Mark Chapter 5

Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Man: (Read: Mark 5:1-20)
A demon possessed man met Jesus in a Gentile region.  This man lived among tombs, and no one was strong enough to control him. He fell down before Jesus and screamed “Why are you bothering me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? For God’s sake, don’t torture me”.  Jesus healed him by saying “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit”. The demon’s name was “Legion”.  A Roman legion is six thousand soldiers.  Jesus allowed the unclean spirits to enter the swine and the entire swine plunged down into the lake and drowned.  Jesus saw the man’s soul worth more than 2000 pigs.  Jesus is the Savior of the world and only he can bring deliverance.  Unsaved people are under the control of Satan.  Satan cannot torment believers without God’s permission. They are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). The crowd got frightened when they saw the man who was healed became perfectly sane. They request Jesus to go away and leave them alone. They were more interested in the material gain than the Savior who came to save their soul. Jesus does everything for our good and God’s glory. The man who was healed wanted to follow Jesus. But Jesus said to him, “Go to your home and tell them everything the Lord has done for you”.  Witnessing is sharing the wonderful work the Lord has done for us.  He shared his story to everyone he met.  Thus, Jesus demonstrates his authority over the demonic world. The unseen forces of the universe are under God’s power.  In our troubles we can trust Christ because he has overcome the powers of Satan and death.  Christ is willing and able to help those who call for help. He does all things for his glory and for our good.  This story must encourage us to share the good news of salvation to the lost and dying world!
Two Unique Miracles: (Read: Mark 5:21-43)
Jesus’ popularity had grown to such an extent that wherever he went a large crowd gathered around him.  A synagogue leader whose name was Jairus came to Jesus and pleaded that his little daughter may be healed. She was at the point of death.  Jesus went with him, and a great crowd followed him.  On his way a woman with the hemorrhage for twelve years was healed immediately when she touched his cloth. She endured much suffering and spent everything she had for a cure. She believed that “If I touch even his garment, I will be made well”.  She went behind Jesus and touched his garment. Jesus asked “Who touched me” because the healing power had gone from him. His disciples failed to understand what had happened to her. When the woman fell down at Jesus’ feet and told him what she had done. Jesus said to her “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your disease” (Mark 5:34).  While Jesus was speaking to her, it was told that “Jarius’ daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further”.  Jesus took the girl’s parents, Peter, James, and John with him to the room where the girl was laid. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid; only believe, the child is not dead, she is but sleeping”. Holding her hand, Jesus said to her “Get up, little girl”. Immediately she stood up and began walking. She was twelve years old.  Her parents marveled at the miracle. Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone what had happened.  He wanted people to not be drawn to him because of miracles but believe his Word.  Believing the Word of Jesus is more important than seeing the miracles he did. He limited his greatest miracles to be witnessed by only a chosen few disciple (Mark 9:2).  Thus, Jesus proved that he had power over illness and death.  His ultimate power over sin and death was displayed on the cross and by his resurrection.  This same power is at work in us to strengthen us in our battle against sin and temptations.

