Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January 1 - Mark 1

Today's reading in our daily plan is Mark 1. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • About Mark: there are four books in the New Testament that share the events of the life of Jesus when he was here on earth. These four books -- Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John -- are called the "gospels," which means "good news." Each book shares the story of Jesus from a unique perspective. Mark is the most fast-moving and action-packed of the four. 
  • Mark begins by introducing us to the character of John the Baptist. He is sharing an announcement that had been made over 700 years prior and was recorded in the Old Testament in Isaiah 40:3.  John the Baptist is the man who Isaiah prophesied about, and who was preparing people for Jesus.
  • In the rest of the chapter we see the beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry. Jesus is around 30 years old, but until this point had lived in relative obscurity as a carpenter. We follow his journey as he gets baptized, with God himself acknowledging that Jesus is His son. It is after this significant series of events that Jesus begins announcing that he has come to bring the Kingdom of God and we see mention of his very first disciples. These particular men gave up their actual livelihood to follow Jesus.
  • The chapter closes with Jesus performing many miracles, showing great compassion, and preaching as he lives out the Kingdom life and offers proof that he truly is the "Messiah" God had promised.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • This chapter makes it clear that Jesus is the way to God. In the Bible, Christians are called to live like Christ. In fact, the word "Christian" literally means "little Christ." So the goal is not to just believe in Jesus but to pattern our life after his.
  • In this chapter, we can follow Jesus' example by: being baptized, sharing the good news, investing in others, showing compassion to those in need, and taking focused time to pray.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • The Bible says that we are not just to read it, but to apply what it says. So how will you apply this chapter to your life?
  • We mentioned Jesus' example above. What is one area you really need to focus on now? Getting baptized? Sharing the good news with your friends? Investing in a relationship with someone you can mentor, or who can mentor you? Ministering to those in need? Taking focused time to pray?