Welcome to the Gospel of Mark – 4-1-22

Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”
Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”
 Mark 1:40-41 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Mark chapter 1 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in [a]the Prophets:

“Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.”
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.’ ”

John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance [b]for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.

Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

John Baptizes Jesus

It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And immediately, coming up [c]from the water, He saw the heavens [d]parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. 11 Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Satan Tempts Jesus

12 Immediately the Spirit [e]drove Him into the wilderness. 13 And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.

Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry

14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel [f]of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God [g]is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Four Fishermen Called as Disciples

16 And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 17 Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

19 When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets. 20 And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him.

Jesus Casts Out an Unclean Spirit

21 Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. 22 And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

23 Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”

25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, [h]“Be quiet, and come out of him!” 26 And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him. 27 Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, [i]“What is this? What new [j]doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” 28 And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.

Peter’s Mother-in-Law Healed

29 Now as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once. 31 So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them.

Many Healed After Sabbath Sunset

32 At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.

Preaching in Galilee

35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a [k]solitary place; and there He prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. 37 When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.”

38 But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.”

39 And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons.

Jesus Cleanses a Leper

40 Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”

41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. 43 And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

45 However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.

Footnotes

  1. Mark 1:2 NU Isaiah the prophet
  2. Mark 1:4 Or because of forgiveness
  3. Mark 1:10 NU out of
  4. Mark 1:10 torn open
  5. Mark 1:12 sent Him out
  6. Mark 1:14 NU omits of the kingdom
  7. Mark 1:15 has drawn near
  8. Mark 1:25 Lit. Be muzzled
  9. Mark 1:27 NU What is this? A new doctrine with authority! He
  10. Mark 1:27 teaching
  11. Mark 1:35 deserted

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

NEW MONTH = NEW VERSE!!! How did you do with last month’s verse? Are you ready to take on this month’s challenge?
Isaiah 41:10- “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Welcome to the Gospel of Mark, AKA John Mark – we met him in the book of Acts. He is Barnabas’s cousin and went with Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey – but very early on he turned around and went home. Later Barnabas tried to bring him on another to be redeemed, but Paul refused and Barnabas and Mark went away. From other historical documents we learn John Mark went to Egypt and many believed. Peter had a special relationship with John Mark and called him his beloved son in his letters.

Mark was in Rome preaching to the romans when it occurred to him, that someone should write the gospel message down. So Mark did and wrote the first gospel. Later, Matthew and Luke would use Mark’s gospel as an outline and fill in the gaps, expanding on it, leaving only 33 unique verses in Mark that are not in the other gospels.
Mark’s intention was to write what Jesus did. And therefore there is no birth narrative and the book seems action packed. His use of the word immediately also adds to the action and speed of the book. He uses immediately 8 times in chapter one alone. (But it doesn’t mean immediately is applied to the action – immediately is applied to the narrator. “Immediately I tell you this…” It is like say: ‘next I want to tell you this’ or ‘now at this moment, I must tell you that’.

If someone is new to faith, starting reading the Bible for the first time, new to the gospels and has no Jewish background – the best book to start with is Mark. Because Mark wrote to gentiles, and quickly explained most of the Jewish cultural things and terminology so that the Gentiles would understand. Also it is a short book and gets right to the point, Jesus is the messiah, He has the power of God and the blessing of God, and he has come to change our lives (we are sinner in need of a savior). But starting anywhere is fine – God can still do a work.

Mark was from Jerusalem with family out in Western Asia Minor. His mother’s home is thought to be the birthplace of the church in Jerusalem. Some think he started following the disciples around after Jesus’s death – so he had to get all the info for this book from Peter. But there is a child mentioned a few times, and it is possible many boys followed Jesus, but were not mentioned. However a boy is mentioned as in the crowd a few times when Jesus is in or near Jerusalem and in the garden with the disciples the night Jesus was captured. When writing you could not write about yourself in first person unless to say we… so Luke never writes about what he did (when we were reading Acts) and Mark never writes about himself… but, he does tell more about the boy than any other gospel, and if he was the boy, he would know. Also a huge amount of this book is about the actions of Jesus in or near Jerusalem and Mark spends most of his time writing about the last 6 days of Jesus’s life. It is possible it is because he was there and he can write a firsthand account.

I am from the first generation of children raised in my church.  I can tell you all sorts of things I should not have seen or heard. But children can be places adults cannot and can come and go from places seemingly unnoticed. So when I first heard the theory that Mark was a child follower – I could easily see how that could have been. And when reading his account – I am struck by how he pauses the action many times to say Jesus got away to pray. Something a child might notice while adults are buzzing around being busy. So I think this gospel is a combination of Peter and Mark’s account.

Mark jumps right in with John the Baptist and explains this is a fulfillment of scriptures proving Jesus is the Christ. (Verses 1-8)

When John baptizes Jesus there is an interesting thing that parallels a part of a modern prophesy. I seldom speak on modern prophesy, as it hasn’t come true and it is not a word given to me (I try to stay in my lane). But I find this interesting and the connection to this passage is not part of the prophecy, but my own thought.
The prophesy is that God has kept the next wave of mighty men and women of God hidden, and is about to unleash them. As false prophets and false teachers fall – these men and women have been being prepared in a hidden place (spiritually) and will fill in the gap left and help save those who were being led astray.
Now, how can God hide someone who is walking, talking, working, praying and making an impact? The same way God hid Jesus. Jesus turned water to wine and was being prepared… and then when he was baptized, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and the voice of God all appeared and God points to Jesus and says “Here He is!” As is he was hidden from this world until that moment, and hidden from the enemy.  Until then, the enemy thought he was just another devout believer and any attacks and troubles were just ones that he throws at normal people.
So from there Jesus gets away, to fast and pray and start His ministry. But now the enemy knows it is him and comes with force to tempt him.
One of my favorite images in this section of the gospels is the angels ministering to Him, when it was over. God sends the Holy Spirit, the comforter, to us when we need ministering to. The love God shows to His son, here, it’s just so beautiful. And we can minister to Jesus in worship – like the lady with the perfume oil to anoint him – we can pour ourselves out to minister to him.

Mark is moving this story right along! But he really hits the key points. Like John the Baptist is in prison and Jesus kicks it up a notch in verse 14. John prepared the way – now it is time for John to become less and Jesus to become more.

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Verse 15.
This was said by Jesus. I mentioned in our studies of Thessalonians about a strange argument people use to display their own doubt about the end times. Let me explain again, because I am sure you will encounter this argument at some point.
I say something down the lines of repent the kingdom of God is at hand. And one person says to me, ‘people have been saying that forever’ and another sends me a picture from the early 1900’s of a man on the street with a sign that says “repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand’. And I scratch my head and think exactly! But they are using it as an argument against the statement that the kingdom is at hand. Because the rapture hasn’t happened yet and grace has abounded that more might be saved – does not make the kingdom being at hand any more or less real and relevant. The kingdom is at hand and it is imperative that your repent quickly! And they try to say there is time, relax – but the day is spent and the hour is late – 2000 years later here we are so much closer to that moment and you use a long history as a measure for a quickly approaching event? “They” have been saying this for a long time – Actually Jesus himself said it – right here in Mark 1:15! And I praise the Lord for the obedient ones throughout history who also preached what Jesus preached! May we all preach as Jesus did, without failing or showing doubt in the gospel.

Jesus then calls the first 4 disciples – 4 fishermen, two sets of brothers. In this group is the first one martyred for Jesus, James the son of Zebedee. And in this group is the last Apostle to pass away, John the son of Zebedee. And the first one named as called is Peter (aka Simon, who Jesus builds the church on)

Moving along swiftly, Mark shows how Jesus established the pattern for ministry, first into the synagogue to try to reach the ones afflicted with a religious spirit and then to the street. And Mark further gets to the heart of things – pointing out the matter of authority. You see the Pharisees did not give Jesus the authority to speak and teach like he did, but yet he did:
And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Verse 22

And just when Jesus’s ministry is really starting up and growing… here comes the enemy to steal, kill, and destroy. A demon was hiding in the synagogue. He was “with” a man. Obviously the man was not possessed like you see in a horror movie. Was it an oppressing spirit hovering above? And ancestral spirit attached to a stronghold? And other permitted means in which the man accidently let the spirit in? or maybe he was fully demon possessed and no one knew until they saw an opportunity to attack Jesus.
You’d think confirming that Jesus is the messiah would help Jesus’s ministry. But it was out of God’s order. It was out of line. It was trying to speed up the narrative before Jesus has done the work to support it. So Jesus told it to be silent.

