One of my favorite spots in Israel is the high cliff overlook on the northwest side of the Sea of Galilee. It is called Mt. Arbel. From this vantage point, one can view the area where Jesus performed “most of His miracles” (Matthew 11:20). It provides the overview for our time in the Galilee region and a time to reflect on Jesus’ work as Messiah and the Son of God.
This month we will read the book of Mark together. The gospel writer records more miracles from Jesus’ ministry on earth than any other gospel account. And repeatedly, he tells us the people were amazed, some were fearful, and many praised God.
Mark begins his gospel by introducing John the Baptist, who was sent by God to prepare the way – a voice calling in the wilderness. Jesus comes from Nazareth to the Jordan River and is baptized for the official start of his earthly ministry. Mark tells us that Jesus came to serve and to give His life. But Jesus didn’t come to earth just to perform miracles and display His power.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus did perform many miracles and He did serve people with great love and compassion. But, ultimately, it’s the personalization of His redemptive power, to give his life as a ransom. Jesus came to preach the gospel of God, to share the good news.
“Repent and believe in the gospel.” ~Mark 1:15
We typically stand on Mt. Arbel late in the late afternoon and look over the Sea of Galilee. The next morning we begin to walk through the individual towns where Jesus taught, healed, and ministered to people. As we tour, we quickly realize we are surrounded by remnants of rocks and broken down stone structures. People did live here in the past. They heard the Teacher speak and they witnessed His amazing miracles firsthand. Some of them might have been in the crowd the day Jesus fed 5,000 people on the hillside. However, the miracles were not enough to save. Many of their hearts were hardened and they did not repent or believe Jesus’ message of good news.
As you read and study this month, take note of Jesus’ heart to serve, and, notice the many people He touched and healed. His miracles and His ministry on earth demonstrated His power and authority as the Son of God. I’d encourage you to take another step forward in your personal walk with the Lord. Ask yourself, “How can I serve others with love and compassion? How can I share the good news with others in my daily life?” Jesus came to serve and He gave His life so that each one of us can be ransomed from our sin. We should be amazed and offer our heartfelt gratitude to Him each day.