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Week 1 of Reading The New Testament 5×5, Mark Chapters 1-5

It has been an amazing start to reading The New Testament through in a year. Many people have commented on the facebook page with questions as well as insight into the passages of scripture. I believe that scripture was meant to be read and studied in community. Thank you for being a part of this life changing event.

Some of you may be wondering why the reading plan begins in Mark, it is because most scholars believe Mark to be the oldest Gospel of the four. This doesn’t make it more significant, just older.

Here are some of the recurring verses we saw mentioned in our reading for the week with a little bit of commentary.

Mark 1:15

15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” NIV

15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” NASB

15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” NLT

The reference here “The Kingdom of Heaven Is Near” is a to the fact that Jesus is here, he was there with them and therefore the God is near. It was the promise of the arrival of the Messiah.


Mark 1:23-27

23 Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit began shouting, 24 “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”25 Jesus cut him short. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. 26 At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him.27 Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!”

Many times in the Gospels we will see evidence of demon activity or demon possession. It is something as a society we have placed in the category of cartoonish, or cheap horror movies and therefore it has been laid aside as if it didn’t exist today. There is no evidence that demon possession has ceased to exist and good evidence that it is rampant in society today. Some have asked if this could have been what we would describe today as different mental illness and of course there could be occasions of such in scripture. However, in this instance as in many others throughout scripture it is an evil spirit, a demon spirit that has taken possession of a person.

One of the main problems with recognizing demon spirits if that people tend to see everything as a demon spirit that is wrong or else we see nothing as a demon spirit and both are equally wrong.

Ephesians 6:12

12 we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Demon spirits are real.

Remember when you pray that we are not fighting what is visibly seen. Pray and ask God how to pray. Part of the defeated life is not understanding the enemy we battle.

Mark 2:5

Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” NLT

Don’t ever forget this man was healed by the faith of someone else. We are not told this was the mans friends even, we are told some people came and brought him to Jesus. Who do you know that needs someone to bring them to Jesus so they can be healed?

We don’t get off the hook so easy, we play a larger role in the salvation of others than we want to take responsibility for.

Mark 2:18-22

18 Once when John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting, some people came to Jesus and asked, “Why don’t your disciples fast like John’s disciples and the Pharisees do?”19 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. They can’t fast while the groom is with them. 20 But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.21 “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.”

When new wine was poured into a wineskin it had to be a new wineskin because as it fermented it would expand. An old wineskin would become brittle and burst when the new wine started to expand.

Jesus was not saying that we should not fast, he said it was hard for the disciples to fast while he was with them, it was a time of rejoicing.

Here is my interpretation of this passage.

Jesus is here, I’m so excited I’m about to bust. We are going to hold off on the fasting for now because if we do that now we would be pouring this new excitement into an old tradition and it’s time for something new. Traditions are great, as long as they glorify Christ and are meaningful. We had traditions in my family growing up that mean nothing to my children today but we have made new traditions that have taken their place and they are meaningful to us. Jesus was saying, it was a tradition for the people of that day to fast at that time but it wasn’t a command. It was expected and still is that we will fast but there is no command to certain times. There is a time to fast and there is a time to feast.

Mark 3: 7-12

Jesus went out to the lake with his disciples, and a large crowd followed him. They came from all over Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, from east of the Jordan River, and even from as far north as Tyre and Sidon. The news about his miracles had spread far and wide, and vast numbers of people came to see him.Jesus instructed his disciples to have a boat ready so the crowd would not crush him. 10 He had healed many people that day, so all the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch him. 11 And whenever those possessed by evil spirits caught sight of him, the spirits would throw them to the ground in front of him shrieking, “You are the Son of God!”12 But Jesus sternly commanded the spirits not to reveal who he was.

Note: Notice, it is the demons that Jesus commanded not to tell who he was.

Mark 3:21

21 When his family heard what was happening, they tried to take him away. “He’s out of his mind,” they said.

Jesus own family said he was crazy. Do our family and friends ever notice that kind of difference in us?

Mark 3:29

29 but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. This is a sin with eternal consequences.”

Blasphemy of The Holy Spirit is not taking God’s name in vain as is often taught, it is saying no to Him for the final time. (More on this later)

Mark 4:11-12

11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders, 12 so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:

‘When they see what I do,

they will learn nothing.

When they hear what I say,

they will not understand.

Otherwise, they will turn to me

and be forgiven.

12 so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: NLT

I believe this is a mis-translation, the Greek word here “hina”  is translated “so that” and the passage is pointing back to a passage in Isaiah 6:9-10 which reads:

Then the Lord said, “Go and tell this to the people:

‘You will listen and listen, but you will not understand.

You will look and look, but you will not learn.’

10 Make the minds of these people dumb.

Shut their ears. Cover their eyes.

Otherwise, they might really understand

what they see with their eyes

and hear with their ears.

They might really understand in their minds

and come back to me and be healed.”

In light of this we have to see this passage as pointing back and not that Jesus was saying he didn’t want some people to hear the gospel and repent. The scripture is clear that Jesus made salvation available to all.


I am still working on this one. (More to come soon)

OK, these are some of the things we will focus on Wednesday night in Bible Study. I am open to hearing your comments on what I have offered here. Please do not hesitate to disagree if you have good reason to do so and let’s be in conversation.


no perfect people allowed (3)



January 7, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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