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Beautiful Words Blog | Look in the Mirror by Pastor John Moropoulos | Gateway Christian Fellowship

The Gospel according to Mark is a wonderful testimony to the ministry of our Savior. Most readers recognize pretty quickly that Mark was an “action guy,” that he noted what Jesus did more than what the Lord said. That’s not to say the teachings of Jesus aren’t important. Matthew gives us a detailed record of that. Mark however focuses on what Jesus did.

Which makes chapters 11 and 12 of Mark’s Gospel stand out. Between verse 23 of chapter 11 and verse 24 of chapter 12 it’s all dialogue, teaching, instruction. Not much being done but lots being said. Something else stands out about this portion of Mark’s Gospel. It’s the last public exchange Jesus had with the spiritual leadership of Israel. In other words, after this, it’s over.

The Chief Priests, Scribes, and Elders had their last chance (11.27 to 12.12). That ends with the Temple leadership looking for a way to shut Jesus up. The Pharisees and Herodians had their last chance in 12.13-17. That ended with the religious and secular leaders amazed but unmoved. Finally the Sadducees have their last opportunity (12.18-27.) Nothing changed.

At verse 34 we read that the leaders of the people just stopped talking to Jesus. What a sad situation.

The one thing that these groups had in common was the confidence that they had it figured out. The Chief Priests had the respect and power of the Temple. But what they had was hollow. The Elders were the respected leaders of the community. Surely they understood how things worked. Wrong. The Scribes, like the Pharisees, understood the Law, the Torah, down to the finest dot. Surely they had understanding. Nope. The Sadducees like the Herodians were wealthy, they knew how to get along with the Romans, play the game, get ahead in the world even while under the Roman thumb. They had it figured out. Sorry. Wrong again.

It is so easy to think that, when we are doing well, we have it all figured out. But success in this world, any success by any measure, is a lousy barometer of how we are really doing. The rates of suicide and alcoholism are much higher in developed countries than undeveloped ones. That alone tells us that our definition of “developed” might need rethinking.

Another characteristic of the groups identified in Mark 11 and 12 is that they thought the common people were the problem. If the common people would just get their act together, live rightly (Chief Priests, Elders, Pharisees, Scribes) things would be so much better. Pay their taxes (Herodians). Respect the Romans (Sadducees), things would be great. They also looked down on the heathen peoples who surrounded them.

Have you ever noticed that Jesus never rebuked a Roman. He never rebuked a leper, or a prostitute or a beggar. He told them to change their ways but it was with compassion. He saved His sternest word for those who should have known better.

In a season of great hostility in our nation, perhaps the church should lead the way in speaking the truth in love. That starts with recognizing the greatest barriers to wholeness in my life are within me. Sin must be repented of. That starts with me.


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