Learn more about reading the Bible in one year here.
by Ray Hawkins
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.
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.
by Deborah Horscroft
The miracles that Jesus performed have long been held by Christians as a proof of his identity as the Son of God, indeed Jesus condemns the teachers of the law for calling God’s miracle of casting out demons, performed through Jesus, an act of “evil”.
In his book “Miracles”, C.S. Lewis eloquently explains the “nature” of Jesus’ miracles. “…the Incarnate God does suddenly and locally something that God has and will do in general. Each miracle writes for us in small letters something that God has already written, or will write, in letters almost too large to be noticed, across the whole canvas of nature… Their authenticity is attested by the style.” (pp138-9)
C.S.Lewis goes on to state that in the case of the miraculous feedings as recorded in Mark’s gospel, Jesus’ miracle involves “the multiplication of a little bread and a little fish into much bread and much fish. Once in the desert Satan had tempted Him to make bread of stones: He refused the suggestion. “The Son does nothing except what He sees the Father do”… Every year God makes a little corn into much corn: the seed is sown and there is an increase… It was He who at the beginning commanded all species “to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.” And now, that day, at the feeding of the thousands, incarnate God does the same: does close and small under His human hands, a workman’s hands, what He has always been doing in the seas, the lakes and the little brooks.” (pp140-1)
Source: Like Father, Like Son. Miracles: A Preliminary Study by CS Lewis (Fount 1974)
by Narelle Atkins
A question that was recently raised in my Bible Study group was how should we pray? Is there a right way to pray? Morning or evening? Group prayer or solitary prayer?
In Mark 1 we are given an insight into Jesus’ relationship with his heavenly Father.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35
I’m not naturally a morning person who will wake when the sun rises. For a number of week in the dead of winter, I was getting up in the dark and driving in below zero temperatures to my local gym. It was a struggle to drag myself out of bed and get there in time for my class. My alarm would sound and I’d think about how I’d really like to ignore the alarm and go back to sleep in my warm and cosy bed.
Jesus prioritised spending time in prayer with His Father. He sacrificed the comfort of sleeping in to have uninterrupted and solitary prayer time. Are we prepared to make sacrifices to ensure we are spending time with the Lord in prayer? Do you have a regular time each day that you dedicate to prayer? How can we follow Jesus’ example in the way we prioritise prayer in our daily lives?