Mark Chapter 1

John the Baptist Prepares the Way for Jesus:
(Read: Mark 1:1-13)
The message of Mark’s gospel is the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecy that he would prepare the way for the Lord’s coming (Malachi 3:1; Isaiah 40:3).  When Jewish leaders called for strict performance of the Law, John called for repentance. Repentance means a change of heart that turns away from sin to God.  John prepared the way for the coming Jesus by preaching repentance and baptizing people.  Repentance is not merely admitting guilt but a change of heart to seek God’s help to overcome sin (1 John 1:9). John the Baptist never sought personal comforts or celebrity status. He gave Christ glory in all that he did. He said “I baptize you with water, but Jesus will baptize you with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8).  His message was marked by humility, clarity, simplicity, and authority. John was not ashamed to admit that he is an unworthy servant and said that “He must increase, but I must decrease”. There was an urgency in his message. Jesus came to Galilee to be baptized by John in the Jordan river.  Jesus humbled himself to identify with sinners by being baptized by John. At his baptism the Holy Spirit descended like a dove on Jesus and a voice came from heaven saying, “You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”.  Though Jesus is the unique sinless Son of God, he was willing to identify with sinners. In his baptism we see the unique involvement of the three persons of Godhead: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Jesus was baptized by the Holy Spirit for the ministry.  In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit came upon people for the ministry (1 Samuel 16:13).  But in the New Testament the believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit forever (John 14:16). Only by the power of the Holy Spirit we serve God today.

The Temptation of Jesus.
(Read: Mark 1:12-13) Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness.  It was Satan’s effort to hinder Jesus from the mission he came to do (Matthew 4; Luke 4). Throughout the life of Jesus, he overcomes Satan by relying on his Father. ​Jesus came not to be mastered but to minister and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). In his temptation we see the conflict between God and Satan.  Jesus was tempted in the area of the lust of the flesh, the lust of eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). After his temptation angels were sent to minister Jesus. The believers are not immune from temptations.  But God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can endure and make the way of escape that we may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13). When Adam failed in the perfect environment in Eden, Jesus succeeded in the wilderness. John the Baptist served Christ with integrity, humility, and dedication? Serving Jesus Christ is the greatest privilege and blessing in the Christian life. We are entrusted with the gospel to lead people to the saving knowledge of salvation through faith in Christ. Victory over temptation comes by relying on Christ?

Jesus’ Ministry in Galilee:
(Read: Mark 1:14-45).
Jesus began his ministry by preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is His reign in the lives of his people. It is a spiritual experience and centered in the finished work of Christ on the cross. People enter the kingdom of God by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.  To believe means to be persuaded about the person, work and claims of Jesus Christ.  Repentance means change of attitude toward sin, self, and God. Sin alienates us from God. The message of the gospel is that God is able to forgive sins and restore our lost relationship to him through the death of Jesus Christ. In verses 16-20, we read about the calling of the first four disciples.  Jesus saw Simon, Andrew, James and John and said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men ”.  They were fishermen. They left everything and followed Jesus. Why did Jesus’ call fishermen to follow him?  It was to show that they can serve God only by the power of God and not by their own strength (2 Corinthians 4:7). They must learn that discipleship is costly and requires ongoing growth in their understanding of the gospel. Jesus went to Capernaum and on every Sabbath day he taught in the synagogue.  People were amazed at his teaching, for he taught as one who had authority unlike the religious teachers. The Christians are blessed with the same authority to become witnesses of Christ (Matthew 28:18). Early in the morning Jesus went out to a solitary place to pray. Jesus wanted to spend solitary time with his Father.  Prayer was his lifeline to God.  If prayer was so necessary for Christ, how much more prayer is important in our lives. Also, Jesus performed many miracles. He healed the demon possessed man and cleansed the leper. Demons recognized Jesus as the “Holy one of God”. He also healed the mother-in-law of Peter. Her fever left her immediately and she ministered them.  Jesus had mercy on the leper and touched him.  He was healed immediately.  Those with leprosy were outcast in the society but that did not exclude them from the reach of the mercy of Christ.  Jesus had power over the incurable diseases.  All of us are infected with the incurable disease called sin.  Jesus is the Savior who pities over those who are helpless. He is able to cleanse us from all our sins (1 John 1: 7-9).  Christ came to help the helpless and to forgive their sins. His primary mission was not to do miracles but save sinners.  This is the primary mission of the church today.

