10.16 Mark 8-10

Joel Nagel

10.16.2020

Mark 8-10

Summary

Jesus is doing Jesus stuff and his disciples aren’t getting it (with one exception!) He feeds 4,000 – 1,000 less than his personal record – yet his disciples doubt. The pharisees frustrate him asking for a sign and Jesus teaches his disciples to watch out for their yeast but they think he’s talking about one of them forgetting the bread. Jesus is like do you remember the 5,000 and the 4,000 – it’s not about the bread! It’s about religious pride spreading like yeast through the dough.

At Caesarea Philippi there is a bright spot. Peter, surrounded by the idols there declares that Jesus is the Christ. Go Peter!

Jesus starts teaching that he must suffer and die but Peter (No Peter!) rebukes Jesus and gets rebuked right back for having his mind on the things of man. I think Jesus could rebuke me every day for the same thing!

They go up on a mountain and Jesus shows who he really is. He is greeted by two of the Old Testament heroes who both had strange deaths and represent the law and the prophets. Peter bungles again but what would you do if your buddy turned into lightning and Moses and Elijah showed up?

Key Verse:

Mark 8:29

“And he asked them, ‘But who do you say I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Christ.'”

Vision of Myself and Others and God

I think I’m seeing the way Jesus is with Peter in these passages and there’s a lot of patience but also high expectations and honesty. God must look at me and wonder how I can be so thick headed at times. Praise him for his patience!

Go With God

I need to see Jesus above every other thing. That’s what Peter proclaimed in the midst of those idols and with names of dead holy men still in the air. There’s no one like him. In these times I need to remind myself of that every single day!

Jesus

It’s all Jesus and he is amazing and unexpected and strong and loving all at the same time. He is the Christ of God just like Peter said!

10.15 Mark 4-7

Jackie Gray

10.15.2020

Mark 4-7

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:

In these 4 chapters, Jesus tells parables and performs miracles to try to get people to understand about the kingdom of God and holiness. Starting in Mark 4, Jesus uses three parables to describe the kingdom of God: the parable of the soils, the parable of the growing seed, and the parable of the mustard seed. Chapter 4 ends with Jesus calming the storm, and the disciples marveling over His power over nature. In chapter 5, Jesus drives out demons, raises a girl from the dead, and heals a sick woman. These miracles show His power over Satan and death. In chapter 6, Jesus is rejected as a prophet by those who grew up with him, gives instructions to the disciples on how they are to go out to share the gospel, and multiplies very little food to feed a lot of people. We also learn in chapter 6 of the plot hatched by Herodias’ wife, which leads to John the Baptist’s beheading. In chapter 7, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for elevating their man-made traditions over God’s law, and explains to the crowd that impurity comes from within their own hearts. Chapter 7 ends with two more miracles. In particular,  Jesus extends healing to a non-Jewish woman because of her great faith and humility. 

What is one key verse?

‘When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages ! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” ‘

Mark 6:34-37

How does what you read change your vision of God?

This verse doesn’t really change my vision of God, but rather, confirms and solidifies what I already know of His character. God calls us to take care of people in need, even when we are in need ourselves. In the verse I chose, Jesus and His disciples are exhausted, and the crowd around them is starting to get hungry. The disciples want to send the people to the nearby villages to get food, but Jesus responds, “You give them something to eat.” If I put myself in the disciples’ shoes, I think that I would have been very exasperated with Jesus. I would have wondered how I could provide for all of these people, when I was so depleted myself. But Jesus calls them to give what they are able, and then he multiples it to provide for everyone, including the disciples themselves! This verse reminds me that, no matter how little I might have to give, God calls me to sacrifice it to Him, and not hoard it for myself.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

In my key verse, and the section I read as a whole, I am reminded of the compassion Jesus had for people. He poured Himself out to meet the needs of the people around Him, and He calls me to do the same. 

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

I want to see people through the same lens of compassion that Jesus did. I want to give everything I have to meet the needs of the people around me. 

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

These chapters are all about Jesus healing and helping people. They remind me of all of the Old Testament foreshadowing of a Messiah who will come to bind up the brokenhearted, heal the sick, and bring reconciliation between mankind and God. 

