Amazing Stories
Text: Gospel of Mark
by Robert J. Young

My mother's words when she spoke to my sister or me were "look at me." In a similar way, Jesus is asking, begging, pleading--look at me. Help others see me. Examine me. Know me. Look at me.
Mark's gospel is an account of people who looked at Jesus and were never the same--12 disciples, a man possessed by evil, the sick, the lame, the demon-possessed, the lepers, the paralyzed. When these saw Jesus, their lives were changed.
Mark has an interesting code word to describe these encounters--amazing. Mark's gospel is a compilation of amazing stories about one amazing in works and words.

I. Amazing Words, 1:22.
Jesus was apparently an amazing teacher. People listened, learned, understood. His teachings revealed him. When the demon was excised, the people were again amazed, 1:27.
These amazing words almost immediately convinced the enemies, 1:24. Can see it again in 1:34. Although these knew who he was, most did not, even those closest to him did not. Thus in Markan studies, the Messianic secret is a significant theme.

II. Amazing Works
The casting out of the evil spirit in chapter 1 was amazing enough, but in chapter 2, a paralyzed man is healed. Familiar story--well known, loved by all. Friends who were willing to help someone come to Jesus for healing. Jesus acts, and others are amazed, praising God, 2:12.

III. Amazing Fellowship
In 2:13ff, Jesus amazes the religious folk of his day through those with whom he eats. Afterward when he justifies his disciples' actions in not fasting, claims Lordship even over the Sabbath, and heals a man with a shriveled hand on the Sabbath, they are not only amazed, they are angry. Some when amazement overwhelms become angry, arch back, refuse the good news. These began to plan how they could kill Jesus, 3:6.
One amazing thing about these stories is that the evil spirit were "in on it." Again in 3:11, they know Jesus, have seen Jesus, have looked at Jesus clearly, see his identity and nature, but they are forbidden to tell.

IV. Amazing Popularity
Jesus cannot escape the crowds, they follow him everywhere.

V. Amazing Followers
Jesus chooses the Twelve, they follow, but when he calms the storm, their question amidst their fear is, "Who is this," 4:41. These followers are characterized by amazing faith and amazing fear side by side.

VI. Amazing Instructions
In chapter 5, when Jesus casts out evil spirit or demons, all of these issues focus. A man with amazing words, amazing works, amazing contacts with people, popular, potential followers flocking all about him.
I will follow you, I want to follow you. I like what I have seen. Alright, you follow me, not geographically, but in heart and spirit.

VII. Amazing Commission
Have you seen Jesus? Do you know Jesus? These amazing instructions are for you: Mk. 5:19. We are looking at the man, seeking to know him better, understand, experience him, be aware of the unique dynamics of his life, imitate him.
That Jesus would give the instruction is amazing, the people were also amazed, 5:20. But did you see the real source of amazement? Those observing were amazed because he went and did what Jesus told him to do.

VIII. Amazing Grace--Amazing Faith, Amazing Obedience
It is always amazing when people do what Jesus said do. It is an amazing thing when souls make the decision to be baptized into Christ. It is an amazing thing when people do what Jesus said do. That you and I are here today is in one sense amazing. That we came for Bible class is more amazing than that some did not.
Do you know what would be amazing to this community? If we went forth from this place with these amazing stories on our lips and in our hearts, and actually did what Jesus said do, "Go tell what God has done foryou, how he has had mercy on you." If everywhere we went, we were telling people about Jesus and his amazing life, that would be amazing.

Amazing. Have you seen Jesus? Are you amazed? Will you respond, will you act, will you obey, will you follow? Will you be source of the amazement of others? Resolve to obey, in the obedient response of faith placing yourself in Jesus' hands and imitating his example of baptism, while also honoring his death/burial/resurrection example. Or perhaps you want to come home, amazing grace makes it possible. Or perhaps you will decide today to really get serious about Jesus' amazing instructions. Amazing.

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Last updated February 23, 2001.