Sometimes, pastors give the impression that they know it all. But this is not really a 'pastor thing,' so much as a 'people thing'—or then again, maybe I’m just a pastor deflecting the guilt. Regardless, nearly every Tuesday, the week before I preach, I get a fresh reminder that I don’t know everything.
The sermon may look clean, clear, and compelling on Sunday morning—only by the grace of God, of course—but it does not feel that way most Tuesday mornings. Most Tuesdays, it feels opaque, like a thick, tropical jungle.
I felt all of these sorts of things this week as we are jumping back into a series in the Gospel of Mark. My task, come Sunday, is to expound Mark 13:14-27 in which Jesus discuses the end times. One commentator notes that this chapter is “one of the most perplexing chapters in the Bible to understand, for readers and interpreters alike.” (James R. Edwards, The Gospel According to Mark, 383).
I believe it; when I translated the passage last week, I listed out some of the questions I had about each verse. This morning, when I typed them out, there were 62 questions. And the list will grow before it shrinks.
Better get to work.
But I do so with the confidence that in God’s Word there is life—something that truly is clear and compelling—and with the confidence that if I will only swing a machete in the jungle long enough, asking God to lead the way, he will show me something worth showing others. He always has before.