14 January 2011

Mark 1-2

It should come as no surprise to anyone at University UMC to hear that I am a big fan of Mark's Gospel - I spent 7 weeks looking at just the first chapter last January!

The first thing any reader should notice about Mark's Gospel is that there is no birth narrative. The story picks up with John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus to enter the world (fully grown) and begin his ministry. Just nine verses into the book Jesus is being baptized by John in the Jordan River - that took two and a half chapters in Matthew!

Jesus' earthly ministry begins quickly with healings, calling disciples, driving out evil spirits, time for prayer, and forgiving the sins of a paralyzed man. Just as in Matthew, the people here in Mark are "amazed" at what Jesus is doing, teaching, and saying. They just can't believe their ears and eyes.

One of the great things about Mark is that Jesus is always going somewhere or leaving one place for another - he doesn't seem to linger anywhere longer than necessary. As you are reading through Mark, notice how many times the word "immediately" is used in reference to Jesus' movements and/or work. Things happen quickly in Mark - perhaps that's why his Gospel is the shortest - with all that action taking place it didn't take as long as Matthew and Luke!

What verse(s) stuck out the most to you in reading Mark 1-2?
What do you hope to learn about Jesus as you read the Gospel of Mark?

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