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Sermon24-6 Mark1 Guide

Mark 1:1,4-5,9-15, theme verse Mark 1:15

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

Today as we meet the first week of new year 2024, I pray that God may bless you all in His love, love and blessings. In this new year of 2024, we would like to study on the New Testament. This week starting from the Gospel of Mark, we would like to learn few lessons after looking at what the good news of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Mark.

1)    The Gospel of Mark is generally said to have been written by Mark, a co-worker of Peter. And its theme is to encourage Jewish Christians in Rome who were suffering due to increasing persecution after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. And it is said to have been written between 68 and 70 AD, just before Jerusalem was occupied and destroyed by the Roman soldiers in 70 AD.

2)    The Gospel of Mark begins with the story of John the Baptist in verses 2 and 3 of Chapter 1 who came as the messenger of God, to coming first and prepare the way of the Lord, before Jesus came, as prophesied already in the Old Testament. As such, the way of the Lord in the Gospel of Mark consists of two big stories about the way of Jesus.

3)    I mean, in the first story from 1:1 to 8:26, after leaving Nazareth, being baptized in the Jordan River, and being tempted by Satan for 40 years in the Judean wilderness, Jesus returned to Galilee, and started His ministries In other words, making His disciples in Galilee, casting out demons, raising the sick, preaching and teaching about the kingdom of God, and then after He crossed the sea of Galilee, in the land of Gentiles, Jesus did the same ministries of the exorcism and healing and proclaiming the kingdom of God. These ministries in Galilee and in the land gentile clearly shows us that Jesus’ kingdom ministry of Jesus encompasses both Jews and Gentiles.

4)    Then, in the second story from chapter 8, verse 27 to the end, starting from Caesarea Philippi, located at the foot of Mount Hermon in the northern-most part of Israel, Jesus come down to Jerusalem, during the journey, Jesus revealed that He will suffer there in Jerusalem, be crucified, yet rise again on the third day to prepare His disciples for His vicarious atonement ministries, in addition to Jesus temple purification ministry and teachings about the two greatest commandments, the prophesies about the future destruction of the temple, the end of the world, and his second coming. And then after offering a final prayer of obedience in the Garden of Gethsemane, the gospel of Mark deals with the passion narrative of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial and finally His resurrection to complete his work of atonement. But, for your reference, verses 9 to 20 of chapter 16 are actually a later addition which record the appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene and his disciples after the resurrection and his ascension to heaven after giving the disciples the mission to spread the gospel.

5)    And through this way narrative of Jesus, we can clearly see that the way of Jesus walked had a clear purpose as Mark tried to introduce, I mean, the purpose of Jesus’ way is to inaugurate the kingdom of God to this earth. And then this inauguration of the kingdom of God is the good news by Jesus the Messiah, as Mark opens his Gospel in chapter 1 verse 1. I think this is one of the unique things that differentiates the Gospel of Mark from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

6)    Then Mark says that the kingdom of God is the kingdom that came to this earth by Jesus. As Jesus said, “new wine should be put in new wineskins,” it was a new kingdom where God’s reign was restored in the hearts of his people. And also this kingdom of God was not only spiritual, but also temporal. In other words, in God’s kingdom which Jesus brought in this earth, as Isaiah 61:1 says that “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,” the demons will be cast out so that his people who were under the power of sin, death, and Satan are liberated and set free and in addition, people who were sick will be healed from various diseases, which entered the human world due to the first sin in the Garden of Eden and the brokenhearted will be healed. The Gospel of Mark clearly says that Jesus himself showed us that these amazing things, such as exorcism and healing, are things that will happen in this life as well.

7)    And also in order to show the reality of the kingdom of God, Mark prepared another passage found only in the Gospel of Mark and not in the Gospel of Matthew or Luke. It is when Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness for 40 days after his baptism, in verse 13 of Today’s text, it is said that Jesus was with wild animals as Isaiah 11:6-9 says that in the new heaven and new earth where God’s kingdom is consummated, “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.”