Gospel of Mark


Mark was a close associate of Apostle Peter. The eyewitness account of Peter about Jesus compelled Mark to write the life story of Jesus for the benefit of future generations.  Mark’s full name was John Mark (Acts 12:12). His mother, Mary, had servants. That means Mark was not poor.  Mark joined his cousin Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:5). Halfway through the journey it became difficult, and he returned home. When Paul and Barnabas planned their second missionary journey, there was an intense disagreement about taking Mark with them. So, the two leaders parted company (Acts 15:39).  But Barnabas took Mark with him and mended him to become a useful servant for the ministry. Years later, Paul commended Mark’s effort in the ministry (2 Timothy 4:11). Scholars suggest that Mark probably wrote his gospel not earlier than A.D 65 from Rome. He presents Jesus as the Lord’s Servant in his gospel (Mark 10:45).  He wrote his gospel to encourage Christians to remain faithful as they were facing persecution from the Roman government. There is an emphasis on the activities of Jesus than his teaching in this gospel. The word “immediately” appears frequently in this gospel.  This gospel is an action-oriented account of Jesus’ life and ministry.  Mark records the account of Jesus’ ministry around Galilee. He points out that Jesus’ relatives considered him out of his mind (Mark 3:21). This gospel gives the graphic details of the mockery and suffering Jesus endured on the cross. There is a strong emphasis on the miracles Jesus performed in this gospel to prove his deity.

Matthew Chapter 28

The Resurrection of Jesus:   
(Read Matthew 28:1-15)
All four Gospels report of the resurrection of Jesus. Matthew gives only a brief account of it.  Early Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the tomb (Matthew 27:56; 28:1).   By the time the women reached the tomb, it was empty.  Suddenly there was a great earthquake, the angel came down and rolled away the stone. The angel said to the women “Fear not, Jesus is not here: for he has risen as he said.  Come, see the place where he lay”.   The empty tomb and the angel’s testimony of Jesus’ resurrection filled the women with fear and great joy.   On their way to tell others, the risen Christ appeared to them, and they worshiped him. Jesus said to them “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and they will see me there” (Matthew 28:7, 10).  Matthew gives the falsified report of the guards (28:11-15).  The religious leaders bribed them to say the ridiculous and fabricated story that “The disciples stole the body while guards were sleeping”.  How could these defeated and coward disciples overpower the Roman guards and steal Jesus’ body? Christ’s enemies circulate this story even today (Matthew28:15).  The resurrection of Jesus is the proof of his deity (Romans 1:4). The burial of Jesus is the proof of his death. Christ’s death and resurrection were the fulfillment of the scripture (John 20:9; Acts 26:23; Psalms 16:10).  Christianity stands or falls on this doctrine. “If Christ is not risen; our preaching is vain, our faith also in vain, we become false witnesses and we are still in our sin. The dead in Christ are perished and we are of all men most miserable”(1 Corinthians 15:14-19).  The doctrine of resurrection is vital to the historical preaching of the gospel.  It is also vital to the prophetic preaching of the gospel. It gives hope and encourages to those who suffer for the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:29-34).   The truth of Christ’s resurrection has prevailed in the lives of millions of people in the church history.  Jesus appeared to hundreds of disciples (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).  They went on telling this story because they could not help but speak of what they had seen and heard.
The Great Commission: 
(Read Matthew 28:16-20)
The risen Christ sent his disciples to preach the gospel and to make disciples of all the nations.  This is called the great commission. They are sent forth with his authority as Ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).  Making disciples is fundamental to the mission of the church.   All authority and power are given to them to carry out the great commission. Disciple making involves two basic tasks, baptizing and teaching (Matthew 28:19-20).  Making disciple is not merely a matter of education but the process of teaching and training beginning with conversion. It is teaching people to obey what Christ has commanded.  When believers identify with Christ, they experience his presence and power in their lives.  His love motivates them to love and obey Christ.  If the church does not have a disciple making agenda as its central goal, it fails in its mission. The first step in making disciples is recognizing that we are under the Lordship and authority of Jesus Christ.  Only the believers should be baptized. The water baptism is the first step of obedience to Christ.  It symbolizes the inward cleansing God performed in us. Only Christ can forgive sin. Baptism means “To dip or immerse”. It is demonstrating our identification with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection.  The believers are baptized in the “Name” (singular) of “the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.  This indicates the unity in the Godhead.
Christ promised his disciples that he will be with them always, even to the end of the age. Christ guarantees the success of their mission.  Christ sends us with his authority and power to make disciples. In the New Testament two different words are used for authority and power.  The Greek word used for authority is “exousia” which means authority of a king (Matthew 28:18).  The word used for power is “dunamis” which means ability (Acts 1:1). In Jesus we have both the authority and the power.   Authority without power is useless and power without authority is dangerous. The church is empowered to make disciples. There is no excuse for not obeying the great commission. To become a disciple, one must answer Christ’s call and count the cost of it. It is a lifelong commitment.  The more we experience Christ’s presence, the more we realize the unlimited resources we have in him (2 Peter 1:13).  The calling to make disciple is fundamental to the mission of church and every Christian.  Pray that God would give us the power to do that. God bless you all.