10.14 Mark 1-3

Dwayne Berry

10.14.2020

Mark 1-3

Summary: Mark chapters 1-3 move at a really fast pace and there is so much that happens. It begins the story of Jesus’ adult life starting with his baptism and by the end of chapter 3 he has already appointed the twelve disciples. Mark 1 starts with the story of John the Baptist, a man who baptized people in the Jordan River. John tells the people around him of the coming of Jesus who will be much more powerful than himself, saying that Jesus will baptize them with the Holy Spirit, rather than water alone. Jesus comes and is baptized by John then you’ve got heaven being torn open and God speaks to Jesus. Then Jesus goes in the wilderness for forty days and nights to be tested and we get the short version of that story. Jesus then goes on to preach the good news and call his first disciples. In Mark 2 Jesus is going around preaching and healing many people of different illnesses and disabilities. Jesus even spends time and eats with sinners and he’s really shaking things up and crowds of people follow in around. At the end of chapter 2 and in chapter 3 Jesus is already receiving persecution for his teachings and the amazing life he was living. He received persecution from the teachers of the law and even his own family. At the end of chapter 3 he declares that the disciples are his family and anyone who does the will of God. 

Key Verse:

Mark 3:31-35. This is one of those amazing and revolutionary but also tough teachings by Jesus. As a disciple the body of Christ and those who do the will of God are our family. When Jesus’ mother and bothers came to him thinking he was out of his mind he said “Who is my mother and my brothers?” He looked around at his disciples and says “Here are my mother and my brothers!” Jesus aligned himself with his disciples over his own family. In the same way we should align ourselves with Jesus and with each other over political groups, over race, and even over our own families.

How does what you read change your vision of God?: God is not telling us to disown or disregard our families. Family is super important. God blesses us with families and calls us to honor and love our families. God also has given us a new family in his church which he calls us to put before our own families.  

How does what you read change your vision of yourself? I pretty much do anything for my siblings. I’d do everything in my power to make sure that they’re safe and okay. This scripture helped me to see that I have to be willing to do the same and more for my family in Christ.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters?: Jesus’ life in these chapters shows his heart and character and helps us to point out what’s really important. When the pharisees are trying to trap Jesus and find things to accuse him of, he doesn’t care about his image or upsetting them. He says “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” Jesus’ cares about our hearts and what’s right.  

10.13 Matthew 26-28

Deb Monroe  

10.13.2020

Matthew 26-28

Summarize what you read in one paragraph: This chunk of scripture is integral to our faith! Here, numerous famous and familiar bible stories can be found. For example- Jesus eats Passover with his disciples, Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus is attested when Judas give the sign, Peter denies Jesus 3 times and the rooster crows. Most important to the Christian faith is what follows! The death, burial and resurrection of Christ! 

What is one key verse?

Matthew 27: 12-13 But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer.  Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?”

How does what you read change your vision of God?

Here Jesus sets an example for us in his total faith and reliance on God and his ultimate plan. Jesus does not defend himself at his trial though he could have easily backed down for fear of being killed. He could have spouted all the reasons why they should let him go. But no. He knew his father’s plan and did not doubt. He was one with god and knew he could trust him fully, even when suffering loomed. I do not not need to defend myself! God’s got my back and he will fight my battles!

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others? Being married comes with conflict. This bible verse changes my heart because I recognize that when I defend myself and argue my point, I stop listening and stop learning. I become consumed with my own feelings, thoughts and opinions. I no longer care about what my husband is sharing (or anyone else) and easily go astray into sin. 

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?) I will go with god by remembering to stop defending myself. I need to seek the truth and put aside any fear or emotions that get in the way of hearing and doing god’s will. I will be more like Jesus and rely fully on the father’s plan.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? Everywhere!

10.12 Matthew 24-25

Jeff Wenta

10.12.2020

Matthew 24-25

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:

In these two amazing chapters Jesus shares with his disciples about the end of the temple era and beyond. He explains in several different ways that his disciples need to be ready: “Stand firm to the end”, “keep watch”, “you must be ready” and “after a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts.” Then, in case they were wondering, he explains what to do to be ready: “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (gave them something to eat when they were hungry, to drink when they were thirsty, invited them in, clothed them, looked after them when they were sick, visited them when in prison).

What is one key verse?

One key verse is Matt 24:13  “but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

How does what you read change your vision of God?

This time when reading these two chapters, mainly because I am reflecting deeply on them to share here, I noticed that God told us there would be a final exam, he told us to be ready for it and he gave us the answers!

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

I now, more than ever, see myself as an agent of change in the world I am alive in.  There are people around me who are sick spiritually, who are imprisoned spiritually, who are hungry and thirsty for God and I must act and invite them in.

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

I will actively look for strangers and invite them in. I will visit the spiritually imprisoned, clothe the spiritually naked, feed the spiritually hungry and thirsty, care for the spiritually sick and keep doing this until I die or Jesus comes back.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

I couldn’t help but think of Luke 4:16-21 where he read from Isaiah, “…he anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free…”  then the mic drop moment, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Bam!

