Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This Sunday, we begin a new series in the Gospel of Mark. Over 20 years ago, when I was a junior in college, I memorized the whole book of Mark. In fact, when I first came to the church and helped with AWANA, I taught lessons from the gospel of Mark which I quoted from memory to the 3-6th grade boys. So I’m excited to be back in the book of Mark, but this time, going through it with you.
Here are a few interesting reasons to study the Gospel of Mark. First, it is widely regarded as the first of the gospel accounts. The word “Gospel”, when referring to a book of the Bible, is a literary genre that refers to a narrative about the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. When you see the word “gospel” in the book of Mark, it is referring to “good news”. Mark is the first of the accounts regarding the good news of Jesus.
Second, Mark is the scribe for one of the eye-witnesses to Jesus, namely, the apostle Peter. Peter was a disciple of Jesus, who later became an early church leader. Mark was a young man when he became a Christ follower and he travelled around with Paul and with Peter. So he heard all the stories about Jesus. Mark is the first one to write down an account of the life of Jesus. And his information comes from the eye-witness accounts of the apostle Peter. So, invite your friends to come and join us on Sunday Mornings to study source material, a.k.a. eye-witness accounts of the life of Jesus!
Third, Mark gives us an understanding of the Messiah that we need. He gives a very clear picture of Jesus as the Messiah (which is the Hebrew word for “Anointed One”). The Greek translation of the word is “Christ”. Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One. He had a very specific role to play and he played it perfectly. You can see what Jesus says about his role in Mark 10:45. But to be more to the point, not only do we learn about Jesus, the Christ. We also learn that we need the gospel. We need to believe in the gospel, and we need Jesus to save us. Through studying the gospel of Mark, we come to an understanding of the salvation he offers.
Three reasons to study the gospel of Mark. And now for something completely different.
Here are some other interesting facts about the gospel of Mark. Did you know that in Christian art, the gospel of Mark is portrayed as a lion? Well, it is. The lion symbolizes the regal nature of Christ, or the resurrection power, or Christ as a courageous king. Mark gives us a picture of the courageous king Jesus who lives by virtue of the resurrection!
Another interesting fact about Mark is that it was written to be read out-loud. It was written as a letter to be read out-loud. So Mark’s writing seems very fast-paced. It’s jam packed with action. Mark can’t seem to keep up with Jesus, so much so that he uses the word “Immediately” 41 times (or 42 or 37 – depends on how you count it) throughout the book.
As we spend time in the book of Mark, there are a lot of different things that you can keep your eyes peeled for. Specifically in the area of content: you can look for the gospel – what is it? How is the gospel presented? What is the good news about? Keep your eyes open for the Messianic secret. Why does Jesus tell people to keep quiet about who he is and what he has done?
In the area of literary structure: you can look for details that are consistent with eye-witness testimony – namely unnecessary details, details that don’t move the story along. How do these details provide evidence that this gospel is based on eye-witness accounts? Other things to look for are what are known as sandwich structures. Mark loves sandwiches. A sandwich structure is where Mark will introduce an idea, change the topic, and return to the original idea later. The center of these “sandwiches” often clarifies or elaborates on the originally introduced idea.
I hope you’re becoming excited to spend time in the Gospel of Mark. I know that I’m excited to share God’s word with you from the Gospel of Mark!
Also, please continue to pray for the nation of Ukraine. Pray that they would cease bringing the war to Russia – because there are no winners in a war. Here is a suggested list of prayers if you are at a loss for words in how to pray: https://send.org/story/hh_pray_for_ukraine. Thank you for kneeling on behalf of the people of Ukraine and Russia, and taking a stand (or a knee in prayer) against the forces of darkness in this present age.
This Week (Aug. 25-Aug. 31, 2023):
1. Tonight, Aug. 25, 2023, the Living Stones Friday Night Bible Study is meeting from 7:30-9:30 to continue our study of mentoring relationships, looking at Paul and Timothy. You can read Acts 16:1-10, or 2 Timothy 2 and 3 to prepare. Join in person in Room A-216 or online via the following link at 7:30 pm:
Meeting ID: 685 376 249
Join by phone: +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)
Also, the Empower Fellowship will meet for our final Friday Night of the summer. We meet in Room A-201A (aka, the Empower Room)!
2. The Living Stones Sunday School and Empower Sunday School are meeting this Sunday. The Empower Students will have a discussion (sharing, prayer, and planning). The Living Stones will be studying the Theology and Practice of Evangelism. They will use the following link for those who wish to join online:
Meeting ID: 491 248 585
Join by phone: +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
3. This Sunday, August 27, 2023, at 11:25 am, Pastor Nathan Willems will be preaching. Pray for him! Join us for worship at CBCGL!
Text: Mark 1:1-15
Title: The Gospel of Jesus Christ
Live stream via Youtube: https://www.cbcgl.org/live-stream/
4. Each Wednesday, such as this week (Aug. 30) at 7:45 pm, you are invited, encouraged, and requested to join our weekly prayer meeting. We will not grow in Christ without growing in our dependence on God through prayer. In August, we will be praying with JOY (and for our college students!). The link is found below in the section on prayer.
Administration / Events
1. We have a missions update (so check out the missions tab from the bulletin)! This week, we have an update from C and A, serving in Oaxaca, Mexico. They are seeking to support the work of Bible Translation with Wycliffe Bible Translators. They are also seeking to find which people they can best support (as things were interrupted due to COVID). Finally, they are looking for more individuals or organizations to provide them with financial and prayer support. Please see the missions tab for more information.
2. We are once again collecting new or used electronics to support the work of Benjamin Owino and Let the Needy Smile (in Uganda). Collections are from Sept. 3 to Oct. 8. For more information, check out the church announcement tab in the bulletin.
3. Did you know that our buildings have been named/renamed? Check out the church announcement tab in the bulletin for more information.
4. Sunday Lunch Service is available at CBCGL with $5 lunchboxes beginning Sept. 10! To place an order, please use the following link: https://forms.office.com/r/nCwQnMruKv Orders are preferred to be placed as soon as you know, but need to be placed by Saturday night so that the kitchen can prepare the correct amount of food. Note: The selection which states “Number of Meals” refers to the cooked food/lunch box/Chinese food option.
5. CBCGL’s COVID-19 guidance is following CDC guidance for travel and participation in activities following travel or exposure to a positive case. Please note, wearing a face mask to church is now optional.
6. All other announcements can be found here (in our CrossPoint Community bulletin).
The one who lives without prayer lives as if there is no God. Truly, our time in prayer shows what we think about God! Do you see your need of Him? Or are you trying to live this life without / apart from Him? Please join our Wednesday night prayer meeting (7:45 – 9:15 pm) even if you can’t participate the whole time.
Meeting ID: 758 587 937
Join by phone: +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)
We’d be glad to pray for you. If you need prayer, you can submit your prayer request via the following link: https://www.cbcgl.org/pray/
In Christ, your servant, SDG,
Rev. Dr. Nathan Willems
Associate Pastor of CrossPoint Community – A Ministry of CBCGL