Jesus: The simple truth
Reading and understanding the stories of Jesus doesn't have to be hard work.
Jesus is simple.
Jesus is simple to read and understand, although this may not have been your experience. You may have heard sermons at school or in church that have left you confused. You may have tried to read the Bible but found yourself puzzled wondering what it’s all about. You may glance at that big, black bible on the book shelf and think, ‘it makes no sense.’ Plenty of people have given up reading the Bible because it’s just too hard. Can I encourage you by saying that Jesus really is simple to read and understand once you know what questions to ask.
A simple question
Take the New Testament book of Mark for example. Mark wrote the first 8 chapters of his book to get us thinking about who Jesus is. He wrote the last 7 chapters to get us thinking about why Jesus came. So if you start reading Mark with the simple question, ‘who is Jesus?’ in mind you’ll be off to a good start.
A simple start
I’ll walk you through: Grab a Bible and open it to Mark 1:1-8 (use the contents page to find it), go to Mark on Biblegateway.com or read below. Read it twice as you’ll understand more the second time. ...
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”—
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”
And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Now, the question. Who is Jesus? In first sentence Mark tells us he’s the Son of God. Simple.
A simple truth
Next, Mark tells us that Isaiah said a long time earlier that a messenger would come and prepare the way for the Lord. What’s going on here? Well, Mark introduces us to John the Baptist - a man with a message. He must be the messenger Isaiah spoke about. John’s message is that after John comes someone more powerful than him; someone who will baptise with the Holy Spirit. Who could this be? Now read verse 9 where Jesus appears on the scene. Jesus arrives after the messenger.
So. Who is Jesus? Mark is telling us that Jesus is the Son of God (we got that from verse 1). That Jesus is the Lord (since the Lord comes after the messenger in verse 3).That Jesus is the powerful one (from verse 7), and that Jesus will baptise with the Holy Spirit (from verse 8). All that from just the first paragraph. Imagine what you might learn about Jesus from the rest of Mark’s letter.
Why not read on in Mark? You’ll meet lots of characters who are all trying to work out who Jesus is. Jesus' actions and teaching will give the clues to his identity. Even if you don’t understand something at first, read on, it will become clearer.