+ Dr. Ahmi Lee introduces Mark by comparing it to a documentary which portrays the story of Jesus through significant snapshots of his life and ministry.
Ahmi Lee is assistant professor of preaching in Fuller’s School of Theology. With a passion for preaching in the global church context, she has over a decade of experience teaching, directing, and speaking in various countries around the world.
“Mark’s gospel to me is like a fast-paced, action-packed documentary—that is captivating.” – Ahmi Lee
Hi! My name is Dr. Ahmi Lee. I’m professor of preaching in the School of Theology at Fuller Seminary. In our brief time together, I would like for us to think about the Book of Mark.
As someone who teaches and researches in the area of preaching, I’m particularly interested in the message that Mark, as a preacher and storyteller, communicates to us. Mark’s Gospel, to me, is like a fast-paced, action-packed documentary that is captivating. Right from the very beginning of his book, Mark grabs our attention and draws us into his story with this bold, shocking claim: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
Right after this, we’re thrust into the middle of the story where Jesus’ earthly ministry is about to begin. Mark’s account of the gospel isn’t like a traditional movie but has more of a documentary feel to it, a real-life documentary, and it’s because his scenes shift abruptly and are sometimes juxtaposed kind of awkwardly. For example, in the first chapter, Mark frequently uses expressions like “immediately” or “soon after” as he jumps around from one scene, in one place and event, to another.
Now, why would Mark do this as a writer?
Well, I think it may be because John Mark, who is traditionally believed to be the author of the book, is not interested in telling us a perfectly packaged story that we just have to sit back, sip our tea, and read as distant readers. Rather, we are invited into a captivating reality—life-altering, real-life story of Jesus that keeps us on the edges of our seats. Ultimately, Mark wants to show us who Jesus is, and he does this by including snapshots from Jesus’ life and ministry that revealed to us his unique identity and mission as the Messiah who is fully God and fully human.
But Mark doesn’t stop there. Like a good preacher, Mark isn’t interested in just telling us about Jesus or telling us about the story of Jesus. Mark is interested in relating Jesus’ story to us. You see, the story that Mark communicates isn’t some story that happens somewhere, sometime, long time ago, but it’s a story that is relevant to us today. It’s a story that makes a claim on our lives. It’s a story—the only story—that gives meaning and significance to all of our stories.
We can’t miss the good news that Mark offers us, and that’s the one that shines the most in his writing. It’s that even though we face hardships and sufferings, troubles, when we follow Jesus, that the glory outweighs it all. Jesus is more than enough for all of our needs.
In Mark’s writing, we see a very clear picture of Jesus that gives us hope for today. We see God who is all powerful—more than able to save us, sustain us, and preserve us. But he’s not just a powerful God. In Jesus, we see a clear picture of God who is for us—who humbled himself to become one of us, suffered for our sin and wickedness. He knows our struggles and our weaknesses. And yet, He still chooses to love us steadfastly. To me, this is the gospel, indeed, the good news that Mark proclaims to us about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.