Tag Archive: gospel of mark

Day 6 and the final day of reading through the Gospel of Mark. If you have not read the last chapter of Mark please do that. Watch the video above of Pastor Ron, even though he doesn’t share too much about the passage because he will be preaching on it this weekend. You will be able to hear that message by going to our website http://www.gloriadeionline.com and then go to the sermon section where it will be listed.

After reading the last chapter of Mark, what were your reflections?

After reading through the Gospel this week, what has been your overall reaction? What have you learned that you didn’t know? What was your biggest take away from this discipline?

My reflections on Mark 16:

From the darkness of Good Friday to the very beginnings of the light of the Resurrection. The women came sad and left trembling and astonished. Could it possibly be that he is no longer in the tomb? What happened to him? Did someone take his body?Full of questions but different questions and feelings than what they came with.

Take note here that most Bibles have a little note after verse 8. It reads, “Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9-20.” Do not allow this to cause you alarm or throw you into a tailspin. Some people believe Mark ended his book at verse 8. At a later time some of Mark’s disciples added in verses 9-20 with what they heard him speak. I tend to be on the side that believes Mark meant to leave the last part off. With the fast pace nature of the book and the intent of showing Jesus to be the Son of God, he accomplished what he wanted and would have been happy for the book to end with people knowing the tomb was empty. He knew that someone else would pick up where he left off.

An example: Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of the Christ” received many harsh judgements because at the end of the movie there wasn’t a huge resurrection scene. Jesus simply gets up, the linens are folded and he walks out into the light. That is the story he wanted to tell. He showed who Jesus was by what he said and what he did. To show that it was complete, he shows Jesus coming out of the tomb. What else do you need? You have a death and you have a resurrection; which is the story and the reason we have forgiveness and victory!

There is some good stuff that happens in verses 9-16 (and some stuff that has been distorted, like the poison and snake handling) but I like the book ending with trembling and astonishment. What do you think? Did Mark intend for the book to continue? Or do you think from your reading that he would have wanted it to end at the empty tomb? It is okay either way, just wanted to see what you thought.

These are my reactions, what are yours?

Have a blessed Easter celebration wherever you are at!


Day 4 of reading through the Gospel of Mark. We are on chapters 10-12. If you have not read them yet, please do that. Then watch the video of Pastor Ron as he shares two particular insights from his reading today. Finally, share your own insights, because out of three chapters there will be more than two thoughts. I will look forward to hearing from you. It is through others reactions and reflections we can learn more about the Word of God.

Here are a few of my reflections:

Chapter 10:13-ff- Jesus has time for all people. Especially those that are viewed as the lowest of the society. Children were loved, but they were also viewed as servants of the household. Jesus says faith like that of these little infants is the way to receive the kingdom of God. The story that follows is a direct example of this. A rich, young ruler wants to know the secret to eternal life; what must he do? Jesus is saying have faith like these babies. It is not a faith that is void of evidence but a faith that is secure in salvation through Jesus.

The end of chapter 10 Jesus is talking about dying and his disciples are concerned about who is going to be the greatest. How easily we can lose perspective when our focus is on us.

Chapter 11- Jesus seems a little grumpy when he comes to the court of the Gentiles at the temple. He starts overturning tables and seats of those present. Even though these money changers were always there Jesus is angry because it should be a place of prayer for all nations. This opens up access to God unlike anyone had ever done because he included the Gentiles.

Chapter 12- “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone…” The builders of the house forgot to put the cornerstone in. The house will never be complete without the cornerstone. Jesus is essential for our foundation. When we remove him, we remove what is essential and the foundation is in danger of cracking and collapsing. What condition is your foundation in today?

Great chapters from Mark and Great news from God today.

Day 3 of reading through the Gospel of Mark during Holy Week. We are on chapters 7-9. If you have not read the chapters for today, do that first. Then, listen to the video above and hear from Pastor Ron what caught his attention this morning. Finally, add your own thoughts of the places that made you stop and think. You can do that either on this page or on our Facebook page.

My thoughts for today on chapters 7-9:

The end of chapter 7 Jesus has an interesting way of healing.  The man was deaf and had a speech impediment. Jesus takes his fingers and puts them in his ears and then spits on his fingers and puts them on the man’s tongue. This is an unorthodox way of healing. But if you think about it, the man was deaf so he could not hear Jesus say a word to heal him. The way this man communicated was by lip-reading or by touch. Jesus puts his fingers into the mans ears to communicate with him and then at a word is still healed. It amazes me to see Jesus meet people at every level, whether whole or with imperfection.

