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.
Good News: We have been given Jesus' power and authority
11th January 2015
Mark 6:1-13. Before Jesus sends the disciples out on their first mission trip, He warns them that some will misunderstand them and mock them, because they won't be able to see past their old lives as fisherman and tax collectors. We will face the same challenges when we follow Jesus, but we must remember who we are in Him.
Matthew 24. History is going somewhere! Jesus promised that one day He would return and that that day would be a great day of judgement, redemption and restoration. Matthew 24 gives us 10 things we should know while we wait.
Mark 4:35 - 5:43. Having used parables to reframe people's understanding and expectations of the Kingdom of God, Jesus now authenticates His identity as the Son of God in a series of events which illiustrate that while circumstances may sometimes appear to be beyond our control, when we bring them to Jesus He has authority to change them.
Mark 4:21-34. Continuing to explain the nature of the Kingdom of God through parables Jesus tells us that under the right circumstances the Kingdom will grow in a natual and organic way, and that while it may be tiny to begin with it will grow to encompass everything around it.
Good News: Despite appearances the Kingdom is coming
16th November 2014
Mark 4:1-20. The Kingdom of God deosn't seem to be coming in the way that people had anticipated - a sudden, obvious intervention by God to restore the nation of Israel and punish her enemies. So Jesus uses parables to explain that the Kingdom is coming, but in a different way. The parable of the sower explains that while many will not be interested and will fall away after hearing the Good News, some will receive it willingly and they will produce a wonderul harvest.