In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
John 1:1-3 (NIV)
John’s Gospel starts with the declaration that ‘In the beginning was the Word …’ and ‘… the Word was God’. Mark’s Gospel begins with ‘The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God’. Both of these gospel writers nail their colours to the mast in terms of Jesus being God.
What is interesting about all four Gospels is that they present evidence for who Jesus is. The evidence presented through the miracles demonstrates Jesus’ power over nature, evil, sickness, disease and sin. However, the most important thing in the gospels is not the miracles, but the good news i.e. the message that Jesus came to share. In Mark’s Gospel Jesus says: ‘the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news’. While the miracles recorded in the Gospels are impressive, Jesus’ message gets to the core of mankind’s problem, which is the effect of sin breaking the relationship with God.
Some of the most popular words in Mark’s Gospel are ‘amaze’, ‘amazed’, ‘amazement’, ‘astonish’ and ‘astonished’. Mark uses these words to convey in very graphic terms the effect Jesus’ words and miracles had on the crowds. Not everyone was amazed, some just missed it completely. Some came and saw, but it made no difference to them. Even some of those who were amazed didn’t really understand who Jesus was. Being amazed didn’t always lead to belief in Jesus and sometimes it led to open opposition from the religious leaders (Pharisees and Sadducees).
What Jesus wants of us is not to be amazed by the miracles, but to look at what the miracles tell us about his identity. He doesn’t want us to be more interested in the physical manifestation of his power, over the spiritual miracle that happens at conversion. He doesn’t want us to be awed by the physical raising of the dead, while ignoring the wonder of the ‘new creation’.
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