The second book of the NT (one of the four Gospels), having 16 chapters. It was written by John Mark about AD 55. He was not one of the 12 disciples, but accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey (Act 12:25). Time to read: 1 hr 45 mins.
Key people: Jesus, disciples, religious leaders.
Outline. After a short mention of John the Baptist who “came to prepare the way for the Lord” by “preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” it focuses on Jesus who also proclaimed “The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news...That is why I have come” (Mk 1:3,4,14,15,38). Then this action-packed book moves into the public ministry of Jesus – who showed in practical demonstrations the outworking of the Kingdom of God – having compassion on the people, healing the sick, delivering those oppressed of evil spirits and teaching those who were hungry for the truth, but challenging the unscriptural, man-made rules of the religious leaders and warning against their teaching (Mk 6:34, 7:8-13). His powerful ministry infuriated them and led to His betrayal and crucifixion. After His resurrection He gave further instruction for us, His followers.
Main lesson. This concise gospel presents Jesus as a servant, “who came not to be served but to serve and give His life for many” (Mk 10:44,45). Am I ‘other focused’ or predominately a self-centered person? We are to “Love God with our whole being and our neighbour as our self” (Mk 12:30,31).
Key verses and thoughts: * “If I touch Him I will be made well” (Mk 5:28,34, 6:56). Although this was the reasoning of a desperate woman who had run out of options the response of Jesus to this expression of belief and action, was “Your faith has healed you” (Mk 7:25-30). Am I determined to press through any obstacle to obtain what I need? Victory is the result of fighting a battle and winning. Faith involves action; otherwise, it is just dreaming which will not bring about any change. Don’t be overwhelmed by what appears to be against you. His words to us are, “Don't be afraid, just believe” and allow the Lord to work a miracle in your life (Mk 5:21-24,35-43). “Everything is possible to him who believes” (Mk 9:23,24, 11:12-14,20-24).
* Jesus stretched the disciples by challenging them to put into practice what He had taught them – “You meet the need” (Mk 6:7-12,37). His dealings with us are not just for our own personal benefit but He blesses us that we might be a blessing to others. Growth can be scary but the only way to advance is to step out (or be pushed) from our comfort zone, to do what we have never done before, and see Him work through us. This will cause us to be reliant on God and, because it is extending His kingdom, will bring glory to Him.
* The Great Commission was given: “Go into the entire world and preach the good news, heal and extend my Kingdom by signs accomplished in my name…They went and the Lord worked with them and confirmed His Word by the signs that accompanied it” (Mk 16:15-20). This mandate still applies today to all believers. God will back up His promises. If we are doing what He has instructed us to do, we can confidently expect to see similar results. However we are not to test God by putting ourselves in dangerous situations or presuming on His mercy, so we need to watch and be on our guard against deception (Mk 13:5,9,23).
See also: disciples of Jesus, faith, gospel, Great Commission, John Mark, servant/serving.