Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering. – Saint Augustine
THE GOSPEL OF MARK IS LIKE A COMPASS
It is a known fact that a compass points to magnetic north. But from a spiritual perspective, I would submit that the soul’s “spiritual compass” is made to point to True North, that is, Jesus Christ.
If you were wandering around in the wilderness, what would be one of the most important instruments you could have with you to help you stay oriented? A simple compass is amazing because when you pick it up, it always points to magnetic north. The Gospel of Mark is like a compass. You pick it up and it always points to True North–Jesus Christ. And according to Mark, the True North that the whole world depends on to be reconciled back to God is Jesus Christ. The very first verse of Mark says what his whole letter is all about: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” (Mark 1:1). In a sense Mark is saying, “I’m giving you a compass, this is an accurate picture of the man Jesus Christ, and throughout all of history when people read these accounts, it will always point you to True North, it will point you squarely toward the One Man who Matters Most.
As I read the Gospel of Mark I am truly in awe of the personality qualities of Jesus that he paints in Chapters 1-8. People were literally drawn to Jesus like a magnet is drawn to metal.
MAGNET (and COMPASS) ILLUSTRATION
What I see going on in the Gospel of Mark is that just as it is completely normal for a magnet to be drawn to metal…IT IS COMPLETELY NORMAL for people to be drawn and attracted to Jesus Christ if they are given an accurate picture of him. And the really cool implication of this is that if we strive to tell the story of Jesus and accurately talk about what his true personality was, then we can expect in faith that many will NATURALLY BE DRAWN TO HIM like a magnet is to a refrigerator.
STANDING ON THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG IN THE “TRUE NORTH”
So far in my study of Mark I’ve identified over 30 distinct personality qualities of Jesus, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Speaking of icebergs, recently I was as “true North” as you can get. I had the privilege of talking with a group of leaders in Greenland about how to develop youth ministry there, and I got to literally stand on the tip of an iceberg… It reminded me of what I have recently been discovering in the Gospel of Mark. Below the surface, the more you look at the personality of Jesus, you begin to understand more fully why people were so drawn and attracted to Jesus.
In the following talk I will highlight just a few of these amazing personality traits of Jesus that people just can’t resist:
- The Humility of Jesus
- His Cheerfulness
- His Power and Willingness to Heal
- How Jesus Valued a Healthy Balance of Work, Rest, and Retreat
- Jesus was Willing to be Interrupted by those in Need.
- One of Jesus’ Greatest Joys was to Love Sinful People!
- Jesus Patiently Answered People’s Questions No Matter How Good or Dumb They Were
- Jesus Gave People His Undivided Attention
Jesus is the most admirable, noble, attractive person who has ever walked the face of the earth. He has gone to the ultimate extreme to show us that he loves us. He has done all of the work and we receive all of the benefits of his love. Following him is not about what you & I can do for him, but all that he has done for us. There is no one like him!
- What have you recently admired about Jesus?
- What are some of the personality qualities of Jesus mentioned in Mark, chapters 1-8 that appeal to you currently? Why?
- What hinders you from interacting with other people in the manner that Jesus did?
- How does admiring Jesus’ personality qualities lead you to worship him in a fresh way?
- Do you think people around you are being given an accurate picture of who Jesus truly was?
- List some names of who the Lord might have you prayerfully pursue in the coming days to give them a more accurate picture of Jesus?