Daily Devotion Text

April 29, 2017

Mark 11-12

MARK 11-12

READ • REMEMBER • REFLECT

  • Read the passages slowly. Write out the verses you want to remember. Write how God spoke to you through the passages.

PRAYER

  • Write a prayer of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication using specific phrases from today’s passages. 
April 28, 2017

Mark 9-10

MARK 9-10

READ • REMEMBER • REFLECT

  • Read the passages slowly. Write out the verses you want to remember. Write how God spoke to you through the passages.

PRAYER

  • Write a prayer of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication using specific phrases from today’s passages. 
April 27, 2017

Mark 7-8

MARK 7-8

READ • REMEMBER • REFLECT

  • Read the passages slowly. Write out the verses you want to remember. Write how God spoke to you through the passages.

PRAYER

  • Write a prayer of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication using specific phrases from today’s passages. 
April 26, 2017

Mark 5-6

MARK 5-6

READ • REMEMBER • REFLECT

  • Read the passages slowly. Write out the verses you want to remember. Write how God spoke to you through the passages.

PRAYER

  • Write a prayer of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication using specific phrases from today’s passages. 
April 25, 2017

Mark 3-4

MARK 3-4

READ • REMEMBER • REFLECT

  • Read the passages slowly. Write out the verses you want to remember. Write how God spoke to you through the passages.

PRAYER

  • Write a prayer of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication using specific phrases from today’s passages. 
April 24, 2017

Mark 1-2

Study through the Gospel of Mark

Widespread evidence from the early church fathers affirms that Peter passed on reports of the words and deeds of Jesus to his attendant and writer, John Mark. Of particular significance in this regard are the brief statements by Papias (Bishop of Hierapolis; c. A.D. 120), preserved by Eusebius of Caesarea (260–340). Papias states that he received oral tradition from John the elder and apostle, and he passes on the following regarding Mark: (1) he was the writer for Peter; (2) he wrote down accurately as much as he could remember of Peter’s words, which the latter had adapted to the needs of the moment; (3) he was not an eyewitness of Jesus, nor a disciple (but see note on Mark 14:52); and (4) it was his desire not to omit or misrepresent anything. Papias concluded that the Gospel of Mark gains its apostolic and reliable character from its Petrine origin (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 2.15.1–2; 3.39.14–16).

Internal evidence also supports the Patristic testimony that Peter stands behind Mark’s Gospel. Mark’s account is especially vivid when recounting incidents involving Peter. It presents the weaknesses of Peter, as well as the disciples as a whole, and omits praiseworthy or noticeable references to Peter reported in Matthew and Luke. It has also been observed that there exists a certain structural proximity between Peter’s Caesarea speech (Acts 10:34–43) and the Gospel of Mark.[1]

Although Mark is the earliest of the four Gospels, because it is shorter and has much less teaching than the others, it has often tended to suffer neglect. At one level his story is straightforward. After a prologue, which introduces us to the good news about Jesus Christ (1:1-15), the story unfolds in four parts. In part 1 (1:16-3:6), Jesus goes public with the announcement of the kingdom.

With rapid-fire action he calls disciples, drives out demons, heals the sick, and announces that all of this has to do with coming of God’s rule’ in the process he draws amazement from the crowds and opposition from the religious and political establishment, who early on plot his death.

Part 2 (3:7-8:21) develops the role of the three significant groups. Jesus’ miracles and teaching are sources of constant amazement to the crowds; the disciples receive private instruction (4:13, 34) and join in the proclamation (6:7-13), but are slow to understand (8:14-21; cf. 6:52); the opposition continues to mount (7:1-23; 8:11-13).

In part 3 (8:22-10:45), Jesus directs his attention primarily to the disciples. Three times he explains the nature of his kingship–and hence of discipleship (8:34-38)–as going the way of the cross (as Isaiah’s suffering servant; Mark 10:45), and three times the disciples completely miss it.

Part 4 (10:46-15:47) brings the story to its climax. The king enters Jerusalem and the crowds go wild with excitement, but in the end the opposition has its day. Jesus is put on trial, found guilty, and turned over to the Romans for execution on the cross–as “the king of the Jews” (15:2).

A brief epilogue (16:1-8) reminds Mark’s readers that “[Jesus] has risen!” [2]

[1]  ESV: Study Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles, 2008. 1889.

[2]  Fee, Gordon D, and Douglas K. Stuart. How to Read the Bible Book by Book: A Guided Tour. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2002. 277-278.

 

MARK 1-2

READ • REMEMBER • REFLECT

  • Read the passages slowly. Write out the verses you want to remember. Write how God spoke to you through the passages.

