MONDAY, JULY 23
SCRIPTURE: Mark 1
Today we are going to start a journey through The Gospel According to Mark. As is the case with every book of the Bible, Mark’s Gospel is unique in many ways. For example, Mark just sort of jumps into the story of Jesus almost in mid-stream. After a brief introduction of three verses, we find Jesus being baptized.
If you compare this Gospel with the other Gospels, you will find some interesting things. For example, The Gospel According to Matthew was written primarily with a Jewish audience in mind. As a result, Matthew opens with a genealogy that proves Jesus Christ is the rightful heir to David’s throne. Luke, on the other hand, had more of a Greek audience in mind. It is in The Gospel According to Luke that we find the most in depth look at the birth narrative of our Savior. The Greek readers would have been most interested in this perfect babe who grew up to be a perfect man. The Gospel of John, on the other hand, goes all the way back to eternity past and beyond. John is writing to the whole world to prove the identity of Jesus and to encourage his readers to be saved.
So what about Mark? In many ways, Mark was writing to a Roman audience. Because of that, this Gospel is focused on activity. Mark describes Jesus as busily moving from place to place to meet the needs of all kinds of people. In fact, one of Mark’s favorite words is immediately (Straightway in the King James Version). That word is used over 40 times in this Gospel. Mark’s Gospel focuses on Jesus as a Servant sent to minister to the needs of many. As a result, the key verse of this Gospel may very well be Mark 10:45.
It is also important to remember that Mark was not an apostle. He had not seen the resurrected Christ which was a prerequisite for being an apostle. The big deal about that is every book in the New Testament had to be written by someone who was an apostle or someone who wrote under the authority of an apostle. Again, since Mark was not an apostle, he had to work in conjunction with someone who was to produce this Gospel account. That person was Peter.
As the chapter opens, Mark gives us multiple witnesses to the identity of Jesus. He was one of those witnesses as proven in the first verse: Mark testified that Jesus was the Son of God. The second witness was Isaiah, the prophet. The third witness was John the Baptizer. And the final witnesses were God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
It is at that point that Mark is off on a very busy journey. In the remaining verses of this chapter, we read about Jesus’ temptation, His calling of the disciples, the healing of a man with a demon, the healing of others including Peter’s mother-in-law, preaching in Galilee, and the cleansing of a leper. And that is just one chapter.
We are in for a great journey for the next several days. I hope you are ready for it.