I am glad we are back together again.
I’m coming to this study this Fall and I want to tell you all something.
- I need to see Jesus.
- I need to be reminded Jesus is real.
- I need to be reminded Jesus is at work in my life and the lives of others. Sin seems persistent, and the growth of others, and myself, as a Christian can be painfully slow.
- I need to be reminded Jesus knows about different situations in my life. Situations in my life that leave me confused and bewildered. Sometimes I even wonder if Jesus knows what I’m going through
I need to spend time with Jesus this Fall. I wonder if you do as well? That’s why I’m excited we will be looking at Jesus’ life in the book of Mark.
Mark wants to introduce us to Jesus, and for those of us who have known Jesus for many years, Mark will help us get to know Jesus even better
Mark wants us to see Jesus in action, interacting with other people
In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is on a mission. Mark doesn’t waste any time on Jesus’ early life. If you look at Matthew chapter 2, you find a birth narrative. Mark chapter 2 – Jesus is fully into his ministry – calling disciples, healing people, and preaching.
Mark begins with a bang and continues that way. We get a whirlwind tour of Jesus’ life and ministry. And it is action-packed. You will find yourself noticing how often he uses the word, “immediately.”
I used to discount Mark as being dry, and just the facts. Now I realize – there is so much more!
Mark wants to help us get to know who Jesus is. And right off the bat, there is a spoiler alert. Read Mark 1:1.
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
Mark begins his gospel by telling us who Jesus is
The Christ, the Son of God
Christ is the Greek translation of Hebrew word Messiah, and Messiah – means “anointed one.” The Jews were eagerly awaiting and expecting the arrival of the Messiah, because the Messiah was going to save the Jews. The prophets foretold of his coming. Just look at Isaiah 61:1:
The Spirit of the LORD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
The anointed one
The Jews are excitedly look for the Messiah, and Mark tells us in the first verse that Jesus is this Messiah (or Christ). Why did Mark even bother to write the rest of his book? He’s told us everything in the first verse. If we look at the structure of Mark’s book we get the answer
When we look at a plot diagram for the whole book of Mark – it’s not always neat and clean. There are multiple climaxes leading to the big one.
To download a copy, click here.
This helps give us a better idea of what the book of Mark is about. When you are studying a particular passage, ask yourself, “How does it fit into the overall structure? Is this telling me who Jesus is, what does it mean that he is the Messiah, or how he will accomplish his mission as Messiah?”
I hope at the end of the year we all walk away with a much better understanding of what the book of Mark is all about.
But I pray for so much more. I pray that we will see ourselves in the pages of Mark’s gospel
We will be helped in this as we notice how people react to Jesus. What we’ll see is
The people who should embrace Jesus reject him.
The disciples are usually confused and unsure about Jesus
The unlikely people recognize him and express faith in him.
The whole book begs the question:
Who do you think Jesus is and what will you do about it?
Mark does not want you to get out of answering this question.
To reinforce this question, “Who do you think Jesus is and what will you do about it?” Mark ends his book with the women running away from the empty tomb, terrified. What a weird way to end his book! In fact it was so weird that scribes came along later and added a “proper” ending – trying to clean everything up.
But this strange ending was intentional on Mark’s part. He wants to leave us hanging because he wants to leave the ball in our court. What are we going to do with Jesus and his claims of messiah-ship?
That’s the big picture of Mark.
Now, how can you get the most out of the study guide you have? It has been written with an eye towards continuing to train all of us to read the Bible more profitably for ourselves.
The study guide will not just ask us to answer basic questions, but to do some serious thinking in order to answer those questions.
Each lesson, the questions are grouped in three categories:
These are questions to get you to see what is in the text. However, don’t limit yourself to the observations we are asking you to make. Write down your own observations in the margins if you see something else that seems important.
Here is where the work will be required. You will be asked every lesson to summarize the passage and identify the main point.
We are also asking you to think about the gospel. If you are unsure what that means, or what to include, there is a summary of it in the introduction to the study guide. You will be asked to think through how you could use this passage to share the gospel with someone.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Don’t skimp here. These will be probing questions, but answer them all. hen, highlight one or two questions each week that the Lord is using to probe more deeply into your own heart.
Digging Deeper –
Some of you are going to get so into the study you are going to want to go deeper. This section is for you. If your time is limited skip this section. I hope you’ll have time to do it. Here is where you can discover connections between the passage we are studying and larger themes in the Bible or larger themes in the whole book of Mark.
If you study a little each day – you might get frustrated. You will be in the weeds of Observation for several days with no application. Hang on, though! All of your work will pay off at the end of the week.
I am looking forward to diving in with you. Not just because I helped write the study, but because like I said at the beginning –
I need to see Jesus.
And I look forward to seeing him in the pages of Mark’s gospel