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Fail the Dean's List - Succeed with Jesus

I have good news for you! If you don’t think you know enough, behave enough, or believe enough – Jesus is for you.

As we finish up our study of Mark’s gospel, I’m struck by a couple things. One is the wildly open and risky approach to ministry that Jesus took (I have a sinking feeling that Jesus wouldn’t have passed “Ministry 101” in college). It started with his choice of the 12 disciples – not exactly a representation of the Dean’s List. But beyond that, there are three situations that really find interesting – and encouraging.

1. The Demoniac in Decapolis in chapter 5 – Jesus sent the very recently healed demoniac into the Decapolis with no training, no discipling, no understanding of Judaism, Torah or the text – to spread the good news of Jesus. Why did it work? Because the Holy Spirit worked through his story because he allowed Jesus to work through his story. He had a personal encounter with Jesus, Son of God – and that was enough according to Jesus.

The good news? It’s not as much about knowing stuff as it is allowing Jesus to work through your story in a personal way. If you don’t think you know enough - good news, Jesus is for you!

2. Peter’s denial in chapter 14 – And then there’s his trusted, oldest disciple, Peter, who flat out denies that he even knows Jesus – yet Jesus reinstates him, trusts him to continue as a disciple after Peter did the worst thing a disciple could do in that Rabbi/Disciple culture. And Peter’s life is transformed from a man who was intimidated by a teen aged girl (Mark 14) to a man who boldly stands and confronts the Sanhedrin (Acts 5).

The good news? If you screw up so bad that you want to crawl under a rug and just disappear - good news, Jesus is for you!

3. Fearful Doubters in chapter 16 - Even though after living with Jesus for 3 years, witnessing the resurrection, walking and talking with the RISEN CHRIST – some of his very own followers – were afraid and doubted. When the angel told them to “go, tell” what do they do? “They went out and fled….and they said nothing to anyone” (16:8). Some of the other disciples were somewhere between Judas and Peter – not wanting to force their expected and desired confrontation with Rome (like Judas), but not ready to deny Jesus either (like Peter). They just had doubts as Matthew recorded;

“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted” (Matt 28).

The good news? If you are afraid and/or have doubts, even after walking with Jesus for several years – good news, Jesus is for you! (Note what follows in Matthew 28 – Jesus sent them all out to make disciples!).

If you don’t think you know enough, behave enough, or believe enough – Jesus is for you.


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