March 1, 2015
This was Christ’s response to the question “Who then can be saved?” The truth is that we cannot save ourselves. Salvation is beyond humanity’s reach. No amount of counseling, religion, or self-effort can change the heart of man. We are drowning in our own sin and unable to reach the shore. But God has made a way for us through Christ. What seemingly impossible thing is defeating you today? Bring it to God. He specializes in accomplishing impossible things.
February 25, 2015
The crowds that followed Jesus as He passed through the Decapolis (“Ten Cities”) were “astonished beyond measure” at Him. These cities were founded by Greek colonists and were given favor under Roman rule. The gospel writer Mark tells this story after sharing a previous encounter Jesus had with a Greek woman in Tyre and Sidon who begged Him to free her daughter of a demon. These stories are predictive of how the gospel will go out from Jewish to Gentile lands and be more quickly accepted in the latter. People who have no knowledge of Jesus are still “astonished” when they hear the good news about Him. For He “has done all things well.”
February 24, 2015
Jesus explained that sin begins with an attitude of the heart before it becomes a behavior. Our problem is within. Focusing on changing the outward behavior is unfruitful when only faith in Jesus will change the heart. The human heart is born with an attitude of rebellion against God saying, “My will,” rather than “Your will be done.” Jesus came to change human hearts knowing that no amount of washing our hands would cleanse our hearts.
February 23, 2015
After Jesus had sent his disciples out two by two to witness, they returned full of excitement and stories to report. They had been following Jesus and learning from him for some time and now after being sent out on their own for the first time, they were glad to be back in the presence of their Lord and to tell him “all things” about their work. Can you picture the excitement? Perhaps the Lord had to tell Peter to sit down and let Andrew tell his story too. Then, after everyone had debriefed their stories with Jesus and he had given them feedback, he invited them to take a retreat to get some rest with him. This is a crucial step to add to our ministry. Take time to discuss your day with Jesus. Tell him “all things” you’ve done and taught. Listen for his feedback. Then, obey when he invites you to get some rest with him.
February 22, 2015
When Jesus returned to his hometown of Nazareth with his disciples and preached in the synagogue, the people were offended. It puts to mind the old saying “familiarity breeds contempt,” because since the people of Nazareth had known Jesus and his family since his youth, they doubted his authority. When we become a Christ follower, often the hardest place to begin telling others is in our “own country” among our “own relatives” and especially in our own “house.” These people really know us and often doubt our life change. Yet, this is exactly where we are commanded to begin our witness. For Jesus taught us to begin in “Jerusalem” and then to the “ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Have you yet shared the gospel with your own family and hometown?
February 21, 2015
This with today’s OT reading in Leviticus 11-12 makes for a revealing juxtaposition. Leviticus details how touching a dead body or a bleeding woman makes one unclean. Mark shows how a touch from the holy Jesus has the reverse affect: The dead girl rises again and the bleeding woman is healed. Their impurity did not make Jesus unclean, but His holiness was transmitted to them making them whole.
February 18, 2015
Christ’s three-prong strategy for reaching the world with the gospel: 1) Appoint disciples, 2) Call them to follow Him, and 3) Send them out to preach the gospel. Notice that Christ’s first call is to Himself. And so, the twelve followed Him day and night for three years. And after they saw the resurrected Lord, they preached the gospel that turned the world upside down. This simple strategy worked because they had first spent time with Jesus and were filled with His Spirit. I’m glad that Jesus is still appointing disciples “that they might be with Him.” Are you spending time with Jesus?
February 16, 2015
The Gospel of Mark is unique among the four in that it was written in present rather than past tense. Mark’s action-oriented writing is marked by his favorite phrase, “and immediately,” which is found throughout the book. Each gospel presents a different perspective of Jesus. Matthew sees Him as King, Luke as Son of Man, and John as Son of God. But Mark presents a man of action, Jesus the Servant of all. And whatever Jesus does, He does “immediately.” Is there any urgent need requiring Christ’s immediate attention in your life?
February 15, 2015
Jesus made Capernaum His center of operations when He first began His ministry. Located at the Northern end of the Sea of Galilee, it was a major crossroads with the Via Maris (“Way of the Sea”) passing through it and the King’s Highway intersecting just North, connecting Cairo to Damascus and beyond. Here, Jesus called His first disciples and began to teach, “Repent of your sin and believe the Good News!” Great crowds of people began to travel to the area to see and hear Jesus. This is our calling today, to pray and declare the Good News, so that the “news about Jesus” spreads quickly throughout our world.