By Dan Amos
I love that Martin is calling the series on Jesus from the book of Mark, “Radical.” Jesus was a radical and remains so today. Unfortunately, we’ve conformed our perception of Him into our cultural box, rather than be transformed by Him. There is no doubt Jesus was a man of compassion, but His mission here was anything but the passive, “gliding action” caricature we see so often.
If you’ve heard me speak and managed to stay awake, you’ve probably heard me rail against the cultural stereotype of Jesus as a long-haired European in a flowing robe. In Isaiah 53:2 we’re told “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.” He looked like the other Jews of the region and not as if he came from some trendy dive in Seattle. He traveled by foot, so His journey from Nazareth to the site of John’s baptism was probably 10 days. Your robes don’t stay white for very long if you do this kind of walking.
That’s just the appearance, though. At Joshua’s encounter with the preincarnate Jesus (YHWH Tzaboat… I AM the Lord of Hosts) before Jericho, the Lord introduced Himself as the commander of the hosts of the Lord. He is the commander-in-chief of heaven’s armies. He is prepared for battle and leads armies prepared for battle.
When He leaves heaven for earth in the Gospels, he is still the CINC of the angels, yet arrives in the form of a helpless baby born to a poor teenager. Can you imagine the preparation of the angels for this event? The commander leaves his forces and goes into the center of enemy territory surrounded by those who would eventually kill him. I now look differently at my favorite passage in Luke where the angels appear to the shepherds. The shepherds were afraid. You bet they were afraid! The armies of heaven were on hand to announce His arrival, and when they said be not afraid, that was a command. The glory of the Lord was on display.
In last week’s sermon, Jesus was baptized, proclaimed by God as his own, and immediately propelled into the wilderness to be weakened and tempted. Satan attacked, thinking he could defeat Jesus and get his creator to bow down to him. Jesus could have crushed him then, and the time will come, but it wasn’t then. If Jesus had, we would still have our sin problem that could only be fixed by the blood of Christ not just the defeat of Satan. Jesus knew his mission and stayed true to the Father. He endured the harassment of Satan, persevered under temptation, and did not give in.
This life is a battle and we need to know that it will be. Jesus battled and so will we. It may not be easy, but it is simple. We know who wrote the book and we know how it ends. Jesus the warrior will come and snatch His people from the enemy and those who are not His will suffer destruction.