This coming Sunday I am going to begin a new series that is installment 3 through the book of Mark. The first year I was here (2007), we covered the first 2.5 chapters in a series called "When Jesus Said the 'Wrong' Thing." Last year (2008), we looked at chapters 3-8 in a series called "Defining Jesus." This year we will pick up again in chapter 8 and go through chapter 10.
Why do we take time each year to go through a portion of a gospel? A couple of reasons.
- I love the discipline of "coming back to Jesus" every year. Of course, the ENTIRE BIBLE is about Him, but there is something special about reading the theological biographies of a gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). I see things about Him every time that make me stand in awe, and come to Him for grace.
- I do try to preach through different portions of Scripture, but if there is one portion that cannot be missed it's the life, ministry, and death of Christ.
- I have chosen to divide the portions of Mark into 4-5 sections, because I think it may be a little too much right now for me to preach 60 weeks on the book of Mark. A little bit each year helps me process the book in pieces and understand it as a whole. I remember someone in seminary sharing this approach, but I don't remember who it was, so I can't give them credit (I am told your memory fails you as you get older!).
- This particular section emphasizes what it means to follow Jesus. I am calling the series "The Shape of a Disciple," because in this section Jesus spells out what it looks like when we are following Him. I think I need to hear this, and I think our church needs to hear it. We owe it to the glory of God to look more and more like Jesus, but I am also impressed that the world needs to see us really following Christ.