Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wednesday: Faith in Jesus in Mark's Gospel

"The cross is the intersection where God meets humanity. Saving confession is not predicated on prior knowledge, proximity to Jesus, or privilege; it is, rather, an act of faith in a divinely revealed act of atonement. The centurion's confession is the saving proclamation of the church, for it is the convergence of Mark's two major themes: the meaning of Jesus and the meaning of faith. The Son of God, on whom rests the unique blessing and love of the Father, chooses not to exalt himself but to follow a path of servanthood, indeed of vicarious suffering and death, so that through the cross the world might acknowledge him to be the Son and with him share free and joyful access to the Father."

"True faith is always aware how small and inadequate it is. The father becomes a believer not when he amasses a sufficient quantum of faith but when he risks everything on what little faith he has, when he yields his insufficiency to the true sufficiency of Jesus, 'I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!' [Mark 9:21-24] The risk of faith is more costly to the father than bringing his son to Jesus, for he talk about his son but he must "cry out" for faith. True faith takes no confidence in itself, nor does it judge Jesus by the weakness of his followers. It Looks to the More Powerful One (1:7) who stands in the place of God, whose authoritative word restores life from chaos. True faith is unconditional openness to God, a decision in the face of all to the contrary that Jesus is able."

- James Edwards, Pillar Commentary on Mark, p. 483, 280.

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