Yesterday, I was struck by something I read from a guy I really admire named Francis Chan. He wrote this… “Have you ever thought to simply enjoy reading the Bible? We often get so caught up in the busyness of our lives or the details of the biblical text that we forget that we should be thrilled. We are hearing God’s word to us!” This may sound a little redundant, but God’s word is really God’s word to you, and to me. And, by the way, it is good news!
Why Read the Bible?
As we are about half way through the first year of our journey together through God’s word, I thought I would take a minute just to remind us of why we read the Bible. Here it is…
- Ultimately, it is to know God, and to listen for his voice – His words to us.
- To know ourselves. We often think of the Bible as something we read in order to gain knowledge, we actually have it backward. The Bible reads us – it penetrates to our core and exposes who we really are.
- Hearing and applying God’s word changes us! The purpose is not to try to make the Bible say what we want it to say, but to listen to it to see how our lives need to change according to it. By the way, every time we find ourselves disagreeing with God, we can be certain that we are the ones who need to change! Just sayin’!
- It strengthens our relationship with God. Every time we open the word, it gives us the opportunity to commune with and enjoy the presence of God and grow in him.
- It helps us understand the world we live in, orients and reorients us, and reveals to us our mission.
- Go ahead and post some reasons you read the word, and some things I might have forgotten…
Reading the Gospel of Mark…
Reading the gospel of Mark is like watching the evening news. The evening news gives you the highlights of the world in 30 minutes (or really 24 with the commercials). The Gospel of Mark follows a similar fast-paced approach while introducing Jesus Christ, the son of God. Readers see hightlights of the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. Coming out of obscurity, this unique God-man preaches, performs miracles and encounters both great popularity and deadly opposition. It’s the greatest news story of all time.
Notice just the First Chapter… 1) Mark dives right into Jesus ministry. 2) We are introduced to the Theme of the New Testament – v.14 The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news! Jesus ushered in a new Kingdom – the Kingdom of heaven on earth. Watch for this theme over and over again in Mark. 3) Jesus defines what it means to be a disciple: “Come, follow me.” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 4) Then we see him living out the good news in word – teaching/preaching; and in deeds – demonstrating the Kingdom of God by healing, driving out demons and setting people free!
However the thing that most struck me from this first chapter is that Jesus was not driven by the demands of people with an unhealthy need to perform, or please people, or be recognized, or ego satisfaction, but he was directed by the Spirit of God. Everybody was looking for Jesus, and freaking out, but listen to these words…Let these words wash over you… Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” How’s that?
So, enjoy the greatest news story of all time!