The Good News according to Mark

by Ray Hawkins

The man

What we know of Mark is filtered through the New Testament. The first mention reveals the spiritual atmosphere in which he lived, Acts 12:12. His cousin was the lovely man called Barnabas, Colossians 4:10, who took Mark along with Paul on a missionary journey. Mark for some reason left the team. This caused a heated argument at a future date when Barnabas wanted to give him another chance but Paul refused and went off with another team Acts 15:36-40, Mark is the man who seized the second chance to serve the Lord and proved himself to the extent that even Paul considered him favourably in 2 Timothy 4:11.

The apostle Peter in 1 Peter 5:13 looks on him as a son. This arose apparently from the fact of sharing with Peter in ministry. This man with the second chance is credited with being the scribe for Peter’s messages. These make up the bulk of the Gospel of Mark.

The Gospel

Mark presents to us a portrait of Jesus as the Servant. Two concepts are wrapped up in this term. To the Gentile understanding this meant a person without status, someone who works but his history is unimportant. This explains the absence of any genealogy or nativity accounts.

The other concept is from the Jewish/Biblical viewpoint. In their Scriptures this term is one of honour and prestige. Moses is called the servant, so too Israel and the promised Messiah. Mark seems to weave both ideas together through his account. He confronts us after the humiliation of the cross with the wonder that this Servant has been revealed by His resurrection as the Lord and Messiah (Mark 16:19-20).

Because Jesus is the Servant we are presented with Him fulfilling that role. He serves the people by such means as healings, feeding the multitude, proclaiming the Kingdom of God and submitting Himself to the atrocious treatment of so called ‘superiors’. All of this was because Jesus saw Himself predominately the Servant of Yahweh. Jesus was on earth to do the will of the Father and though this led to the cross His obedience became our salvation and much, much more! Truly Jesus is the Suffering and triumphant Servant of Isaiah 53.

It’s considered that Mark recorded the messages of Peter who was also a man of action. Therefore it isn’t strange that as you read the Gospel you are struck by its fast pace. Key words are ‘immediately’, ‘straightway’, and ‘forthwith’ (depending on translation used). This presentation is for the person who wants the facts unembellished, a man or woman intent on assessing Jesus by what He does.

As you read the account the awareness creeps up on you that there is something unique about Jesus. A desire to know more about Him in other aspects of His nature, dealings and achievements grows strong and insistent. Here is part of the reason for the other three Gospels. Matthew gives us an understanding of Jesus from the Jewish perspective. Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of Man and Son of God. Luke presents Jesus as the Second Adam, God’s ideal man while John unveils Jesus as the Lord of Glory.

There is so much waiting for you within Mark’s writings about Jesus and also about being His disciple. Read it, underline what speaks to you or record it in a journal. Then avail yourself of a good commentary suitable for your needs. You will discover this Jesus is still the Servant caring for His Church and World and wants to take you on His journey to cause others to say of Him, “My Lord and My God”!

© Ray Hawkins. 2012.

Who am I?

I began my life’s journey in 1938 so you can see I’ve outgrown my youthful zest. Raised in Rockdale, a Sydney suburb of NSW I grew up in a typical (if such exists) working class home. My father was a returned soldier. Enjoyed sport and Sunday School but not State schools. I have 2 sisters and 1 brother all younger than I.

I made a decision for Christ around 12 years of age but didn’t really become serious until around 18 years. I began work at 15 as a labourer. The 1959 Billy Graham Crusade in Sydney impacted me greatly. That and a new minister at Church caused me to think about the Christian Ministry. Entered Bible College in 1960 aged 21 and enjoyed 4 years of studies, inter-action and being chiselled and shaped by God in heart and mind. I met my future wife, Mary in my final year. She was doing a two year course. We married in 1964 and have three children.

Now retired after 40 years of ministry I stand in awe of God’s faithfulness and guidance. Mary and I were church planters and often self supporting. Three short term mission trips to Africa in our more senior years also was a wonderful and humbling experience. It triggered also my writing career as a poet and devotional author.

http://rayhawkinsauthor.blogspot.com

http://www.evenbeforepublishing.com/rayhawkins.html

http://www.internationalchristianfictionwriters.blogspot.com

http://www.mary-hawkins.com

http://www.seahorse-australia.com.au

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Book Recommendation: Asenath by Anna Patricio

Back cover blurb:

Two Destinies…One Journey of Love

In a humble fishing village on the shores of the Nile lives Asenath, a fisherman’s daughter who has everything she could want. Until her perfect world is shattered.

When a warring jungle tribe ransacks the village and kidnaps her, separating her from her parents, she is forced to live as a slave. And she begins a journey that will culminate in the meeting of a handsome and kind steward named Joseph.

Like her, Joseph was taken away from his home, and it is in him that Asenath comes to find solace…and love. But just as they are beginning to form a bond, Joseph is betrayed by his master’s wife and thrown into prison.

Is Asenath doomed to a lifetime of losing everything and everyone she loves?

Narelle: I really enjoyed reading Asenath and I gained many insights into life in Ancient Egypt. I find it fascinating to read books set during Biblical times from the perspective of other cultures. The Egyptians feared the God of the Israelites for many reasons.

