GOOD MORNING SIBLINGS!
Today we begin the book of Mark!
Our readings are Mark 1-3
Matthew was a whirlwind. I’m grateful for the bit of rest in Mark as many of my points apply to both since Mark is in large part a retelling.
So we both get a bit of a break today! Don’t think there isn’t a lot of meat on the bones in this book, though, we still have some surprises coming up!
Background of Mark
- The book of Mark is an action filled book with Messiah seemingly always moving from one event to another. This book offers the largest collection of Yeshua’s miracles out of all the Gospels. Sixteen separate miracles are detailed in this book.
- Mark’s full name was John (Yochanon) Mark, and he is believed to be the author of this book. Like Paul, he had a Hebrew name and a Roman name. Yochanon being his Hebrew name. The English version of Yochanon is John.
- Tradition states that he is the cousin to Barnabas mentioned in Gal 2:13, Acts 12:25, Acts 13:13, Acts 15:36-39, and 2 Timothy 4:11.
Many of the things we will read about in Mark are incidents that I already discussed in my notes in Matthew so I will likely not rehash that. Please see corresponding Matthew chapters instead.
Mark 1:2 The first part of this verse quotes Malachi 3:1 and the second part of this verse quotes Isaiah 40:3
In Mark 1:11 make note that the audible voice of YHWH comes from Heaven. That gives me goose bumps just thinking about it!
Mark 1:21-22 Under the synagogue system, Scribes were not ordained or trained as the rabbis were. Rabbis were allowed to offer interpretation of Scripture and pass judgements but Scribes were not. So they were astounded that Messiah came in and spoke with the authority of the Rabbis but then went above and beyond to teach with an authority that was even higher than what the rabbis had.
Note on the synagogue system: This was not a YHWH ordained system, it was one created by man in order to fill a need. In absence of the temple or in some cases, the ability to reach the temple, and with a desire to worship and honor YHWH to the best of their ability, the synagogue system was formed. This is pretty much the same reason the church of today was formed as well so we really have parallel histories.
However, YHWH ordained and set up the temple system with His Levitical priests and neither of these manmade systems (the synagogue or the church) function as the YHWH ordained system.
BUT you can see that both of them are rooted in a desire and attempt to honor YHWH the best way available and we see Messiah using the synagogue system and honoring many of it’s customs (the ones that don’t contradict the Father) so this can give us a sense of peace – to an extent.
Sometimes we are unable, due to limitations beyond our control, to worship the Father how He calls us to worship Him. In these cases we should seek to worship Him as best we can, as closely to how He calls us to as possible, to the best of our ability.
It is, however, still not okay to practice syncretism as the Father has been clear that in his eyes (which is the only view that matters) this is adultery against Him.
How do we know if we are engaging in syncretism?
Go back to the Word. Always go back to the word. Who is the authority on YHWH? YHWH.
Is our worship rooted in the Word? If so, is it free of manmade law and doctrine that is treated as commandments? Is it free of idols? Are YHWH’s commandments being followed or bypassed, altered, and “adjusted”? Remember, it is easy to follow others, to find a box that we feel comfortable in and get in there and think we are okay, but we are each personally responsible for our own obedience to the Father and for the example we set to others who may be looking to us.
Always, always, always go back to the Word.
We need to realize that when we are not following YHWH’s exact instructions, we are far more likely to stray and so we must be extremely diligent to study, know, and obey His Word in all that we do, prayerfully seeking His guidance.
We can never go wrong by cleaning our slate and going straight to the Father to allow Him to fill that slate with His word.
Mark 3:1-6 states:
Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. 2 And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” 4 And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. Mark 3:1-6
The Pharisees obviously had laws against even healing on the Sabbath and yet to Messiah this was clearly a show of compassion. We read that He was grieved at their hardness of heart. This is a clear tell that they viewed the commandments (their own as well as the Father’s) as a checklist, nothing more. Their hearts were hardened both towards others and towards the Father. When someone truly takes the time to seek the Father and know His commandments on a personal basis, you begin to understand that the commandments are not just an arbitrary list of dos and don’ts. They teach us how to know and love our Father and how to show his love to one another.
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3
A Great Crowd
Recall how Messianic investigations work and watch, as you read through these chapters to see when Messiah sets it off and at what point we can see it is taking place. Take note of times the Pharisees do not speak with Him but wonder things in their minds and hearts and at times venture to ask questions of the apostles rather than Messiah. Do you recall what stage of the investigation this indicates?
Isn’t it fascinating to know the backstory?
All of this makes so much more sense. Have you found, since studying the context and culture of what is taking place, that Messiah has really leapt off the page for you and taken on a greater fullness in your understanding of Him? That’s what happened for me and I’m still experiencing it!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!