Mark daily devotional thought -  written by Trevor Williams

Mark Chapter 1

He was with the wild animals    v13

What a place for the Saviour of the world to begin his ministry – among the wild animals.  Perhaps it was a sign of things to come, for later on Jesus was with wild demons, wild people and faced with a religious system that had gone wild.  So often it seems that we also begin our walk of faith with the wild animals, friends, families, work mates find it all too easy to jump on our new found faith and try to shred it to pieces.  New faith is pure and delicate and can be easily ripped apart.  It is difficult enough after years of learning and walking with the Lord but those early months can be a bruising time.

We must take heart; Jesus was attended to by the angels themselves.  We may not have the Heavenly Host right there beside us but Holy Scripture can be our sword to defend our faith.  The strength and love of the local assembly may be like a fortress, but most of all God’s gift of himself in the form of the Holy Spirit is our comforter.  We are in Christ, Christ is in us.  A journey has to start from familiar territory, our own home, our new found tender faith may be tried and tested there and if it is then we are at least among people who love us.  Love them with your new found faith and show them gently, yet consistently that you now live for Christ, even around wild animals.


Mark Chapter 2

And the Pharisees said….   V24

Every religion has its police force.  In the days of Jesus the Pharisees seem to demand that others follow their strict ways.  As time went on and Christianity expanded, the forces of the state stood against the faithful.  Then as Christianity became predominant it developed laws and systems outside of the Bible troubling those who love Christ that  they should also follow these added rules.  Even today it is possible to have policemen in the church demanding obedience to their will and way.  The faithful are pushed aside and freedom removed.

The word of God demands obedience to the loving God but all is tempered with the Father’s love for his children.  The faithful want to do what is pleasing in this relationship but the Pharisee is still at work demanding obedience to his way of thinking.  The church does not need these people; they are not servants but they want to be masters.

Jesus reminds the Pharisees of his day that David had eaten the sacred bread in the Tabernacle when it had been necessary and added to this he notes that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.

We must do our best to please our God but first of all let him be pleased with our broken, contrite hearts and lips that praise his name.  The Pharisees need say no more than this.


Mark Chapter 3

Who is my mother?  V33

Wherever Jesus went there was controversy, and that has never changed.  The religious leaders of the day made friends with those of direct opposing views to stand against him.  His family thought he had gone mad.  It can be imagined that they would have liked to take him away to some sort of hospital or a place of refuge so he would calm down.  But Jesus, it seems, stood alone and asks religious leaders and his own family, ‘who is my mother, who are my brothers?’  Then he looks around him and declares, those who listen to him are his family.

When we receive the gospel for our own selves we have to decide who our family is.  Is it those who we have blood links to?  It may be but for those who accept Jesus from a non-Christian home some hard decisions have to be made.  Often the cruellest criticisms can be delivered by those we love the most in this world.  Many a new Christian has been mocked, beaten and thrown out of their home for the sake of following Jesus.  What a heart break and a shame on those who would do such things.  The new Christian must make up their mind; is their church family or their blood family going to be their relations?  No one faces this easily.  The controversial Jesus will be a friend and brother to all who wish to follow him but we have to make that decision.  Let us all be brave and bold as we declare who we are and what we are – the family of Jesus.


Mark Chapter 4

Other little boats were also with him   v36

To travel with Jesus is not always to travel with ease.  Some people seem to think that being a Christian is all about being good and sugary sweet.  It is not; living with Jesus is facing the storms of life, sometimes getting wet with fear but never giving up.  It refuels the soul, puts steel into the blood and faces all that life can throw at it.

This chapter is one of the most well known in the New Testament being filled with parables of encouragement.  But notice this problem; Jesus was asleep in his boat and the disciples were frightened.  How did the followers of Jesus feel as they travelled in their little boats but did not have him right there with them?  These were little boats with perhaps 2 or 3 people in them.  The storm was as bad for them as those in the larger boat.  These people were undoubtedly frightened, wet through with the storm, in danger of drowning but they continued onward with Jesus and by so doing received the same blessing.  When Jesus stopped the raging of the storm, the people in the little boats were eased as well.

