Remarkable Mark

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Readings for the 2018 summer Bible reading plan.

Remarkable Mark Wrap-up for Remarkable Mark

2018-07-16T12:32:32-04:00August 4th, 2018|Categories: Remarkable Mark|

Reading 21: Wrap-up for Remarkable Mark

You may know that many scholars contend that Mark’s Gospel originally ended quite strangely with 16:8, “and they said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.” The rest, they say, were later additions to make sure Mark’s narrative included the resurrection narrative, so central to the Christian faith. Indeed, the most ancient manuscripts of Mark do not contain verses 9-20. Well, shoot, somebody said something to somebody, because we have the whole Gospel of Mark before us today! I hope you’ve enjoyed re-reading it as I have, or perhaps you’re just now reading it through for the first time.

Remarkable Mark 20: A Silent Dawn

2018-07-16T12:26:49-04:00August 3rd, 2018|Categories: Remarkable Mark|

Reading 20: A Silent Dawn

Read Mark 16: 1-8

Early morning is my favorite time of day. Everything seems fresh and new, the air filled with a great variety of birdsong in my little corner of the world, and people sounds have not yet begun. Usually I awaken with an eagerness to see what the day will bring, as well as an overwhelmIng gratitude for another day of life.

Remarkable Mark 19: A Savior who redeems by losing

2018-07-16T12:18:44-04:00August 2nd, 2018|Categories: Remarkable Mark|

Reading 19: A Savior who redeems by losing

Read Mark 15:1-47

These 47 verses are an important part of the Passion history which follow Peter’s threefold denial of his Lord. The following scenes seem to escalate the chaos begun by Peter’s faithless denial. With every cluster of seemingly unredeemable bad news that follows Jesus shows his ability to share a good news that redeems and saves us from ourselves.

Remarkable Mark 18: Speaking Up

2018-07-16T12:09:13-04:00August 1st, 2018|Categories: Remarkable Mark|


Reading 18: Speaking Up

Read Mark 14:43-72

I enjoyed visiting the Art Institute of Chicago while growing up in a nearby suburb. While I loved Impressionism, I was also drawn to the work of Ivan Albright, whose life-size painting, “That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do” (also known as “The Door”), fascinated me. The work features a door with a wreath, and a hand reaching toward the knob, all of which looks decrepit and decaying. Albright’s other work was similarly macabre, but he considered this his most important work.

Remarkable Mark 17: “Long Live God”

2018-07-16T12:00:13-04:00July 31st, 2018|Categories: Remarkable Mark|

Reading 17: “Long Live God”

Read Mark 14:1-31

Aside from my immediate love for the musical “Godspell,” the thing I most remember about leaving the theater that first time I saw the movie version was the grumbling of the adults around me.

I must’ve been about 14 years old that evening. And as the movie ended, and as I wandered out alone—more than a little tingly from this depiction of the Gospels that was unlike anything I’d ever seen in Sunday school—all I heard from the grownups around me was complaining.

Remarkable Mark 16: Jesus Foretells the End Times

2018-07-30T11:09:28-04:00July 30th, 2018|Categories: Remarkable Mark|

Reading 16—Jesus Foretells the End Times

Read Mark 13:1-37

The disciples have traveled with Jesus all the way to Jerusalem, where they express awe at the magnificent temple (13:1). Jesus, however, continues teaching them that the glory they keep looking for is not the glory they will find with him. The stones of the temple will be thrown down, he says (13:2), and many terrible things will happen to the disciples (13:9-13) and in their world (13:7-8, 14-18). Mark was writing to an audience that was reeling from the catastrophic destruction of Jerusalem and the temple around 70 A.D. Jesus the Messiah did not come to overthrow the Roman overlords and then

Remarkable Mark 15: At the Master’s Feet

2018-07-16T11:31:39-04:00July 29th, 2018|Categories: Remarkable Mark|

Reading 15—At the Master’s Feet

Read Mark 12:1-44

When my grandmother Alice was advanced in years it became increasingly difficult for her to hear during church. We tried various hearing aids, with mixed results. In frustration, we once asked if she wouldn’t rather stay home on a Sunday morning. “Oh, no; I need to sit at my Master’s feet, even if I can’t hear a word.”

Remarkable Mark 14: Where Do You See Jesus?

2018-07-16T10:32:54-04:00July 28th, 2018|Categories: Remarkable Mark|

Reading 14—Where Do You See Jesus?

Read Mark 10:46-11:33

The healing of a blind man, a parade, an object lesson with a fig tree, a spiritual housecleaning, and a confrontation with authority—these are the ways that Mark lets us see Jesus very shortly before His arrest, trial, and crucifixion.

Remarkable Mark 13: Hardness of Heart and the Kingdom of God

2018-07-16T10:30:46-04:00July 27th, 2018|Categories: Remarkable Mark|

Reading 13—Hardness of Heart and the Kingdom of God

Read Mark 10:1-45

In these verses from Mark, Jesus is constantly calling people out for hardness of heart and inability to see the kingdom of heaven present right in front of them. The transfiguration in chapter 9 revealed Jesus to be the embodiment of the law fulfilled in his life, death and resurrection. Chapter 10 shows this integrity through these encounters with Jesus.

