Sermon Summary | "Jesus' Mission and Ours"

On Sunday, Jeff continued our study in the Gospel of Mark, examining both the mission of Jesus and the church in Mk. 6:6b-30. In his sermon, Jesus’ Mission and Ours, Jeff traces several themes that have been developing in Mark’s Gospel, in order to show how “Jesus’ followers participate in Jesus’ mission in Jesus’ way by Jesus’ power within a hostile world against Jesus.” Below is an outline and summary of the sermon.

Outline:

1. The Mission of the Disciples (6:6b-13)

2. The Opposition of the World (6:14-30)

3. Conclusion

 

Summary:

The Mission of the Disciples (6:6b-13)

The first half of the sermon concentrates on the mission of Jesus and his followers (6:6b-30). It is here we encounter something most surprising: Jesus, the authoritative Lord, gives authority to his disciples for their task in God’s mission (6:7). The description of minimal material provisions denotes the character of this mission. They are to have a single-minded focus and a whole-hearted devotion for Jesus (6:8-11). Furthermore, the mission of God—which began in the Garden (Gen 1-3) and continues throughout the entire Old Testament—finds its climax in Jesus and his new community (i.e., the church). God’s mission to re-established his rule is on display through the proclamation of the gospel (cf. 1:14) and the inbreaking of the Kingdom through various signs and healings (cf. 6:12-13).

The Opposition of the World (6:14-30)

In the 6:14-30, the description of the mission abruptly shifts to a synopsis about king Herod’s execution of John the Baptist. Importantly, this synopsis is inserted (“sandwiched”) between two descriptions about Jesus and his disciples on mission (e.g., 6:6b-13, 30). The former description (in 6:6b-13) provides details for the provisions of the mission, and the latter description (in 6:30) summarizes the report of the mission. However, these two descriptions bracket the synopsis of John the Baptists’ death and thus function as a literary foil to highlight an important feature about this mission; namely, God’s mission takes place in a hostile world, opposed to Jesus and his followers. Nonetheless, this passage shows that despite persecution and even death, a hostile world cannot thwart the purposes of God and his mission.

Conclusion

This passage depicts Jesus’ followers participating in Jesus’ mission in Jesus’ way by Jesus’ power in a world hostile towards Jesus. For Christians, the call to engage in mission is not optional. By the power of Christ, followers of Christ are participants in 
the mission of Christ. The world in which this mission takes place, however, is no place of neutrality; it is hostile towards the message of the gospel and its messengers, but the purposes of God and his mission will prevail.

 

[by Andrew Preston]