Jesus is simple.
Jesus is simple to read and understand.
But this may not have been your experience. You may have heard sermons at school or church that left you confused. You may have tried to read the Bible but found yourself puzzled or bogged down.
Plenty of people have given up reading the Bible because it’s just too hard. But I reckon Jesus really is simple to read and understand once you know what questions to ask.
Take the New Testament book of Mark for example.
Mark wrote the first 8 chapters of his book to get us thinking about who Jesus is. He wrote the last 8 chapters to get us thinking about why Jesus came. So if you start reading Mark with the question, ‘who is Jesus?’ in mind, then you’ll be off to a good start.
I’ll walk you through: Grab a Bible and open it to Mark (use the contents page to find it), alternatively go here: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mark+1&version=NIV Most Bibles have the text broken up into paragraphs to help with reading. So, read the first paragraph. In Mark it’s chapter 1 verses 1-8. Read it twice as you’ll understand more the second time. Now. Who is Jesus? Mark tells us he’s the Son of God. Simple.
Next Mark tells us that a bloke called Isaiah said a long time earlier that a messenger would come and prepare the way for the Lord. What’s going on here? Well, Mark introduces us to John the Baptist – a man with a message. He must be the messenger Isaiah spoke about. John’s message is that after him comes someone more powerful than him; someone who will baptise with the Holy Spirit. Who could this be? Now read verse 9 where Jesus appears on the scene. Jesus arrives after the messenger.
So. Who is Jesus? Mark is telling us that Jesus is the Son of God (we got that from verse 1). That Jesus is the Lord (since the Lord comes after the messenger in verse 3).That Jesus is the powerful one (from verse 7), and that Jesus will baptise with the Holy Spirit (from verse 8). All that from just the first paragraph. Imagine what you might learn about Jesus from the rest of Mark’s letter.
Why not read on in Mark? You’ll meet lots of characters who are all trying to work out who Jesus is. His actions and teaching will give the clues to his identity. Even if you don’t understand something at first, read on, it will become clearer.
If you’d like to read Mark with someone, please get in touch with one of the churches here.
Richard Mason is the minister at Holy Trinity Beacon Hill