Hugh leaned on the podium as his Sunday School class gathered. He stood amazed. He remembered those days of over a year ago when his soul longed for fresh water from God’s Word. Hugh remembered how he felt like he had dug dry cisterns with cracked walls.
Hugh remembered how dry and dusty his spiritual life had been before he and his good friend, Pastor John, met often over a meal. Pastor John fed him with the Word and with encouragement that only comes from a man who knew that desert-like deadness in one’s soul. Hugh’s heart beat with thankfulness.
A buzz filled the room. Small pockets of excited students shared their new-found discoveries related to the Gospel of Mark.
You might have thought they had discovered gold, silver, or a vast treasure of gems.
Hugh said, “Men and women, we need to begin our study. Please find a seat.”
“David, would you lead us in prayer this morning as we begin?”
“Father, we come to this hour with grateful hearts. Many of us lacked the skills to study to Your Word in depth. More importantly, many of us, especially myself, lacked the motivation to study Your Word. Many of us seldom read Your Word during the week. Many of us failed to review our Sunday School lessons or to discuss the pastor’s message through the week. Father, we were disobedient children who refused to turn to Your Word. Father forgive us. Thank you for the new hearts, new desires, and new insights You have been teaching us. May Your Holy Spirit illumine the inspired and written Word this morning. Amen.”
“Thank you, David. If you remember we were to share the verses which you found summarized the chapter or that became special to you from Mark 1. Who would like to be the first to share? Henry, you seem especially excited. Would you mind telling us your verse and why you selected it?”
“Hugh, thanks for the opportunity. I chose Mark 1:1, which says, “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah NIV.”
This verse summed up Mark 1 to me. We see Mark’s purpose for writing. Mark intended to share the good news or the Gospel of Jesus’ ministry, death, burial and resurrection. It is good news for those who understand they have sinned and are need of the Savior, Jesus Christ. I found out the word, Gospel – good news, appears seven times in Mark’s Gospel. It seems Mark points out the newness of the message of Jesus’ ministry.”
“Very good, Henry. Marci would you like to be next?”
“I been on the of my seat waiting my turn. I
selected Mark 1:15, “The time has come, he said. The Kingdom of God has
come near. Repent and believe the goodnews! (NIV).
Hugh, this verse seems to summarize why Jesus came to our world in the first place. He came to set up God’s kingdom and rule in our world. One word I looked up said that ‘time” in the Greek refers to an opportune or significant time.”
“Wonderful, Marci. Mark 1:15 is an excellent selection. Tom, it appears you are ready to share, what did you select?”
“Mark 1:20 seemed important to me, “Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him, NIV.”
“Mark 1:20 seemed important to me, “Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him, NIV.” It seems to me that this is what God wants from each of us. Jesus expects us to follow without delay. He wants instant obedience when He calls. And sometimes following Jesus may cost us something precious – even our family ties.”
“So true, Tom. Instant obedience and the willingness to lose important things in our lives are marks of true discipleship. And many believe Mark is a manual of discipleship. Who is next? Ryan, did you select a verse that represents the heart of Chapter 1?”
“I did, Hugh. I considered the other verses already mentioned, but I selected Mark 1:8, “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit, NIV”
“I did, Hugh. I considered the other verses already mentioned, but I selected Mark 1:8, “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit, NIV” I liked this verse because it shows what Christ came to do. I know John the Baptist spoke these words, but Jesus came to give us life and this comes when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. John’s baptism was outward, but Jesus’ is inward. John’s can be repeated, but Jesus’ baptism of the Holy Spirit is a tone time event.”
“How to we make application with these verses? With application we are seeking to state clearly what we should think, be, do or say. So, let’s ask ourselves, ‘what should we think, be, do or say,” based off these verses? Let’s begin with Henry’s selection of Mark 1:1, “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah,” NIV”?”
“Randy, you seem to have an idea.”
“Class, I think this teaches us that the message of Jesus coming to earth to redeem men is really good news.
We ought to make sure we can verbalize what the good news is. I read that the Gospel is not good advice, but good news. Other religions tell us this is what you need to do to get to God. But the Gospel explains what God has done to reach mankind. We should be able to explain what is meant by ‘Christ.’ And some manuscripts include the phrase, ‘Son of God.” Since it appears in the earliest part of the Gospel, it is a title we must keep in mind.”
“Well done,” said Hugh. “Who might like to apply Marci’s verse, Mark 1:15, “The time has come, he said. The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the goodnews? (NIV)”
“Teddy, would you attempt to apply it for us?”
“Hugh, I know other religions teach that this material world is evil, temporary, even an illusion, and the righteous or intelligent people will be rescued out of it before the end of the world. Those people will enter utopia. On the other hand, the goodnews is God is going to renew this world so it will be forever. The goodnews is that the King will return to restore creation to its original created purpose. Jesus is that King. Thus, men should repent, turn away from their wicked ways and idols. They are to turn towards God in faith.”
“Excellent Teddy. You all are doing well with the interpretations.”
I wish we had time to do all of the verses, but we are about out of time. Mandi, would you help us apply Ryan’s verse, Mark 1:8, “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit? NIV”
“Hugh, I will try. This is all knew to me.
“Hugh, I will try. This is all knew to me. My margins in the middle of my Bible refer to some other passages of scripture, Isaiah 32:15, 44:3, Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26-27 and Joel 2:18-29. It seems to me that Mark is pointing to a time later than when John is preaching. This is what I would call an unfilled promise. “
“That day happened on Pentecost in Acts 2. John seems to be promising that one day Jesus would do more than he could do with an outward action. Jesus would change us from the inside out rather than merely getting me wet with what could be a mere outward action without meaning. So, the early disciples needed to wait in faith while we experience the baptism the moment we are saved.”
“Thank you, Mandi. Well done. Randy, Teddy and Mandi for stepping out with these attempts today. We will cover how to make applications later in our studies.”
“And, thank you, David, Henry, Marci, Tom and Ryan for sharing with us. I hate to say it, but we are out of time. Next week, I want you to focus on the theological truths that are found in Mark 1. We will discuss what you find. Thanks for being such an engaged class.”
If you have a different verse which you feel sums up Mark 1, would you mind sharing it with us and telling us why you feel it teaches the essential lesson of Mark 1? Thank you.
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