Biblical scholars love to argue the Markan priority vs. the Mathaean priority. It’s basically a debate over which came first, Matthew or Mark. But, before you close this email because it sounds like I’m going to talk about something only New Testament academics really care about, let me assure you this is not a scholarly piece. (For those of you who know me well, that’s not much of a surprise!)
A few years ago when I was studying Mark, preparing to teach it to my friends at Church of the Open Door, I realized that my problem with Mark is more practical than theological. What I’m struggling with is the real Markan priority—the one Mark actually emphasized that I don’t want to be a priority in my life.
Jesus the Servant
When I read Mark’s account of the Lord’s life, I’m impressed with his emphasis on Jesus as the Servant who came to serve others. Mark was a privileged man who probably kept servants and grew up in luxury. He heard, through Peter’s words, that Jesus was asking those who followed Him, the rich and the poor, to become servants.
For me this is serving the people in my world—my wife, Judy, my children, our staff and elders as well as friends. But there’s those other ones too: The guy who calls me way too late wanting to talk about the same problem I talked with him about last week, and last month, or even last year, or the hurting friend who stops by the office all needy when I really don’t have the time. And then there are the people from my daily routine: The snippy girl at Starbucks who hands me my Americano, or the guy who crowds in front of me on the bench press machine at the gym.
The Worn-Out Jesus
Mark pictures Jesus as an extremely busy, exhausted Lord during His Galilean ministry. People were brought to him for days on end and even into the late night. They crowded Him to the water’s edge at the beach. He had to get away just to pray. And yet, what strikes me is the many times Mark says that He “touched them all.”
And that’s what Jesus is asking of you and me: “Touch them all in my name, all of them—the inconvenient and the inappropriate, the mean and the hateful, the left-out’s and the left-over’s.”
My Markan Assignment
Many weeks it’s my most difficult assignment from Jesus–to put someone else first when every fleshly molecule wants me to put me first.
Who is He asking you to touch in His name this week? Who is He asking you to serve today?
It’s His Markan priority for all who call Him Lord.
“And whoever desires to be first shall be slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:44-45).