One can feel quite exhausted following a reading of the Gospel of Mark’s account of a day in the life of Jesus – today’s text Mark1: 29-39. There is a lot packed into the day so described. It is typical of Mark’s story-telling style – rapid, clipped, urgent, sparing of detail.
It gives a picture of a Jesus who is in total command. For Mark’s original community under heavy persecution and the threat of annihilation under Nero, it was strengthening to know that, even as they felt the breath of the hungry arena lion or the heat of the first flicker of flames at the stake, that the One in whom they had invested their total trust would hold them tight.
Recent times have seen an increase in awareness of many who still suffer religious persecution as Christians and other minority groups flee the Middle East and also the current Rohingya crisis bridging Myanmar and Bangladesh. One almost wishes for an Action Man or superhero to descend and sort it all out. The big picture in Mark’s Gospel, however, is focused on the urge for Jesus’ followers to exercise perseverance and focus on the message to which they are called, no matter what threatens to destroy them. I have often been inspired by stories of such faith emerging from the witness of the Coptic and Syrian Orthodox communities here in Perth
Mark tells us of no easy fix, no plastic action figure to save the day, but the trustworthy authority of Jesus who is also the Christ.