Mark 1:16-20 – Are You a Disciple?

Read Mark 1:16-20

Have you ever wondered about the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ?

Would you have been as bold as the four men in today’s reading? They just walked away from everything and everyone. They were all in for Jesus. There was no hesitation, they followed “at once.” What was it about Jesus?

Can you imagine that happening today? We are positioned such that we know how the story unfolds. We know how Jesus lived the life of a servant king and while sinless, died a sinner’s death. We have read the account of his life, and we have worshiped him. For us, it would be understandable to be in awe and leave everything behind, yet how many of us would?

Despite being well informed, I can’t imagine many could just walk away. There would be thoughts of needing to say goodbye to loved ones, settle accounts and pay bills, quit our jobs, hire someone to take care of assets, i.e. house, car, pets, etc. Do you agree?

If we were to leave immediately without hesitation – what freedom that could mean for us. Take a moment to truly reflect on being an all-in disciple. We’d be following Jesus, leaving behind our temptations, our distractions, our idols. We don’t have to physically leave, but how we spend our time, how we think and how we act will all be affected.

Are there obstacles that stand in your way of being all in for Jesus?

Let’s pray. Lord, forgive me for my fears and doubts that often stifle me and keep me from living the all-in life you planned for me. I ask you to help me break the cycle and give you my full attention. I know in my heart that you are my savior. Help my head to agree and let go of the distractions that keep me from fully engaging. You are great and worthy to be praised. I am in awe of you and what you have done for me. Use that awe to bring me closer to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Mark 1:2-15 – Meet Jesus

Read Mark 1:2-15

The Gospel of Mark doesn’t start at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly life with his birth, as other gospels do, but instead with the birth of his ministry life. The opening scene introduces us to John the Baptist with a brief backstory to set the stage.

This is prophecy fulfilled! John was the one given an important job to do. Jesus didn’t just appear; John prepared the way in the hearts of the people. The people knew they needed to repent and sought God’s forgiveness. Mark goes out of his way here to draw attention to the work John was doing to bring people to a new relationship with God by repenting of their sins.

John wasn’t a sleek, well-dressed preacher creating a buzz, but he was nonetheless drawing crowds of people to hear God’s message. And then appears Jesus. The very person John had been preaching about. “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!”

How do you think John felt when he looked up and saw Jesus?

How would you feel if you looked up at this moment and saw Jesus standing in your doorway?

What I wouldn’t give to be on the banks of the Jordan River that day. God revealed himself. He was pleased with Jesus, his Son. Think of the emotions John was feeling. How about Jesus as he was about to begin the journey he came to earth for? Invigorated? Humbled?

The rest of today’s reading goes by like a flash, until John is arrested. Jesus took the baton, as it were, and we’ll walk with him over the next days in our reading of this Gospel.

Let’s pray. Lord, thank you that you loved us so much. You sent Jesus to live and die for us. As we walk through the Book of Mark, please reveal yourself to us in a new and fresh way. Whether we’ve read these stories many times, or this is our first time, speak to our hearts. Thank you for what you provided. Thank you for the freedom you have given me and the tools I have to share with others. You have called us to spread the good news to the ends of the earth. May we be ready for the challenge as John was ready to prepare the way for Jesus. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Mark 1:1 – Who is Jesus?

Read Mark 1:1

The Gospel of Mark is thought to be the first of the four gospel accounts written. It is also the shortest of the four gospels. Today’s reading is short on purpose. We are going to focus on who Jesus is.

From the start, there is no doubt who Mark knows Jesus to be. Mark affirms this writing is Gospel, which is to declare it is the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. In all of the translations I checked, the message was the same, Jesus is identified as the Son of God.

Why is it important to identify Jesus in this way? Mark knew, without a doubt, who Jesus was and was not afraid to proclaim it. His audience was likely the original Christians in Rome during the time of the mighty Roman Empire under Tiberius Caesar. They were eager to hear the “good news” and spread it quickly.

But who was Mark, and why was he so passionate about the good news? How had he come to know so clearly, when others did not, that Jesus was the Messiah, Son of the living God? That question is not as easy to find an answer to, and I don’t profess that my explanation is going to satisfy either. But as a believer who trusts God with my life, I know that God has carefully selected the authors of his Word, filled them with divine inspiration, and that is good enough for me.

While we know that Mark was not one of the 12 disciples, I have learned that Mark was close to Peter in terms of being his scribe. I imagine Peter, having been up close and personal with Jesus during his ministry years, would have wanted to keep a diary or an account of this great time in his life. Peter went on to write several letters to the early followers later. Mark scribbled down Peter’s recollections and put them together, divinely inspired, so that we can see another angle of the life of Jesus.

Mark doesn’t start at the very beginning of Jesus’ life, but at the beginning of his life of ministry. We will hear (1) a theological message, (2) about traditions of the day, and (3) a narrative of the life of our Savior. This is indeed good news for us today as well as for those in all the years that have passed since written.

As we prepare our hearts for the blog entries to follow, challenge yourself to see Jesus in a new way as we all prepare our hearts for his second coming. Meditate on this question: Who is Jesus to me?

Let’s pray. Father thank you for giving us your Word. It is alive and active in our world today. I pray that you will help me to see the message you want me to share. I thank you that you have given me a passion for writing, and while simple, I pray you will use this to help others know  you deeper or possibly meet you for the first time. Forgive me for all of the years that I was disobedient, for all of the time that I forfeited. Thank you for never giving up on me and redirecting my path each time I stepped in the wrong direction. May everything I do and say be to your glory. Bring peace in this troubled world. I long for the day when your kingdom will reign supreme forevermore. For now, I thank you for the life and assignment you have given me. May you be glorified. In Jesus’ name. Amen.