Every follower of Jesus is in their own little boat with the storms of life around them.  Storms of spiritual thunder and lightning are around us.  The pouring rain of hurt and daily living drains us of energy and when we think all is lost Jesus comes again and rebuked the wind and we are safe.  We do not have little lives even if our boats are small, our lives are important to Jesus and he saves them even when the storm is at its worst.


Mark chapter 5

What have I to do with Jesus?  V7


We know Legion by no other name yet here is a man transformed in every way by Jesus.  His body and soul hurt in every way possible until he met the great healer whose power was so great that the man desired to leave all to follow Jesus.

The latter part of the miracle is far greater than the beginning, he is sent home to his friends to tell them the great things the Lord had done for him and how he had compassion on him.  The beginning of the relationship was not so good when he says ‘What have I to do with you Jesus?’  How many other people have echoed similar thoughts.  What do we have to do with Jesus?  Even more shocking is the question reversed; ‘What does Jesus have to do with us?

How can the ruler of Heaven have anything to do with mankind?  And why should he?  We have failed to keep the commands of God and many have totally rejected them.  Mankind had been bold in letting God go to follow its own way.  Our self-pride, self-arrogance and self-will goes way beyond the illness of Legion.  Yet we are still loved, still cared for still offered salvation by the rejected Jesus.

Our relationship with Jesus does not hold us down with chains but sets us free to be greater than we could possibly be by ourselves. We must let Jesus be our everything, in all matters great and small and then we shall see what he has to do with us.


Mark chapter 6

Aren’t his sisters here with us?  V3

We rarely think about the family of Jesus.  We may wonder what daily life was like at home before his ministry.  What was Jesus like as a boy or a teenager?  What was he like to work with and what was his craftsmanship like as he earned his daily living?  In this verse we find that Jesus had four brothers, James, Joseph, Judas and Simon.  Jesus also had sisters.  How many we do not know but we may presume at least two.  So we find a family of at least seven children.  They were well known and attended synagogue as a solid Jewish family.  But it must have been hard for them to accept that their oldest brother was different and to believe that he was the Son of God must have caused all sorts of problems within the family unit.

Jesus had problems with his own family and his home church.  Yet those who were touched by his love and care ran into thousands and within a generation the name of Jesus had spread around the whole known world.  The name and personality of Jesus has brought people to faith in him every day and even today, two thousand years later millions upon millions align themselves with him

Not every family is happy when one of their number changes their life to become a Christian and huge difficulties can arise.  If Jesus’ own family had a problem with him then we may be assured that our family will have difficulties with us especially if we are the only one making a decision for Christ.  Our example must show our commitment.  Our language must be good, our actions demonstrate our faith.  We must show Jesus even to those who know us best even to our brothers and sisters.


Mark chapter 7

He has done everything well.  V37


What a privilege it would have been to have heard Jesus teach and to be healed by him.  What a joy for the person to be touched by Jesus and to have had the chance to look into his face.  What sadness is ours that we cannot have that joy.  We live by faith but Jesus still looks upon us, and his life and love touch our souls.

In this chapter Jesus meets the religious people of the day who complain about traditions.  They are rebuked sharply.  The church must also beware of traditions.  Jesus must be the centre of our worship and not the order of service.  Jesus then meets a woman from a different background, he seems sharp with this lady but he draws out of her the thoughts of her heart.  If she could not have much from Jesus, she would gladly accept little.  Then finally a man who was deaf and could hardly speak was healed.  Jesus wanted no trumpet call or drum roll for the miracle rather he wished for quietness but the people had to tell the story of what Jesus had done for he had done everything well.

The Christian must also do everything well, we wish to be like Jesus and so we should.  We may not be able to heal the sick or always say the things which humble the proud but we can be gentle in spirit.  We can speak the encouraging words of God.  Our time can be used for the benefit of others.  We must do everything well.  Our souls depend on it; at home, at work, at play, in our communities and church we must do everything well.  Sometimes laziness can overtake us or we believe we can leave others to perform our duties, but this is wrong.  Today do all you can to do everything well.


