Friday, October 01, 2004

The Role of the Evangelist

The Gospel According to Mark begins with John the Baptist, also called John the Evangelist.

Actually, that's not true. The Gospel According to Mark starts off with: "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." The word "gospel" is said to mean "good news," so this could also say "The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." Mark seems to be saying here that what is to follow is simply the beginning of the message brought by Jesus (which means Savior) Christ (meaning the annointed one - the only ones who were annointed were kings and priests and until Jesus, no one other than Melchezidek had been allowed to be both - in fact it was because Saul attempted to do both that the kingdom was taken from him and given to David), who was also the Son of God.

The term "Son of God" is a major hang-up for many Muslims. They see it as abhorrent to think that God came to Earth, had sex with Mary, and Jesus was the result. You know what? I find that idea abhorrent too.

Anyway, next, Mark begins a scholarly discourse citing the prophets. Now remember Mark's audience - he was writing primarily to the Jews - people who knew the law and the prophets and had a great deal of respect and possibly fear for both. So to give his message authority and credibility, he begins by citing the prophets Malachi and Isaiah. The Malachi passage says, "Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You." The Isaiah passage says, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.'"

Both passages talk about preparing the way for the one who would come. This is the role of the evangelist. It's not to "win people to Christ" or to convert people in large numbers. The status of a man's soul is the responsibility of that man. Nothing that another person says or does can change another person's way of thinking. Only the Spirit of God can do that. Sometimes He uses us to help others along, but it is always Him, never us. We take responsibilty for (and later on pride in) something which does not belong to us.

Our job is to remove the obstacles in the way of the Holy Spirit. The role of the evangelist isn't to convert the masses, it's to get them to drop their fists.

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