Mark Chapter 4

The Parable of the Sower:
(Read: Mark 4:1-20)
Jesus used parables to illustrate spiritual truth about the kingdom of God.  They are designed to teach believers about the new life in Christ.  But unbelievers found them hard to understand (Isaiah 6:9-10).  Some consider this parable the primary parable. A sower went out to sow the seeds. The seeds represent the Word of God, and the sower is Christ. The soils show the fourfold response of people. The seed fell on the wayside represents the hardened heart that rejects the gospel. The stony ground shows the superficial faith that lacks depth. The seed fell on the shallow heart germinate quick but have no root. This shows the momentary emotional response. When trouble comes, they fall away. When adversity comes their faith is destroyed.  The seeds fell among thorny ground shows the response of the strangled heart. The response to the Word of God is choked by the cares of the world. The deceitfulness of rich make them unfruitful.  Some fell on good ground and produced huge harvest. This shows the response of the soft heart.  They received the gospel whole heartedly and produce fruits. In this parable the problem was not the seed or the sower but the response of the ground.  Our response to the gospel is the gracious work of God.  Those who respond to the gospel will be saved and become spiritually fruitful.  God expects a response from us when we hear His Word.  The gospel was preached for the obedience of faith in Christ (Romans 16:26).  To learn more about this parable read the notes on Matthew 13:1-17. Those who obey the gospel will be saved. They are not sinless but sinning less. Our understanding of God is the result of his gracious revelation to us.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed: (Read 4:21-41)
​Jesus encourages his disciples to trust that his purpose will be accomplished in the end. He wanted the truth to be proclaimed to anyone who is willing to listen.  A lamp is not placed under a basket or under a bed but on a lampstand.  To those who are opened to the Word, more will be revealed. But those who are not willing to obey, even what they have will be taken away. The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. Though the seed is small, it will grow and become one of the largest of plants where birds come and find shelter.  The initial growth of the kingdom of God appears unimpressive, but its influence increasingly displays God’s glory. The birds speak of the powers of the world to overshadow the power of the kingdom of God.  Despite all the setbacks in the kingdom of God, Christ will restore and conquer all things through his death and resurrection at the end.  Jesus said to his disciples to go to the other side of the lake. But soon a storm arose, and their boat was full of water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat.  Disciples were frightened and shouted, “Teacher don’t you care that we are perishing”.  Jesus rebuked the wind and there was great calm. Then Jesus asked the disciples “Why are you so afraid. Do you still not have faith in me? Christ cares about each one of us.  They were filled with awe and said among themselves “Who is this man even the wind and waves obey him?  Jesus thus proved that he has control over nature.  Only Christ has the power to save this broken world.  Not even a sparrow can fall to the ground without his knowledge.  He promised to deliver us from all our fears and troubles.  He is the present help in times of our need.  He is our Savior who will finish the work he has begun in our lives (Philippians 1:6).  Jesus knows our situation and he has power to heal the brokenness of our lives. This does not mean we are immune from problems and difficulties in this fallen world.  Although we are not promised smooth sailing, we are assured of a safe passage. Though we are sinful, we are forgiven. Though we are broken, we are restored.  Do you trust the Lord Jesus Christ and know for sure that your sins have been forgiven? Only Jesus will bring complete restoration to his Children. 

Mark Chapter 3

Jesus Heals on the Sabbath: (Read Mark 3:1-12)
Jesus saw a man with a withered hand in the synagogue. Since it was the Sabbath, the religious leaders asked Jesus whether he would heal the man on the Sabbath day. Jesus asked “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good deeds or to do harm? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they would not answer him.  They failed to understand God’s intention of the rest on the Sabbath day. Jesus was grieved at the hardness of their heart.  They were more concerned about keeping the Sabbath rules than to do good.  Jesus said to the man “Stretch out your hand”. Immediately his hand was restored.  Jesus rarely performed miracles the same way twice.  Immediately the Pharisees took council with Herodians to kill Jesus.  Herodians were the political party which was loyal to Herod’s family.  God is not interested in our heartless and empty religious rituals.  No one can earn God’s favor by religious rituals and good works. The people came to Jesus from all over Galilee and other regions. The news about his miracles had spread far and wide. Those who had afflictions wanted to touch him. The evil spirits fell down before Jesus and said, “You are the Son of God”.  Jesus strictly ordered them not to make him known. Jesus was doing what the Old Testament predicted would happen (Isaiah 61:1-2). it is easy to go through religious motions rather than true worship of God. 

