February 10, 2019

Mark his words . . .

If I had three years to live and the power of God to do whatever He asked, what would those years look like? What would I do? Who would I talk to? How would my life change?

Mark is the second book in the New Testament. He did not walk with Jesus but writes from hindsight about the short but busy years of Jesus’ ministry. He was a native of Jerusalem (Acts 12:12), a companion of Simon Peter (1 Peter 5:13), and the cousin of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10), familiar with the life of Christ and the early church. His book was cited as “the interpreter of Peter” because when it is compared with Peter’s sermon in Acts 10:34–43 it is similar yet adds greater detail.

Mark presents Jesus as the servant of God. He uses the Greek word eutheos forty-two times. It means “immediately” and describes how Jesus ministered to needy people. The book I am reading outlines Mark by focusing on the schedule Jesus kept.

Introduction & Preparatory events
First tour of Galilee—Miracles and parables
Tour of Decapoli
Second tour of Galilee
Retreat to the desert
Third tour of Galilee
Tour of the north country
First announcement of passion
Fourth tour of Galilee
Second announcement of passion
Tour of Perea and Judea
Third announcement of passion
Ministry in Jerusalem
The passion and resurrection

Just a quick glance at the first part of Mark shows me that Jesus had a full calendar. My Bible has His words in red letters revealing His priorities.

Call sinners to repentance: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)

Call those who repent to follow Him: And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17)

Deal with evil forces: He met a man with a demon, one of Satan’s workers who lies and destroys, but Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” (Mark 1:25)

Prayer and reaching out to everyone: “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’ And he said to them, ‘Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.’ And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. (Mark 1:35–39)

Healing: And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” (Mark 1:40–41)

Healing also that His power to forgive was made known:
And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” (Mark 2:8–11)

Calling sinners to new life: And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. (Mark 2:14)

And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:16–17)

Mark goes on but this is enough to give me thoughts for today. If I could do what Jesus did, my focus would change. His attention was on the spiritual and physical needs of others. He didn’t spend time in self-indulgence or trying to make Himself comfortable or popular. He simply did what He could to show sinners that He was their Savior, the One who could deal with their spiritual enemies and make them whole.

I’m not Jesus, but You live in me. How can I get out of the way and let Your life shine out of my life? How can I better serve You by serving others? Enable me to be quick to respond as You open my eyes to Your plans for each day.

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