As part of a 6-week training program to learn how to share the gospel effectively in a way that uses your own story and strengths, we were to read through one of the gospels from start to finish to better understand/refresh ourselves with the story of Jesus.
Just a little background on this wonderful movement of God. Here in southeast Michigan there are over 400 churches joining forces for a massive 40 day outreach to share the gospel beginning the day after Easter. The weekend before there will be a prayer walk through downtown Detroit. It's called E.A.C.H
Everyone A Chance to Hear
I am excited to be a part of what God is at work doing here. I believe the last 2 years God has been preparing to feel more confortable sharing 'my story' with people that may lead to opportunities to share 'His story.' In the meantime, the same 6 sermons are being preached at these churches that go along with a small group study.
Back to the assignment. Last weekend I decided to read through the book of Mark. Why? Confession - because it had the fewest chapters.
One of my favorite things about the Word of God is finding little things I never noticed before or seeing a passage in a new way even if I have heard it over and over again. This was no exception. A few words with a large impact.
The Rich Young Man
Mark 10:17-23 is the story of the rich young man (also found in Mt 19:16-30 and Lk 18:18-30)
But only Mark gives a deeper glimpse into Jesus heart.
v 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him...
And I wonder - Was it a knowing look of love that the man would not be able to follow the words Jesus was about to speak? Was it a love of heartbreak knowing this man would never be saved? It was cleary something visible in Jesus gaze or body language. Maybe Jesus had tears in his eyes as he spoke, wanting so desperately for this man to know and yet knowing he never would.
Lord, help us to not let our things get in the way of knowing and obeying you.
Then a snowstorm came that weekend and my small group was cancelled and so I had another week to work on the homework and decided I would also read through John, since its style is much different than the other 3. I haven't finished it yet, but still found some food for thought.
Water Into Wine
John chapter 2 starts with Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding. This is the first recorded miracle in Jesus ministry, but I'm not convinced it was his first miracle. Mary approaches her son. She pulls him aside and whispers in his ear that the wine is gone. She knows he can do something about it and I don't think she means for him to go buy some. What would make her think her son could pull something off unless she had known, had seen him do something miraclous before. Maybe he skinned his knee and healed himself, or provided for the family when there was nothing?
He looks at her and says, "Really woman, really? (ok so I took some liberties with the text) "Why do you involve me? My time has not yet come." And Mary looks at her son, knows he will do it anyway and tells the servants to do what Jesus says. Who knows what wonderous secrets Mary carried in her heart about this gift-child?
Lord, teach us to approach you in confidence knowing you will do whatever we ask in your name.
After the Triumphal Entry
John 12:20-22 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus." Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
That's it. We don't know if they ever got a chance to speak with Jesus or glimpse him as he spoke predicting his soon approaching death. And why would John bother to even mention them? Perhaps to show us that Christ was already reaching the Gentiles, drawing them in as well. The footnote in my Bible says "He regarded their coming as important but not their conversation with Jesus. Jesus came to die for the world, and the coming of these Gentiles indicates the scope of the effectiveness of his approaching crucifixion."
Earlier in Chapter 10, Jesus himself speaks of this.
v14-16 I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not sheep of this pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
Lord, thank you for taking good care of us. Thank you that we hear your voice and know your love for us.
I don't typically promote other blogs, but if you want to be challenged and fed with heart piercing sound bytes, please check out this blog. This precious daughter of God is only 11 but speaks with Holy Spirit wisdom. If you are fed, please let her know you stopped by and encourage her to continue writing and seeking truth in the Word of God.