10.10 Matthew 20-23

10.10.2020

Matthew 20-23

Summary:

Jesus is telling parables and teaching his disciples as he makes his way down from Galilee through Jericho, to the Mount of Olives and finally to Jerusalem. He’s greeted like a king (called Son of David) to shouts of ‘Hosanna’ (Save!). He immediately heads for the temple and drives out those who would profit off of the poor and create barriers instead of making God more accessible. The section ends with a fierce rebuke to the Pharisees.

Key Verse:

“And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

Matthew 21:44

Vision of God

As Jesus approaches the week before his crucifixion, he faces many challenges and handles them all with divine intuition. People often project their own image onto Jesus, making him totally hardline or totally compassionate or totally concerned with social justice and on and on. But here, Jesus proves to be nimble. He responds to a myriad of issues in unique and unexpected ways. He shows patience and severity with James and John’s request. He displays compassion as he heals the blind men at Jericho. He allows himself to be worshipped coming into Jerusalem. He makes a whip and yells in the temple. He makes an example out of a fig tree. He traps the chief priests with their own words. He teaches in parables that remain timeless in their ability to pierce our hearts even today. He silences all of the religious factions that try to trap him and then he lets loose on the Pharisees. We have to be careful not to put God in a box but rather constantly expand our vision of who God is through the life of Jesus.

Vision of Self and Others

Jesus is always kind and compassionate with the humble. He is always direct and severe with the proud. So, for myself I want to fight for humility and keep reminding myself that what I don’t know is so much greater than what I know. As I approach others I need to be discerning. A prideful person doesn’t need compassion – they need the truth.

Go With God

I want to be better at seeing pride in myself and others and calling it out by pointing people unashamedly to Jesus.

Jesus

The key verse is an amazing statement from Jesus. Coming to Jesus is like falling onto a rock. It’s going to hurt and break some things (sins, bad habits, mindsets, relationships, etc…). This is better than the alternative which is the rock falling on you which results in being crushed.

10.9 Matthew 16-19

Stephanie Whalen

10.9.2020

Matthew 16-19

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:

When the Pharisees demand a sign from Jesus proving that He’s the son of God, Jesus responds by saying that no sign will be given “except the sign of Jonah”, meaning that just as Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and nights, Jesus was hinting at his own crucifixion, burial and resurrection over the course of three days. Like this, throughout these chapters (and the entirety of his time leading his disciples) Jesus is speaking in parables, and using concepts and analogies, and references from the Old Testament that were familiar to the people of that time to teach them. Jesus goes on to warn His disciples about the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. No, he didn’t mean actual, physical yeast… but their false teachings and deviations from God’s Word. We’re called to not be tainted by the world and its teachings. This isn’t the first use of a warning against yeast, it’s referenced in many ways including during the Passover (Exodus 34:25), and to the action of boasting (1 Corinthians 5:6-7). Right about now in the book of Matthew, Peter goes on a bit of a rollercoaster, jumping between being super on-point, and dropping the ball. Peter declares that Jesus is the Messiah and receives his nickname (Peter), and the keys to the kingdom. That’s amazing! But, he tries to correct the Messiah as Jesus tells of how he will soon have to die. Jesus, who just called Peter “the rock” on which his church will be built, now tells him “Get behind me, Satan!” because of his doubt of their prophecy. Even though some of the things that Peter says and does makes me face-palm, it’s comforting because no matter what, he is faithful to Jesus, and because of that, Jesus does awesome things through him, including raising his church through Peter. I love that, because I can do some really dumb things sometimes, but that doesn’t stop Jesus from loving me and building me up.

What is one key verse?

Matthew 18:20 — “For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them”

How does what you read change your vision of God?

It reminds me how loving and compassionate He is. Watching Peter and Jesus, and how patient Jesus is when Peter is way off on somethings really comforts me. Even though I can be way off sometimes, Jesus will stick with me (maybe even rebuke me a little bit when needed) but will never give up on me.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

and

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

In the craziness of the world today, especially with social distancing and all of us trying to get along while respecting varying comfort levels, I have to think of how patient Jesus was with Peter, his disciples, and the crowds that would follow him around everywhere. Jesus’ life was pretty crazy, considering all that he went through, and by comparison, my life is pretty mild. Still, I try to imitate Jesus’ patience and level-head in all situations that I find myself in nowadays. And on the frequent occasion that I fail to imitate Jesus, I can have faith that he’ll stick by me, and continue to build me up and teach me just as he did for Peter.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

Em… Everywhere. Just kidding, but for real. The patience and love he shows for everyone. The unwavering faith and steadfast hold to God’s Word in the face of the Pharisees. The healing of the sick and afflicted, and the casting out of demons. Every book of the Bible references Jesus in one way or another, but in Matthew, as well as Mark, Luke, and John, we get to read about how Jesus actually lived his life here on Earth.

