Pastor's Blog

Suggested Readings To Read Through The Bible In A Year

Wednesday   February 3, 2010   Mark 1-3 and Proverbs 2

Today we begin reading the Gospel of Mark. The author is John Mark. Mark does not write this account of Jesus life and ministry from his personal experience, but rather, he writes the words and the experiences of Simon Peter. Mark’s gospel is probably the first of the four gospels to be written - either in the late 50's or early 60's of the first century A.D.. Mark’s gospel is a fast moving account of some the events in Jesus ministry – the word immediately appears many times. The main theme of his writings seems to be how Jesus models for us the life of service – of ministry to others.

The verses that grabbed my attention this morning are in chapter 2 – the first parables that Mark records . . .

Mark 2:21-22

"No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. [22] And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins."

Jesus told these two parables in response to the concern of people in regards to the fact that Jesus and his disciples seemed to be ignoring the religious traditions that were kept by the Jews and John the Baptist’s disciples. The teachers of the law had created a religious system of do’s and don’ts with 613 specific laws to be kept. One’s spirituality was measured by how well you observed those 613 laws. Jesus statement in regards to the patching of worn out cloth would have been clearly understood by all who had tried extend the life of a garment by sewing on a patch . . . there comes a point at which that will not work. Jesus was saying, folks, I didn’t come to patch up something old - something that really isn’t working anyway - I have come to show you a new thing – a superior way of living and experiencing the Father. His remarks about the new and old wine skins carry the same message. . . your old system of thinking and acting cannot contain what it is that I want to bring into your lives . . . your old system lacks the elasticity – it lacks flexibility– it lacks the ability to expand . . . New wine calls for new wineskins.

I will confess that I am not sure of everything that Jesus was trying to say in those two parables from every day life in the first century – but it does occur to me that I too can become so religious that I become like an old garment or an old wineskin . . . the result of that is I am not able to contain or embrace a fresh word from the Lord . . . that means that I could be very religious yet miss the joy and the power of life in Christ for today. We know that the Bible teaches us that when we become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ that we become new creatures and old things pass away – and thank God for that day when that happened! . . .but what I am taking from this passage today is a prayer along these lines . . . Lord, please help me to ever be fresh in my relationship with you. Help me to ever be ready to grow – ready to be stretched – ready to experience fresh grace. Lord, help me to live with a holy discontent that keeps me pursuing you and your glory and your kingdom.. Because Lord, I can see that it could be easy to become merely religious and content with where I am today and miss out on the best you have for my life . . . to say nothing of becoming ineffectual in the kingdom of God. Lord, I understand my need for a continual flow of new wine into this being – so whatever it is that causes me to be a new wineskin, that is what I want in my life today. Amen.

Suggested Readings To Read Through The Bible In A Year

Thursday  February 4, 2010   Mark 4-6 and Proverbs 3

Friday       February 5, 2010   Mark 7-9 and Proverbs 4

Saturday   February 6, 2010   Mark 10-12 and Proverbs 5


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