The fictionalised account of Asenath and Joseph’s journey to love revealed their strength of character as they endured many hardships. He was sold into slavery by his brothers and was later imprisoned due to the false testimony from his Egyptian master’s wife. Joseph is a beloved hero of the Bible who provided food and shelter for his family in Egypt during the famine. I recommend this book, by an Australian author, to those looking for an exciting historical romance set during Biblical times.

Read first chapter FREE at Amazon.com

Community Day: Meet Ray Hawkins from Australia

I’d like to welcome Ray Hawkins to our blog today. Ray’s group is from Tasmania and has 12 regular group members.

Narelle: Please share with us something unique about your group.

Ray: We comprise folk from various Australian states, Wales, England and South Africa.

Narelle: Where does your group meet?

Ray:  We meet primarily in homes on a rotating basis.

Narelle: What is your group currently studying?

Ray: We have just finished a series on the life of King David. This was done in conjunction with the Sunday sermon. We begin a 4 month Discipleship program next. Part of our purpose is to offer opportunities to each person to lead a study time. Not all will accept but the offer is there.

Narelle: What do you like about your group?

Group members: What we enjoy about our group is the acceptance of views and a willingness to share stories. There is also the opportunity for interested folk to lead.

Narelle: Does your group have a favourite food or activity?

Group members:  We don’t have a meal as such. After studies we have the proverbial ‘cuppa’ and cake.

Narelle: Why do you think it is important to belong to a Bible Study group?

Group members: The importance of belonging to the group is mutual support, discovering new insights for living the Christian life in a meaningful way. Although not as such an accountability group, we do look out for each other and assist in the tough times which come.

Thank you Ray for visiting with us today and giving us an insight into your group.

Ray: Who am I?

I began my life’s journey in 1938 so you can see I’ve outgrown my youthful zest. Raised in Rockdale, a Sydney suburb of NSW I grew up in a typical (if such exists) working class home. My father was a returned soldier. Enjoyed sport and Sunday School but not State schools. I have 2 sisters and 1 brother all younger than I.

I made a decision for Christ around 12 years of age but didn’t really become serious until around 18 years. I began work at 15 as a labourer. The 1959 Billy Graham Crusade in Sydney impacted me greatly. That and a new minister at Church caused me to think about the Christian Ministry. Entered Bible College in 1960 aged 21 and enjoyed 4 years of studies, inter-action and being chiselled and shaped by God in heart and mind. I met my future wife, Mary in my final year. She was doing a two year course. We married in 1964 and have three children.

Now retired after 40 years of ministry I stand in awe of God’s faithfulness and guidance. Mary and I were church planters and often self supporting. Three short term mission trips to Africa in our more senior years also was a wonderful and humbling experience. It triggered also my writing career as a poet and devotional author.

http://www.evenbeforepublishing.com/rayhawkins.html

http://www.mary-hawkins.com

http://www.christianwritersdownunder.blogspot.com

http://www.internationalchristianfictionwriters.blogspot.com

http://www.creationresearch.net

http://www.omegawriters.com

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We hope you’ve been encouraged by hearing about Ray’s group. If you’d like your group to be featured in a Community Day post, please contact us at: community [at] 30minutebiblestudies [dot] com

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We’re giving away a copy of Ray’s Devotion Children: God’s Special Interest to a reader with an Aussie mailing address who comments on our June 14 post by midnight on Tuesday, June 19 AEST. Please check out our June 14 Book Recommendation and giveaway post for more information.

Book Recommendation and book giveaway – Children: God’s Special Interest by Ray Hawkins

Back Cover Blurb:

31 Biblical devotions on God’s Heart for Children. Ray Hawkins has a heart for children. In these devotions he quotes scripture and helps us really meditate on God’s heart for children. Rediscover God’s Word about children. Refresh your heart with God’s love for Children. Rekindle passion to be their example for Christ honour. Reflect on God’s special Interest.

Narelle: Ray Hawkins illuminates scripture by showing us what the Bible has to say about children and parenting. Each devotion is grounded in Biblical truth and provides us with an understanding of the magnitude of God’s deep and abiding love for His precious children. We learn about the special responsibilities given to parents and carers regarding how they can love and nurture the children in their care.

Practical parenting tips and pearls of wisdom are included and the devotions are written in an easy to read conversational style. The Reflection/Action section at the end of each devotion challenges us to think about our relationships with the children in our lives and how we can put into practice Godly principles. I highly recommend this devotion, especially to parents and carers.

Today we are giving away a print copy of Children: God’s Special Interest to a reader with an Australian mailing address who comments on this post before midnight on Tuesday, June 19  (Australian Eastern Standard Time).

Please include your name with your comment and leave an email address [ ] at [ ] dot [ ] where you can be reached or remember to check our blog post on Thursday, June 21 when we will announce the winner. You can follow our blog by email, Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page to receive notifications of new blog posts. We will do a redraw if we are unable to contact the giveaway winner by the end of June.

“Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.”

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Sample the beginning of this book for FREE at Amazon.com