Reading: Mark Manuscript pages 17-27 (Chapters 6-10)
And he immediately said, ‘I believe, help my unbelief!’
If you hand is causing you to sin, cut it off
For whoever will lose life for my sake and the gospel will save it.
The greatest shall be last and slave of all.
And throwing off his mantle he lept up and came to Jesus. Jesus asked him, ‘What do you want’, he replied, Master I want to see.
I am now officially behind in my year bible reading. But it wasn’t for lack of reading the bible. I just returned from Catalina Island for Long Beach State InterVarsity’s spring conference. It was a blast! During that time I had the privilege of leading 14 students through the middle third of the gospel of Mark (affectionately called “Mark 2”). So while I’ve already gone through Mark, here are some thoughts from studying this section inductively for 30 hours.
some implications of Mark
Mark 2 covers two things. First it covers who exactly is Jesus. The disciples are not sure, they don’t understand his identity. But finally after it clicks and they proclaim Jesus “the Christ!”. It takes Jesus doing every lesson that points to him twice. Two feedings, two healings, lots of time on boats. But Jesus is gracious in that sense, giving the disciples time to discover who exactly he is. Everything happens in cycles until you understand.
But once they discover he is the Christ (chapter 8, page 20) then we move on to something just as pressing. What does it mean that he is the Christ? For on page 20 Jesus begins to tell them about his fate. That he will be mocked, killed and on the 3rd day rise again. And Peter doesn’t like that. So he pulls Jesus aside and begins to rebuke him. How often do we try to lead Jesus and tell him what we think is the most appropriate way to go! Jesus reasserts his authority and begins to explain to all who follow what it actually means to come after him. It means denying yourself, taking up your cross and following Jesus. It means losing life. It means trusting that Jesus will give you life if you lose it. Jesus is asking the disciples–he is asking me– will you lose life to gain it?
Along with that comes messages about how to deal with sin (cut it off), how to be greatest (be last), and how to believe (ask Jesus to help your unbelief). All of this was incredibly convicting for our group. We had amazing times of prayer, confession, and application as God opened His word to us.
And finally we ended with the story of Bartimaeus. A blind beggar unashamed to cry after Jesus, who leaps up leaving behind his only possession to come before Christ and ask for what he wants. Because Jesus asks him, “what do you want?”, because Jesus is a servant of all, he is our model! He receives his sight and, without a pause, follows Jesus on the way. Our model, first is Jesus, but then Mark also gives us this blind beggar as the ultimate model of faith in action. And that is enough to make me pause and ask God, please increase my faith!