Darla at Overcomer has tagged me with a near-impossible meme: naming my favorite book of the Bible. Darla, Darla, Darla…just one? Never one to break the rules (perhaps bend them a little), I will comply but only like the little girl who was told to sit in the corner by her teacher: “I may be sitting down on the outside but I’m standing up on the inside!”
(I’m ‘standing up on the inside’ with honorable mentions to all the Gospels, all of Paul’s epistles, most of the prophets, the Pentateuch, the historical books, anything John wrote, and the poets–especially David)
So, here is my favorite book of the Bible…ohhh, do I really have to?…okay, okay…sheesh…
It’s….it’s…(out with it, Scott!)…Mark’s Gospel.
Because I am a ‘bottom-line’ guy, I like for people to get to the point and not grate on me with “to make a long story loooonger” details. Just the facts, ma’am. Don’t care what the weather was like or what she was wearing or the mind-numbing rabbit trails you feel I need to follow you on (wait a minute…back up the truck…I think that’s how I write!), but tell me what I need to know. No more, no less. Mark does this with his gospel. He doesn’t waste words but doesn’t skip or scrimp on the awesome power of Christ’s Life. I call it the “gospel on the move” because he takes the three and a half year ministry of Christ in one fell swoop and leaves you swooning! He’s writing to Romans who like stories of power and authority and like it much better when the minutiae is edited out.
I also love the fact that the other gospels borrow from Mark, particularly Matthew and Luke. Mark got his information from the one disciple/apostle who knew everything! Peter was in every crucial narrative that involved the disciples and even a few the others missed out on. Talk about a fount of knowledge!
And then there’s the fact that John Mark’s story is my story. He started out well with the Lord but there’s that season of falling away that is sadly added to his biography. Ah, but gloriously that’s not the end of his story! Yes, he abandoned ship. Yes, he ticked off one of the most anointed apostles. Yes, Paul questioned his stones for some time to come. But, as in baseball, it’s not how you start but how you finish that matters and John Mark finished well. His name is one of only a handful that Paul mentions from his execution cell in the last days of his life. He wanted him nearby. He needed his life to encourage the old saint.
John Mark was an overcomer. And I want that to be my story, right up to the end.
Then there’s Job…