I pray you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and I am so glad you are here and joining us on this journey. This week we are finishing up the Gospel of Matthew, reading entirely through Mark and beginning our journey in Luke. Here is some background information to assist you in your reading.
The Gospel of Mark is believed to have been the first Gospel written, about 50AD, 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.
The Gospel of Luke 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 our schedule for next week:
06, Sunday: Matthew 21-24
07, Monday: Matthew 25-28
08, Tuesday: Mark 1-4
09, Wednesday: Mark 5-8
10, Thursday: Mark 9-12
11, Friday: Mark 13-16
12, Saturday: Luke 1-4
May God add his richest blessings to the reading, the hearing and most importantly the living out of His Holy Word. Amen.