Sincere Christians hold divergent ideas about discipleship. Different approaches focus on steps to follow, mentoring, spiritual disciplines, or an intellectual approach, but do they draw definitions from Scripture's big picture? Do they draw enough attention to Jesus' view of discipleship. In
A Theology of Mark: The Dynamic Between Christology and Authentic Discipleship Hans Bayerexplores Jesus' approach to discipleship showing how God-perception and self-perception simultaneously shaped the Gospel result in reconciled relationships and radical discipleship.
Hans Bayer places Mark's Gospel in its biblical context and explores the dynamic relationship between Jesus and his disciples a process in which Jesus radically transforms them from self-dependent to God-dependent beginning with their hearts.
A Theology of Mark: The Dynamic Between Christology and Authentic Discipleship
A Theology of Mark unpacks the themes and historical narrative of Mark with the tools of Biblical Theology and from the reformed worldview, all while making the content applicable for daily Christian living. We need more of these kinds of commentaries. Bayer first attacks the most basic questions surrounding Mark like structure, purpose, thematic framework, and questions about the person of Jesus and then develops the theme of discipleship from Ã¢ÂÂa more comprehensive approach--that of Jesus with his own disciplesÃ¢ÂÂ (Kindle Location 104 of 3008).
Jesus Disciples His Disciples
I found the work Bayers did on the topic of discipleship refreshing. This section made his work in section one (the foundational and background questions) come alive. The lay person make ask What does all this background information have to do with me? Of course, there is a major purpose for understanding the historical context and critical thought surrounding Mark but how can we make these truths meaningful for the lay theologian? Bayer accomplishes this by examining the how to of discipleship in light of these foundational issues.
Bayer aks two questions:
Who do you perceive yourself to be?
and Who do you perceive God to be?
He then says, Ã¢ÂÂAuthentic witness to Jesus brings forth authentic discipleship in the context of the growing messianic kingdom of GodÃ¢ÂÂ (KL 174 of 3008). These themes (Messiah, Kingdom, & Gospeling) run throughout BayerÃ¢ÂÂs discussion of discipleship. You can catch a glimpse of these themes when he says,
The thematic connection between Mark 14:25 and the entire narrative of Mark shows that JesusÃ¢ÂÂ demonstrated authority is connected with his future kingly rule. The death and resurrection of the Messiah mark the actual imagination (see 14:22-24 and the Ã¢ÂÂblood of the covenantÃ¢ÂÂ) of the eternal messianic rule (KL 811 of 3008)
Therefore, the disciples are not following Ã¢ÂÂa mere human being, ready to suffer, he turns out to be God the SonÃ¢ÂÂ (KL 835 of 3008). And Bayer sees Jesus rise Ã¢ÂÂas the climatic fulfillment of GodÃ¢ÂÂs redemptive plan . . . inaugurated in Genesis 3:15Ã¢ÂÂ (KL 846 of 3008). He close by offering and unpacking these eight distinctive of discipleship as revealed in MarkÃ¢ÂÂs theology.
Believing and trusting
Watching over--and guarding--your heart (as as to beware of hard-heartedness and lack of understanding)
Confessing Christ to all humanity
So, BayerÃ¢ÂÂs development of these themes is robust and distinctively reformed.
Not Another Reformed Commentary
LetÃ¢ÂÂs be honest here. ThereÃ¢ÂÂs more than a few good commentary and reformed folk have written more than their fair share. However, this series promises to be different because of its focus on Biblical Theology allowing the commentary to be connected and practical. By understanding the background of MarkÃ¢ÂÂs theology you will end up with a more robust understanding of discipleship as practiced by Jesus himself. We need more focused commentaries of this sort.
BayerÃ¢ÂÂs A Theology of Mark would be a great launching pad for pastors starting a preaching series on Mark or for your average lay person who wants to dig a little deeper into Scripture. I could see this book being used to jump-start an extended study of the book of Mark for personal growth in Christ.
The writing was scholarly yet accessible.
May 15, 2012