Feeding of the four thousand, Jesus is amazed that the disciples didn’t realize he could do this. Jesus points back to the previous time he did it with the 5,000 people. How easily we forget what God can do. It is more like, what have you done for me lately?

Love the reminder of Jesus once again, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” This is a daily pursuit to follow after the one who did it all for me. Because “What would it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet forfeit his soul.” Amen to that!

Chapter 9- there is the father of the boy who is demon possessed. Jesus says, “All things are possible for one who believes.” And the Father said, “I believe, help my unbelief!” Jesus is the only way to combat doubts. If we try to confront doubt with anything other than Faith, doubt will win every time. Great reminder for me and all people of faith as we travel this Passion road with Jesus this week.

So what caught your attention? Look forward to hearing from you.

Day 2 of the journey through the Gospel of Mark. Read through chapters 4-6, watch the video and hear from Pastor Ron his thoughts and then add your own thoughts.

I have a few random thoughts that I would like to add on chapters 4-6 that caused me to stop and pause.

Jesus teaches everything in parables, so that “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.”  I wrote a blog piece about this a number of weeks ago, but it still catches me off guard because I wonder why Jesus doesn’t just tell them plainly.

I like the question the disciples ask at the end of Chapter 4. “Who then is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?” Jesus is way bigger than they can wrap their puny little minds around. I constantly have to remind myself that Jesus is way bigger than my mind can handle also.

The end of chapter 4 and all of chapter 5 Jesus shows that he has power over the elements, demons, sickness and death itself. What a wonderful reminder that Jesus has all control and power and I can trust him with my life with all the little problems and occurrences.

Chapter 6 Jesus is rejected in his hometown. But it was a slow process. Jesus speaks and people are amazed, but then it is almost as if they just realize, wait a second this guy can’t have authority because he is like us. “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? Is not this the carpenter…” A prophet is not without honor in his own hometown. People simply can’t get over who they think Jesus is. Do you get caught up in the familiar things of Jesus, only to miss the boat on who or what he is trying to say? I know it is very easy.

The John the baptist story sticks out. The story is moving along quickly until Mark mentions John the Baptist dying which he feels is an important part of the story. Herod is a little freaked out that Jesus might be John the Baptist back from the dead, who was killed by his order. Has the “Holy Man” come back to seek revenge? Interesting story!

Jesus feeds the 5,000 which is a cool story, but what stuck out to me again was the story that followed it. The disciples are out on the boat, Jesus was up on the mountain praying in solitude and he comes out on the water and just starts walking on it. The story is familiar but what stood out was when it said, “He meant to pass by them…” What was Jesus doing? He was out there walking on water and it is not just to show off in front of his disciples. He was out taking a stroll on the lake. Wow!

These are my thoughts, what are yours?

Look forward to hearing back from you.

Pastor Ron Burcham challenged the people of Gloria Dei to prepare their hearts this passion week by reading through the Gospel of Mark. Three chapters a day will get you to the place where we can be prepared for the Easter resurrection. This challenge is not just for the people of Gloria Dei. Please feel free to join us wherever you are. We will be updating this page daily throughout Holy Week, so check back here to hear thoughts concerning the Gospel.

This is day one of the challenge. Listen to the video above and hear from Pastor Ron about his thoughts concerning the first three chapters. If you haven’t had the chance to read the first three chapters do that. Then add your thoughts either on this page or on our Facebook page.

Feel free to add any other ways in which you prepare for the passion week. We would love to hear from you.

Blessings on the Holy Week ahead!

Matters of the Heart

We continue this week with our look at the Gospel of Mark. Last week we covered chapters 4-6 as we looked at the pattern of Jesus’ teaching. This week we are in chapter 7 and once again we see the Pharisees and their blatant disrespect of Jesus and his ministry. And once again Jesus doesn’t sit back and take it or change his message to fit their rebuke.

Jesus turns it back on the Pharisees by looking at the heart of the issue.

Jesus says, “These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their heart isn’t in it. They act like they are worshiping me, but they don’t mean it. They just use me as a cover for teaching whatever suits their fancy, ditching God’s command and taking up the latest fads.” Mark 7:6-8 (MSG)

Jesus wants them to know that it is about their heart and intent in worship. He moves from rebuke of the Pharisees to a moment of teaching for all the people present. He drops a bombshell when he tells them the parable about what pollutes the human body; it is not what you put in but what comes out. At that time there was a list of things you could and couldn’t eat. What you put in your body does not go to your heart but to the stomach and then out again, that can’t make him unclean. But, what comes out of a man is what makes him unclean.

