The message of the gospel was spread by faithful people across ages and seas. What will you do with it?
The Gospel of Mark
By RightNow Media Featuring Francis Chan
Israel is a beautiful country, both for its landscape and its memorable history. Jesus walked across its soil in human flesh, and the faith we claim today sprang forth as a result. And it’s staggering to consider that truth in comparison to how widespread Christianity is today.
Take a moment to reflect on your journey of faith up to this point. What are the major milestones in your life that led you to your current standing with Jesus?
Now think about the circumstances God has orchestrated to reveal himself to you. He placed specific people in your life to teach you about the faith. He did the same for those people and the people before them as well. All of it started with the story you’re studying in Mark. You have the opportunity to know Jesus Christ today because his disciples were captivated by him, so much so that they shared his truth with others. And that truth crossed borders, transcended languages and travelled across oceans to reach you, all because of people who believed in the need to tell others about this Jesus.
It’s one thing to read about the story of Christianity. It’s quite another to realize that it’s real. Jesus walked on the earth. His best friends lived and died for his sake. Throughout history, men and women just like you have read the words of Mark.
You’re part of that story. What you do with it, however, is up to you. When you finish today’s reading, you’ll close this book and leave it on a shelf or a table. But the story will continue—and you’re a living, breathing part of it. What will you do in light of that story? That good news?
Peek at the Greek
Despite being the shortest of the Gospels, Mark uses the term euangelion (“gospel”) more than all of the others combined. It appears seven times (1:1, 14, 15, 8:35, 10:29, 13:10, 14:9) compared to Matthew’s four. Neither Luke nor John uses the word in their accounts. Clearly, Mark intends to emphasize the “gospel” of Jesus to his readers. Rather than being simply a recycled philosophy or set of doctrines, this good news was unique—revolutionary, even—and sourced in the Son of God made flesh. Mark’s emphasis to his readers is true for us today—the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, provides the hope we long for.
Most of us have a mobile phone. Most of us can’t live without it. Pretty much the entire world changed with the advent of a little computer brick we carry with us wherever we go.
But we’re going to challenge that.
For the next 15 minutes, try putting your phone down. Don’t look at it. Better yet, turn it off entirely. Did you do it? Good.
Now let’s look at the Gospel of Mark. Mark would have probably forgiven his audience for wondering just how unique Jesus really was. After all, most of them were Gentiles, and most of them had heard stories or myths of great heroes.
But in his gospel, Mark doesn’t leave us wondering about the uniqueness of this Jesus. He makes sure we realize that his is the biggest moment in history. And he does it with one word—gospel.
Think back over your life. Describe a moment when life for you completely changed—where you knew the world was going to be different and there was no going back.
All of us have life-changing moments in our personal histories. Maybe our view of the world changed when we realized there was no recess in middle school. Or maybe life transformed when we were in our first car accident.
Mark’s doing something similar. Re-read chapter 1 and pay close attention to the reactions of the people to Jesus. Now think about your phone—have you been able to keep your mind off it so far?
We’ve gotten used to—addicted to, really—the life-altering technology of a mobile phone. But there was a time where it changed everything.
In a similar fashion, if we’ve been in the Christian world for any length of time, it’s easy to forget that Jesus showing up on the scene was a huge deal. Just like people line up for the next iPhone, so too were people lining up to see Jesus.
Before ending today’s study, take three more minutes (leave the phone off!) to talk to God. Ask that he open your eyes afresh to the life-altering reality of Jesus-come-to-earth. Then listen. Leave the rest of the time empty and listen to what God brings to your mind.
Taken from The Gospel of Mark Study Guide. Copyright© 2018 by RightNow Ministries International, McKinney, Texas. Used by permission. All rights reserved.