PRAYER

  • Write a prayer of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication using specific phrases from today’s passages. 
April 21, 2017

John 21:15-25

JOHN 21:15-25 (ESV)

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon,

son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” 23 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

 

Reflection Questions

John 21:15-17

  • What can I learn about God’s perspective on my failures through Jesus’ interaction with Peter?
  • How do I usually react to my failures, and in what ways do I need to change this?
  • What can I learn about God’s calling to “tend my sheep,” given Jesus asks this of Peter, who had denied and failed him?

John 21:18-19

  • What did Jesus predict would happen to Peter?
  • How might this picture have differed from what Peter had in mind when he first answered the call to follow Jesus?
  • In what way is the contrast between the time when one is “young” and “old” in v. 18 an apt description of Christian maturity? In what ways have I grown in allowing others to lead me where I do not want to go?
  • Using the same words with which he first called Peter to discipleship, Jesus again commanded Peter to “follow me.” How might these words have taken on a new and deeper meaning after everything that happened?
  • What are the costs of following Jesus in my life? Are there ways that Jesus is asking me to follow him in a deeper way?

John 21:20-23

  • Are there ways I am looking to others to determine for myself what it means to follow Jesus?

 

 

 

 

 

April 20, 2017

John 21:1-14

JOHN 21:1-14 (ESV)

1 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

 

Reflection Questions

John 21:1-3

“‘Afterward’ implies an indefinite lapse of time (cf. 2:12; 3:22; 5:1, 14; 6:1; 7:1; 11:7, 11; 13:7; 19:28, 38), but not always a long time. Since this event is categorized as Jesus’ third appearance to the disciples after the Resurrection (21:14), it must have taken place between the beginning of the second week and the Ascension.”[1]

  • Why might Peter have gone back to fishing even after witnessing the resurrection?
  • What is the significance of the disciples going back to fishing and catching nothing (cf. Mark 1:16-17)?
  • What do I do when I experience disappointment or failure?

John 21:4-7

  • How was the “disciple whom Jesus loved” able to recognize Jesus on the shore (cf. Luke 5:1-10)?
  • What events have there been in my life of which I can say, “it [was] the Lord”? How does remembering my personal history bring clarity to my relationship with God?

[1] Frank E. Gaebelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary CD (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House, 1992), notes for chapter 21.

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 19, 2017

John 20:19-31

JOHN 20:19-31 (ESV)

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

 

Reflection Questions

John 20:19-23

“His greeting of ‘Peace’ and the assurance of his identity calmed their fears and demonstrated by unmistakable proof that he was alive. They were overjoyed, not only to see him again, but also to realize that he was undefeated by death and that his claims were validated.”[1]

  • What needed to happen for the disciples to go from being full of fear to being “glad”?
  • What fears do I need to confront with the peace provided by the risen Jesus?

“The disciples did not have the power to forgive sins (only God can forgive sins), but Jesus gave them the privilege of telling new believers that their sins have been forgiven because they have accepted Jesus’ message.”[2]

  • What was the first responsibility the risen Jesus gave to the disciples (vv. 22-23)?
  • What has been my response to this calling?

 John 20:24-29

  • What might have been the reason that Thomas “was not with [the disciples] when Jesus came,” and what did he miss out on because of this? What lesson is here about gathering with others?
  • What may have been behind Thomas’ refusal to believe despite the other disciples’ repeated assurances that Jesus had risen?
  • How did Jesus deal with Thomas’ doubt?
  • How did Thomas come to his confession that Jesus is indeed his Lord and his God?

John 20:30-31

“To believe that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) and the Son of God involves the total acceptance of the revelation of God that he offers, the acknowledgment of his divine authority, and the fulfillment of the commission he entrusted to his disciples. The total scope of this belief is illustrated in the narrative of this Gospel. Its result is eternal life, a new and enduring experience of God by the believer.”[3]

  • What was John’s purpose in writing the Gospel of John?
  • What does it mean to have “life in his name”? Am I experiencing that life?

[1] Frank E. Gaebelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary CD (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House, 1992), notes for chapter 20.

[2] Life Application Study Bible, study notes (co-published by Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan; Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1991) 1927.

[3] Frank E. Gaebelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary CD (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House, 1992), notes for chapter 20.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 18, 2017

John 20:11-19

JOHN 20:11-19 (ESV)

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

 

Reflection Questions

John 20:11-16, 19

  • Contrast Mary with the disciples, who were huddled together with “the doors being locked…for fear of the Jews.” What made Mary so bold?
  • Mary recognized Jesus when he called her name. How did I personally experience being called by Jesus during a time when I didn’t recognize him?

John 20:17

  • What is amazing about Jesus calling his disciples his “brothers” after they had deserted him?
  • Based on this, what are the criteria for being part of God’s family and having the right to call God my Father and my God?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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