This week at Crossover we started talking about the book of Mark.
We discussed who Mark was:
- An assistant to Paul and Barnabas on their missions trips.
- Assistant to Peter and the one who recorded Peter’s message; what we now call the gospel of Mark.
- He had a falling out with Paul but later the two became good friends.
We also read through Mark 1:1-11. Some key takeaways:
- Mark gets right into the story- no long background is given like in the other three gosples.
- It’s important to Mark (and us) that Jesus was the Messiah- the anointed one. He was given power and authority by God to do for us what we could never do for ourselves.
- In the first story about Jesus we see that God is pleased with Him already- even though He hasn’t done anything yet. Jesus brought joy to God just by being His Son.
- We jumped to Romans 8:29 and talked about how because of Jesus, we can also be God’s children. This means that just by our simple act of faith we now please God the same way- by just being His children.
- God’s joy in us is not based on our performance, but on Jesus.
- Is it surprising that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are all retellings of the same story?
- What do you think a benefit of having 4 different perspectives is?
- Mark once gave up while on a missions trip- but then was used by God as the first person to ever write down the gospel. What does this tell us about our own failures?
- Why is it important that Jesus is the “Messiah” or “Anointed One”?
- The prophets predicted that John would come to prepare the way for Jesus. Do you know any other prophecies from the Old Testament that Jesus fulfilled?
- Have you ever thought about yourself as bringing God joy?
- If you knew God was pleased with you, how do you think it would affect your life?
We are starting a new series, about the book of Mark. We are going to start at Mark 1 and just be going straight through.
Mark is one of 4 accounts in the new testament that gives us the story of Jesus’s life.
Do you know what the other 3 are?
- Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John
Of the 4, how many were written by the 12 apostles Jesus called?
- 2: Matthew and John
Mark was not an apostle, but he and his mother were some of the first followers of Jesus. Mark went with Paul on his first missionary journey but ended up quitting and heading home. This made Paul pretty mad for abandoning them.
Later when Paul was getting ready for another missionary journey Paul’s partner, Barnabas wanted to give Mark another chance, but Paul “was like no way Jose”.
Eventually, Paul and Mark would become friends again and Paul would actually ask for Mark’s help.
Mark went on to work very closely with the Apostle Peter, and that’s how he ends up writing the gospel of Mark. Mark was not there as an apostle, but Peter was. But Mark is the one who actually records Peter’s story about Jesus.
Mark was the first gospel written, it’s the shortest, and is very action-oriented. He doesn’t spend a lot of time on details like Luke, and He doesn’t spend a lot of time philosophizing or explaining what things mean like John. Mark just lists the facts and focuses on the actions of Jesus.
Mark focuses on the miracles of Jesus more than the other authors. He also makes a point to show people’s reactions to Jesus’s message.
How many of you like action movies?
You like movies that get right to the point, don’t spend time focusing on the background or the character development. Just let me see the explosions right? Mark is the action gospel. He gets right to it.
Mark 1:1 This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.
The other 3 gospels start with some back story or explanation or family tree. Mark says “here is the story about Jesus. By the way, He is the Messiah, the Son of God.
How many of you love clickbait?
You know, when someone posts an article or a video with a really interesting headline, and it’s so interesting you have to click on it, but then you get there and you’re like- this wasn’t anything like what the headline promised.
Headlines like these:
Mark doesn’t do this at all. Right from the start, he tells you what the story is about and what he thinks.
Mark 1:1 This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.
Mark 1:1-3 This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. It began just as the prophet Isaiah had written:
“Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
and he will prepare your way.
He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!
Clear the road for him!’”
And how did it begin? Mark says this story we are about to hear about Jesus ties into a much larger story. Mark is letting us know he didn’t make this story up. And in fact, this story actually was predicted by prophets in Israel long ago.
Kinda like how the first Starwars movie ever made was actually episode 4. We were thrown right into the middle of a story at the main action, but there is a ton of back story, and in order to know that back story Mark is saying you’re going to have to go read Isaiah’s book.
