“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us…through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith... Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering… And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works...” (Hebrews 10:19-25 ESV)
This verse from Hebrews is the inspiration for creating this space. This space is a place where I can wrestle with the words of Scripture, and try to communicate my unwavering hope in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Unwavering is a very strong word. Unwavering does not reflect the way I feel every morning when I wake up and every evening when I go to bed. Unwavering does not reflect the way I feel in a room full of alpha-type personalities. Unwavering does not reflect the way I feel when the future I dreamed of seems to crumble to the ground in my opened hands. So then how can I communicate "hope without wavering" when that is not the way I feel? Only through the story of Jesus Christ can anyone find this hope.
This blog will regularly explore the simple and complex truths of Scripture. To begin 2024, I plan to weekly post a short article about a passage from Mark. I have divided the Gospel of Jesus Christ as told by Mark into 52 sections of my choosing. I will work from the beginning of the book to the end of the book, not skipping any section due to ideas I may not understand. Some of my commentaries may be long and some of them may be short, but my commitment is to weekly study, meditate, and communicate what the Holy Spirit is teaching me through the Gospel of Jesus Christ as told by Mark.
I have chosen to begin with Mark because it is the Gospel story written to a people who lived in a culture mirroring the American culture in 2024. Well more accurately stated, I am assuming the culture in America today mirrors the Roman culture from the first century. At the time Mark wrote this story, the Roman Empire dominated the known world. Rome was the epicenter of the progressivism, and it aimed at fulfilling every human desire by gaining power and using money. Just as I have very little understanding of the Jewish traditions and culture of Old Testament times, the Romans likely did not know about the law, sacrifices, prophesies, and practices of Israel, the place where Jesus' entire ministry occurred. Similar to the Western world today, Romans prized convenience and easy gratification, and Romans likely had a high tolerance for many different forms of religion and spirituality. Therefore Mark has to communicate the story of Jesus in a way which particularly engages the Roman world and the underlying beliefs and practices of their culture.
As I weekly study and write about the Gospel of Jesus as told by Mark, I will try to limit my references to Old Testament texts and Jewish traditions, while I will try to emphasize any particular Roman customs which Mark may be referencing. Naturally Mark's story paints a picture in which the first passages are intimately connected to the very last passages, and so I hope to regularly recall earlier stories and teachings in the story. Therefore I believe, the story of Mark can stand alone and fully communicate everything a new follower of Jesus would need to understand to draw near, hold fast, and stir up one another.
Draw near, hold fast, and stir up one another. These are the three commands that the writer of Hebrews gives to his authors. These are the three commands that I try to daily obey. Draw near to Christ and seek an intimate relationship with him. Hold fast to the the Gospel of Jesus Christ. "Stir up one another to love and good works" through conversations, invitations, and encouragement.
I know these short articles may be full of misunderstanding and error. I do not claim to fully understand Scripture. I simply wrestle with the only thing that I know to be completely true. I invite anyone reading this to join the conversation and share your thoughts that together we may take one step of the way of Jesus to grasp hope without wavering.