It’s important to note that each Gospel has a particular audience in mind. The Gospel of Mark was written primarily to Gentile believers in Rome. The lack of genealogies and OT references further corroborate Mark’s emphasis on a Gentile audience. Question: Who was Mark? Mark was a cousin of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10) and accompanied Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey (Acts 12:25). Mark was also very close to the Apostle Peter and it is believed that Mark ascertained his information directly from Peter about the life of Christ. The Gospel of Mark pictures Jesus as a “servant” which the Gentile audience would have been able to relate to. We see the humanity of Christ more vividly in Mark’s Gospel. The writing of the Gospel was probably around in the 50’s AD.
Vs. 7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Paul writes quite an intense appeal to Timothy in the wake of his impending death. Timothy was to preach the word (vs. 2) and be a messenger of the Gospel to others! Question: Why was this so important? Because in the last days, people will turn from sound doctrine and truth (vs. 3-5). Paul knew his time was coming to an end and would reflect upon his life (vs. 6-8). Paul urged Timothy to come quickly to Rome and bring Mark before winter (vs. 9-18). We see the value of the relationships God blesses us with. But we also see another sad reality of the Christian life is that some will forsake us. However, Paul knew ultimately that the Lord was always with him (vs. 17-18). Even with Paul facing death, he still thought of others as he closes his last letter (vs. 19-22)
Regarding application…Be Prepared. Vs. 2, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” Question: Be prepared for what? To preach the Word of God! It may be easy to dismiss this personal exhortation and think it doesn’t apply to us. Because we too live in the last days, there will be many false doctrines. Paul and Timothy were not the only ones as we were reminded in this letter that were being prepared to stand up for the truth. The very fact that we are here today is evidence that throughout the centuries, people have been prepared to speak the truth and even die for it. Brothers and sisters, unlike athletes who prepare for a season of time in the year to compete, we must be ready in season and out of season. We are always “on call” when it comes to our duty as a soldier for Christ.
Vs. 4, “But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.” Question: Did Jesus use his mighty strength to roll away the rock? Did he need it to get out of the cave? I think not. The rock was rolled away for the benefit of the women who came to pay their respect for Jesus. And this death on the cross is now life through the resurrection! The resurrection reminds us that Jesus was victorious over the enemy! We also see the apostles were given extra power through signs and wonders early on (vs. 17-18), they did not have the completed Bible at that time.
Regarding application…Do you believe? Vs. 11, “When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.” Question: Can we blame them? They were in mourning because Jesus’ death was so abrupt and so violent. Jesus’ public ministry was shorter than just one term of our President in the US. And the excruciating pain and quick death on the cross was especially sobering. This isn’t shared for us to rebuke the followers of Jesus, rather, it is shared to remind us we don’t believe in someone who was defeated. When life seems hopeless and we are against the ropes…will you believe that Jesus can help you overcome? Let go of your doubts and trust in the Lord!
Vs. 14, “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” When I think about the response of the crowds, I wonder…how would I have responded? How would I have responded if I was one of Jesus’ disciples during this time? It was a chaotic last 24 hours for Jesus and all the disciples. I still can’t bying myself to watch the movie Passion again. I’ve watched it once, and cringe at the very thought of watching it again. Yet, this is what Jesus did for me, this is what Jesus did for you. Take some time in your busy day and evening to reflect upon this chapter and thank the Lord Jesus! I hope one day I can grasp His amazing love to the full extent, but until that day, I pray we all keep reminding our hearts of Jesus’ love!
Vs. 32, “They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” We are reminded of this fateful night. Yet, in the midst of it, we see Jesus not running, but being ready for it all! Question: Are you ready? Jesus was. He was obedient and ready to die for us so that we could have life through Him. It’s time to prepare our own lives as an offering to Him!
Vs. 8, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.” The death toll from the earthquake in Turkey is now 279 as I send out this QT. Let’s pray for Turkey and that the Lord would use the Christians who are there as comforters and witnesses in this time of chaos. In this chapter, we have Jesus remind us of the signs of the end of age. We live in a pretty crazy time, though we do not not the hour or day…let us be ready!
Vs. 12, “Then they looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.” Sinners and murderers, yet….cowards! Jesus called them out in the parable of the tenants (vs. 1-12). But they were persistent and continued to try to trap Jesus to get the momentum on their side. They would go on to challenge Jesus on paying taxes (vs. 13-17), the Sadducees would give a hypothetical scenario based on the Old Testament law of marriage…with a twist of afterlife. Yet, they didn’t believe in the resurrection, so they used this story in a way to mock Jesus. But Jesus would reveal their ignorance of Scripture. We are reminded of the greatest commandment question (vs. 28-34), Jesus being the son and a Lord (vs. 35-40) and lastly, we are reminded of what is honoring to the Lord in what we give (vs. 41-44).
