I pray you all rang in the new year safely and are still experiencing the hope and promise that a new year brings!
Last week we started with the Gospel of Matthew, the first of the Gospels recorded in the New Testament and is also one of the three "synoptic Gospels" (meaning similar or together because they include some of the same stories in the same sequences and the same words - John is the exception).
This week we will read through the entire Gospel of Mark. The Gospel of Mark is believed to have been the first Gospel written, about 50 AD, as the other three Gospels all quote it, but Mark does not quote the others. The author is believed to be John Mark, the son of a Jerusalem widow whose home was a meeting place for early believers (Acts 12:12). Mark most likely recorded the events as he heard them firsthand from the disciple Peter. The book's non-Jewish flavor suggests it may have been written to believers in Rome. At the time Rome had begun persecuting Christians. This book is clearly meant to encourage suffering believers. Mark shows Jesus as the suffering servant who came to die as the Savior for the world (including non-Jews). Over 40 percent of this Gospel focuses on the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus' final week.
This week we will also spend some time in the Gospel of Luke. This is the first of a two part book written by the same author. The first part is an account of Jesus' life and the second part, the book of Acts is an account of the history of the early church. The author Luke was a physician who was a traveling companion of the Apostle Paul on several of his missionary journeys. He addresses the books of Luke and Acts to Theophilus, probably a Gentile who was either a new believer or someone seeking to learn about Christ. Luke elaborates on a lot of the information from Matthew and Mark, including more parables and more stories about Jesus' interactions with people that show his interest in the non-Jewish world and the poor.
Here is the schedule:
8, Sunday: Mark 1-4
9, Monday: Mark 5-8
10, Tuesday: Mark 9-12
11, Wednesday: Mark 13-16
12, Thursday: Luke 1-4
13, Friday: Luke 5-8
14, Saturday: Luke 9-12
May God add His richest blessings to the reading, the hearing, and the living out of His Holy Word!