On Your Mark…

September 14, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Posted in Mark | 3 Comments
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I admit it: One of my many faults is that I’m a slow reader. It’s not that I usually have trouble understanding the words or comprehending the sense of what I’m reading. It’s just that I tend to fixate on sentence structure, word choices, and even ambiguous grammar and punctuation. So, while I do read “a lot,” it often takes me far longer than it should to do it.

This goes double for my Bible reading. Bible verses can be so packed with spiritual truth that, if you truly love God’s Word, there is a temptation to go over certain verses, clauses, or even words, multiple times before moving on. Recently I’ve been seeing articles advocating the practice of reading whole books of the Bible in one sitting. While I have done this before, it is a tremendous challenge for me, and I personally don’t recommend it as a proven study method. However, if I had to pick a book which seems most suitable to this practice, I would probably choose the Book of Mark. I’m not saying that I taught or wrote the lessons in this series after a rush-through nonstop reading of Mark, but there is something about the way the Holy Ghost inspired Mark to write about Jesus’s earthly ministry that seems to prompt a desire for “movement,” and “activity,” even “busyness.” Mark shows us Jesus “on the move,” the Divine, yet earthly, Servant Who for about three and a half years went “straightway” about His Father’s business, always on the verge of sprinting off toward the next miracle, teaching opportunity, event, or activity. My prayer is that these lessons will motivate us to stay active and energetic and enthusiastic in emulating His example, as we are motivated by His glorious Gospel:

1. Immediate Service (Mark 1:12-13)
2. A Major Breaking News Story (Mark 1:15)
3. The Ordo Salutis (Mark 1:15)
3. Casting FOR Fish, and Casting OUT Fiends (Mark 1:16-28)
4. Compassion for the Crowds (Mark 1:32-45)
5. Forgiveness, Fulfillment, and Freedom (Mark 2-3)
6. The Gross-Out Factor for Kids (Mark 2:16-17)
7. He Was Beside Himself (Mark 3:21)
8. Serving without Fear (Mark 4-5)
9. Are People Still Possessed by Demons? (Mark 5:1-17)
10. Beware the Furious Fiend (Mark 5:5)
11. Rising Faith (Mark 5:33-42)
12. Faith in Service (Mark 6:1-9)
13. The Direction of True Faith (Mark 6:20-46)
14. Disciples, Defilement, and Division (Mark 7)
15. Clean Hands and Pure Hearts  (Mark 7:1-13)
16. Biblical S.T.O.P. Signs (Mark 8)
17. Okay, Who Forgot to Bring the Food?! (Mark 8:12-18)
18. Doubting Disciples Duped by Demonic Distractions (Mark 8:27-36)
9. The One Question You MUST NOT Get Wrong (Mark 8:29) *
20. What Lack I Yet? (Mark 8:35-36)
22. Overcoming Shame (Mark 8:38)
22. His Glory and His Word (Mark 9)
23. Water, Water, Everywhere… (Mark 9:41)
24. Becoming Part of the Family (Mark 9:42)
25. A Pair of Paradoxes (Mark 10:2-16)
26. The POV of Marriage (Mark 10:2-9)
27. Defining “Impossible” (Mark 10:26-27)
28. A Second Pair of Paradoxes (Mark 10:28-45)
29. Role Reversal Ransom (Mark 10:45)
30. Blind Beggar Boldly Beats Bandwagoners (Mark 10:46-49)
31. The Servant King and Servant Judge (Mark 11)
32. Faith in God (Mark 11:22)
33. The Servant Prophet (Mark 12)
34. Especially the Family (Mark 12:28-31)
35. Living and Giving, Heeding and Proceeding (Mark 12-13)
36. Flipping the Script on the Passover (Mark 14)
37. Purple of Scarlet? (Mark 15:17)
38. Cross-Eyed (Mark 15:29-32)

*most-read post in category

Immediate Service

October 11, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Posted in Mark | 12 Comments
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When we compare the different viewpoints of the four “Gospels” we see that Matthew shows Jesus as King, and that the Holy Spirit had him write with a Jewish audience primarily in mind. Luke highlights the humanity of Jesus, and is addressed mainly to a Greek audience. John has a broader, more universal audience in mind, and emphasizes Jesus as the Son of God. The Book of Mark (second book of the New Testament) places an emphasis on Jesus’s role as a servant, and seems to be addressed primarily to gentiles in general, and Romans in particular. When we read Mark, Jesus seems to be almost always in motion – on the move. Unlike Matthew and Luke, Mark does not contain the Lord’s earthly genealogy. Nor does it rehearse the Sermon on the Mount.

Mark, the human instrument which the Holy Spirit used to write the Book of Mark, is the “John Mark” who went went with Paul on his first missionary journey. However, he subsequently abandoned the mission, incurring Paul’s disfavor. He then went with Barnabus, and was reconciled to Paul later.

Words like “straightway” are used with great frequency throughout the Book of Mark. “Straightway” means “immediately” – almost “suddenly” – but there is a spiritual connotation to it, too. Jesus was always on the “straight” way even when it looked to men like He was meandering. Servants “do” more than they “talk.” Their genealogies are irrelevant. They are busy serving someone else.

And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

Mark 1:12-13

Jesus was both led and “driven” by the Spirit into the wilderness. He was an obedient Servant, though He went willingly. Jesus did not delay His trip into the wilderness, although this wilderness would have been especially daunting, given the terrain, the lack of light at night, the wild beasts, the threat of lawless and desperate men hiding out. The terrors of the Judean wilderness were certainly formidable, but, on top of that, the Devil was coming to get Him! This is one of many instances in the earthly life of Jesus where He fulfilled all righteousness by performing ever-increasing acts of obedience, though He had no unrighteousness within Himself from which to turn.


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