Here’s the Bible Project overview of Mark.
I once heard someone compare the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) to four different people describing a car accident. Everyone saw it, but they had different perspectives. Maybe someone was driving from behind, another witnessed it head on while they walked by. He went on to point out that the event itself would be consistent, but each account would focus on different details. Maybe one would be emotional, another more literal. This analogy is helpful to me as I approach these books.
I love story telling, and I’m always hungry for more details. One of my favorite exercises for studying the Bible is to take an event, or a few verses, from one of the gospels and compare it to the others. If you’re interested in trying, here are a couple examples:
Mark 1:16:-20//Luke 5:1-11//Matthew 4:18-22 (Fishermen follow Jesus)
Matthew 9:14-17//Mark 2:18-22//Luke 5:33-39 (Jesus talks about fasting)
Jot down details of each set of verses from each book and then, using all the pieces gathered from the text, summarize the story in your own words. It’s fun!
“Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. Later Simon and the others went out to find him. When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.” But Jesus replied, ‘We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.’ So he traveled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons.” 1:35-38
This concept pops up a few times in Jesus’ time on earth. His followers clinging to him and begging him to stay, but he stays true to his mission and shakes them off. Peter wants to put up a tent and live on the mountaintop forever (Matthew 17). Mary clings to resurrected Jesus in the tomb, but he tears away from her (John 20). And here, the whole town looks for the man who heals, yet he leaves.
This is a great response to Jesus: to want more. To cling to him and ask, stay! His answer to this is the presence of the Holy Spirit, he stays with us wherever we go. But his command stays the same: go.
In these verses, Jesus reflects our mission statement on earth: tell his story and make disciples of Jesus that go on to make more disciples.
Sitting around all the time with like-minded people who all believe in God is not our calling. This is comfortable, complacent living; it is not what Jesus invited us in to.
My husband became a Christian over many shared meals in the homes of families. I imagine this now, my evenings at home precious to me. I wonder if he encroached on bedtime hour, if they got bored answering his questions. If they didn’t always wants to cook a meal for a single college kid, and instead wanted a quiet dinner with their families. But those sacrifices of time and resources, the extensions of hospitality, completely changed his life.
We are still great friends with those families. They’ve all separately told me that those times with Matt altered their life too. It made them feel alive and purposeful. Never an ounce of pridefulness, they are instead humbled that God entwined them with Matt’s story. And along the way, they too learned a lot about God.
Set aside time to pray and ask if this applies to you. Are you clinging to Jesus out of comfort? Is he trying to send you out to something?
P.S. this weekend marked one year of reading the Bible together! We are thankful for our readership and pray that we all mutually spur each other on to read another year.