Mark chapter 8

If anyone is ashamed of me…..   v3-8

The very words; ‘ashamed of Jesus’ cut to the heart of the Christian.  It is understandable that Jesus could be ashamed of mankind, with all our weaknesses and failings.  But for us to be ashamed of him is a thought too far.  How can we be ashamed of Jesus who taught us such goodness and gave his life on Calvary’s cross?  But so often we are ashamed of the one we call the Saviour.

We are ashamed of Jesus each time we put ourselves before him.  There is an old song that says, ‘J.O.Y. happy as can be, Jesus first, Yourself last, Others in-between’.  Real joy can only be found in putting Jesus first.  Put him first in your worship; let him be first in your family, your vocation, your time and energy.  Let your offerings be the first out of your finances. When Jesus is first in all matters then all things may fall into place but when he is not first nothing and no one will be in their right place.

There is in this verse a fearful warning; those who are ashamed of Jesus will find that Jesus will be ashamed of them.  The cry goes up from our hearts ‘No Jesus, never be ashamed of me!’  We plead and confess our weakness and foolishness but we cling to the cross.  We are thankful for the sacrifice of the Son of God.  We praise God for salvation full and free.  Jesus hold us tight, never be ashamed of us, never let us go.  Today we ask for an opportunity to serve and demonstrate our faith.  We must never be ashamed of Jesus and he will never be ashamed of us.


Mark chapter 9

Rabbi, it is good for us to be here.   V5

It is interesting to note that verse5 records that Peter was happy to be seeing what we now call the transfiguration, but in verse6 we find that he did not know what to say because they were all frightened.  When the Christian regularly attends worship services there can be a certain amount of regularity and each Sunday can be very similar to another.  Then just once in a while something different can happen.  Suddenly it seems as if a light is turned on, things seem different and we wait for a blessing which is unexpected and thrilling.  These times can be caused for a whole variety of reasons, singing, preaching, responses to the gospel, the cry of a needy fellow Christian.  We must always expect the unexpected when we walk with Jesus.

We should also learn to enjoy the unexpected; God does not want us to have every day the same.  New people cross our pathway, new opportunities arise; new depths of spiritual growth may be obtained.  There is a need to be open to the Spirit of God so expect him to work in your life.  Sometimes life may seem a drudge, work, home responsibilities all take their daily place and there seems little chance for the unexpected to take place.  Sometimes we may need to create opportunities for blessing by being a blessing to others in prayer, visitation, or offering hospitality.  When we reach out to others in the name of Christ then they can say ‘it is good for us to be here.’  Then when the unexpected happens to us we may say the same words.  Today open doors of opportunity for yourself and others so all may say together – ‘it is good to be here.’


Mark chapter 10

Let the little children come to me.  V14

There is something special about little children.  They are old enough to enjoy life but young enough not to be burdened by it.  Their imagination can be stretched and they can see things that are only in their minds.  We must also realise they are not always totally innocent.  When Jesus said that grown people must receive the kingdom of God like a little child it is not because of their innocence but must be like their emptiness.  They have no station in life except being a child; they have no formal learning, status or funds.  They are entirely reliant on their parents for food and care.

The Christian must be the same, we must rely on Jesus for our daily bread, we may have position but it is by the goodness of God that we go from day to day.  Then we must also be like children who share their love so naturally.  Children love to be hugged, tickled and played with, yet the Christian sees God in a far distant way, we are not intimate with our Heavenly Father, we speak in hushed tones, sing with precise notes, conduct ourselves as if we were with a stranger rather than one who knows us better than we know ourselves.  Our religion has become more concerned with reverence than with wonder.  Seriousness is seen as greater than joyfulness.  We feel we might be able to bear our sorrows before God but it would be undignified to laugh if his presence.  What a pity.