But he gives us a summary of the whole old testament- That Jesus is the Messiah, and that there would come a messenger to prepare people for that Messiah.
Does anyone know what Messiah means?
It means anointed one. It means one whom God has given the power to do something.
In Hebrew, it’s the word maschiach, and in Greek it’s the word Christos, from which we get the word Christ.
So Jesus the Messiah and Jesus Christ mean the exact same thing. It means Jesus is the one whom God has placed his power on, and from the old testament, we know that God was sending this Messiah to rescue His people, and to set up a never-ending kingdom.
We’re told a messenger will come before the Messiah to let us know He is coming. Mark tells us that messenger is John the Baptist.
Mark 1:9-15 One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”
In this first story about Jesus, we see a few things:
- We see all 3 members of the Trinity- Father, Son, and Spirit.
- We see God’s empowering and public endorsement of Jesus’s ministry.
- We see that Jesus brings God great joy.
And I want to draw attention to that last one- that Jesus brings God great joy. That’s important because this is the first story about Jesus. This is the beginning. He hasn’t done anything yet!
Jesus hasn’t healed anyone, casted out a demon, or raised the dead yet. He hasn’t shown love to the hurting, and He hasn’t even preached yet. And God is already pleased with Him. He already brings God great joy.
Why? Because He is God’s Son.
Jesus didn’t do anything to make God love Him. God loves Him because He is His Son.
And this is important because this also applies to us. I’m jumping ahead a bit here so spoiler- Jesus dies. But another spoiler- He comes back to life. And we are told that by Jesus’s sacrifice for us, we can become God’s children.
We’re told that we don’t have to do anything to earn God’s love, that just by simple faith in Him, we can be transformed into His children.
And if you are His child, just like Jesus, then that means He is also pleased with you. That means you bring God great joy. Just by you’re simple act of faith and trust.
Have you ever thought about that? You bring God joy.
I think we want to please God, but so often we try so hard and think we have to be good enough, pray enough, read enough, give enough. We see our own failure and think man God must be so disappointed in me.
But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Because of His great grace, and your small measure of faith God is adamant about showing His acceptance and approval of you.
And we could go on, we are only halfway through the first chapter of Mark, but I wanted to stop there to really let this point hit home.
We didn’t do anything to make God love us. We can’t do anything to please Him. But Jesus did. And God is so thrilled with what Jesus has done that He has decided to reward all of us.
You ever have a sibling that did something awesome or had an achievement, and you also got the benefits?
Like maybe they did really good on a test or at a game or at a recital and your parents are like we need to go out and celebrate! So you get ice cream or pizza or something.
Like- it was their performance- yet you also get the reward. You didn’t do anything- you were just there watching it happen- and then all of a sudden you are getting the benefits of their work.
That’s the same claim the Bible is making. The Bible says that because of Jesus we can become children of God. In fact, it says we can become co-heirs with Jesus.
Romans 8:29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
Jesus is that older brother that stepped in to help us, to stand up for us. He is the one that made this great achievement, and even though we are on the sidelines, our Father is so pleased with our older brother Jesus that He has decided to reward us as if we did what Jesus did.
I don’t know about you, but that makes me fall in love all the more with Jesus. It fills me with confidence knowing that God is pleased with me because of Jesus, even though I make mistakes. And it makes me want to strive all the more to live like Jesus, because I know that my life brings joy to God.
And I hope you know that too.
QUESTIONS ABOUT MARK
1: Read Acts 13:4-5. What does it tell us about “John Mark”?
2: Read Acts 13:13-14 and Acts 15:36-40. What do we learn about “John Mark”? What did Paul think of him?
3: Read 2 Timothy 4:11. It was written by Paul much later. What does it show us about Paul and Mark’s relationship now?
4: Read 1 Peter 5:13. What does it tell us about Peter and Mark’s relationship?