“We need the God who is still alive and present with us when this old world comes to an end.”
Only time will reveal the long-term effects and causalities of all that 2020 presented to us. The groanings of the Earth through natural disasters is not new; however, a global pandemic with no cure in sight was not foreseen by anyone but God.
This past year, some American citizens were awakened for the first time to the racial injustices of our social systems. Some were disheartened by the fragility of our economy and the state of our republic. Many questions arose: Where is the church? Who are we really? How is God calling us to rise in this fine hour? As I survey Mark’s Gospel, I am encouraged by the truth that Jesus is on the move.
As Christian leaders and disciples of Christ, our chief responsibility is to follow and point people to the way of Jesus. Mark reveals the gospel as the distribution of good news, not for individuals who are gathering in a specific building at a certain time that we call church, but for any hearer who is in proximity of the messenger of that news. A good messenger and disciple like Mark presents Jesus as the one who drives out evil spirits, heals the sick and the demon-possessed, prays in solitary places, raises the dead, performs miracles, feeds the hungry, teaches the truth, draws a line between those who are on his winning team and those who stand with the evil oppressor.
This same Jesus cleared the temple of those who would desecrate it for monetary gain and told his hearers that they must obey the authority of God and respond justly to the institution of the state. He commanded them to love and told them that the world as we know it will one day come to an end. His teachings were echoed through the life that he lived, so after his death and resurrection his message continues. Jesus is still on the move.
In a time of so much uncertainty and death, I cannot think of a better truth to proclaim. We need the Savior who has ushered in the Holy Spirit that is at work in us, and is all-powerful to overcome the evil spirit at work in the world. We need the one who can heal our spiritual and physical sickness. We need the one who prays for us, even now, and especially when we do not know how to pray as we ought. We need the one who can exchange beauty for ashes. We need the God of miracles, the God who provides, the God of truth. We need the God who is greater than Caesar and Pharaoh and governments. We need the one who is victorious over our sin, who can deliver us out of the hand of our enemy. We need the God of justice, the God whose identity is sacrificial love toward his whole creation. We need the God who is still alive and present with us when this old world comes to an end. Jesus is still on the move.
When I think about our Christian responsibility of evangelism and discipleship, this is the proclamation that comes to my lips. It does not matter if you are physically attending church, doing virtual discipleship, going to small group in a backyard, having conversations with colleagues or parenting your children, the call is still the same: Come to Jesus, come to Jesus. Come to Jesus right now.