Michael Card on the Emotional Jesus

By   •   November 15, 2011

While Michael card is widely known for his musical accomplishments, he received a calling at the age of 14 to teach. The musical career was not his idea. As he was getting his education to become a Bible teacher, one of his professors asked him to start writing music.

When he teaches at The Cove this week on the Gospel of Mark, he will be excited to get back to his roots of teaching.

“In a lot of ways, getting to do this is getting back to my original call: to help people engage with the text, not just hear ideas. I want to encourage people to engage with the Scripture on their own.”

One of the most fascinating things for Card is that the four gospels were written by four different people with different interests and different life situations. It is widely accepted that the Gospel of Mark is a testimony of Peter. Mark, a disciple of Peter, was tasked to dictate Peter’s memoirs.

Card believes this is helpful to know for someone who is going to study this gospel.

“Once you accept that Mark is writing Peter’s memoir, then you can read this gospel with Peter’s influence and point of view in mind,” Card explained.  “The Book of Mark is a portrayal more so than any other gospel of the emotional life of Jesus. Peter is clearly the person Jesus is closest to.”

In his explanation of his passion behind this topic, Card pointed out a comparison between the four gospels and their portrayal of Jesus and His emotions.

He explained that the Book of John doesn’t use any adjectives to describe Jesus’ emotions. Luke uses four. Matthew uses five. Then, we have Mark, who uses 17. The very first healing by Jesus is one story that gives us a glimpse of His emotional side. And when Jesus first meets the leper, He shudders because He has so much compassion for the man.

Card explains that he had a sense of discomfort when He made this discovery about Jesus.

“At first I wasn’t real thrilled about this Jesus. I liked the Jesus in John who was more regal and calm. The Jesus we read about in Mark is a little more ‘raw.’ My mentor wrote a commentary on Mark and even called it ‘The Disturbing Presence of Jesus.’ When you read it from this point of view, it is very interesting.”

Although this is a new view of Jesus for many people who love the Scriptures, Card says it is important to get this glimpse of Him simply because this is still the Jesus of the Bible.

“We cannot know Him apart from the Bible, especially the gospels. The Book of Mark is one quarter of the testimony. In John we really see that Jesus is God. In Luke we see Jesus turning the world upside down, confronting people. In Matthew we see a Jesus who is very connected to His own Judaism,” Card said.

“But Mark gives us a more intimate image, which is exactly what you’d expect from Peter. Peter has been on the receiving end of Jesus’ emotions; for instance, when Jesus cursed him and called him Satan. To me, it’s fascinating.”

When people finish watching the webcast, or when they leave the seminar in person, Card wants them to have a thirst for more Scripture. He wants to show them a simple approach to study.

“They will learn to stop and ask why certain details are there. When you do that, then you start to engage and put the pieces together with the help of the Holy Spirit in a way you never have before,” he said. 

“I want people to really listen and engage this time, not only taking what the commentaries and pastors say. Good commentaries and good pastors are good things, but we need to realize that’s not the end—it’s only the beginning of a Scriptural understanding of Jesus.”

Learn more about Michael’s ministry »

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