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The Gospel of Mark: Pray & Proclaim

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.  And Simon and his companions hunted for him.  When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.”  He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.”  And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons. ~ Mark 1:35-39 At this  point, Jesus has earned some alone time I'd say. As a teacher, healer, preacher, he knows the value - the necessity - of time to pray. Time alone to connect with God and to revive the spirit. Yet he isn't left alone for long. At this point, notice that Mark hasn't called Simon and the others "disciples." They are companions. They are following Jesus, but don't yet have that intimate title we are used to hearing from them. But already they know the work Jesus does is important (

The Gospel of Mark: Casting out Demons

That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons.  And the whole city was gathered around the door.  And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. ~ Mark 1:32-24 The Sabbath has just about ended - or just ended - and there are more healings to happen. Who is it that brought all these people to be healed?  And notice how quickly Jesus' fame has risen. Why, you could say it was immediately! Can you imagine the whole city gathered outside your door for healing? Another theme of Mark enters in this passage. The Messianic Secret. As Mark progresses we will see over and over that Jesus tells those who know who he is to be quiet about it. Only the readers and the supernatural characters are let in on the secret so far. For those around Jesus, it isn't time yet. So far, we don't know why that is. Why does Jesus want to keep his identity secre

The Gospel of Mark: Healing Simon's Mother-in-law

As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.  Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once.  He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. ~ Mark 1:29-31 As soon as... At once... Synonyms for immediately! There it is again. Jesus is again on the move. And on the move quickly. This Jesus just doesn't stand around. This is a Jesus of action. (I've seen an action-figure Jesus doll. Maybe this is the version of Jesus he's based on?) Not a lot of unnecessary dialogue either for Mark. The action here is what's important. We are only 31 verses in and Jesus has already healed two people. There is nothing here about the faith of the person being healed. Nothing about the reactions of the disciples. Only further testament to John's initial prophetic words about the power of the one to come after him. It is also likely s

The Gospel of Mark: Friday Follow-Up

- Re-read the Mark 1:12-28 from this week's devotions. - Read the passage again and identify a word or phrases that jump out at you. - Read the passage again, and if possible read from a different translation ( biblegateway.com  has many translations you can choose from). Identify where this passage might be touching your life today. How is this relevant to your life? - Read the passage a third time, again in a different translation if possible. Ask yourself what God is calling you to do or to be from this passage. What change might God be moving your toward? - Close with a silent prayer, listening to God rather than speaking to God. What actions will you take today based on this prayer? - Recite the Lord's Prayer.

The Gospel of Mark: Unclean Spirit

They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught.  They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.  Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit,  and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”  But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”  And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.  They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”  At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee. ~ Mark 1:21-28 What does it say about tradition for Jesus' first act of public ministry? His first act takes place in a synagogue. It would be like someone starting their ministry at our church -

The Gospel of Mark: The First Disciples

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen.  And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”  And immediately they left their nets and followed him.  As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets.  Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. ~ Mark 1:16-20 Do you see it there? Immediately #2 pops up and we are still in Chapter 1. This is a typically abrupt introduction to these two pairs of brothers who are the first of the disciples. There is little clarification or description. Jesus walks up, says 'follow me," and IMMEDIATELY they do: presumably that means leaving all financial and familial obligations behind.  What would make someone do that? The disciples are big characters in this gospel. Watch their behavior going forward

The Gospel of Mark: The Kingdom of God

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God,  and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” ~ Mark 1:14-15 Jesus seems to be taking off right where John left off. (although, note that nowhere in the gospels do we ever read or hear of an example of Jesus actually baptizing anyone). But the theme of repentance has been made clear from John, and is now being taken on by Jesus.  We also get our first announcement of the Kingdom of God. What is it? What does it mean that it's come come near? Might that have something to do with the heavens being torn apart? It is as if the Kingdom of God has invaded. The time has come for God to stop messing around. God's decided, "That's it. I'm coming down there!" And makes it so that there is no going back. The skies aren't going to gently close again.  God is here to stay. And so repent. Repent - metanoia is the Gree