This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I will focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!
The Big Picture of Mark:
Mark’s Gospel telling of Jesus’ life was likely the first of the four written. While some feel it leaves some key pieces out (like Jesus’ birth), once it was discovered that it came first and others likely built their versions off of his adding in details that were important to them individually. Where Matthew seemed to focus in on proving that Jesus was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament Prophesies, Mark seems to focus in on the action of the story–what Jesus DID. Often this book as described as being in two main sections. The first (1:1-8:26) focuses on Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. The other half of the book is given entirely to the events surrounding Jesus suffering, death, and resurrection beginning with Jesus’ own prediction that it would happen. One key story in chapter 8 provides the shift between these two parts. Jesus is walking with His disciples and asks them who people say He is. Eventually he gets direct and asks: “But who do YOU say that I am?” (8:29 emphasis added). Peter simply replies: “You are the Messiah”. From this point on, there is one focus in the book leading straight up to the crucifixion and Jesus rising from the dead.
Discipleship Opportunities in Mark:
One key pattern we see various places in Mark is Jesus saying something, the disciples failing to understand or act, and then Jesus using that as a teaching opportunity. We see three of these close to each other in chapters 8, 9, and 10*, all related to Jesus’ own predictions about His death:
- 8:31 – Jesus tells the disciples that he will suffer, be rejected, killed and rise after three days
- Peter rebukes Jesus (8:32-33) saying that can’t really happen.
- Jesus calls them to deny themselves, take up their own cross and follow him (8:33-9:1)
- 9:30-31 – Jesus says again that he will be killed and rise after three days
- The disciples don’t get it and stay quiet not wanting to ask him about it. (9:32)
- Jesus uses the chance to tell them that the first must be last and talks about welcoming children in His name. (9:33-50)
- 10:33-34 – Jesus’s third prediction about his condemnation, mocking, flogging, crucifixion and resurrection.
- James and John ask if they can sit right next to Jesus in Heaven. (10:35-37)
- Jesus teaches that to be great they must become servants and that he came to give up his life to serve many. (10:38-45)
* based off a chart in the ESV Global Study Bible, found online here.
A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:
Some of us are planning to read through the whole book or books each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse per book. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.
- “In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.” Mark 1:35
REFLECTION: When and where have you found most useful to connect with the Father? What benefits might there be in mimicking Jesus and starting your day like this?
- “Then he asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ …” Mark 8:29
REFLECTION: This is perhaps the most important question we can answer in our lives and WITH our lives. Who do YOU say that Jesus is? How would respond in everyday words to someone who asked you this question.
- “Then Jesus said, ‘Let us go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.’ He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.” Mark 6:31
REFLECTION:Whether this or another story you read, reflect on what it tells you about Jesus’ character, nature, and heart. What can you learn about him from even one verse?
Why Mark is Important Today:
As I mentioned before, it is likely that Mark’s gospel is the first written account of Jesus’ life. This has enormous importance not just in history, but in seeing the Bible as accurate and true today. Also, because Mark put great effort into showing how Jesus lived, it helps us figure out what our lives can look like. Mark’s version of the great commission includes listing the types of things those who believe in Jesus will be about and do in their lives. These imitate the things Jesus did in His life on earth. We can be about the things He was about namely bringing restoration, hope, and salvation to the whole world one life at a time.
Some Other Resources:
- The Bible Project summary video of Mark
- A Pinterest board with resources and pictures for Mark
- The 66 in 52 Schedule and Tracking Sheet
So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!