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Yesterday I didn't really get a chance to post up my closing reflections on the Gospel of Matthew this year. I think the main thing that really stood out to me in the Gospel of Matthew readings this year was how powerfully truthful and insightful Jesus' teachings are in the parables. Some of the parables really took on new life & meaning for me this year as I read through Matthew. It is such an amazing thing - every time I read the Bible - or re-read portions of the Bible I should say - I gain some new insight that I never saw before. I hope that has been the case for you as you read through Matthew this year? Please feel free to post up any closing reflections on your reading of the book of Matthew in the Comments below if you'd like. And today we begin the Gospel of Mark!
Date: A.D. 60-65
Content: John Mark was a companion of the apostle Paul. He finally settled in Rome where he wrote down the remembrances of the apostle Peter. Thus Mark’s Gospel reflects the words of an eyewitness of the events he describes. Mark’s purpose was to put together an expanded Gospel message. Hence it centers upon the acts of Jesus rather than his words and devotes a disproportionately large amount of material to the last week of Jesus’ life. Mark’s Gospel begins with Jesus’ public ministry and preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Several explicit predictions of his coming death are made (Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34, 45) and then Jesus goes to the cross to die for the sins of the world.
Theme: Mark depicts Jesus as the Servant of God who came to do God’s will. The miracles, healings, victory over demons, and personal power show the world that Jesus was no ordinary servant, but was truly the Son of God (Mark 15:39). Jesus’ resurrection authenticated all that he did, and now we await his return in glory from heaven. Mark also wrote to encourage the Roman Christians in a time of persecution. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” pages 21-22) Excellent commentary on the Gospel of Mark is at this link.
You'll notice in Mark chapter 1 today that there is no nativity narrative - Mark and John's Gospels do not have the nativity narrative. Verse 1 starts off powerfully with: "Here begins the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God." (Good News = Gospel. Gospel comes from the Old English word godspel, which means "good story" or "good tidings" or "good news" and accurately translates the original Greek word: evangelion.) And what is the Good News? It is that God has provided salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is very Good News indeed!
I know I mentioned this when we read through the Baptism narrative in Matthew, but I think this is so powerful, that I want to mention it again. All three persons of the Trinity are involved in Jesus' Baptism - 1. the Father speaks 2. the Son is Baptized 3. the Holy Spirit descends on the Son. Verses 10 & 11: "And when Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens split open and the Holy Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven saying, "You are my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with you."" Per Tyndale's commentary today, Jesus was baptized 1. to begin his mission to bring the message of salvation to all people; 2. to show support for John's ministry; 3. to identify with our humanness and sin; 4. to give us an example to follow.
Worship Video: Our readings in Mark today reminded me of Jeremy Camp's song "We Give you Glory:"
Who are you giving glory to these days? Click here and meet true Glory!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on three verses of Scripture today: "At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."" Mark 1:9-11 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you would always have faith that Jesus is God and that the Holy Spirit is God and that the Father is God. Pray that you would worship our Triune God, Father, Son and Spirit each and every day.
Comments from you & Question of the Day: What are some things about the book of Exodus, which we are wrapping up today, or the Gospel of Matthew that we wrapped up yesterday, that stood out to you this year? What new thing did you learn about God and his people in Exodus this year? What new thing did you learn about Jesus and his teachings in Matthew this year? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
Love, Trust, and Obey Jesus,
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