Mark 1

And so the gospel begins – extravagant, outrageous, vulgar grace.

2Isaiah the prophet saw it coming –

Can you see him? – he is coming, right before your eyes,
to prepare the way.

3Can you hear him? – he is howling from the margins ‘The Lord is coming.
 Get ready!’

4First came John’s dare to be baptized, plunged beneath the water’s surface to mark time and forgiveness. 5They came to him from country and city, Judea and Jerusalem, all of them confessing, naming wrongs for all to hear. John pushed their soiled lives into the muddy Jordan. 6John was of the earth, wrapped in camel-hair robe and cinched with leather belt. He lived on grasshoppers and wild honey. 7His sermon was always the same:
 He’s coming soon, much more than I’ll ever be. 8I can stir muddy water but He will plunge you into the Spirit of God.

9Then he walked right up, Jesus of Nazareth, and John pushed him face-first in the sin-filled river. 10As Jesus stood tall the sky tore and the Spirit fell to him like a dove.

11A voice rained from the sky: You are my son, the loved one.

12Then the Spirit wrangled him, still dripping wet, into the desert where wild animals lived. 13Jesus was badgered by Satan forty days and nights.
But angels were close at hand.

14Then the Baptizer was handed over and Jordan’s surface was stilled. Jesus strolled into Galilee announcing something good: 15It begins now. Gospel. Turn around and believe.

16He sauntered along the shore of Galilee and spied Simon and his brother Andrew casting their fishing net into the sea. 17Jesus yelled: C’mon! There’s more than this.

18Just like that, Simon and Andrew dropped what they were doing and ran after Jesus.

19Jesus strolled a little farther downshore and spied Zebedee’s sons – James and John – in their father’s fishing boat. They were all caught up in the usual – mending broken nets. 20Jesus called out to them with the same words he spoke to Simon and Andrew. Just like that, Zebedee lost his sons on that day.  Jesus and his words unraveled the brothers from the life they had known.

21Now there were five. They strode into Capernaum. When the Sabbath began Jesus made a beeline for the synagogue. His words began overshadowing the usual trumpery. Jesus didn’t ask anyone if he could start teaching, he just did it, like he belonged. 22People couldn’t believe their ears.  It was beautiful.

23Just like that a haunted man started screaming: 24This is none of your business, Jesus of Nazareth! You’re going to wreck everything, aren’t you?  I know you – you’re the One!

25Jesus roared No more! Leave him, now!

26The evil did not leave quietly, but it did leave.

27People couldn’t believe their eyes, couldn’t help but ask What is this? This is different. He is stronger than the darkness. 28Just like that everyone around Galilee was gushing about Jesus.

29The five left the synagogue and went straight to Simon and Andrew’s house. 30They told Jesus that Simon’s mother-in-law was racked with fever.  31Jesus went to her side and held her hand. Just like that the fever cooled and she got up and started mothering them.

32When dusk fell the sick and haunted showed up at the door. 33It seemed like everyone was outside. 34Jesus held the hands of many of the sick and they were cured. For many chased by darkness, he drove the evil away. The spirits knew who Jesus was; he gave them clear instructions to keep quiet.

35Later, in the dead of night, Jesus left the house and found a lonely place to pray. 36Simon and others searched till they finally found him – 37Everyone wants you. 

38Jesus had a faraway look in his eyes. The other towns nearby, they need to hear something good too. That’s why I’m here. 39So the synagogues around Galilee were visited by Jesus and his words, and he drove the darkness away.

40A leper came and dropped to his knees before Jesus: I’m begging youPlease take this away.

41His story broke Jesus’ heart. Then Jesus did the unbelievable – he reached out and held the leper. Now you’re clean. 42Just like that the man was made new.

43Jesus was firm with him: 44Don’t tell anyone. Go show yourself to the priest and make the required offering from Moses’ law. That’s all I want you to do.

45But that didn’t happen. The man made new just had to tell somebody; in fact, he told everybody.

This changed things for Jesus. He kept to the margins of the city now. But even there the people found him. They were coming from everywhere.

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  1. thyrkas on August 23, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Goosebumps, racing heart, my breath caught in my chest, tears. Yes, that’s Him! The One who loves us. “Thus far the reading of the good news – thanks be to God. “

    • thebeautifuldue on August 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm

      Thank you…so if the entire gospel of Mark was rendered in this style, you’d be interested??

      • Gretchen on August 23, 2011 at 3:21 pm


      • thyrkas on August 23, 2011 at 3:22 pm

        Yes, I would be very interested. First in line at the book store. I already want to have friends meet and discuss just this section. Read it out loud to each other (may I?). Read it as part of a fellowship gathering. Read it aloud on the street corner. Interested, yes!

