New Testament In a Year: March 18 – Mark 16

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Mark 16
(1-8) The Resurrection
The most unbelievable part of the resurrection story is the unbelief that almost everyone displayed at the fact that Jesus did what He said He would do. Jesus the Christ repeatedly told His disciples and the women who followed Him that three days after His crucifixion and burial, He would rise from the dead. No one believed it would happen. If they had believed it, the women wouldn’t have been hurrying to the grave with spices expecting to find His body to anoint. The disciples would not have been sitting at home mourning and weeping; they would have been out looking for their Savior.

(9-11) Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
The disciples would not believe Mary Magdalene when she told them that Jesus had appeared to her.

(12-13) Jesus Appears to Two Disciples
The other disciples did not believe these two disciples when they revealed that Jesus had appeared to them.

(14-20) The Great Commission
Finally, Jesus the Christ appeared to all of the disciples. After spending so much time with them, He might have been disappointed (but not surprised) at their unbelief. Thank God, however, that these disciples did not continue in their unbelief. After witnessing His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, they fully believed that Jesus the Christ was the Son of God and the Savior of the world. They overcame their timidity and past failures, and went out and preached everywhere this glorious good news.

Favorite verse: (19) So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

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New Testament In a Year: March 17 – Mark 15:26-47

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Mark 15:26-47
(26-32) The Crucifixion
The head-waggers had it all wrong. Jesus the Christ did not come to save Himself from the cross, He came to save others through the cross. Even if Christ had come down from the cross, the chief priests and the scribes still would not have believed. True faith does not require sight to believe.

(33-41) The Death of Jesus
What killed Jesus the Christ? Physically, it was the brutal beatings, the thorns, and the nails; but, spiritually, it was sin. The bone-breaking weight of my sin and your sin bruised His body, sapped His strength, and crushed His physical life. As awful as Jesus’ physical pain was, it wasn’t the worst of the pain that He endured. Lon Solomon writes:

I believe that what was even more horrific to Jesus than the physical pain and torture would be the time when the sins of the world, every one of your sins and my sins, would be heaped upon Him. The Father, whom He had been with for all of time, the One who loved Him with a deep and abiding love that is beyond our comprehension, would not be able to look on the Son. God would have to break the deep connection that they had since the beginning of time while Jesus hung on the cross (read full post here).

Sin and the consequence of sin – separation from God – is what caused the most agony for Christ.

Favorite verse: (34) And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

New Testament In a Year: March 16 – Mark 15:1-25

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Mark 15:1-25
(6-15) Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified
So wretched was our sin condition that we desired a rebel murderer over an innocent Man. Even Pilate could not understand this reasoning and asked, “Why, what evil has He done?” Pilate knew the chief priests had delivered Jesus up out of envy. He knew that Jesus was not guilty of any crime. He knew that Jesus did not deserve to be crucified. Yet to satisfy the crowd, Pilate did the politically correct thing instead of the morally right thing. His wrong judgment, however, was used by God to have His divine will accomplished.

(21-25) The Crucifixion
Did Simon of Cyrene, a visitor who was not even associated with the Jews, know that he was carrying the cross of the Savior of the world? Or did he think that he was just helping out another common criminal? One would think that Simon Peter would have been the one to help Jesus bear His cross and walk beside him to the place called Golgotha. But Simon Peter had denied Christ, had fled from Him, and was nowhere to be found in His final hour. Another Simon was called upon to take Simon Peter’s place in Christ’s greatest moment of agony and despair.

Favorite verse: (14) And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.”

New Testament In a Year: March 15 – Mark 14:54-72

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Mark 14:54-72
(54-65) Jesus Before the Council
The chief priests and religious council were desperately looking for something with which they could legally condemn Jesus the Christ. They could, however, find nothing. Jesus lived a perfect life. He never did or said or thought anything wrong. And in condemning Him to be crucified, they killed a perfect Man. We are in no way like Jesus and will never reach His perfect state here on earth, but we still ought to live our lives in such a way that people are hard pressed to find our actions worthy of condemnation.

