PURSUING JESUS ‘19
Welcome to Mark!
Mark’s Gospel is in a hurry! The word “immediately” (or it’s English synonym) is used at least 40 times! Whenever you read anything in Mark’s gospel he’s already moving on to the next thing! Not only is Mark the shortest gospel, the story itself is told with urgency. As you read this action oriented gospel, see how many times you catch Mark advancing the action of the story by using the word “immediately.”
What was Mark in a hurry to accomplish? Mark relentlessly marches us to the cross! One New Testament scholar said Mark is really a passion narrative with an extended prologue. Of course he was using hyperbole to make a point but the point is well taken. Consider this- Mark does not include the nativity or “birth narrative.” He does not include a version of the Sermon on the Mount. He rarely mentions the names of the Apostles. Most of the time, even when Mark mentions Jesus teaching, he doesn’t bother to tell us what He taught-he only mentions that He taught! Why does Mark seem to abbreviate the story of Jesus?
Mark is in a hurry to move the story to the cross. At least a third of Mark’s gospel deals with the last week of Jesus’ life! It’s not an exaggeration to say Mark is the Gospel of the Suffering Servant! It’s the Gospel of the cross!
As you read Mark, underline or highlight the times and places where the sacrificial death of Jesus is mentioned or taught. By doing this you will get a strong sense of what Mark is all about.
Our memory verse for Mark is Mark 1:15
and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
Read it several times a day out loud using the same translation. By doing so the verse will lodge itself into your memory. Mark has 16 chapters so you have over 2 weeks to memorize this short but powerful verse. You can do it if you commit to doing it daily!
Let’s get started. Let’s read the Gospel of Mark.