Truly this man was the Son of God! (Mark 15:39)
The beginning of the Gospel of Mark rings with a declaration of the awesomeness of God. Though surprisingly, it is sung over a Jewish man, the long-awaited Messiah, the Christ.
Preaching, Healing, Calming
The curtain opens with John the Baptist announcing the coming of history’s main event in the arrival of Jesus. Before we get halfway through chapter 1, Jesus has already started his ministry and is hearing from unclean spirits, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are — the Holy one of God” (Mark 1:24). When he rebuked the unclean spirit and cast it out, everyone became amazed. Our God is an awesome God.
Immediately, he begins healing many, and at one point, “the whole city was . . . at the door” (Mark 1:33). He preaches. He heals lepers. He heals a paralytic to prove he forgives sins. After this the people are stunned and say, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2:12). Our Christ is an awesome Christ!
He then confounds the Pharisees, heals a man with a withered hand, tells parables to judge the people, and leaves the crowd and travels out on a boat. While aboard, a great windstorm arises, and the disciples become frantic and wake Jesus with shouts of fear. Jesus rises and does something the disciples had never seen before: he rebukes the wind and the sea — and they obey. The disciples recalled that they had sung of this in the Psalms in reference to God: “You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them” (Psalm 89:9). With great fear, they said, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:41). Our God is an awesome God.
The One Whom Demons Fear
The chorus returns when Jesus enters the country of the Gerasenes, where he immediately meets a demon-possessed man who lives among the tombs. He had Samson-like strength; no man could bind him, not even with chains, as he shattered shackles when anyone tried. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day, he cried out and cut himself with stones. He was a man no one could contain, a man not in control of himself.
But then, still far off, he saw Jesus. And what does this wild, demon-oppressed man do? “He ran and fell down before him, screaming out, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me’” (Mark 5:7). The small army of demons in this man quiver before the Christ and throw themselves at his feet, imploring him not to torment them. This Christ is an awesome Christ!
When we consider that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, we must remember who this Christ is. He is not just like us, only a little bit better. He is man, and he is God. He heals the sick, makes the lame to walk, stuns the crowds, silences the Pharisees, rebukes the wind and waves, and bends the knee of the unruly man without a word, with hordes of demons begging him not to torment them. This Christ laid down his life for his people. And at his death, the Roman centurion who saw him breathe his last exclaimed, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39).
And he did not stay dead. Death, stingy with its praise, more stubborn than demons, fell face-first to our Christ. The angel declared at the end of the book, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen” (Mark 16:6).
Mark wants us to know that our God is an awesome God — and his Christ, our Christ, is an awesome Christ.