Monday, January 29, 2007

Markan Priority: The Power of "Being With Jesus"

I like Mark's Gospel for the little surprises that he provides about Jesus' life and ministry.

When Jesus selected the Twelve, Mark writes in 3:14, "He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach..." Do you see the surprise? It's there in the verse and neither Matthew nor Luke offer it. It's the first little purpose (hina) clause "that they might be with him" (ινα ωσιν μετ αυτου).

Ponder what Mark puts first as the purpose of Jesus' selection. Jesus wanted the Twelve to be with him. "Be---with---him." What a thought. Jesus, according to Mark, did not choose only "doers" who would preach the available kingdom and cast out demons and heal the sick. Jesus chose "be-ers" who would hang out with him. Not serve together first, but live together first.

I'd suggest, if Peter is really behind Mark's account, that we're getting a heads up, as Henri Nouwen contends, that intimacy with Jesus is a priority over ministry for Jesus. And the context for intimacy leading to ministry is community (he chose 12).

Intimacy. Community. Ministry.

"Peter, do you love me?" is a question of intimacy--being with Jesus. "Yes, Lord, I love you."
"Then, feed my sheep." That is ministry. "Peter, do you love me?"

Loving devotion to Jesus Christ is the basis of ministry for Jesus Christ. Sure, education helps; certainly skills and abilities help. But nothing replaces "being with Jesus."

Have you marveled at Luke's note in Acts 4:13? "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus" (οτι συν τω ιησου ησαν).

Uneducated. Ordinary. Unstoppable. Why?

Imagine that.

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At 1/29/2007 12:04 PM, Blogger Evan said...

ahhh the Gospel of Mark. Beautiful stuff :)

At 1/29/2007 12:13 PM, Anonymous Cheryl said...


I love the way you think and express yourself!!

You don't let your devotion to your beliefs override your intellect, and you don't let your intellect override your compassion.

I wish we could sit down for a few hours and talk. I'd gladly take the position as long as we employed the Socratic method. :)

At 1/29/2007 1:44 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

The Gospel of Mark, a fine cup of coffee, some background help from good old N.T. Wright---aaaah, it doesn't get much better. Eh?

At 1/29/2007 1:47 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

How encouraging you are, my friend! I'd like to meet you, too, and converse over some good coffee or other adult beverage :)

Julie and I invite you to our home if and when you are ever in Grand Rapids, MI, or its environs.

What a hoot we had over at the JESUS CREED arena, eh?

At 1/29/2007 3:30 PM, Blogger ben said...


Great stuff here!

I especially enjoyed the last note on the unschooled & ordinary men. Powerful.

I actually used that passage of Scripture in my sermon yesterday. And then I found it here! Good stuff!

At 1/29/2007 3:36 PM, Anonymous Cheryl said...


I'm not an extensive traveler, but Grand Rapids is a place that I've actually visited, believe it or not! A former partner of mine is from there, and I visited with her once to see her mom, who still lives there.

I visited during a June, and it was still SOOO cold!! I couldn't believe it! And there was some sort of big city festival going on downtown near that big Calder sculpture. I don't remember the name of the event, but it was fun. What little I saw of Grand Rapids was very nice. I was actually in the Wyoming area, and also visited Grand Haven, which was beautiful.

I doubt I'll ever get back that way, but who knows? And if you ever get down to Atlanta, let me know. I'd love to meet you and your wife.

And yes, JesusCreed is great! I love having that kind of forum to discuss all sort of issues with all sorts of folks. It's that part of the Internet that I truly enjoy.

At 1/29/2007 5:49 PM, Blogger Ted Gossard said...

Ah... I like it, John! Good stuff here. And amen!

At 1/29/2007 7:07 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Good to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by.

At 1/29/2007 7:11 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

You were here during Grand Rapids Festival. It is a "holy day" in the metro area and fun!

Years ago I visited Atlanta for the big PromiseKeepers pastors' gathering. I enjoyed the city and toured the Coca-Cola museum. I learned that you need to be careful when someone says "It's on Peach Street." :)

At 1/29/2007 7:12 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Thanks, brother, for the high 5.

At 1/30/2007 1:00 PM, Blogger Milton Stanley said...

This one's a keeper. Thanks for the post.

At 1/30/2007 1:11 PM, Blogger Jim said...

An outstanding post. You can say so much in few words. A post like this one has such an authenticity to it. Most of all, you have left me appreciating the privilege of being with Jesus.

At 1/30/2007 3:02 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Milton Stanley,
You made my day. Thanks.

At 1/30/2007 3:05 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

If anything I write can help someone appreciate being with Jesus, I am one happy guy. Thanks much.

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