Hebrews 2:1-4. God's people have always lived under pressure that tries to drag them away from the Gospel. The writer reminds his hearers that under the Old Covenant there was no escape from punishment for those who rebelled against the ways of God. Under the New Covenant God has provided a way of salvation in Jesus that is free and certain - how foolish we would be to neglect it.
As Jesus rides into Jerusalem those around him fail to understand the significance of the events unfolding around them; only later will it all make sense. So to for us our understanding of God's ways comes not through our own understanding but through God's revelation.
Mark 8:22 - 9:1. Peter and the apostles finally have revealed to them that Jesus is the Messiah, but immeidately have to have their perceptions of who he is going to be challenged and changed - the road ahead will lead to glory, but only by way of the cross.
Mark 8:1-21. Not simply a repeat of the feeding of the 5,000, this episode takes place while Jesus is still in Gentile territory east of the Jordan. The message is the same - Jesus comes to feed the world and everyone is included.
Mark 7:1-23. Jesus goes to the heart of the human problem, namely the problem of the human heart. The OT law that the Pharisees are so zealous for cannot actually change the corruption and rebellion that are the natural state of the human heart, but instead serve as signposts pointing to the one who can - Jesus.
Luke 18:9-14,18,19. The answer to the question is 'Jesus', and this parable and Jesus' encounter with a rich young ruler explain why. The gospel brings liberty and certainty in place of striving and uncertainty.
Mark 6:30-56 Jesus feeds the 5,000 and then walks across a lake to help the disciples who are struggling to row across to the other side. Both incidents point to the fact that Jesus is bigger than creation, and the breaking and blessing of bread points forward to the events of the Last Supper and Jesus' feeding of the world through his sacrifice on the cross. His challenge to the disciples to feed the 5,000 is also a lesson in discipleship - when God asks us to do something do we immediately see the obstacles, or do we trust and obey?
Mark 6:14-29. As Mark explains the circumstances that led to hte death of John the Baptist he reveals three different approaches to life: John loves God more than anything and is not afraid of what men think of him. Herodias lives only for herself and becomes consumed by bitterness, unforgiveness and the need to seek revenge. Herod is pulled this way and that, living in fear of those around him and driven by his own ambition. In the end his desire to make himself king rather than submit to God's authority, causes him to lose everything.