God’s story revolves around the cross. Mark 15 gives us the account of Jesus’ trial, death and burial. Jesus’ death, as we learn in the New Testament letters (Romans-Revelation), is the sacrifice that paid the pride for our sins. Jesus died as a substitute for us, justified us (cleared the divine charges that were against us because of our sin), and reconciled us to God.
In Mark 14 everything begins to fall apart: Judas turns Jesus over to the authorities for trial, the rest take off when Jesus is arrested, and Peter denies even knowing Jesus. The night begins the trial of Jesus that will end in his crucifixion the next day.
Mark 13 gives us Jesus’ breakdown of the future. It starts with a question from his disciples and ends with Jesus exhorting his followers to stand firm during persecution and to be alert and serving him and his mission. How does this relate to us? At the end of the chapter Jesus compares us to servants in a household–each with a task to be busy about until he returns. This should be our pursuit and passion: to use what God has given us (talents, relationships, possessions, etc.) to grow his kingdom.
In this message, new church planter in Mexico City, Jesús Rodríguez looks at Paul the Apostle’s exhortation in Colossians 3 to depend on Christ to change us. It is common for us to depend on our own efforts to grow as Christians. But the Bible makes clear that God is a work in us and that we are to look to his Spirit’s power to live the Christian life.
For those of us who think of Jesus as weak, narratives such as that in Mark 12 should help dispel that notion. Jesus was smart, principled and courageous. In this chapter he is confronted with the religious leaders’ attempts to trip him up and compromise him to the Roman government or the Jewish people. He handles the conflict stunningly.
In this sermon Jaime Gómez looks at the greatest command in the Bible: to love God with all you’ve got. As far as our response to who God is and all he has done for us goes, everything revolves around this idea: love for God. [Please excuse the distorted recording]
Mark 11 shows us the official presentation of Jesus as Israel’s King. Israel–primarily Israel’s religious establishment–rejects him as King, which leads to the cross and suffering. Israel would be judged because of their unfruitfulness for God. This should compel us to be fruitful, which might look like this:
Wonder: We seek God and are amazed at his glory and grace
Worship: We respond to his greatness with praise and a changed life
Witness: We tell others what God has done in our lives
Jesus continues to remap the disciples’ understanding of who he is and what his mission is. This chapter revolves around the prediction of Jesus’ death, which leads to his grand statement, which serves as a paradigm for his followers: that he came not to be served, but to serve.
To follow up on chapter 8, where Jesus begins to make clear that he will suffer and die on the cross–which means a radical change in the disciples’ expectations–in chapter 9 Jesus reveals his glory to some of his followers. They get to see “behind the scenes” at who Jesus really is: the Son of God in human flesh, no doubt to strengthen their faith as difficult times and persecution come along.
What can we learn from the story of the prophet Jonah who at first rejected God’s commission for him? In this message, Joshua Smith unpacks this short, Old Testament book so we can see how merciful and patient God is (with Jonah; with the city of Ninevah). God is a God of second chances, coming to Jonah after he fled from him, and restoring him to his mission, only to have to deal with Jonah’s sin and selfishness again at the end of the story.