When casting out demons – there is no need to bind and rebuke, Jesus did not bind and rebuke. There is no reason to talk with it and find out who it is. Jesus most often told it to shut up and get out. Now, they must manifest a little and be permitted to, a little – because then other know it is a demon and then when it is cast out – God gets the glory. But if people do not see it is a demon, what glory does God get. No worries, though. You will not have to wait for them to manifest – they will do it all on their own and then you can tell them to shut up and get out in the name of Jesus. Just like Jesus did.

“But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him.” verses 25-26

Jesus took care of it – but the damage to the ministry was done. He did not even have the 12 disciples yet and he was suddenly famous:
“And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.” Verse 28

When the enemy cannot get you – often he goes after those who are vulnerable around you. When I was coming back to God, one child of mine tried to kill himself, another died, and my dog died. He goes after those he can touch. You better believe I pray a hedge of protection around my son and current dog every day.
Well, the enemy couldn’t get to Jesus of the disciples so Peter’s poor mother in law became ill and Jesus had to heal her. And for those who try to twist this: He did not heal her so she could serve Him, He knew how to serve Himself. She did not serve Him because He made her or because custom dictated it. He healed her in love and as a good Proverbs 31 woman, she got up and served in love.

That evening, he had a healing service and healed, and cast out demons, the next morning they all head off so Jesus could preach through Galilee.

BUT FIRST:
“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” Verse 35.
Everyone was looking for him, things needed to be done, people needed him, and he was busy. Like you and I are busy. But everyone had to wait – He needed to start his day with some time in the secret place speaking with Daddy. Just like you and I have to make time to do the same.

Next up is preaching and teaching and healing and casting out demons and then we spend a little more time on the healing of the leper.
It would be the equivalent in shock value (Jesus touching and healing a leper) as if Jesus walked into a covid unit without PPE’s on and healed everyone. Yep, Jesus did not wear a mask, and did not worry when He touched a leper. He did not even run to a water source and scrub himself to make sure He wouldn’t catch it. Jesus was fully man and in the flesh completely susceptible to catching it. But that was not God’s plan.
I saw a preacher preaching who told us of this time in India in an open field without good lighting at night (with a bright moon and some make shift lighting), he was preaching and a man was crying out that God did not love him. So the preacher called the man to him (the man was dirty and ugly) and he hugged the man – a long loving hug and said – Jesus does love you! And He prayed that Jesus would reveal himself and change the man. A couple days later a man came to the preacher and was thanking him for preaching and praying for him, now he had prayed for hundreds of people while there, and the man was saddened that he wasn’t remembered. So the man says: how can you not remember me? I am the leper you hugged and I was instantly healed! And the preacher was shocked! He didn’t know he hugged a leper, he couldn’t see, and the man looked like a dirty homeless man.
No mask, No PPE – Jesus is still in the healing business and is still willing!

One last thing Mark teaches us here and it is something often overlooked –
Remember the demon in that first synagogue who wanted to side rail Jesus’s ministry – but was unsuccessful as Jesus told it to shut up and get out. And did you notice multiple other times in this chapter Jesus told demons to shut up and get out? Well the enemies plan wasn’t working – until the enemy found a disobedient believer. One disobedient believer can do more damage to the kingdom than a bunch of demons could do.
Ya see, the leper was told not to tell anyone – but…
“However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction. Verse 45.
But he told everyone and suddenly Jesus was pressed on every side!

I can’t wait to see what happens next!!
But these devotionals and readings are only on weekdays. Over the weekend we are reading Proverbs and soon we will be reading Psalms. We are working at obtaining wisdom on weekends. So join us this weekend for wisdom and no narrative from me. And then come back on Monday to hear about these crowds that come and how Jesus manages it.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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