Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Jesus Begins His Ministry According to Mark

Today we begin the book of Mark, which, at 16 chapters, is the shortest of the four gospels. From what I read in the Thomson Chain Reference in the back of my bible, this book was written for the Roman, or gentile people. 
  Mark opens the the first chapter by beginning with John the baptizer, the one who came before Jesus.
 2. As it is written in the prophets, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
 3. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
   John baptized (immersed) people for the remission of sins. (v4). He lived in the wilderness, and his clothing was of camel hair. His food was locusts and wild honey. I think most of this was because his mission was so urgent, he didn't give much thought to food or anything else. He preached that Jesus was coming, and he was such that John felt he was not worthy enough even to bend down and unlatch Jesus' shoes.
 Jesus came of course, to be baptized by John.   10. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
 11. And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
  Jesus went from there to the wilderness where he fasted for 40 days and was tempted of Satan, then the angels ministered to him. Mark does not go into detail about the temptations.
  After this John was put into prison and Jesus came into Galilee, preaching.
 15. And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
 Mark chapter one also tells of the first four disciples being called: Simon and Andrew, James son of Zebedee and his brother John.  From there they went to Capernaum, where on the Sabbath Jesus taught in the synagogue. The people were astonished at his doctrine, for he taught as that had authority, not as one of the scribes. (v22)
 It was here that Jesus drove out an unclean spirit from  a man in the synagogue. The spirit inside him knew who Jesus was. (v23-26) The people were amazed that he could tell an unclean spirit to come out of a man, and the man would be healed. Jesus' fame spread through the countryside.
 After this Jesus healed Simon's mother in law, and many others.  Mark continues telling of Jesus healing others, and trying to find solitude so he could pray. While there were followers who wanted to hear what Jesus had to say, or had a loved one (or themselves) who needed to be healed, I'm sure like celebrities of today there were people following him simply because of his fame. But even Jesus, Son of God, needed to be alone at times to pray and perhaps collect his thoughts. He was, after all, in human form here on earth. He had human needs just as we do.
  Mark seems to be going at a rather fast clip telling of Jesus, doesn't he? I'm  not the best by any means of retelling the events, so I do hope you will read along with me. Each writer of the gospel tells the life of Jesus in their own way, yet each has the same message. The "story" (dislike that word here, makes it sound like fiction) remains the same. I hope you'll join me tomorrow for chapter 2. 

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