 1:10, 12, 18, 20, 21, 23, 29, 30, 42; and that’s just chapter one).
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” ~Mark 1:9-11
The pace of Mark’s Gospel creates an urgency, not of action, but of choice. Jesus calls his disciples and says, “‘Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him” (Mark 1:17-18). Jesus healed many, cast out demons, and preached in the synagogues, and in no time at all, “people were coming to him from every quarter” (Mark 1:45). No good deed goes unpunished, however, and immediately the religious leaders put their own spin on Jesus, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons” (Mark 3:22). They did not like Jesus.
God’s command, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” was a favorite of the Pharisees; “On it you shall not do any work” (Exodus 20:8, 10). The Pharisees listed 39 categories of work, no cooking, no washing, no harvesting, etc.; then added one for Jesus, “No healing.” There were six other days to heal, so Jesus could easily avoid conflict, but Jesus always demands a choice. It was the Sabbath and he immediately found a man with a withered hand. “Come here,” he said, and brought the man in front of the Pharisees. “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” Are you for me or against me? But they were silent (Mark 3:3-4). They made a choice, because silence is choosing. They were against him, and “the Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him” (Mark 3:6).
Jesus begins in Galilee “proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” ~Mark 1:14-15
Time to choose.
God, the desire of my heart is to follow You, to reflect You in all that I do, and to declare You in what I say. I will not be silent, or silenced by others, but I will stand for You and declare the wonders of knowing You and living in Your creation.
Your Law teaches me to love You and care for others. May my actions speak as loud as my words, but may that not stand alone. I serve in Your Name, but no one will know that unless I tell them. Strengthen me, God. Keep my heart soft and gentle, but bold.