We need to hug the children so that God may hug us.  Shower your love on the little ones and allow your Heavenly Father to shower his love on you.  The cry still goes out ‘Let the little children come to me.’ Become one of those children today.


Mark Chapter 11

He found nothing but leaves because it was not the season for figs.  V13

We are so thankful for the teaching of Jesus which is so often simple but profound.  But every now and again something is said that leaves us wondering why this was  said?  It seems this passage with the cursed fig tree is one.  It seems unreasonable to expect a fruit tree to bear fruit if it was not the right season.  Later when the apostles point out the withering of the tree to its roots Jesus seems to go off on another subject.  There must be a reason.

The first thing we must note is that when Jesus has a need, it must be fulfilled.  Jesus could feed 5,000 from 5 loaves and 2 fishes, walk on water and still a storm.  If he needed the fruit of the fig, he could have made it happen.  Sometimes the Christian is like that fig tree; we never bear fruit for the Master.  He looks for fruit but never finds it.  What shame this brings us.

When Jesus gives further teaching because the withered tree is obvious, he is looking for more in v23-25.  The follower of Jesus must have faith in action, a faith that is strengthened by prayer and underpinned with forgiveness.  It is only then that real action can take place.

We may feel that we are like the fig tree unable to produce fruit for Jesus when he looks for it.  Today let us try to motivate ourselves.  Firstly forgive everyone who has hurt you.  Secondly start praying to see what Jesus wants, and then put your faith into motion.   Have a faith that is bigger than yourself and see the fruit of prayerful faith become reality.


Mark chapter 12

Pharisees and Herodians v13

Here two quite distinct groups of people agree together to trick Jesus.  The Pharisees were a very religious group having a strict belief in Biblical principles as well as maintaining the traditions of the Rabbis.  The Herodians on the other hand were political, pro Roman and religion was not in their thinking.  Yet these people joined forces against Jesus.  Ordinarily they would have nothing to do with each other but now they stood shoulder to shoulder against the Lamb of God.


Unfortunately nothing has changed.  Those who prefer a Christianity of pomp and ceremony stand against those who wish for a simple and honest faith.  Those who feel that Christians are stubborn and narrow minded can also oppose those who love Jesus and live a life of faith in him.  It seems we cannot win against such forces ad so we must be reminded that  we do not have to win every argument for faith.  The church is not a debating house.  The world and religious leaders may stand against us but Christ stands with us.

It is often true that we may be ridiculed but so was Jesus.  We may not be popular with everyone, neither was Jesus.  It is our duty to be faithful even if we die for our belief.  We do have a responsibility towards those who oppose us and that is to love them even as Christ loves us.  To be kind to the unkind, may give us opposition but we have the privilege of blessing them in the name of Jesus.  This preaches the loudest sermon of all and wins the greatest argument.


Mark chapter 13

What magnificent stones, what magnificent buildings  v1

Wherever we travel in the world we will see magnificent buildings of one sort or another.  Some buildings will be for kings and leaders of nations others may be for religious purposes.  We will see great sport stadia or the homes of the rich and famous.  Then we will look at our own home and see something far more simple and plain.  We realise that our portion in life is not as great as others.  Or we may think that the place we worship in is not as grand for God as we would like it.  The result is that we start a process of negative thinking and we become unhappy and discontent.

Jesus prophesied that though the stones of the Temple and its magnificent buildings looked good that day, they were doomed for destruction.  In AD70 after being besieged by the Romans those beautiful monuments were a heap of rubble.

It is so easy to believe that we have less that others or that other people have a nicer life.  This is not always so.  Many who have received fame and fortune end their days in poverty and despair.  As quickly as their good fortune came so it went again.  The Christian will do far better to live a life that is positive and hard working.  Little by little we can develop in education or work or prosperity.  It is better to live in a small house that is secure than in a large house with a leaking roof.  It is also far better to live in a house where there is laughter than to be in one where there is distress and anger.  No matter how magnificent other building may be, let us make a home where Jesus is part of the family, where all are welcomed and the hand of friendship is extended.  This will truly become a magnificent building.


