Bible Reading Blog

Bible Reading Blog


Categories: Congregational Bible Reading


Imagine you are sound asleep, when suddenly your bedroom door bursts open, and someone shouts “WAKE UP! It’s time to go! You’re going to be late!!!” That’s what the opening of the Gospel of Mark is like. There is no infancy narrative, no genealogy or prologue, but simply a fiery prophet shouting in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord!” (Mark 1.2-3).

Mark’s gospel has an obvious intensity to it. When you read Mark 1, you probably noticed that everything seems to be happening “immediately”. Mark is fond of the Greek word euthus, often translated “immediately,” which appears 41 times in his gospel. Though the word does not always mean “just then,” it serves to propel the narrative forward with speed and urgency.

Because Mark’s gospel moves quickly, it implies the information included is critical to understanding Jesus and the gospel story. And so, consider what we learn from the snapshot episodes about Jesus from Mark 1:

  • Jesus was a man of action. Whenever he got to his next location, I don’t get the sense he even sat down to rest. Immediately he is helping, healing, serving and teaching. Clearly, Jesus was an active worker during his time on earth.
  • Jesus was a man of power and authority. These terms are used nearly twenty times in Mark. He wants us to see that Jesus wasn’t just a philanthropist – he was a man worthy of your attention and respect.
  • Jesus was going to do God’s will. He began his public ministry by saying “the time is fulfilled” (Mark 1.15). This statement was a definitive nod to God’s plan of redemption and Jesus’ understanding of his role in that plan (Galatians 4.4; 1 Timothy 1.15). His time on earth was not his own and therefore he needed to make the best use of it.

Mark wants us to see Jesus as a man of intentionality and purpose. But Mark doesn’t just tell us the story of Jesus; he challenges us to consider our lives as we follow him. People who encountered Jesus seem compelled to reciprocate the fervor with which Jesus lived (Mark 1.18, 20, 27-28, 45). Immediately they followed him… immediately they talked about him… immediately they went about their lives differently because of Jesus.

There must be an immediate response to Jesus if we are to follow his example. We cannot have a casual, “I’ll get around to it” approach to life… that’s just not how Jesus lived! Rather we must “make the best use of our time” (Ephesians 5.16) and serve God “today” (Hebrews 3.15). As we read this gospel, we must develop our intensity to do God’s work, not just when it is convenient or makes sense, but immediately.

“Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One [Jesus] who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven!” (Hebrews 12.25, NLT)