Tag Archives: Bible

Mark 1

This reading is Mark 1.

Mark is action packed.  Consider how much occurs just in chapter 1:

  • Prediction and arrival of John the Baptist
  • John baptizes Jesus
  • Satan tempts Jesus in the desert
  • Jesus preaches in Galilee
  • Four fisherman follow Jesus
  • Jesus teaches
  • Jesus heals many
  • Jesus preaches
  • Jesus heals a man with leprosy 

Mark starts off with a quote from the Old Testament (Isaiah the prophet), one of the many prophecies relating to the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  These prophecies were written hundreds of years earlier.  This particular prophecy was about John the Baptist and how he would prepare the way for Jesus.  John’s birth was predicted and so was Jesus’. 

The books of Matthew and Luke start with the familiar stories of Jesus’ birth, but not Mark. The Jews were expecting the Messiah because of what the prophets spoke, including the message from Daniel that we just completed. The story of John the Baptist’s birth is told in Luke 1 and is very interesting as well. 

John’s ministry focused on the baptism of repentance and the confessing of sins (verses 4-5). 

Mark briefly mentions how Satan tempted Jesus in the desert.  You can read Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13 if you want more details.  Satan is often portrayed as being symbolic, but if you note all the references to Satan in the Bible it is clear that he is a real being.  He was an angel who rebelled against God. 

There is a simple but powerful Gospel (good news) presentation in verse 15: “The time has come,” Jesus said, “The Kingdom of god is near.  Repent and believe the good news.”  It really is that simple.  Repent of our sins (turn away from them and towards God) and believe the good news that Jesus took our punishment and reconciled us to God.  There are so many important teachings in the Bible, but if we overlook this one we have missed the point. 

Jesus recruits his first disciples by saying, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”  I wonder how much they knew each other beforehand?

People immediately noticed Jesus’ authority to teach (in the spiritual sense, not the legal sense) .

Verse 40 has a powerful statement from the man with leprosy: “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”  Jesus said He was willing, and He made him clean immediately.  We may not have leprosy, but we too can say, “make me clean,” and He will. 

I love this book!  I could go on and on.  What stuck out to you as you read this chapter? 

The next reading is Mark 2.

Overview of The Gospel of Mark

This reading is an overview of Mark.

The Gospel According to Mark is an action packed book. Just glance through the first couple chapters and see how many things take place. This Gospel is considered the most chronological.

All of the Gospels are true and have meaning for each of us, but each one had a slightly different purpose and initial audience. Mark was initially written to a Roman audience, which may be why the birth narrative was not in this book as it was with the Gospels of Matthew and Luke (Romans would have been more interested in the messenger – John the Baptist – who announced Jesus).

When written: Roughly 55 A.D. It is generally considered to be the first Gospel written.

Author: John Mark, a companion of Peter and a one-time companion of the Apostle Paul.

I heard a good sermon by David Moore about failure that dealt a lot with the author of this Gospel, so I thought I would note it here.  Mark’s real name was John.  Mark was a nickname, and it apparently wasn’t very complimentary. 

Tradition holds that this passage refers to Mark: 

Mark 14:51-52 A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.

He was a cousin of Barnabas and started on Paul’s first missionary journey.  Then things went badly.

Acts 15:36-40 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted themin Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.

At this point Paul had no use for Mark.  Yet see what happens years later as noted by Paul:

Colossians 4:10-11 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. . . . These are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me.

2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.Philemon 23-24 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.

Mark was also a traveling companion of Peter, who lovingly referred to Mark as “my son.”  Mark became a scribe and documented Peter’s sermons, which became the Gospel of Mark. 

What a remarkable turnaround!  Mark goes from fleeing Jesus naked and being considered a deserter to being a trusted companion of Peter and Paul and the writer of one of the Gospels!  God can do amazing things in your life regardless of what failures you have had to date. 

Take a little time to skim the whole book and read any passages that stick out to you. Even reading the chapter headings can help you frame the book and see where we’ll be going.

The next reading is Mark 1.

Daniel 12

This reading is Daniel 12. It is a fairly short chapter so I pasted it below the commentary as well.

There are many references to angels in the Bible. They are typically described as doing one of three things: Worshiping God, bringing messages, or protecting people (plus the occasional slaying). I’m not sure precisely how angels work in our spiritual realm, other than that they are real and have probably protected us more times than we think.

