Is “being Jesus” to others enough?

23 May

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.


2 responses to “Is “being Jesus” to others enough?

  1. Jason Bell

    23/05/2012 at 5:58 pm

    Reading this, I feel Jesus whole ministry was an absolute waste of time, because somewhere along the line, you have missed the point. In Mar we read the great commission, go out into the world and proclaim the gosepl to all creation. You will notice that over time the worlds proclaim and creation have slowly been replaced with preach and mankind. The word proclaim in ancient Greek does not have a one word translative equivalent. It means to show evidence of. It does not mean to use words, hence the term “signs’ of believers. (signs are non verbal indicators). One can not tell an animal or a rock or a star about Jesus, hence the change to the word “mankind”. This is a terrible translation, but this can only work in the context of the word “preach”, hence the two are now used in conjuntion. God is said to be the “word”, and Jesus the living word, an example of how his followers are to be like. The bible teaches that not all are teachers, and in fact very few are. So Christians are taught to proclaim, not preach.

    • Joe Fleener

      25/05/2012 at 11:50 am

      Hi Jason,

      Thank you for your comment. I will have to disagree with your observation though…

      In Mark the word used 14 times both for Jesus’ ministry, the ministry of the disciples, and the commission given to all believers is a form of the Greek word “kerusso.”

      Now I will not claim to know “ancient” Greek. However, the NT wasn’t written in Ancient Greek, but in Koine Greek and the meaning of “kerusso” us well established:

      “to make an official announcement, announce, make known… to make public declarations, proclaim aloud” BDAG

      It is impossible to argue from the meaning of the word (lexical) or the use in context that “proclaim” (“kerusso”) doesn’t only entail, but demands the use of words.


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