Regarding application…Giving Rightfully. Vs. 44, “They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Question: How much are we to give to Jesus? Whether we give 10%, 20% or give our time and devote to church…in the end it is inconsequential. Believe me…God doesn’t need our money or our time to further His church. God is honored when we give with the right heart! Question: What kind of heart are you giving God? A child that spent a whole hour coloring a page on a book to give to their daddy can be far more touching to him than somoene who gives him a $100 gift card for his birthday from his corporate job. As we grow in the Lord, don’t let the enemy fool you into a wordly view of giving. When you come to church this weekend, check your heart and give your spiritual offering and you’re physical offering with a right heart!
Vs. 3, “If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.” I think that’s a pretty good reason to give him your colt. Jesus is about to enter Jerusalem outside of Bethany (2.5 miles away). The Mount of Olives is elevated about 2600 feet, so it gives a beautiful view of Jerusalem. As Jesus entered Jerusalem, from the Roman perspective it was inconsequential (vs. 1-11). Their leader would ride on a chariot with many armed soldier’s, and here is Jesus riding on a donkey. Though, for the Jews, riding on a donkey was significant because only kings would do such a thing. We then are reminded of the fig tree (12-14, 20-26)…I’ll talk about that in the applicationj. Additionally, we see Jesus clear out the Temple from those who were making it a den of thieves (vs. 15-19). And lastly, we see Jesus show the weakness and pride of the chief priests, teachers of the law and elders as they came to challenge him.
Regarding application...Are You Bearing Fruit? Vs. 14, “Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.” This is a very interesting section because figs were not in season. Yet, when Jesus came up to this tree, He was expecting it to have figs. Question: Huh? Isn’t that illogical on Jesus’ part? Of course, the fig tree represented Israel. Now, how does this apply to us? You see…there are times in our lives when we are not bearing fruit. Times when we are in the valley of life, times when we are so busy…yet, Jesus still expects to see fruit in our lives. Even though it was not the season for it from our logical perspective…there is always a season for spiritual fruit from Jesus’ perspective. It’s time to start bearing fruit brothers and sisters! Review Galatians 5:22-23 and decide what you want to produce today!
Vs. 45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” And Jesus did exactly that…He came to serve. Many of us remember these events from the Gospel of Matthew that transpired in this chapter. The hardened hearts of those who wanted to justify divorce in their lives (vs. 1-12), the joy and beauty of little children (vs. 13-16), the desires for the riches of this world (vs. 17-31), The reaffirmation of Jesus’ obedience on the road to the cross (vs. 32-34), the selfish & ignorant request of James & John (vs. 35-44) and lastly, the healing of Bartimaeus (vs. 46-52).
Regarding application…Do You Need Mercy? Vs. 48, “Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” To understand this scene, what we want to realize is as Jesus was making his way through the cities…many crowds began to increase. Among all the loud cries for help and people seeking out interest in Jesus, we see Bartimaeus. Some scholar’s say, “Son of David” caught Jesus’ attention because not many addressed him with such a title. Notice how others in the crowd tried to silence Bartimaeus, but that would not discourage him. In our own lives, we have those who try to discourage us from crying out to God. But don’t let that stop you! A sinner needs mercy, a righteous person pats themselves on the back….Which one are you? Do you need mercy? If so, take the time to cry out to Jesus today! Mercy triumphs over judgement because of the blood!
Vs. 1, “And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.” Jesus was talking about the very next event we see in this chapter, the Transfiguration (vs. 2-12). In a way, this was Jesus’ moment of validation and preperation before he would enter into Jerusalem. It is not coincidence or bad luck that Jesus would come back down from the mountain to see all the chaos in the valley. The people were agruing (vs. 14) and there was a poor boy who was demon-possessed. When Jesus casted out the demon, It’s interesting to note that it wasn’t just a command to the demon, but Jesus had to also pray (vs. 29). Instead of rebuking the disciples about their selfish desires for greatness in the midst of our Lord’s anguish…Jesus patiently teaches them about kingdom truths (vs. 33-37). We also see a twinge a jealousy from the disciples that Jesus quenches from their emotion (vs. 38-41). And lastly, We must realize the ultimate ending of those who have turned from God and do our best to further his kingdom (vs. 42-50).
Regarding application…Everything is Possible! Vs. 23, “If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Question: How is everything possible? If you believe. At some point, we all must make a leap of faith in trusting completely in Jesus. And don’t misunderstand what Jesus is implying here. The context shows us that the disciples lacked faith in carrying out something under the umbrella of “God’s Will”. “Everything” certainly than corresponds to that which would be under the realm of what God can do and will do through us. This is not some magic, hocus pocus…wave a wand like Harry Potter. God does not answer our beckon call like genie in a bottle. But, God can do things our doubt may think is impossible! Question: What are things in your life that seem impossible? God is bigger than all of our troubles. Cast your burden’s upon the Lord and He wil lift you up!