Remarkable Mark 11: The Turning Point

2018-07-16T10:22:55-04:00July 25th, 2018|Categories: Remarkable Mark|

Reading 11—The Turning Point

Read Mark 8:27-38

Near the middle of Mark’s gospel, Jesus, far from home in Caesarea Philippi, turns to his disciples and asks them two tough questions.  First, “Who do people say that I am?” to which they respond with a list of possibilities: John the Baptist; Elijah; or one of the prophets. Then Jesus says, “Never mind what the others say – who do YOU say that I am?”

Remarkable Mark 10: Well Fed

2018-07-16T10:20:39-04:00July 24th, 2018|Categories: Remarkable Mark|

Reading 10—Well Fed

Read Mark 8:1-26 I was supposed to be asleep like the other kids at the day care center. It was nap time and one of the leaders was placing suckers on each cot as a tasty wake-up treat for us. Only I had no sucker on my cot! She must have missed me. So, I did what any resourceful four-year-old boy might do, I stole one from my neighbor. I placed it next to me as if they had missed him instead. I was satisfied even though this sucker was of the least desirable lemon-flavored variety. But it was better than nothing.

Remarkable Mark 09: “He has done everything well”

2018-07-16T10:16:22-04:00July 23rd, 2018|Categories: Remarkable Mark|

Reading 9—“He has done everything well”

Mark 7:1-37

In this chapter of Mark, we see a lot of dissonance between Jesus’ ministry and the traditions or social norms of the society in which He lives. The Jewish traditions required a ceremonial hand washing before a meal, but Jesus allows His disciples to eat with unwashed hands. The Greek mother was seen as an outsider, and yet Jesus took the time to heal her daughter of an impure spirit. The stories reveal to us that Jesus is the kind of Messiah that transcends human understanding in His work to bring the love of God to a broken world.

Remarkable Mark 08: No Down Time

2018-07-16T10:13:36-04:00July 22nd, 2018|Categories: Remarkable Mark|

Reading 8—No Down Time

Read Mark 6:31-53

Does this sound familiar: “Ugh! If I could just get some time for myself!” There are times in our lives when we feel overwhelmed with all our responsibilities. When that overwhelming feeling rears its head, all I want to do is be alone, to get away, and have no disruptions.

Remarkable Mark 07: Who is this Jesus?

2018-07-16T09:59:07-04:00July 21st, 2018|Categories: Remarkable Mark|

Reading 7—Who Is this Jesus? 

Read Mark 6:1-30

Well, after Mark tells several stories of Jesus power over things like: nature (the sea and the wind); demonic powers (Gerasene demoniac); loss of life blood (woman with hemorrhage); and death (a child) one would think it would be easy to see that there is something up with Jesus of Nazareth. But upon returning home, those closest to Jesus cannot see it.

Remarkable Mark 06: United by a Shared Savior

2018-07-16T09:42:41-04:00July 20th, 2018|Categories: Remarkable Mark|

Reading 6—United by a Shared Savior

Read Mark 5:1-43

The fifth chapter of Mark’s Gospel presents us with three healing miracles that could not be more different from one another. We have, first, the healing of the demon-possessed man in the country of the Gerasenes, a Gentile region on the east side of the Sea of Galilee. Next, we have the healing of the daughter of a respected leader of the synagogue, Jairus. Finally, on the way to raise Jairus’ daughter, we have the healing of an unnamed woman who had been ritually unclean for twelve years. What do these people have in common?

Remarkable Mark 05: Seeds and Storms

2018-07-16T09:30:42-04:00July 19th, 2018|Categories: Remarkable Mark|

Reading 5–Seeds and Storms

Read Mark 4:1-41

As a gardener, the thrill begins during the dark days of winter when the first seed catalogs arrive in the mail. In today’s reading from Mark, Jesus uses seeds, agricultural practices, light, and the humble mustard plant to teach about the reign and rule of God. Jesus used these common, everyday objects and stories which form the first and largest section of teaching found in Mark’s Gospel. These parables, which in Jesus’ day included proverbs, riddles, and stories allowed for multiple, open-ended interpretations.

Remarkable Mark 04: Blessed and Highly Favored!

2018-07-16T09:25:56-04:00July 18th, 2018|Categories: Remarkable Mark|

Reading 4—Blessed and Highly Favored!

Read Mark 3:1-35

In the Pentecostal and/or Evangelical traditions, people speak of being “anointed” or having an “anointing” on their lives. Those blessed enough to be perceived to have an anointing, are assumed to be favored, and very special in the eyes of God. Special circumstances surround them; they stand out in a crowd;  they exude a certain aura; they are CHOSEN. These folks are “blessed and highly favored.”

Remarkable Mark 02: So It Begins

2018-07-14T23:03:14-04:00July 16th, 2018|Categories: Remarkable Mark|

Reading 02—So It Begins

Read Mark 1:1-45

Taken separately, the brief individual scenes within Mark’s first chapter seem thin, with hardly enough detail to make a good story. But try reading Chapter 1 as one continuous narrative, or better yet, read it aloud, and you’ll feel the breathless intensity of a story that pulls you into its current.

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