Mark on Discipleship #1: The Gospel of Mark
The vision for Grace Baptist Church is for us to be a disciple-making church that transforms lives with the gospel and love of Jesus Christ. However, what is disciple-making? Or a better question, what exactly is a disciple? These have been the questions that I have heard. As we as a church grapple with questions like this, it to the Scriptures that we turn to, and the Gospel of Mark is helpful in our biblical understanding of discipleship.
Three broad themes run through the Gospel of Mark. Firstly, it is an announcement of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1) – the good news of the fulfilment of God’s promises in the OT in the person and work of Christ. God has kept his promises of rescuing a people for himself when he sent his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45), serving as our substitute, paying for our sins, ushering us into his kingdom.
Secondly, it is also the good news that the Kingdom of God has broken into our world – God’s reign over the hearts and lives of people is being established, because the King of the Kingdom, that is Jesus Christ has come (Mark 1:14-15). This means that God’s ultimate restoration of his people and his creation has begun in the coming of his chosen king. There is in progress in our lives and world of an overturning of the effects of sin and the fall. And we see its culmination in the second coming of our King Jesus.
And thirdly, in response to this good news, God’s people are to respond in discipleship in following Christ our King. As the notes in one Study Bible writes, “The ultimate purpose of Mark in the context of God’s unfolding redemptive-historical pursuit of his people is to testify to Jesus’ summons of grace – that is his summons to discipleship. Discipleship in Mark represents nothing less than God’s ultimate restoration of his universal people to the original creation-design and purpose – namely to “walk with God” (Gen 5:22-24) and to be restored as true image-bearers of God (Rom 8:29; 1 Cor 15:49; 2 Cor 3:18; Col 3:10)” (The ESV Gospel Transformation Bible, p.1318).
In response to the grace of God in and through Christ Jesus to us, we are then called to repent and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15) and to be followers of our King. Discipleship is the obedient response to the grace of Jesus Christ, as we are progressively being restored to God’s image. As a church, we are to understand that disciple-making is a calling of all believers to respond to grace by following King Jesus.
- Pastor Ollie
1. The ESV Gospel Transformation Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2013.
2. The ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008.