      • sethhaines on August 24, 2011 at 10:42 am

        I agree with them. I’ve always thoughts you’ve done well with alternative renderings of scripture. This one was incredible. I’d buy it.

      • Amanda on August 30, 2011 at 12:41 am

        You can count me in as well!

  2. Gretchen on August 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    I also feel like the language is really something that would appeal to my daughter & her friends–it’s passionate & pure. We (okay, speaking for myself) old farts have missed the passion of The Passion for a long time. We need reminders that it’s real. That we’re wanted.

    • thebeautifuldue on August 23, 2011 at 3:31 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, Gretchen…I’ve wondered if the language would appeal to younger farts…I’ve thought ‘yes’ but its good to hear it from others.

  3. Lynda Smith on August 23, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    WOW! I Loved it!

    • thebeautifuldue on August 23, 2011 at 4:45 pm

      Thanks, Lynda…maybe there’ll be more to follow.

  4. gretchen on August 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    I just read this out loud to my daughter, who is only a month older than your middle. She lurved.

  5. Winn Collier on August 23, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    a small room of men will be meeting in the morning, launching on our journey through Mark. So, of course, we’re reading Mark 1. This will join us in the circle.

    • thebeautifuldue on August 23, 2011 at 4:46 pm

      Thanks, Winn…I’d be interested in their responses/reactions, all of them.

  6. Carolyn on August 23, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    beautimous, really. just loverly. do it again! again!

  7. Laurie J on August 23, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    This is a beautiful rendering of Mark 1!
    Are you the next Eugene Peterson? 😉

  8. timbergren on August 23, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    OK, forget song lyrics and just focus on this…Unless, of course, lyrics just fall into your lap.

    • thebeautifuldue on August 24, 2011 at 3:41 am

      OK, Tim…maybe there’s some lyrics hidden in there…

  9. Mike on August 23, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Uhhh yeah, I’ll take a couple cases of those.

    Good stuff John.

    • thebeautifuldue on August 24, 2011 at 3:43 am

      Thanks, Mike…that’s two cases, right??

      • Mike on August 24, 2011 at 2:49 pm

        You take credit card, right?

  10. Jamie Heiserman on August 24, 2011 at 12:52 am

    I think that’s my Jesus…the One who holds the sick, redeems the afflicted and abides in the margins. Good work John.

    • thebeautifuldue on August 24, 2011 at 3:44 am

      ‘abides in the margins’…there’s a lot in that phrase, Jamie…and awful lot, huh? Thanks!

  11. Laurie Wade on August 24, 2011 at 1:40 am

    I love it! Would love to read the whole thing this way!! I love anything that brings the bible to life and this did. I felt His power and compassion! Breathtaking!!

    • thebeautifuldue on August 24, 2011 at 3:44 am

      I appreciate your words very much, Laurie…thanks for taking the time to comment.

  12. Lagniappe | Seth Haines on August 27, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    […] Blase took a crack at a Mark 1 rendering.  Let this be part of your Sunday morning pre-game preparation.  You’ll thank […]

  13. Bob Kendall on August 27, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Nice, more please!

  14. Elizabeth on August 29, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    just beautiful.

    • thebeautifuldue on August 29, 2011 at 5:47 pm

      Elizabeth, thanks for reading and commenting with two of my favorite words!

  15. Angie on August 29, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Simply beautiful.

    “Jesus and his words unraveled the brothers from the life they had known.” Would that He would unravel my life from the nets I fashion in this world and knot my heart closer to His.

    • thebeautifuldue on August 30, 2011 at 11:37 am

      Thank you, Angie…we do build nets, don’t we?

  16. jewelz57 on August 30, 2011 at 2:47 am

    What I love about this rendition is the story written amongst the words. Jesus didn’t go to the learned and churched …. he went to the needy… I love this rendering, John. Simply put.. it’ stunning!

  17. Bob Kendall on September 6, 2011 at 1:26 am

    I shared this with some of college age in a group I lead, they loved it. If you have the time and the desire, the entire book would be a wonderful thing to give them. It may even inspire them to walk closer and dig deeper. Either way, thanks for what you do.

    • thebeautifuldue on September 6, 2011 at 1:39 am

      This means a lot, Bob, as I’ve wondered how different age groups would respond…thank you for sharing it, and then sharing the results.

      There are a few interested parties looking at this, so we’ll see…the weight of such a project sorta scares me.

      Thanks again for writing.

      • Carolyn on September 6, 2011 at 2:09 am

        No, no, no… don’t be scared. Be filled up with the Bread of Heaven that will give you the strength for such a project. He gave Moses the words. He will give you the words. And we will all gladly receive them.

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