8)    Through today's passage, we would like to learn few things. First, we would like to think about how we can enter this kingdom of God. In Verse 15 of today’s text, Jesus said that those who “repent” can enter the kingdom of God. But, in order to repent, there’s something that must come first. I mean,  first we have to recognize and acknowledge that we are sinners. That is why Jesus said in 2:17, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” However, these words of Jesus are truly strange. Because generally speaking, any religion or philosophy say that people who do good or attain enlightenment get closer and closer to the salvation, whereas Jesus did not come to call the righteous, but rather to call and save sinners. But to tell the truth, I think this is what distinguishes Christianity from other religions or philosophies. Because all the Christians are those who realized that we cannot become righteous by our own strength and deed so that we confess we are all sinners and come before God and repent of our sins. But, in this case, we can find another problem, I mean, because Romans 3:10 and 11 says that “there is no one righteous, not even one. And there is no one who understands, and there is no one who seeks God.” That’s why Jesus said in Mark 10:27, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” And also that’s why John the Baptist said in today's text, chapter 1, verse 8, that Jesus Christ is the one who baptizes us with the Holy Spirit, because this baptism by the Holy Spirit refers to being born again by the Holy Spirit, as John 3:5 says, “Unless a person is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Secondly, the thing we would like to think about is that the elect who were regenerated by the Holy Spirit to enter the Kingdom of God will be challenged to deny ourselves, take up our own cross and to follow Jesus as Jesus said in Mark 8:34, “anyone who wants to follow Jesus must deny themselves, take up their cross, and obey the Lord.” And according to Mark 10:30, the cross that his disciples have to take up is to give up their homes, brothers, sisters, mother, father, and fields for Jesus and the gospel. And then, anyone who gave up his parents, brothers & sisters, even their house or land for the sake of Jesus and the gospel will not only receive eternal life in the world to come, but also, even in this life, they will receive a hundred times as much as your parents, siblings, house, or land, but together with persecution. Here in our Lord’s saying, there are two challenges we can find. The first concern is that we do not yet have the courage to take such a big cross. But we don't need to worry too much because, looking at the parable of the kingdom of God in Mark 4, although the kingdom of God is as small as a mustard seed, if it is planted in the heart of the elect, that seed of the kingdom of God which was sown on the ground will eventually sprout as days and nights pass by, and then that spouts will eventually bear fruit to be harvested. That's right. The kingdom of God begins with small obedience as small as a mustard seed, but eventually that small obedience will grow into big obedience and finally will bear great fruits. Even if our faith and obedience are still small,while we persevere until the end, God will water and prawn and fertilize in His power and zeal. And the second concern is that it seems this word did not come true, since we know that his disciples in the first century, became food for lions in the amphitheater in Rome, after being ridiculed, scourged, bound, imprisoned, stoned, sawed to pieces, killed by the sword, and suffered poverty, tribulation, and abuse and also they wandered around in the wilderness, mountains, caves, and crypts. But here I pray that our Lord may open our spiritual eyes to these words. I mean as Jesus said in Mark 3:31-35, when Jesus' mother and brothers came to see him, that "Who is my mother and my brothers?" And after looking around  the people sitting on his left and right, and said, "Whoever does the will of God is my brothers and my mother,” even though they gave up their brothers and their mothers to follow the Lord, they were able to gain many spiritual brothers and sisters. And also, although they abandoned their homes and lands to follow the Lord, but while suffering oppression and persecution in the Roman Empire, when they preached the kingdom of God, and tried to live in the justice and love of the kingdom of God, for about 250 years, finally in 380 AD, as Christianity was declared as the official religion of the Roman Empire, they bore more than a hundredfold fruit. Therefore in this new year of 2024, I pray that while denying ourselves even more, and taking up our own cross, we could follow Jesus’ way in faith, joy and gratitude even if there is persecution’

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 In today’s text, Mark exhorted His disciples of the first century to follow Jesus’ way. Now after 2000 years later since then, is there no exhortation like that? In my opinion, although each person's accomplishments may be different, but I am sure that we all are the followers of Jesus’ way, while taking our own cross, proclaiming the kingdom of God in the world, while doing our best to live  in the justice and love of the kingdom of God. So, after reviewing your life, I hope you could share where or with what you are following Jesus to share grace each other.

Q2 As you know very well, after adult sermons return to the place where they were born, after spawn, they die, because their body was already transformed to be appropriate for their life in the sea sault so that they no longer live long in the flesh water. I think our Christian life has very similar aspect of it I mean, even though we were called from the world, yet the world is the place to stay for a while to be called into the kingdom of God, and also the reason why we are in the world is to give birth new life. I mean, since we are called to live in the kingdom of God and are transforming to be appropriate for the life in the kingdom of God, we became already to be transformed not to live in the world. After reviewing your lfie, please where or what or how you were transformed already, I hope you could share your thought and experience to share grace with your team members.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or  even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized   ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon                                    )

Please help me to live in that (  learned way of life                                                )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.


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