Thursday, July 18 2024 - 12:59 PM

Sharing Scripture — July 6, 2024

The Beginning of the Gospel

 

For use: June 20 – July 6, 2024
Texts: Acts 13:1–5, 13; Acts 15:36–39; Mark 1:1–15; Isaiah 40:3; Daniel 9:24–27

Painting a complete character portrait of a complicated figure who served as a merchant banker, stockbroker, war reporter, naval intelligence operative, spy, and eventually celebrated author would be a chore for just about any biographer, and it proved no different for Shakespeare. Nicholas Shakespeare.

What aided Shakespeare as he painstakingly crafted “Ian Fleming: The Complete Man,” was landing hold of just about every scrap of writing Fleming ever penned. Forensically investigating the documentation of the spy’s life was almost as good as knowing the “international man of mystery” himself – or, perhaps even better, as Shakespeare could pore over the intimate thoughts recorded in Fleming’s diaries and interview a veteran who served by the covert operative’s side.

Marc Weingarten of the “Los Angeles Times” praises Shakespeare’s extensive research and masterful compilation, writing, “This is certainly the most three-dimensional portrait of a complex man who gamely tried to shore up the postwar morale of his beloved England with his fictional hero at a time when the Empire desperately needed it.”

Similarly, Jesus Christ arrived on the scene when the world needed Him most. In a time when Jews had fallen under the Roman Empire’s persecution, Israelites pleaded with God for the Messiah. They desperately needed Christ, but not for the reason they believed. He would do more than deliver them from an Empire. He would offer hope and freedom for everyone.

After Christ’s ascension, the duty of sharing the gospel fell onto the disciples. Spreading the gospel was imperative to carrying on Christ’s work, and it would give renewed joy to believers. Although preaching the Word while sharing their firsthand encounters became the primary modus operandi, recording the good news for generations to come was also crucial.

Those records, usually in the form of letters, would come to make up the New Testament.

John Mark, the early disciple to whom Christian tradition attributes the Gospel of Mark, abandoned his mentors Paul and Barnabas, as we can piece together by comparing Acts 13:1-5Acts 13:13, and Acts 15:36-39. Yet, he would go on to pen a biography of the Man Whose life, death, and resurrection saved humanity.

But he faced no small challenge: How to sum up all that is God?

Surprisingly, The Book of Mark is the most succinctly-written gospel!

This is likely because Mark elected to take the simplistic approach. Mark directed his energy into revealing the gospel of Jesus Christ through His actions and The Word of God.

In doing so he could easily present Jesus as a teacher, preacher, and friend, the Son of Man (Mark 9:31). Christ’s ability to live without sin and his lineage, which fulfilled prophecy, revealed him to the be Son of David (Mark 10:47). Jesus’ miracles, words, and resurrection also proved His divinity and verified His role as Messiah, the Son of God (Mark 1:1).

As if that wasn’t enough, Mark built a more complete picture of the Savior by surrounding himself with excellent resources. A close association of Peter and other early believers, Mark gathered firsthand accounts from the apostles who ate with Jesus.

Mark’s beautifully depicted portrait of God thus helps bring to life the most important Figure in history.

How do you see Jesus when you read the Book of Mark?

For Reflection

 

Connecting: What is the essence of the gospel?

Sharing: Read Scott Sager’s synopsis of John Mark’s life: “Who Was Mark in the Bible? A Quitter Who Finished Well.” What do you take from Mark’s fall and subsequent redemption?

  1. We all fall short of the glory of God, but in our weaknesses, God shines the most
  2. We may let cultural tensions distract us from the mission, but that doesn’t mean we’ve lost the race
  3. It’s ok to not know everything and it’s wise to seek mentorship in spiritual matters
  4. If we get too comfortable in our beliefs it is easy to fall; we must acknowledge that we cannot understand an infinite God with finite wisdom
  5. Don’t pick a fight with Paul
  6. Other

Applying: Take time, perhaps with a peer or small group, to delve into the Islamic interpretation of Christ. How can we share the gospel of Jesus Christ with Muslims who believe in Jesus but not in His divinity and resurrection at the cross?

Valuing: Recall a time when you backed off from/failed at something in your walk with Christ. What did you learn from the experience and how do you apply that lesson to your walk today?

~ Stefani Leeper


Happy Independence Day!

 

This week, many Americans come together to commemorate their nation’s hard-earned freedom from Great Britain by cherishing moments with family and friends, igniting colorful fireworks, relishing in delicious grilled foods, and donning vibrant red, white, and blue attire.

While Independence Day offers a time of celebration, it is essential to remember the underlying significance of religious freedom. This freedom is beautifully exemplified by the symbol of Christ on the cross, as it represents the ultimate sacrifice made by Jesus Christ for our liberation from the bondage of sin.

Christ’s death and resurrection uphold our God-given gift of religious autonomy; we can choose to wholeheartedly embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1) rather than fall victim to alternate doctrines and religious beliefs as referenced by Paul in Galatians 1:6-9.

Let us revel in our blessed freedom and use it to share the character of Christ with those around us.

 

Stefani Leeper | Content Coordinator

The Center for Creative Ministry is fully recognized by the North American Division (NAD) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church; it is also a 501c3 nonprofit organization which makes donations tax deductible in the U.S.

 

© 2017 - 2024 Center for Creative Ministry. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *