Beginning on Christmas Eve, I started preaching through the earliest Gospel ever written, the Gospel of Mark. I hope, as we begin a new (and hopefully much healthier!) year, that you will read the Gospel of Mark as Allan and I preach through this gospel from now until Easter.
Reading through Mark will be an easy way to grow closer to Christ in 2021. The Gospel is only 16 chapters, and it is easily the shortest of the four gospels. If you start reading a chapter a day right now, you will be finished well before the end of the month. Many of you could read the entire gospel in a free hour (or two at the most). Like Nike says, “Just do it!”
The Bible is brutally honest about John Mark, the one who very probably wrote this gospel. The book of Acts tells us that he joined his cousin Barnabas and Paul of Tarsus to launch the first missionary journey, traveling from Antioch in Syria to the island of Cyprus and then to Asia Minor, which is the modern country of Turkey. There John Mark apparently got discouraged and left the group to return home (Acts 13;13). He wimped out!
Have you ever wimped out and given up on a ministry project? Have you ever disappointed God? John Mark did. And his wimping out was recorded in the book of Acts so that millions of Christians have read all about it for 2000 years. What unwanted publicity! Things got even worse when Paul and Barnabas started organizing a second missionary journey. Barnabas wanted to give Mark a second chance and include him in the missionary party. But Paul adamantly refused! The argument got so heated that the two great Christian missionaries parted company. Barnabas took Mark and headed to Cyprus while Paul invited Silas to travel with him to Asia Minor and later Greece (you can read Acts 15:36-41 for more details).
So what can God do with a Christian who so famously wimped out? He can forgive him and use him greatly. Mark eventually reconciled with Paul and also became close to the Apostle Peter. Decades later (probably about the year 65), Mark worked with Peter to put Peter’s memories of Jesus into words. He created the first gospel. His literary initiative changed the world!
Read the Gospel of Mark these next few months while Allan and I preach from Mark’s words. Let Mark’s story of Jesus change your world!
In Christ, Pastor Mark