#5: I Will Make You Fishers of Men

Welcome back to our study of Mark’s gospel. In our last lesson, Jesus survived His forty-day wilderness trial unscathed. Today, we’ll see Jesus begin to choose His band of brothers—the twelve disciples. Get your Bible!

Read Mark 1:14-20.

Between Mark 1:13 and 1:14, Mark skips about a year during which Jesus taught and healed primarily in Judea. (You can read about that period in John 1:35—4:42.) Word about Jesus had begun to spread. Demands on Him were increasing. The crowds were growing. In His following were several men who would soon be invited to join Jesus full-time as disciples.

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God’s Test or Satan’s Trap? Part 2

You’re grappling with a decision, unsure whether this is a test from God or a trap from Satan. You want to please God, to make the right choice. But you’re not certain how to know God’s test from Satan’s trap.

It’s a situation we’ve all faced. Yesterday, we discussed temptation—how it feels and what it leads to. We also learned that God will never allow Satan to hopelessly overwhelm us; He’ll always provide a way out. The Bible warns against temptation, just a few verses after telling us to “consider it all joy” to encounter trials and the testing of our faith (James 1:2-3, 13-15). All these verses use the same Greek word for trials/tests and temptations (peirasmos). Is God trying to confuse us? Can we distinguish between a divine test and a devilish trap?

Five Indicators

Here are five questions to ask when unsure about a choice. Read More

God’s Test or Satan’s Trap? Part 1

We’ve all been there—at a moment of decision, wondering which of the options in front of us is right. What to do……

You feel drawn one direction, yet your “gut” is warning you it may be the wrong way. Is it wrong? Is this a trial God has put before you to see what you’ll do? If so, can you pass the test by making the right choice? Or is this Satan tempting you, and you’re in trouble no matter what you choose?

Interesting that the same Greek word—peirasmos—can be translated either “trial, test” or “temptation.” How can we know the difference? Today we’ll examine temptation. Tomorrow we’ll look at some important signs that set apart God’s test from Satan’s trap! Read More

#4: Trial in the Wilderness

Thanks for joining our study on Mark. Our goal is to know Jesus. We need to know Him if we’re to become more like Him! Keep in mind that Jesus’ role as the Word in flesh was to express or demonstrate how God would live as a man. (Remember lesson one?) When we look at Him, we see the Father.

In the last study blog, we looked at Jesus’ baptism. Now, we’ll see the intense test that followed. How would God handle temptation? Pick up your Bible and see!

Read Mark 1:12-13.
Also read Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13.

These three scriptures record the same event, occurring right after Jesus had been baptized by John. After having been in human form for thirty years, Jesus had watched heaven open, had seen His beloved Spirit descend, and had heard His Father’s voice—catching a glimpse of the glorious existence He’d left behind. From this exhilarating moment, Jesus would be sent to battle Satan face to face.

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#3: To Fulfill All Righteousness

I hope you’re enjoying our study of Mark, with our goal being to know Jesus better! Be sure to check out the first two blogs of this series in the archive if you’ve missed them. Today we’re looking at the first public act of Jesus’ ministry—His baptism. Open your Bible and get ready to dig into scripture!

Read Mark 1:9-13.

John the Baptist had been working for some time, calling people to repentance and baptizing them in the Jordan River. He’d gotten a lot of attention (Mk. 1:5), fulfilling his mission to get people ready for God to move.

Then out of the crowds lining the Jordan’s banks stepped Jesus. If as an unborn baby in his mother’s womb John had “leaped” in recognition of the unborn Christ (Lk. 1:41-44), imagine his heart pounding as he saw Jesus step into the water and wade toward him. John’s first thought was that Jesus had come to baptize him. But Jesus made clear what He’d come for: “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” (Mt. 3:15)

What did Jesus mean? Why did He, sinless as He was, want to be baptized? Read More

A Voice In the Desert

What is God asking me to do? What’s my job, my role?

Our “Wednesday In the Word” study this week focused on John the Baptist’s role, preparing the way for Jesus. He was the voice in the desert crying, “Get ready! Clear away your sin. The Promised One is coming—the Kingdom of God is here!”

John’s audience was huge. Some came out of true desire to hear, some to mock, some to report his comments to Herod. Some were responsive, some were not. John didn’t take time to consider who was who. He just did the job he was sent to do. He had amazing news, and he poured his life out shouting it!

We, too, have amazing news: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17 NIV) The sin-blackened inhabitants of this world have a chance to start again—to be made new! Hopelessness is gone, hope is here! Read More

#2: Preparing the Way

Welcome to our study on Mark! Last week, we were introduced to Jesus as the Word, who became the Son of God. (Check the archive for that study if you missed it.) Today we’ll see the preparations God made for His Son’s ministry in the world. Grab your Bible and let’s get started.

Read Mark 1:2-8.

Roughly 800 years before Mark’s writing, the prophet Isaiah had written about “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.'” (Is. 40:3) Then 300 years after Isaiah, God’s prophet Malachi wrote, “See, I will send my messenger who will prepare the way before me.” (Mal. 3:1) God detailed the plan for His Son’s coming hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, giving “signposts” by which men could identify Him.

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#1: The Beginning

Welcome to our new study on Mark! We’ve got a lot to learn in the coming weeks. At times we’ll move quickly, at times we’ll move slowly. We’ll answer some questions and we’ll raise some questions. And we’ll get to know Jesus like never before.

Ready? Open your Bible and let’s get to it!

Read Mark 1:1.

Mark calls his record “the beginning of the gospel about Jesus.” He tells what happened when the Word (referred to in John 1:1) entered the world in flesh and became known as Jesus, the Son of God. (Read Luke 1:31-32a, 35.) So Mark’s book is really the beginning of the human venture of Jesus.

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Praying Psalm 121

Feeling alone? discouraged? Feel like you’re at battle, nearly overwhelmed by the Enemy? Psalm 121 is great comfort! Its eight verses are packed with assurance that God is beside us at all times. David may or may not have been the author (it is “unsigned”), but with his background as a warrior we can be sure he understood and appreciated its message.

In bold are the actual words of Psalm 121(NIV), with my comments intermingled.

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A Lesson From the Yalunka

I love this powerful video! On February 3, 2013, the Yalunka people of West Africa—dressed in their best, singing and celebrating—greeted the arrival of trucks bringing cases of Bibles. For the first time ever, they held Bibles in their own language. Their joy is plain to see!

Contrast this with so many American Christians who are surrounded by Bibles of many translations and styles, yet never pick one up and read it. I pray that we might learn from the Yalunkas and be this enthused about the Word of God!

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