Read Mark 1:1-8
The book of Mark starts with an odd figure. Hanging out in the wilderness near Judea is this guy wearing camel skins and yelling at people. Now crazy is nothing new, there have been crazy people as long as there have been…well, people. But there’s something different about this guy – people are listening to him. There’s something about him that is drawing people in. On a diet of just locusts and wild honey I can’t imagine that it is his breath, but there is something about him that is attracting the masses. I don’t know exactly what the crowds were thinking; I’m not positive on what it is that attracted them to him, but I have a hunch that for at least some of them – this wild man in the wilderness – John, offered them hope.
John offered hope because he told a dangerous story. He told the story of a man prophesized about by Israel’s prophets who was still to come. He told the story of a man far greater than himself, one of whom he was not even worthy to tie the sandal straps of his feet. And it was this man that Israel yearned for. A man who would return the small backwater nation of Israel back to its former glory. A king whose reign would bring God’s Glory back to Israel. Once again Israel would be a mighty nation. And so, the people clung to the hope offered by this man in the wilderness.
As followers of Jesus we also have a dangerous story to tell. The book of Mark is one of my favourites because it is exactly that, a dangerous story. Jesus is awesome, the disciples are the sidekicks who don’t quite get it and the Pharisees are Jesus’ arch enemy. It’s dangerous because it tells the story of the author of creation who was willing to walk the neighbourhood. It’s dangerous because Jesus invites us out of our ordinary existence to live extraordinary lives. It’s dangerous because it’s the beginning of a revolution. It’s dangerous because in the end we are invited to share the story with others. In a world that so often seems to be without hope, are you willing to share with others the dangerous story that gives you hope?
- What stood out for you in today’s story? Do you have any questions?
- What does it look like in the midst of our current events to live with hope? How is your life different because of the hope that you have?
- What is your hope? Where is your hope found?
- 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to always be ready to give defence to or explain the hope that is within you. How could you explain your hope to your friends/school mates/colleagues/neighbours?
- Who could you bless this week by living generously through your words or actions?