Matthew Chapter 27

Jesus Delivered over to Pilot:   
(Read Matthew 27:1-26)
This chapter gives great hope for sinners. When the morning came, the religious leaders delivered Jesus over to Pilot the governor.   When Judas realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he regretted, through the money in the temple and hanged himself. He never repented and sought forgiveness.  His sorrow led him to despair.  Feeling sorry for sin is not repentance. The priests used the thirty pieces of silver to buy the potter’s field in the name of Judas and made it a cemetery for strangers. Thus, the prophecy of Jeremiah 32:6-9 was fulfilled. When Peter repented, he was forgiven and restored. The gospel gives hope for all those who want to count their lives for Christ. From verses 11 to 26, we see the account of Jesus’ trial before Pilate. He knew that Jewish leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy. Pilate asked Jesus “Are you the King of the Jews? Jesus replied “Yes, you have said so”. Then Pilate said “Don’t you hear their charges? To Pilate’s surprise, Jesus said nothing.  Pilate could find no good reason to sentence Jesus to death and desired to save Jesus.  It was the Governor’s custom to release one prisoner each year during the Passover. There was a notorious criminal in the prison, a man named Barabbas. Pilate asked the crowd “Which one do you want me to release to you-Barabbas or Jesus, who is called Christ?”  They replied “Barabbas”. Pilate asked, “What I should do with Jesus who is called the Christ?” They shouted, “Crucify him”. Pilate washed his hand before the crowd and said “I am innocent of the blood of this man. The responsibility is yours”.  The people said, “Let His blood be on us and on our children”. Pilate release Barabbas and delivered Jesus to be crucified.  Barabbas was released at the expense of Jesus the righteous.  For our sake Christ was made sin, who knew no sin, so that we might be made right with God (2 Corinthians 5:21).  This is the greatest exchange ever happened.
The Crucifixion: 27:27-44. 
(Read Matthew 27:27-44)
After scourging, Pilate released Jesus to be crucified.  The soldiers mocked Jesus by clothing him with a scarlet robe and crowned him with a crown made of thorns. They gave a reed in his right hand and bowed before him by saying “King of the Jews”. They humiliated the prince of life. The soldier spit on his face and struck his head with rod.  They stripped Jesus of the robe and put his own cloths on him and led him to be crucified.  Jesus was too weak to carry the cross. So, they compelled Simon of Cyrene to carry his cross. Later his sons, Alexander and Rufus became well-known believer among Christians (Mark 15:21).  They gave Jesus, vinegar mixed with gall to drink. But he refused to drink. Jesus willingly suffered the full pain of our sin on the cross. Jesus was nailed to the cross.  They crucified him between two thieves at Golgotha, a place of a skull.  The people passing by abused him by shaking their head in mockery and by challenging him to come down from the cross.  The religious leaders mocked Jesus by saying “He saved others, but he can’t save himself”.  You, who destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself”.  The criminals in both side of Jesus also insulted him. Many prophecies were fulfilled during this time (Psalms 22:7,18).  From stable to his cross, Jesus was treated like nobody.  But for those who are saved, Jesus is the “Lamb worthy to receive power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory and blessing” (Revelation 5:12).
The Death and burial of Jesus:  
(Read Matthew 27:45-66)
The final three hours of Jesus’ life were full of anguish. From the sixth hour there was darkness over the land.  Jesus was on the cross from 9 A.M to 3 P.M.  The darkness at 12 P.M was supernaturally imposed since an eclipse of the sun at noon was impossible. At the ninth hour (3 P.M) Jesus cried out with a loud voice “Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani” in Aramaic. Which means, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me”? The bystanders thought he was calling Elijah.  Christ bore our sin in his body on the cross and died as our substitute (Galatians 3:13). Father looked away from His son at that moment. Our sin separated Jesus from the Father. He suffered the wrath we deserve (2 Corinthians 5:21).   Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and gave up his spirit. The events following Jesus’ death were remarkable.  The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The veil that separated us from God is removed.  Now people have access to the very presence of God.  The tombs were opened, and many Old Testament saints were raised.  The earthquake and other events were so dramatic that even the Roman Centurion openly confessed that “Truly this was the Son of God”.  Many women witnessed this including his burial from a distance (Matthew 27:56).  Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus gave Jesus an honorable burial in the new tomb. They were devoted disciples of Jesus. It was a fulfillment of prophecy of Isaiah 53:9.   A great stone was placed at the entrance of the tomb.  Scholars suggest that such a stone would be humanly impossible to roll back by one man. At the request of religious leaders, the tomb was sealed with Roman seal and guarded by soldiers. This was to prevent anybody from stealing the body of Jesus.  It does not make any sense to suggest that Jesus was only passed out and when he was revived, he got out of the tomb.  God did all things according to his eternal council.  If God could use the death of his Son for our good, He can use the difficulties in our life for our good as well. Spend time meditating the agony and shame our Lord endured on our behalf to save us and appreciate all that he has done for you.