10.8 Matthew 12-15

Tony Whalen

10.07.2020

Matthew 12-15

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:

I read the parable of the hidden treasure and the parable of the pearl. In these parables I see a hope or a treasure that is of priceless value. I also see a joyful heart of sacrifice to attain that treasure. I see in these parables that the men who found these treasures understood their true value and eagerly did what they could to attain them.

What is one key verse?

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and  buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:44-45

How does what you read change your vision of God?

I think this passage it’s a convicting reminder that what we strive for through this life is undoubtedly worth it, but it also requires sacrifice to get there. The man who found the treasure in the field joyfully sold all he had, because he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what he found was amazing. He gave up all he had to acquire this treasure.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others? How will you Go with God because of this reading?

I think too often I can look at my faith and relationship with God as an escape and means to find comfort. I don’t think that’s totally wrong but I also can’t ignore the reality of the sacrifice that is involved to deny myself and live for something more. It’s sobering to read this parable and see the joyful reaction to sacrifice. I know that usually isn’t my first instinct. I hope as I mature in Christ that I can grow in this.

10.7 Matthew 8-11

Craig Roubus

10.7.2020

Matthew 8-11

Summary

These chapters pick up right after Jesus delivers the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus travels throughout the region of Galilee teaching, preaching, and performing miracles (mostly healing people). He finishes assembling his twelve apostles and sends them out on their first mission to proclaim, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” When messengers are sent from John the Baptist to Jesus to see if he really is the one they were waiting for, Jesus assures them that his words and deeds confirm he is the Christ. He also warns about judgement against those who saw his works but did not repent.

Key Verses

Matthew 9:36-38

36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Matthew 11:28-30

28Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

How does what you read change your vision of God? 

I used to think that God was somewhat reluctant to save us, and that there will always be distance between us. These chapters, however, show me that God’s plan of salvation involves him being close to us. Jesus spends time with people in their homes, shares meals with them, gets to know people’s problems and helps them, takes time to explain things to his followers, he even heals a leper by touching him. Even though we were unclean in our sin, God did not keep his distance. God did not work out salvation from some far distant heavenly throne. Jesus came and walked among us and touched us. Jesus even invites us to be yoked together with him, tied together side-by-side.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

Matthew 9:36 always convicts me. Jesus saw people as they are; he recognized that they were in a bad situation. I think it is easy to look at people who don’t have obvious outward hurts and believe that they are doing okay. In fact, looking only at outward prosperity and success can lead me to envy. However, seeing people the way Jesus did leads to compassion. The true need for every person everywhere is reconciliation with God. The external and material circumstances of a person’s life can be a distraction from their true need.

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

An action step for me is what Jesus tells his disciples to do Matthew 9:38: pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

These chapters are all about Jesus. Almost every verse mentions Jesus by name, refers to Jesus, or is Jesus speaking. This is Jesus in action. Really exciting to see after all the foreshadowing in the Old Testament!

I almost wrote that it’s impossible to not see Jesus in these chapters, but what Jesus says to the unrepentant cities in Matthew 11:20-24 reminds me that that’s not necessarily true. These people not only saw Jesus in the flesh but saw him perform mighty works, yet they did not change their lives. It would be easy to skim these chapters that are familiar to me and just read about Jesus rather than see Jesus.

10.6 Matthew 5-7

10.6.2020

Matthew 5-7

Summary

These are arguably the three most important chapters in the whole bible. Just as Moses went up a mountain to receive and deliver the law, Jesus, continuing Matthew’s theme of Jesus being the new and perfect Israel, goes up a mount to deliver a fulfilled law for God’s people. Those who follow this law are the new Israel.

Key Verse:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Matthew 5:17

Vision of God

This message challenges the idea that many people have that the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament. Jesus makes it clear that God is one but he is revealing himself more fully in Jesus.

Vision of Others

It’s amazing how personal God is. Every time I read the Sermon on the Mount something different hits me. It’s like Jesus is still speaking to me through those red letters.

Go With God

Every section makes me want to Go with God and challenges my worldview. I want to have beatitudes instead of bad attitudes. I want to be salt and light. I want to treat sin more radically and care less about my image. I want to stop worrying and keep building on the solid rock of Jesus.

Jesus

This is Jesus. This is what he taught, who he was and who he is!