I have been preaching through Mark in the Sunday evenings here at Howick Baptist Church. Recently I was in Mark 6, “Jesus Rejected at Nazareth.”
This reminded me of a conversation and blog post from several years ago – “Drawing in the Gravel is Great, but We Still Need Propositional Truth.”
That conversation and subsequent blog post took place 4 ½ years ago.
Today I hear all kinds of discussions where people seem to be talking about just “being Jesus” in their community or in the name of missions.
The idea seems to be a way of advocating living a life of good works, doing good deeds for others, helping the poor get jobs, leading people out of their suffering, etc. and that this is “being Jesus” and is actually mission (i.e. Gospel ministry.)
Oddly, enough I read or hear folks pointing to The Gospel of Mark as a basis for justifying this kind of thinking.
However, Mark doesn’t allow for this kind of thinking.
Right from the start, Mark 1:14,15 we are told that “Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (also Mark 5:20; 6:12; 13:10; 14:9;16:15)
Very telling is Mark 1:36-39, 36 And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, 37 and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” 38 And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” 39 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.”
Jesus emphatically states that he “came out” to preach. Even when others were looking for him, to be healed, etc. he still left for other towns so he could preach (notice in verse 36 preaching and demonic confrontation is mentioned, but not healing).
Then we get to Mark 6. If there was ever a community in history where someone had “been Jesus” in their midst it was Nazareth. Jesus actually lived there for 30 years! A life of perfection was lived in their midst (something no one else seeking to just “be Jesus” can possibly accomplish), yet this was not sufficient for the people of Nazareth to place their faith in Christ.
Jesus went back to Nazareth to preach. And when he did they rejected him!
I am sure most have heard the supposed quote from Francis Assisi “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary use word.” (Mark Galli – who has written a biography on Assisi – provides a helpful service by showing that Assisi likely never said such a thing!)
However, not only is this infamous quote likely not historical as claimed, it is also unbiblical! (As Galli also shows in the above article.)
Romans 10:14-17 “…And how are they to hear without someone preaching?… So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ.”
We must proclaim Truth – the Gospel.
The Truth/Gospel that must be proclaimed is propositional.
If one denies the existence or propositional truth, one denies the Gospel.
If one denies the need for teaching propositional truth, you have immediately lost the only God given, authoritative medium for the proclamation of the Gospel.