Mark chapter 14

‘Why this waste?’  v4

It is always easy to point the finger at someone and ask why they are doing that?  When a kind deed or generous gift is given, often someone will mock.  Such things should not happen among the Lord’s people.

Here was a woman who brought Jesus a gift.  This perfume may well have come from far away India and cost a great deal of money.  It may have been her most precious gift and she gave it to Jesus.  Then some of the people said “why this waste?”  It could have been sold and the money given to the poor and these same people rebuked the woman harshly.  We find the woman does not speak but Jesus who had received the gift spoke on her behalf.

It was quite true that the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor.  Jesus had consistently given help to the poor and there were many more to help and there still is today.  But the woman wanted this gift for Jesus, it was hers to do with as she wanted, it had nothing to do with anyone else.

Many good works are done in the name of Jesus, help for the poor is but one of them but what do we do just for Jesus.  We sing, we pray, we preach the message of Christ but what do we give just for him. Indeed does Jesus want anything from us?  That question must be asked by each one of us by ourselves.  We are the hands, the feet and the voice of Christ in the world.  Now let our hearts be searched for what we want to give him.  Let our own private gift to Jesus be joyful and may no one ever ridicule us for what is between us and the Saviour.


Mark Chapter 15

These women had followed him.  V41

This is the saddest chapter in Mark’s gospel record.  Here the Saviour is put to death, it is the end, or so the people thought.  On initial reading of the chapter our focus is on Jesus who is beaten, mocked, flogged, crucified and finally buried; the Christian’s heart aches in its message.  However, when we read it again the chapter is full of extra information.  The Bible student would do well to take pen and paper to discover all the extra information.

As the chapter starts out we are introduced to four religious groups of men who did not always agree in their theology; they were Chief Priests, elders, teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin.  Mark points out that they reached a decision.  Religion can be factious and for four groups of people to come to a common decision was very unusual and normally impossible.  These men stood against Jesus, his love and mercy they despised, so they bound him and turned him over to the Roman court.

Towards the end of the chapter we are introduced to women, some specifically named who had cared for Jesus out of their own pockets; they had followed him during his ministry.  Many other women whose names are not mentioned were also there from Jerusalem.  In this day and age women were often looked down on.  Only a few would have property or funds but they had hearts that loved Jesus and followed him, now to his death.

Some gloated and were thrilled to see Jesus die, others wept with broken hearts.  This situation has never changed.  The death of Jesus divides people.  What is now important is on whose side you will stand?  Are you for him or against him?  There is no other choice.


Mark Chapter 16

When the Sabbath was over.  V1


After the horrors of the day of crucifixion, the followers of Jesus were given their Sabbath rest.  Since the dawn of creation God willed a day of calm.  But now it was Sunday morning and the women walking to the graveside started a series of events that has moved mankind ever since.  They found the empty grave.  This particular Sunday morning was special among the Jews because it was the Feast of First Fruits and later on the Apostle Paul refers to Jesus as the First Fruit of those who have fallen asleep; I Corinthians 15:20.  The women however, did not know just what had happened.  It was then that they made the discovery that all believers must make for the angel said ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.  He has risen!’  It caused the women fear and they told no one.  That fear of believing in a crucified and resurrected Jesus has filtered down through the ages.  But when the story is told faith is born and new life given.

When the Apostles heard Jesus was alive they did not believe the message.  When Jesus met people in the countryside they did not believe it.  Thomas did not believe it and many others failed to believe.  Nothing has changed.

The women that went and discovered an empty tomb did believe, then others believed and when we preach Christ crucified and risen from the dead, people can still believe.  Even today that same message must be told, to men, women, children, the rich and the poor.  All must hear that Jesus is alive and given the chance of life.  And so Jesus encourages his disciples to tell the good news of eternal life.  Today you may have a chance of sharing your faith.  The message must be kept simple, Jesus died for us, Jesus is resurrected for us, and Jesus welcomes us to his side.

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