Monday, October 26, 2015

Mark, Day 1 Readings

A Whirlwind Opening & Understanding Jesus' True Identity 

Today's first reading is the beginning of the Gospel of Mark, which recounts the life and ministry of Jesus at almost break-neck speed.  After a brief prologue about the prophecy of John the Baptist, Jesus arrives on the scene.  In the course of one chapter, he is baptized by John (and blessed by God), tempted by Satan, pronounces his main prophetic message ("the kingdom of God has come near..."), calls the first disciples, casts out a demon, heals a leper, and goes on a tour preaching, healing, and casting out demons.

In some ways, Mark, from the outset, pictures Jesus as very active and constantly on the go.  He has a lot to do -- and a lot of people to interact with -- before his crucifixion in Jerusalem.  In some ways, this is a different image of Jesus than we are used to; rather than picture Jesus as a thoughtful prophet, here he is a tireless force in trying to spread God's message.

Read Mark 1:1-43  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

The second reading offers a couple of episodes that illustrate the central question and purpose of Mark's Gospel -- understanding the true identity of Jesus.  If you can understand who Jesus is, then you have a better context to interpret everything Jesus says and Jesus does.  Here, we have Jesus' own disciples admitting, after he calms a storm, that they still don't quite understand who they are following.  After this, though, the evil spirits -- called "Legion" -- speak directly to Jesus as the Son of God before he exorcises them casts them into a herd of pigs.

Read Mark 4:35-5:20  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

Reading the Bible in Its Entirety

If you are planning to read the Bible in its entirety, you should read Mark 1-4 today.