Mark Madness

You ever feel like a crazy person as a Christian in the world today? Yes? Good. If not, maybe you should. Of course, let’s be careful with what we mean by crazy.

King David acted “foolishly” for the Lord. In 2 Samuel 6 we see his wife despising and mocking David for his rejoicing and dancing before the Lord. David responded to her saying, “I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes… ” (2 Samuel 6:22) Contemptible and abased is beyond crazy if you ask me!

In our Sunday Gospel readings this year and in our current Wednesday morning Bible study we are going through Mark. One thing we learn about Jesus from the Gospel of Mark is He is someone who is odd. (Voelz, 42) Jesus is strange? Pastor you can’t say that! That’s why I cited a seminary professor on that one. Just kidding. Let’s talk about strange Jesus.

In Mark 3:21 we see Jesus’ family seeking to seize him because “He is out of his mind.” He had been living a strange perhaps crazy existence up to this point. He heals a man and yells at him in 1:41-43. He gets away from crowds (1:45) even though He had told His disciples He came to preach (1:38). He walks on water attempting to get past the disciples without them noticing (6:48). He curses a fig tree for not having figs even though it was not fig season (11:12-14). Not only this, but He is constantly recognized and acknowledged by demons that seem to flock to Him. Jesus is strange.

There’s a banner in the sanctuary this week that is strange. Kati (my beautiful wife the artist) has told me that good art is supposed to create discussion. If that’s the criteria for good art, then the banner is certainly good art. It has had lots of discussion. It’s strange art as well because it’s Jesus and Jesus isn’t usually portrayed with a strange look on His face. We think of Jesus as comforting and safe. Not so when you look at this banner which has John 15:5’s “I am the Vine you are the branches” at the bottom. It causes you to wonder what is wrong with this figure. His face is concerning and He has a bush growing out of a wound in His side.

And there we see our Savior. He’s one from whom men hide their faces. He has no form or majesty that is desirable. He has no beauty for us to look on. (Isaiah 53:2-3) This is Christ through the eyes of sin that look on Him. This is Christ for you. He became crazy, strange, and ugly in eyes of sin for you so that you may become crazy, strange, and ugly to the world for Him.

He is the crazy vine we are the crazy branches. In a world where expectations are all over the map, we know what to expect from our savior. From Him we have a joy which causes us to dance like no one is looking. Through your redeemed eyes, your Savior has a beauty beyond compare. May you keep on dancing in this March Madness of Lent.

Voelz, James W. Mark 1:1-8:26. St. Louis: Concordia House, 2013. Print. Concordia Commentary.Banner from TLC Toledo