Just Launched: Action packed Graphic Novel version of the Gospel of Mark

One of my favorite books in the Bible is the Gospel of Mark. I have taught through it several times, including on a short term mission trip to Liberia. I love how it vividly portrays Jesus’ ministry, capturing all that He did through a short and action packed narrative.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ …

From the start the account jumps right in, starting with the ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus’ own baptism.

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Jesus being baptized from the graphic novel by Simon Pillario (used with permission)

The Gospel, as noted theologian N.T. Wright explains is “the royal announcement that the crucified and risen Jesus, who died for our sins and rose again according to the Scriptures, has been enthroned as the true Lord of the world.” This is good news, not good advice and it needs to be shared because “something has happened as a result of which the world is a different place.”

The format of this gospel, with its focus on what Jesus is doing, readily lends itself to being illustrated in a graphic novel. And this format offers an opportunity to announce the good news, not only to Christians, but to people who may never have picked up a Bible, but would readily read a graphic novel.

And that is what Simon Amadeus Pillario illustrator of the Word for Word Bible Comic (link), is hoping to offer as he launches his KickStarter campaign.

The campaign page can be found here!

Through the graphic novel format Pillario hopes to present the stories of the Bible, using the actual words of Scripture, in ways that are “historically accurate, unabridged, and untamed”. There are no annotations, notes, or additions to the text of Scripture. When you pick up one of these novels you are reading the Bible. What you do get, with the text, are beautiful and carefully researched images that attempt to capture the power of the story in a historically accurate way. For more on the work that goes into each novel check out Simon’s blog.
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He has already successfully launched two campaigns on KickStarter (Judges and Joshua), so you can be confident that Simon will deliver what he promises. The best part about joining this campaign is that many options for backing it include receiving copies of the books Joshua, Judges, and Ruth. Two of these novels are available now, so, while you are waiting for the Gospel of Mark, you can enjoy some rewards right away.

I will leave you with this video. It captures some of Pillario’s thoughts on how he plans to illustrate all four of the gospels in such a way that there is a unity in how they present narratives that occur in more than one account.

The problem with “If Only” thinking (a devotion from King’s Cross)

Reading, actually listening during my commute, to Tim Keller’s King’s Cross, one chapter at a time has provided lots of time to reflect on Jesus and our response to Him. The book presents Jesus as seen through Mark (the Gospel writer) and Keller. The purpose, much like the works of C.S. Lewis, is to show the reader how Jesus’ “life makes sense of ours.”
It is an extended meditation on the historical Christian premise that Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection form the central event of cosmic and human history as well as the central organizing principle of our own lives.
In chapter 3, Keller explores the scene where the paralytic, carried by four men, is brought to Jesus, through the roof.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

As Keller unpacks this passage, and what Jesus has done, he explores what might have gone through the head of the paralytic as he heard these words. As he does he presents us with the problem of “if only” thinking, which goes something like this:

Continue reading

Young, Restless, & Reprobate?

If we look at the account across the three Synoptic Gospel accounts (Matthew 19:16-30; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30) we notice several things about the Rich Young Ruler (RYR) as he approaches Jesus.

  1. He is running up to Jesus.
  2. He falls on his knees, which may be a sign of honor, but in this case is more likely a position of imploring (Matt 17:14-15; Mk 1:40).
  3. He addresses Jesus as “Good Teacher”.
  4. He asks what “good” must he do to gain/inherit eternal life.

The RYR has come with an urgent question and a desire to learn from Jesus, recognizing Him as one who teaches with authority (Matt 7:29). We can assume that he comes without an ill intent (unlike the Pharisees and scribes (Matt 19:3; 22:35; Mark 10:2; 12:13)), but is genuinely seeking to understand how to inherit eternal life (like Nicodemus in John 3).

Jesus’ response (as most commentators note) must have caught the RYR off guard.

Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.

What was probably meant as a sign of respect has just become a theological lesson. This was probably Jesus’ way of forcing the young man to wrestle with the question: who do you say that I am? Continue reading