As you continue your Lenten journey, the following passages and reflections from the Gospel of Mark look closely into Jesus announcing that with His coming, the rule of God had come in a new, fuller way. Lent for Everyone, by Dr. N.T. Wright, is the source of much that is written here.
Monday – Mark 2.18-20. Why weren’t Jesus’ disciples fasting? “This has everything to do with what Jesus has been saying: the time is fulfilled and God’s kingdom is arriving! The picture of the wedding party looks back to various biblical passages and highlights the extraordinary claim that Jesus Himself is the ‘bridegroom’ coming to celebrate His wedding. There is no way guests can fast while that’s going on, though (in a typical dark aside because God’s kingdom will only come through His suffering and death) there will come a moment of fasting, a moment of desolation ‘when the Bridegroom is taken away’.”
Tuesday – Mark 2.21-22. “People have often quoted this passage about ‘new wineskins’ to justify innovations in the church. Fair enough, up to a point. God is still the God of surprises and new ideas. But the main point, far deeper than all our rearrangements of the furniture, is that with the coming of Jesus, Israel and the world are given not a new set of rules, not a new type of religion, but new creation itself.”
Wednesday – Mark 2.18-22. As we look again at this interchange, we might ask: “So, isn’t it a bit odd, as we are into the stride of our Lenten disciplines or practices, to talk about Jesus and His disciples refusing to fast? Not at all. It is because of that new creation, launched once and for all with Jesus Himself, that we need to take time and make the effort to bring our lives into line with the new reality. If we fast during Lent, we fast because, as those already caught up in Jesus’ kingdom-project, in God’s new world, we need to be sure we are saying a firm goodbye to everything in us that still clings to the old.” Help us, Lord, to be wise in our spiritual disciplines, to celebrate Your new life, and to put to death all that detracts from it.
Thursday – Mark 3.13-19. “We know a few of the more famous (and infamous) disciples, but there are many in this list we know nothing about at all. In our own discipleship to Jesus, we may be asked to take a stand that gets noticed by others. But often discipleship consists of faithfulness in the small, even mundane acts of Christian service perhaps unnoticed by all except God” (Study Notes, The Life with God Bible). Lord, please transform our hearts so that the motive for our service offered to You is to love, honor, and obey You, and not to be noticed and honored by others.
Friday – Mark 3.20-27. In response to His opponents, the legal experts from Jerusalem, “Jesus makes His strongest claim yet in His public ministry about what is going on through His work. What He is doing indicates clearly that the ‘accuser’s’ kingdom, the usurped rule, in the whole world, of the power of evil—is being broken. Jesus has already made a decisive impact on it, ‘binding the strong man’ so that He can now ‘plunder His house.’ If Jesus had been in league with satan, things would have gotten worse, not better. The point for us today is that if we are serious about following Jesus, people will misunderstand us, too. The answer is to simply look back to Jesus, and to His victory over all the powers of evil.”
Saturday – Mark 4.35-41. Today, you’re invited to really ponder a few questions as you reflect on the famous incident. You might write your thoughts. What is the most terrifying storm you, yourself can remember? In this terrifying time, which various emotions did the disciples exhibit? How did their fear during the storm differ from their fear afterward? How do you react to Jesus when He seems to be ‘asleep’ in your life? How does this story encourage you in those situations?
Posted on Sun, March 4, 2018
by Cheryl Sherrick