Judges 10-12, Psalm 87, Mark 6:45-56, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 Mark 6:45-56: Under all this pressure, Jesus instructs and “makes” the disciples go into the boat to cross to the other side. Meanwhile he retreats to the mountains to pray. Take note, disciple of Jesus: if our Master prays, so must we. He retreated from time-to-time to find refreshment…

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Judges 9, Psalm 86, Mark 6:30-44, 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 Mark 6:30-44: The humanity and divinity of Jesus is here on display. First, he recognizes the tiredness facing his disciples. They had been on mission. They returned and gave their report. And now they needed to rest. So busy were they, so impactful was their ministry, that they did…

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Judges 8, Psalm 85, Mark 6:14-29, 1 Corinthians 10:14-33 Mark 6:14-29: The introduction of Jesus’ evident growing fame, and the knowledge of that fame reaching the ears of the notorious King Herod, leaves Mark the opportunity to tell the story of John the Baptist’s end. Because Jesus is preaching so powerfully, Herod, with a guilty conscience plaguing him,…

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Judges 6-7, Psalm 84, Mark 6:1-13, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 Mark 6:1-13: A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown—Jesus was to experience this truth in his own hometown of Nazareth. Despite the fact they knew him when he was “knee high to a grass hopper,” knew that he was “the carpenter,” knew his family, instead of…

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Judges 4-5, Psalm 83, Mark 5:21-43, 1 Corinthians 9:13-27 Mark 5:21-43: Two daughters, two healings, two acts of faith met with gracious love and merciful power. First we have one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus, who comes to Jesus about his daughter (5:22-23). He was a powerful man, presumably, a religious authority figure, an elder, pastor,…

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Judges 1-3, Psalm 82, Mark 5:1-20, 1 Corinthians 9:1-12   Mark 5:1-20: One of the more extraordinary stories in Mark’s Gospel, a demon possessed man, notorious for his unsocial and presumably dangerous behavior, is dramatically healed. But the details are initially strange, unusual, and for some a little disturbing. Why should it be that Jesus would allow the…

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Joshua 24, Psalm 81, Mark 4:21-41, 1 Corinthians 8 Mark 4:21-41: The power of Jesus’ Word is now made evident in several parables, and one extraordinary miracle, that illustrates the reality of what Jesus has been teaching. First, the lamp under a basket: it is not normal to turn a light on in a house and then immediately…

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Joshua 22-23, Psalm 80, Mark 4:1-20, 1 Corinthians 7:17-40 Mark 4:1-20: Jesus now teaches his famous parable of the sower. The contours of it are familiar enough for many. What is surprising to many is Jesus’ rationale for telling parables (4:11-12), where he seems to explain his parables in precisely the reverse way to how it is normally…

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Joshua 20-21, Psalm 79, Mark 3:20-35, 1 Corinthians 7:1-16  Mark 3:20-35: Things are becoming sufficiently extreme, such that Jesus’ family comes to take charge of the situation. The crowds were so insistent that they could not eat, and people were beginning to say that he had lost his marbles, was out of his mind, and so the family…

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Joshua 18-19, Psalm 78:40-72, Mark 3:1-19, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20   Mark 3:1-19: Jesus’ opponents are now watching him closely—but not in a good way. They are watching to see if they can trap him in what he does or what he says. They want to “accuse” him. Irrespective of their ill intentions, Jesus, in his mercy and love,…

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