This coming Sunday we are kicking off our next sermon series in the book of Mark! We recently sat down with Rich Richardson and asked him to tell us more about the book, this series and what we can expect moving forward.
Why are we preaching through a gospel?
Through the gospels we get to know Jesus better and that’s the whole purpose of any gospel and the whole purpose of our church - the focus on Christ.
Why Mark instead of the other gospels?
In Mark you have succinct and rapid fire “action” and it’s a refreshing view of Christ in many different types of situations and ways.
What do we know about Mark as a person and an author?
Scholars believe Mark’s gospel was written first and that his gospel was the primary source for Matthew and Luke. He also might be the mysterious figure that ran away from Jesus when he was getting arrested in chapter 14. We also know that Mark traveled with Paul on one of his missionary journeys.
Who was the primary audience Mark was writing to? (compare to Matthew, Luke and John)
Mark was writing and preaching as an evangelist, wanting to introduce all people to Jesus so that they might know and believe. Matthew was written specifically to Jews, Luke was written to Gentiles, and John wrote much later to a broader audience. Mark had a Gentile audience that specifically had the Roman empire in mind because that was the era they were living in.
What are some main themes running through the book of Mark?
Christ’s authority is a big one. His authority over all things, and specifically expressed in suffering. He also shows us a lot of discipleship failure, the disciples messing up all over the place!
How long will this series last?
The better part of 2 years, most likely. We'll preach primarily through Mark this Spring and Summer with a few exceptions along the way. We might take a short break in the Fall, followed by Advent in December, and then pick Mark back up again next January and hopefully finish it up next year.
What are you hoping the congregation will get out of this series?
I hope that all of us get to know Jesus better! The following quote is excellent and expresses my heart for this series:
“It would be well if professing Christians in modern days studied the four Gospels more than they do. No doubt all Scripture is profitable... But I think it would be good for some who are familiar with the epistles, if they knew a little more about Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Now, why do I say this? I say it because I want professing Christians to know more about Christ. It is well to be acquainted with all the doctrines and principles of Christianity. It is better to be acquainted with Christ Himself... to see the King's own face, and to behold His beauty. This is one secret of eminent holiness. He that would be conformed to Christ's image, and become a Christ-like man, must be constantly studying Christ Himself. Now the Gospels were written to make us acquainted with Christ... and therefore I wish men to study the Gospels.
On whom must we build our souls if we would be accepted to God? We must build on the rock, Christ. From who must we draw that grace of the Spirit which we daily need in order to be fruitful? We must draw from the vine, Christ. To whom must we look for sympathy when earthly friends fail us or die? We must look to our elder brother, Christ. By whom must our prayers be presented, if they are to be heard on high? They must be presented by our advocate, Christ. With whom do we hope to spend the thousand years of glory, and the after eternity? With the King of kings, Christ. Surely we cannot know this Christ too well! ... We should labor to be familiar with every line that is written about Jesus."
- JC Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (1889, pp278-279)
Is there a particular story or passage you are excited to preach on?
Are there any good study books that someone could read to enhance their study of this book on their own?
Sinclair Ferguson's book Let’s Study Mark would be great for anyone. (Just try to look past the cheesy cover!)