Thanksgiving is a time which reminds us of bounty and fullness. We see the bounty of tables of food, bountiful fellowship with family, and the bounty of the joy that begins the Christmas season. We enjoy this bounty, look forward to it, and sometimes take it for granted. There is a Psalm that reminds us ...
Pleading to JesusAbner Chou
The Gospel of Mark wants us to focus upon how Jesus is the Suffering Servant. The very opening of the gospel begins with a proclamation from the book of Isaiah, the book that proclaims that Jesus will be the Suffering Servant. From that point forward, Mark brings out how Jesus fulfills those ancient prophecies. To be sure, as God’s servant, He will rule the world and be the ultimate King (cf. Mark 1:2-3; Isa 40:3). At the same time, He is a suffering servant. His kingship comes not through might but through sacrificial suffering.
And so there is tension in Mark, one of glory and humility. His baptism declares His glory (Mark 1:9-11) but then He goes to the wilderness (Mark 1:12-13). He commands demons and heals crowds (Mark 1:14-34), but then at the height of popularity, goes off by Himself and then to preach (Mark 1:35-38). He heals and shows He has the power of forgiveness but is opposed (Mark 2:1-13). Repeatedly, Mark shows that our Lord is not just a kingly Servant but a suffering Servant.
In Mark 5, Jesus moves to minster amongst the Gentiles. He is not just a servant for Israel but for the whole world. That is glorious because His kingship is not limited. He is king over all. But there is humility in that His kingship is seen in patience and care for people. Mark brings this in Mark 5 through one word: plead. Jesus hears and deals with the pleas of many. At first, the demons plead with Jesus not to send them out of the region (Mark 5:10) and again plead to enter the swine (Mark 5:12). Their pleas request for things they had no right to do but Jesus bears with their requests. After Jesus casts the demons out, the people of that region plead for Him to leave (Mark 5:17). They do not understand His power and instead of welcoming a savior, want to get rid of Him. Jesus bears patiently with them. Immediately after, another person pleads. The one formerly possessed by the demon comes to our Lord and pleads with Him to come with Him (Mark 5:18). Unlike demons who plead in fear and the crowd who plead without faith, this one pleads the right way—to follow Christ. Jesus ministers to this one as well. However, it does not even stop there. Jesus crosses over the Sea of Galilee and right when comes to the other side, Jairus meets and pleads with the Lord for his dying daughter (Mark 5:23). Jesus hears his pleas which takes Him on a path where He first must heal another woman (Mark 5:24-34), suffer ridicule (Mark 5:35-40), only then to raise Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Mark 5:41-43).
What does Mark bring out—the immense patience and care of Christ. He bears patiently with demons who fear and people who do not believe. He converts a Gentile to fear Him. He answers the pleas of a desperate father for his daughter, even if that comes with additional labor and ridicule. He bears the pleas of those who are Gentiles and those who are Jews. He deals with plea after plea after plea. This is long-suffering and lavish compassion of the suffering Servant.
Our Lord is the greatest King. But Mark reminds us of the kind of King He is, one that God prophesied of old. He is the suffering Servant, a compassionate King who bears the pleas of many, particularly His people. We can always come to Him and He hears us with great mercy.