Meditating on Mark’s Gospel

“…But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.” Ps 1:2-3

One of the challenges unique to pastoring (especially bi-vocationally) is the temptation to crank out sermons without ever really meditating on the passage. The psalmist urges us to not only read the Word (“the law of the LORD”), but to “meditate” on it day and night. This meditation on the Word is a continual stream which sustains us and transforms us. Yesterday afternoon, I was thinking about the time that we’ve spent in the Gospel of Mark thus far. How has the Holy Spirit encouraged you? In what ways has your mind been renewed? What has God shown you? As I fight the temptation to allow time constraints to divert streams of water to my thirsty soul, I share with you some of my personal takeaways in the hope that you too will meditate on Mark’s Gospel this week…

  1. Our Faith Rests in the Finished Work of King Jesus. Mark is the shortest of the Gospels and it is a beeline to the cross. Mark is concerned with Jesus- Who he is (ch. 1-8)and what he accomplished (ch. 9-16). Mark’s Gospel charts a “path strewn with sinners,” and reminds us that our faith doesn’t rest in its own quality but rather the object- Jesus alone. In an Evangelical sub-culture that makes everything about man, it is refreshing to put our eyes back on Jesus. Mark points his readers to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and gives us one simple imperative- Trust.
  2. He is Able to Work in Mind-Blowing Ways. Calm a storm? No problem. Heal a leper? Sure. Raise a little girl back to life? Done. Mark demonstrates Jesus’ power, authority, and compassion time and again. What is too difficult for Jesus? This is good news, especially to Mark’s original audience. They were persecuted. They were literally losing their lives for the Faith. Mark points to Jesus and reminds us that nothing is ever off the table. This encourages me greatly. No matter what situation we face, trusting Jesus means making room for the impossible.
  3. My Thinking Must Be God-Honoring. When Jesus rebuked Peter, he rebuked me. “You are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (8:33). I am very often overwhelmed by anxiety, self-doubt, and fear. However, we are called to “Gospel” ourselves. That is, we must learn how to tell ourselves the truth- the truth about God, his will, his character, and his promises. We preach to ourselves more than anyone else. Peter had the plan perfectly laid out in his mind. Yet, God had other ideas. Peter didn’t struggle with God’s sovereignty so much as God’s wisdom. When our desires don’t line up with God’s plan, then we must submit our thinking to King Jesus. I must submit my thinking to King Jesus.
  4. He is Sovereign Even in the Midst of Chaos. Again, Mark is writing to persecuted believers. Jesus is sovereign. Jesus prophesied that what they were experiencing would happen (8:34-9:1). Even in the midst of complete chaos and bloodshed and tears- Jesus is still the Supreme Ruler of all! Mark reminds his readers that the death of Jesus on the cross looked like defeat. How can you inaugurate the Messianic Kingdom if you’re dead?! Yet, the empty tomb testifies that even in the darkest moments, God still has a plan. It is a great comfort to know that nothing is too far gone.

How has the Gospel of Mark encouraged you? How has the Holy Spirit stirred your soul? I encourage you to meditate on the Word. If you do, you “…will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water.”

Soli Deo Gloria!

Pastor Matthew S. Rickett  

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