The Pharisees were hypocrites because they made an outward profession of worshiping God but gave Him no genuine worship from their hearts. They were teaching the rules of men as authoritative or directly from God. The Pharisees looked at tradition as “the fence of the Law.” It was not the Law that protected the tradition, but the tradition that protected the Law! There is no tradition or habit in the church that can or should dominate the Word of God. We do not exist to elevate our own name or pious acts. Instead we want to make much of Jesus and the cross of salvation.

Jesus is most interested in our heart or our motives. Do we serve and obey God out of blind obedience or out of love and devotion? It is the difference between religion and relationship. God has never looked for blind obedience, but He has always looked for a relationship. We can find ourselves day-by-day going through the motions out of habit alone (we are creatures of habit). But, may we notice and identify when these habits creep into our worship life. We don’t want to treat it like everything else, because God is concerned about our worship. Matters of the heart aren’t always easy to deal with, but it is a good thing that the Holy Spirit is in the Heart business.

What areas of your life do you struggle to put your heart in to it? What areas of your worship do you do out of blind obedience? Have you ever asked yourself why you do what you do? Are these things according to God or are they man-made rules?

Please leave your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Jesus: Great Teacher…Better Savior

We are continuing in our message series in which we have been looking at the Gospel of Mark. In chapters 4-6 we notice that Jesus sets up for us a pattern of teaching, testing and doing.

In chapter 4 Jesus uses a number of parables to teach his disciples about the Kingdom of God, culminating with the teaching of the mustard seed. But, Jesus is not just some run-of-the-mill teacher who just likes to hear himself talk. In this chapter Jesus uses parables to teach. The interesting part is that the disciples get done hearing him teach and they ask him to explain it because they didn’t get it. If the disciples aren’t getting it, I am pretty sure the rest of the people there are probably a little confused. Listen to what Jesus says is the purpose of parables:

He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that,  “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”

What a great teacher, right? Teaching a lesson that he never intends on them understanding. Brilliant! Wait…if you have a child and they come home and tell you that their teacher is teaching lessons that they do not want the class to understand, how would you respond? I tell you what I would do, go to the teacher and ask what this nonsense is all about. That’s why it is going to sound crazy when I say it but, this is why Jesus is such a genius teacher. Let me explain.

A parable is a story with earthly elements, elements that people would have understood in their context. The parable also has a heavenly meaning attached to it to try to teach them about whatever the subject that needs to be taught. For example; Jesus says the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed and then talks about the seed. Now, he doesn’t explain why the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed but it gives them something to think about.

I don’t know if this is a good or bad way to look at parables and Jesus teaching of them but it’s my way. I remember in High School chemistry my teacher would do an experiment and then write a bunch of equation stuff on the board. I understood the experiment but the equation I could never understand. I have to tell you that it would have been really easy to give up, but I was intrigued by the process even if I was confused by the numbers. This process is what made me come back even when I was confused. Jesus left some people confused and that is precisely what made people come back again to hear what else he had to say.

Jesus as a great teacher also takes his disciples to the side later and explains it all to them. Jesus doesn’t just preach a good sermon, he also gives some real life examples or application to his teaching. He then follows up with a test! That’s right, he allows their faith to be tested when a storm comes up while they are all in the boat together. The storm hits and they believe they are going to die. Jesus asks them, “…Do you still have no faith?”  Then in Chapter 6 the rubber hits the road and he sends the disciples out 2×2 to preach, to teach, to disciple. A great teacher is able to teach, apply and equip; Jesus is a great teacher.

But if that is all Jesus is then I could take it or leave it. In these same passages we find that Jesus is sooo much more than a great teacher. At the end of chapter 4 Jesus shows that he has authority even over the wind and waves as he calms it with three simple words. Chapter 5 Jesus shows that he has power over the demons and at the end of the chapter he has power even over death. A great teacher doesn’t have the power or authority to do any of this. That is why Jesus is a great teacher but has also proven himself to be an even greater Savior.

Have you been challenged to view Jesus as just a great teacher? What have you done to help others see that he is so much greater than a teacher? Do you have concrete examples in your life that Jesus has proven to be more than just a teacher?

Leave your comments and questions below or on our Facebook page. Thanks!

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