Today’s passage: Mark 13:9-13
“The gospel must first be preached to all the nations.”
That’s Mark 13:10. It comes in the middle of Jesus warning his apostles of upcoming persecution, courtroom trials, floggings, betrayal by family members, and death. It’s similar to a passage we’ve seen before, Matthew 24:9-14, but that passage emphasizes the bigger picture, while here we’re getting a focus on what the apostles will suffer.
All of this drives home the idea that the gospel is vital. Jesus intends it to be spread to every nation–and if in fact he is the Son of God, he’s got the power to back that up. The gospel, the good news that Jesus Christ has inaugurated the kingdom of God in a previously unforeseen way, will drive people to spread it even in the face of pain, ignominy, and death. Many of the apostles, including Peter, would sooner die than deny the message that Jesus had entrusted to them.
According to Mark, how important is the gospel? It is so important that:
- All the nations need to hear it, and
- It is worth any amount of pain that a human can suffer here on earth, even to the point of death.
Thankfully, I in my comfortable American Christianity have never been so much as hit for my faith, let alone flogged, tortured, or crucified. But what am I willing to suffer for the gospel? Do I really understand its value?
I got a cup of coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts today to go with my square of Theo sea salt dark chocolate. Though I’m not as enthusiastic about the salty flavor, I get a clean break every time with the Theo bar. Just look at that perfect square! Perhaps for my next chocolate I should give one of their pure dark bars a shot.