Mark 15:33-41 – Jesus Died for You

Read Mark 15:33-41

Sit with this text for a while today. Jesus has died. While we weren’t there, there were plenty of bystanders and Roman soldiers looking on. What did they see?

Our last reading gave us the time stamp of 9:00 a.m. for when Jesus was nailed to the cross. Three hours pass full of mocking and taunts. Then darkness falls for three more hours. That just doesn’t happen every day! “In that day,” says the Sovereign Lord, ‘I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth while it is still day.’” (Amos 8:9)

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Mark 1:1 – Meet My Friend, Jesus

Read Mark 1:1

What a powerful verse to open Mark’s gospel! There is a lot here. Mark wanted to make sure his audience knew who he would be writing about. I like how the ESV (English Standard Version) translation makes it more of like a book title introducing the book’s subject. “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Let’s unpack that statement as well as what the NLT (New Living Translation), I normally reflect on, says.

The Good News Begins. This tells me that what is to follow is fantastic news. What a contrast to other Bible texts that bring news of doom and gloom! The gospel of Jesus Christ is often referred to as the “good news.” I’ve often said that “I love sharing the good news with others.” The account of Jesus’ life, his love for us, and his ultimate sacrifice is certainly “good news” for those who believe in him, and even for those who don’t believe yet. It’s the kind of news that changes lives.

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1 Timothy 3:16-4:5 – Love a Good Mystery?

Read 1 Timothy 3:16-4:5

An open book on a table with a lamp light burning

The truth about Jesus is the best mystery of all. When you think of God visiting earth as a human, that’s quite an amazing feat. Of course, for God all things are possible, but we still puzzle about how it all happened and why. Believing in this truth is the basis for our faith. I love this part of the prose style “hymn” portion. “Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit.” God was also human in that moment as Jesus in the flesh, and the Holy Spirit proved it so. The trinity is so magnificently intertwined here.

Our last two readings have focused on how leaders and deacons were to conduct themselves in building up the body of Christ. These verses tie it all together and involve everyone. Paul wanted Timothy to be prepared to lead all people and help them discern the truth while staying faithful.

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Hebrews 1:1-4 💛 Jesus is God’s Son

Read Hebrews 1:1-4

Jesus in the clouds

The Book of Hebrews was written to the Jews to help them understand how Jesus fulfilled the law so they would recognize Jesus for who he was and accept his authority. It was difficult for the Jews, and sometimes even for us, to grasp that Jesus was the Son of God. It would have been dangerous for these Jews to be seen as Christ-followers, so this book will also serve to empower them with truth. We may find even today the temptation to fall away from our faith.

As we’ve been reading different texts to help us understand who Jesus is, this one encourages us to want a relationship with Jesus. He is certainly someone I want to associate with. I like this quote from Aaron Rogers, quarterback of my team (Green Bay Packers). “Surround yourself with really good people. I think that’s an important thing. Because the people you surround yourself are a reflection of you.” Don’t we want the world to see Jesus reflected in us?

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Mark 9:1-13 – See the Light

Read Mark 9:1-13

The story of the transfiguration was always a hard one to describe to little children. If I’m being totally honest, it is probably hard for us adults to grasp as well. Suffice it to say that God is mighty, and when he wants to make a statement, it will be a beautiful, unbelievable sight.

Here’s a beautiful song, Transfiguration, from Hillsong. Listen here. Let the beauty of the lyrics of praise wash over you.

We have a second declaration from God himself. The first one happened at Jesus’ baptism where God proclaimed his Son. This time the message is reserved for the inner circle of Jesus’ tribe of followers. I love how God puts it right out there, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.” Listen to him! Of course. Up to now the disciples have been a little “lost” and certainly they have been missing a lot. It’s not every day you’re in the company of God. The message speaks to us, too. Are we listening to Jesus or the world?

I’m sure we have those times of being hard headed. It would take a sledge hammer to break into the walls we’ve built up or to clear away the debris we carry around. Imagine having one-on-one time with Jesus like this. Imagine experiencing something so wonderful you can’t even describe it, and then are told not to even try.

Have you been perplexed in your faith, perhaps surprised or confused by what you are reading or experiencing? Think of these disciples in their understanding, or lack thereof, of what being “raised from the dead” could actually mean. They were struggling to sort out what they were seeing. It was so different from the life they had known up to this point.

So many questions, yet they had the benefit of having an audience with Jesus. It seems my list gets longer and longer of things I’d like to ask Jesus when I meet him face to face. Then I realize that when the time comes and I do get those answers, the need for the answers will no longer exist. I’ll be with Jesus! My understanding will be made full. I won’t be able to tell everyone the answers they are all waiting for. It won’t matter. Eternal life with Jesus is the ultimate reward and no question could keep me from desiring that for my future. I hope you have that homing beacon burning bright in you, too, to want eternity with Jesus. No matter what!

Faith. It’s what we need to sustain us. It’s what we need to draw us closer to our Creator. It is the fuel we need for each day to make it through the challenges and distractions. We haven’t had the mountain top experience with bright lights and visitors from heaven to help our faith along. God is cultivating that in us without any intervention by us. We are right with God because of what Jesus did, and that should be our focus and our fuel.

Let’s pray. Lord you are mighty beyond description. Your ways are perfect. When you speak, I bow down in reverence. Help me to hear your voice above all the noise and distractions of this world. Thank you for becoming man to identify with our earthly struggle. I want to be planted securely in your will and ask for your leading. Shed your light on me so that I may burn bright for you, fueled by an unstoppable faith. As I look around, help me to see those who are waiting to hear from you but don’t know how to listen. Help clear my cluttered head so my eyes will be fixed on you alone. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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