(66-72) Peter Denies Jesus
Peter’s denial of Jesus the Christ is not a positive situation, but it should be noted that the girls knew who he was because he had been with Jesus. When people see us, do they immediately associate us with Jesus? Are others able to tell that we have spent time with Jesus and are His followers. Can they point us out and say, “Certainly you are also with the Nazarene, Jesus.”

Favorite verse: (55) Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none.

New Testament In a Year: March 14 – Mark 14:27-53

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Mark 14:27-53
(27-31) Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial
Time and time again, Jesus the Christ told His disciples that He would rise again. In this passage, He says “…but after I am raised up…” He had not yet died and He was about to be betrayed, but Christ was already looking forward to the victory that was ahead. The present dark and dire circumstances could not cloud His faith or kill His hope. Christ’s strength was in His Heavenly Father and He trusted His will.

Peter and the other disciples obviously had doubts that Jesus would really rise from the dead. This is evidenced by their fleeing, Peter’s denial, and their depression after the crucifixion. If they had believed the words of Jesus, they would not have so easily despaired. They would not have lost all hope. They would not have been shocked when the women found the tomb empty on the third day.

Favorite verse: (36) And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

New Testament In a Year: March 13 – Mark 14:1-26

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Mark 14:1-26
(3-9) Jesus Anointed at Bethany
This woman who anointed Jesus the Christ at Bethany did not ask the opinion of others before she acted. She did not ask the disciples if she should or shouldn’t pour the expensive ointment on Jesus’ head. She simply did what God had put in her heart to do, and Christ Himself called it “a beautiful thing”.

Christ also praised her for doing what she could. She could not do what Simon of Cyrene did and carry Jesus’ cross to His crucifixion. She could not do what Joseph of Arimathea did and donate a personal tomb for Jesus’ burial. But she could anoint Jesus in preparation for His burial, and that is exactly what she did. Christ expects us to do what we can for Him, and then He will do the rest.

(10-11) Judas to Betray Jesus
Judas’ betrayal led to Jesus’ arrest, trial, and death, but it was not God Who made Judas betray His Son. Judas willfully decided to sin. God used that willful decision to have His purpose accomplished so that all sin – including Judas’ treachery – could be forgiven.

Favorite verse: (6) But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.

New Testament In a Year: March 12 – Mark 13:21-37

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Mark 13:21-37
(21-23)
We have been duly warned by Christ Himself that false christs and false prophets will arise and try to lead us astray. We should not be deceived. We should be on guard, watch, and wait.

(32-37) No One Knows That Day or Hour
Christ is coming. We don’t know when. He doesn’t even know when. But rest assured, He is coming back.

Favorite verse: (31) Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

New Testament In a Year: March 11 – Mark 13:1-20

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Mark 13:1-20
(3-13) Signs of the Close of the Age
There are some Christians who are hung up on the end times. They constantly proclaim doom and gloom. Every negative event or natural disaster that happens is a “sign” that we are closer to the second coming. Every questionable world leader who rises to power is labeled as being the antichrist.

Yes, we should live expecting Jesus the Christ to come back at any moment, but Christ Himself tells us “do not be alarmed.” There will be earthquakes, wars, rumors of wars, famines, and many false Christs, but the end is not yet. Before Christ returns and before the end comes, the Gospel must FIRST be proclaimed to all nations. If we are really eager for the end times to take place quickly, we should be engaged in fulfilling the Great Commission instead of wasting time speculating.

Favorite verse: (10) And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations.

New Testament In a Year: March 10 – Mark 12:28-44

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Mark 12:28-44
(28-34) The Great Commandment
This scribe wasn’t like his peers in how he approached Jesus the Christ. He was sincere in his questioning and agreed with Jesus’ answer with no pretense of false flattery. Jesus said that he was not far from the kingdom of God. But was he near enough? Did he take Jesus’ words to heart and start loving God and his neighbors? Did he actually make it into the kingdom of God?

(41-44) The Widow’s Offering
Here is a small event that shows the hypostatic union of Jesus the Christ. As man, He simply watched as people came into the temple and put money into the offering box – nothing divine about that. But as God, He knew that many people were giving out of their rich abundance while one widow was giving out of her poverty. He didn’t have to stop each person and ask their financial status. Because God is omniscient, Jesus already knew the background of each individual.

Favorite verse: (33) And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”