Verse 2 is a direct teaching of the resurrection of the body and that we will all face a final judgment from God. Verse 10 notes that “Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked.” It is interesting that we “will be” these things, not that we accomplish them ourselves.

I can relate to Daniel when he says, “I heard, but I did not understand.”

The Book of Daniel closes out powerfully with Michael the archangel comforting with the knowledge of God’s sovereignty. Like Daniel, we will most likely “rest” (i.e., die) then arise at the resurrection.

This concludes our study of Daniel! The next reading is an overview of Mark.

Daniel 12
1 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people everyone whose name is found written in the book will be delivered. 2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. 4 But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.”
5 Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. 6 One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?”
7 The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”
8 I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?”
9 He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
11 “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.
13 “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”

Daniel 11

This reading is Daniel 11.

There are some general descriptions in Daniel 11 about war and leaders that could have applied to many situations, but there are many specific prophecies that accurately predicted the course of various countries over a couple hundred years. The close of the chapter addresses some events that took place before Christ but also some predictions of the future antichrist.

If you are a history buff you recognize some of these kingdoms, battles and wars listed in this chapter.

Antiochus Epiphanes was the ruler described in verses 31-32 and preceding. He set up “the abomination that causes desolation,” which included erecting an altar to Zeus at the temple in Jerusalem, and had a pig sacrificed on the altar. This was an extreme insult to the Jewish people.

Verses 33-35 are reminders of the challenges Christians may face. We don’t experience these as much in the U.S., but many fellow believers around the world do.

For those of you more well versed in prophecy than me, please feel free to chime in!

The next reading is Daniel 12.

For those of you who want to get ahead, the next study will be the Gospel of Mark.

Daniel 10

This reading is Daniel 10.

The messenger isn’t identified by name, but he appears to be Gabriel, the angel who has already appeared to Daniel. Some think it may be Christ, but that would mean Daniel’s vision was of Christ and that a messenger came as well. For Christ would not have been hindered for 21 days as the messenger was (v. 13).

This passage shows how real, serious and active spiritual warfare is. It reminds me of Ephesians 6:10-12:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Daniel was obviously exhausted, anguished and fearful. The angel calms his fears and sets up the prophecies to be given in chapters 11 & 12.

The next reading is Daniel 11.

Daniel 9

This reading is Daniel 9.

The Israelites were captive in Babylon because they had repeatedly rejected the warnings that God had given them through various prophets. God had given his usual Old Testament message: Obey him and receive blessings or disobey and receive consequences. Daniel knew that God had promised to return the Israelites to Jerusalem after 70 years as Jeremiah had written:

Jeremiah 25:11-12 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. “But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,” declares the Lord, “and will make it desolate forever.”

Daniel prayed wearing “sackcloth and ashes,” as those were signs of grief and/or repentance. Note that Daniel’s passionate prayer for mercy was answered as soon as he began to pray (v. 23). Feel the passion in v. 19: “O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”

Regarding the prophecy of the seventy ‘sevens,’ it is typically understood that each item represented one year. Therefore, this would have been 490 years. Some believe that the first 69 ‘sevens’ represent the time from Daniel to Christ’s crucifixion and that the final ‘seven’ is part of the great tribulation that is still to come. Therefore, it would predict Jesus’ first and second coming.

The next reading is Daniel 10.

Daniel 8

This reading is Daniel 8.

The prophecies in Daniel 8 occur two years after the visions from chapter 7. Again, the vision is described in the first part of the chapter then explained in the second. The prophecies are absolutely stunning in their clarity and accuracy. Stop and think about how Daniel was able to predict 200 years ahead of time Alexander the Great’s reign, death and the fact that his kingdom would be split into four pieces:

Daniel 8:21-22 The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king. The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power.

Greece was not a world power when this prediction was made. Who can predict what will happen in world events next week, let alone to identify something that specific that far ahead of time? Only the one true God.

The king referred to in verses 9-12 and 23-26 is Antiochus IV Epiphanes. He was a truly evil ruler. He took over, looted and desecrated the temple in Israel (“the beautiful land”). He was also a foreshadowing of the Antichrist (more on him later).

The next reading is Daniel 9.