I'm stuck on the Crucifixion.
I've read Mark 15 for days.
At first it was intentional - I didn't want to breeze over the most pivotal choice both man kind and God ever made. And then I was sucked in. I have so many questions.
Why does Mark kind of gloss over it? Why is there no grief? Is it because he knows what happens next? Is it because his mentor has just faced a similar fate? Is it because there's a sting that Jesus rose and Peter does not?
I tried to read it without thinking about the next chapter. I tried to read it like someone who doesn't know the story. In Mark, the telling of the murder of Christ is brief. It's kind of has the feel of, "let's get through this bit so we can move on to the rest of the story." He kind of glosses over the unpleasantries.
In my mind, I picture myself reading this for the first time - I picture myself seeing the scene in my head. If I was still myself, but myself without God, reading this story would send me over the edge.
I have anticipation issues. I always want to know what comes next and I get a bit of anxiety if the next step remains undecided for too long.
When I read books, I need to know. I've stayed up all night and into the next morning to finish a book because I need to know.
So, if I were me, but not me, I would have gobbled up this chapter and careened right into the next. "What?! Mary and this guy's mom saw where he was buried? Why does that even matter? Oh my gosh. This is going to be a late night."
I wonder if that is how Mark felt. I wonder if he was so excited to get on to the next part, the hope part, that he kind of saw the back story as a means to an end. That sounds harsh, which of course is not what I want. I think you get my meaning.
Part of me understands that. You need history to have present, to have future. And so much of the time I am so ready for what is next I forget to remember that what was before is just as important. We repeat history when we forget it. I repeat history when I forget it. When I forget what God has done, when I forget how far I've come.
But then, another part of me wonders...Was Mark trying to avoid the grisly stuff? You have to have it in there so the story makes sense, but it's so concise. This life altering, world changing, history making, future forming event is written more like a timeline and less like a story.
This part of me understands too though. How often do we cover up the ugly? How often do we hide the sad and the desperate and the lonely? How many times have we held in our struggle?
I wonder about Mark. He couldn't have been much older or younger than me. This young man penned an account that is in THE book. You know? This young guy wrote down some one else's story, and it is in the very pages that guide us today. I'd love to ask him what he was thinking. I want to know if that is just the way he writes, if that is just part of his personality.
Maybe though, he was a trooper. Maybe he wasn't hiding his grief (his mentor had just died after all. That's got to be pretty heart breaking). Maybe he felt led to write this account of Jesus' life. What if he felt led to do it, but he was still sorrowing over the loss of his friend? What if he didn't simply say, "Lord, I can't. It's too much." If he was anything like me, he would have thought and prayed and argued a little, and then, he would have given a brief, "Ok, Lord. I'm in."
Perhaps Mark doesn't skim through the torture of Jesus for any reason other than he was called to use his gift in a time of pain and grief and sadness. And he answered that call by submitting to God and doing the best job that he could. Despite how he felt.
And it's in the Bible. His book is in the Word of God.
I think that God doesn't always call us to excellence (of course He wants us to be excellent - what Dad wouldn't?). I think that He calls us to submission. And I think from that obedience come things beyond what we can imagine.
Mark's book is in the BIBLE. That blows my mind.
Side note: I think Mark and I could have been great friends. I bet we'll hang out in heaven.
We've been reading "The Jesus I Never Knew" By Philip Yancy in my small group (the book is awesome - you should read it. It's challenging me in all kinds of ways). And in there is an incredible quote by C.S. Lewis that I'd never read before (I know that me wanting to quote C.S. Lewis will come as a surprise to you seeing as how I've never referenced him or his work before - get over the shock as best you can).
“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward … promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea."
This is such a perfect example.
Maybe we don't think we measure up to God's standards (Yancy also addresses this in his book - seriously, read it) so He could never possibly want us.
Maybe we have lost the capacity to dream - maybe our hope receivers have shorted out.
Maybe everything looks too bleak - life is too hard, too heart breaking, too soul crushing.
We become so accustomed to mud pies that we can no longer comprehend the vastness of the ocean.
I think it's time to wash the mud off my hands and go play in the waves.
Thanks for reading