Today’s author is Prince of Peace member, Gary Olson.

Photo by Mark Fletcher-Brown on Unsplash

“Once upon a time” many years ago, a second grade Sunday school teacher was sick  on a Sunday morning. I, being the pastor, was asked to fill in for her. It happens  occasionally that pastors are conscripted to help out when leaders in various roles are  absent. Since I did not know what the class was studying, I thought I should keep the  lesson simple. It was a couple of weeks before Christmas. So, after the class had  assembled and we had a little chit-chat, I asked the question: “Why did God send  Jesus?” There were a few moments of silence as the youngsters stared directly at me  as if to say, “You’re the pastor, you should be telling us.” Then seven year-old Nicholas  answered, “Well, you know, to show us around.”  

Nicholas, being a kid, answered the question from his heart as kids often do. It was an  answer worthy of Martin Luther, Jurgen Moltmann, Paul Tillich, Paul Sponheim or other  Christian theologians you might think of. Of course they would have expanded on it  and explored the coming of Christ Jesus in much more depth, but I think they would  have appreciated the answer. I looked at young Nicholas with admiration and thanked  him. 

“Why did God send Jesus?” “Well, you know, to show us around.” 

And what did Jesus want to show us? The Gospel of Mark helps answer. 

Mark is the shortest of the four Gospels, the earliest and, some scholars say, written  hurriedly because the apostles were aging and dying. Mark, who some think was a  companion of Peter, wanted to make sure the story of what God did in Jesus was  preserved for the Church now coming under persecution.  

Mark reads like a whirlwind tour of Jesus’ life and activity and emphasizes his suffering  and crucifixion. In the passage for today (Mark 1:21-45), Jesus heals a man of an  unclean spirit, makes Peter’s Mother well, cures many who were sick, prays in solitude,  travels to the next town to do similar things and, finally, cures a leper. WHEW! So, what  does Mark think Jesus wants to show us? Perhaps that wherever He is, God IS; that  wherever He is present God’s grace and mercy and love are evident; that in Jesus is life  and light. Jesus “shows us around” God’s world and shows us how to live in it. What is He showing you?

Prayer: Dear Lord, make us aware of your presence through the Spirit. “Show us  around” God’s life-giving world. Be our light and lead us to bring your light to others.  Amen.