The Gospel of Mark is a Gospel of proclamation. It begins with John in the wilderness “preaching” (Mark 1:4,7). Then, Jesus comes into Galilee “preaching” (Mark 1:14). Following this, we learn that one of the reasons Jesus chooses twelve men to be with Him is so that He might “send them out to preach” (Mark 3:14).
This idea of preaching, or proclamation, is a thread that is woven through the book of Mark. Mark uses the word preach or proclamation more than Matthew and Luke. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you consider that Matthew and Luke are significantly longer than Mark, it may be something worth considering. Someone has done some math on wordcounts and concluded that Mark talks about preaching 56% more than Matthew and Luke.
But, the preachers that Jesus chooses in Mark are not portrayed as very impressive individuals. In fact, they’re depicted as downright buffoons. They should be able to understand the parables (Mark 4:11), but Jesus has to ask them “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables?” (Mark 4:13). The disciples learn that Jesus can control all of creation by His stilling of the sea (Mark 4:35-41), but just a bit later, when confronted with a hungry crowd, the 12 believe that the people should be sent away from Jesus in order to be fed (Mark 6:35-37). A bit later, there is a hungry crowd of 4000. The disciples ponder: “Where will anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?” (Mark 8:4).
Oh, the poor disciples. They just don’t get it. I suppose I’ve never really considered it before, but all of this makes Mark 9:33-35 a bit humorous to me. Do you remember what happens there? These disciples are arguing about who is the greatest!
These are certainly less than impressive proclaimers of good news. But perhaps there is some encouragement to be found in all of this. Today, Jesus wants us to be the proclaimers. The task of announcing good news can be a daunting and intimidating task. However, we can take comfort in knowing that God has always chosen the weak and simple things of the world in order to show His glory.
I know we have all had days when we’ve felt like foolish followers. There are times when we don’t see clearly. There are times when we don’t have the right answers. But despite it all, the compassionate Shepherd allowed His followers to continue following.
Our mission is to follow Jesus in our deeds and talk about Jesus with our words. So, how can you be proclaiming good news? It doesn’t require standing behind a pulpit in a church building. God may supply you with a platform in a school, a restaurant, a doctor’s office, a field, or a garage. How will you proclaim good news?