Jesus Selects the Twelve Apostles: (Read Mark 3:13-35)
After spending the whole night in prayer Jesus appointed twelve of his disciples to be his apostles (Luke 6:12). Prayer precedes all important decisions Jesus made. They were chosen to be with Jesus.  They were given power to do miracles and preach the gospel. Being with Jesus is more important than serving Christ. Only by God’s power we serve Christ.  The apostles had different personalities, but they were bound by the love of Christ. They were sent out in pairs with specific instructions. Today, Christ is with every one of his disciples through the presence of the Holy Spirit to work in the world. Their ministry was to teach and make disciples of Jesus Christ. To know more, read the note on Matthew 10:2-4.  Jesus’ relatives failed to understand his identity. They thought that Jesus was out of his mind.  The disciples are called to follow Jesus. Jesus wants that their priority must be on God and to his purposes. Jesus was accused of doing miracles by the power of the prince of demons.  Jesus asked his accusers, “How can Satan cast out Satan?”  A kingdom divided will collapse.  Jesus said, “All sins will be forgiven but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven”. The only unpardonable sin is rejecting Christ as Lord and Savior. Our personal devotion to God should surpass earthly relationships even if they resist our decisions.  Pray that God would help us to love others and share the gospel with them. Our ability to love others is fueled by Christ’s love for us.

Mark Chapter 2

The Healing of a Paralytic Man:
(Read Mark 2:1-12) When Jesus returned to Capernaum great multitude gathered around him. It prohibited four men to bring a paralytic to Jesus. So, they removed the roof above Jesus and lowered the sick man on a mat before Jesus.  Jesus saw their faith and said “Son, your sins are forgiven”. Jesus saw the healing of the soul of the paralyzed man more important than his physical healing. Immediately he picked up his bed and went away. All people were amazed and glorified God, saying “We never saw anything like this before”.  God alone can forgive sins. So, the religious leaders opposed Jesus. Throughout his ministry Jesus was opposed by religious leaders. Jesus’ family also rejected him (Mark 3:20-21; 31-35).  People oppose Jesus because of satanic influence. No one experienced rejection like our Savior. Jesus told his disciples that the world will hate them (John 15:18).  The religious leaders failed to understand the identity of Jesus as the Son of God.  Jesus healed the paralytic to prove that he has the authority to forgive sin.  The healing was not an isolated incident.  Forgiveness means to remove sin. The forgiveness of sin is more important than our physical healing. Only forgiven people can be reconciled to God. The healing was brought forth by the command of Jesus and was immediate. Miracle is not an end in itself but a means to an end.  They point to the fact that Jesus is God. He gives eternal life to all those who believe in him (John 20:30-31).  Only God can forgive sins.  

Call of Matthew, Fasting and Sabbath:
Jesus challenged the religious leaders by associating with tax collectors and sinners. He came to fulfill the Old Testament prophecy (Isaiah 61:1-2).  He met Matthew at his tax-collecting booth and said, “Follow me”. He got up and followed Jesus immediately.  Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples for dinner.  Matthew was not ashamed of Jesus. The religious leaders questioned Jesus for associating with tax collectors. Jews hated tax-collectors and considered them as traitors serving Romans. They were considered socially outcast and not allowed to enter the temple. Jesus said to them “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I come not to call the righteous, but sinners”.  Jesus pursues people not based on their merit. God’s salvation is not based on our merits but on the finished work of Christ (Romans 3:24). The Old Covenant was based on the Law, but the New Covenant is based on grace. Christ came to save sinners. He has shown compassion to others regardless of race, religions, and ethnicity.  Only a Changed heart results in changed behavior.  Fasting was a common practice among Jews. It is to experience the presence of God in life. Jesus was asked why his disciples do not fast.  Jesus said to them “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?”  People do not fast during weddings. The religious leaders turned blessing into burden.  Fasting is more than abstaining from food.  It implies self-control and sacrifice to focus on God. Fasting will not merit favor from God but it is a spiritual discipline to experience God’s presence. Pharisees accused disciples of breaking the Sabbath by plugging the grain from the field (Matthew 12:1-8).  In fact, plugging the head of grain was not a sin. (Deuteronomy 23:25). God instituted the Sabbath for the benefit of man.  It was intended for rest to reflect on God and faithfulness.  All that we do for God should flow from our love and devotion to him.  Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath and only he can give rest to our soul (Matthew 11:28).  We are not accepted because of our obedience to God but because we are accepted in Christ when we believe.  Christ wants all to be saved. Have you received Christ as your Lord and Savior?