At Craiglockhart Church we are reading Mark's gospel together during Lent. Our services on Sunday will follow themes from Mark's gospel which we have read in the preceding week.
Our Lent reading programme with daily readings in Mark's gospel, brief comments and a theme for prayer is copied below. Please join us in reading Mark's gospel this Lent.
Lent Studies 2016 Walking With Jesus
The beginning of the Gospel
Wed 10 Feb: Mark 1:1-20
Mark begins with Jesus Christ. We are to know that the Jesus we read about in this gospel is the Son of God. His coming is prepared for by Old Testament prophets, witnessed to by the voice from him and the abiding presence of God’s Holy Spirit upon him.
Because he is the Son of God when the Lord Jesus calls fishermen to follow him they immediately leave their nets and go with him.
It is the same Jesus, the Son of God, who calls us to walk with him; we are to leave everything behind to follow Jesus.
prayer: Open our eyes; we want to see Jesus, to know that he is the Son of God. Open our ears; we want to hear Jesus calling us to follow him. Change our lives that we may answer his call.
Thu 11 Feb: Mark 1:21-34
No wonder the people in the synagogue were amazed, with a word the Lord Jesus drives out demons and heals the sick bringing the good news of the Kingdom of God into the lives of men and women.
The Kingdom of God is not a human kingdom and is not brought into being by human effort. The Son of God declares the arrival of the Kingdom and the power of his word brings the Kingdom.
prayer: Your kingdom come, O Lord, we do pray that we would know the life of your Kingdom breaking out among us as the words of the Lord Jesus are heard and believed.
Fri 12 Feb: Mark 1:35-45
There is so much to be done. In every town there was a leper to heal, by every lake shore a crowd gathering to hear these amazing teachings. We must notice that our Lord Jesus did not take time out from these things but made time elsewhere in his life for prayer. Walking with Jesus, living in the Kingdom of God is to live in a relationship with God as our Father, a relationship that grows and is sustained by prayer. What time do we make in our lives for prayer?
prayer: O Father, we thank you for the welcome to give us to come into your presence and live our lives together with you. Teach us the way of prayer that we might often be found before you and that times of prayer might shape our lives in the likeness of Christ.
Sat 13 Feb: Mark 2:1-17
Four men bring their friend to the Lord Jesus and he forgives the man’s sins. A wealthy man hears the Lord Jesus call him away from his wealth and at once he rises and follows Jesus. Religious men complain that the Lord Jesus is meeting with those who need him: those burdened by sin, trapped by wealth.
There are forms of religious living that don’t need the Lord Jesus, that don’t need the forgiveness of sins, that don’t need the freedom of following Jesus as Lord.
The way of the disciple of Christ is the way of dependence upon Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
prayer: O Lord our God we confess our need of your Son Jesus. We need to be set free from the burdens of wealth and possessions, we need to be forgiven of our sins – against you and against one another. In your mercy fix our hearts upon Christ alone and lead us in his way of life.
The paths of discipleship
Mon 15 Feb: Mark 2:18-28
A question about disciples is really a question about the Lord of the disciples. John teaches his disciples to fast, who are you to teach your disciples not to fast? Who are you to permit your disciples to do what is not lawful on the Sabbath? The Lord Jesus whom we are following is Lord even of the Sabbath, there is no greater Lord than Christ Jesus which is why he is to be followed.
prayer: In the light of your word may we know Jesus Christ to be Lord of all and may we follow him on the way of the cross today and every day.
Tue 16 Feb: Mark 3:1-19
Jesus the Lord does the work of the Lord: the sick are healed, the demons are defeated, the good news is proclaimed. We have heard this good news through the ministry of the 12 appointed and sent out by the Lord to make him known in every place.
prayer: We have heard a joyful sound, Jesus saves – O Lord we thank you for the faithful ministry of your apostles and pray that as they followed you so we would walk in your way.
Wed 17 Feb: Mark 3:20-35
As it becomes increasingly clear that Jesus is Lord so he is hated and faces fierce opposition. We don’t want a God close to us, living among us calling us to obedience and discipleship, even in our hearts we oppose Jesus as Lord.
prayer: O Lord our God we confess our sin. We resist your gospel; we want to be our own Lord, our own Saviour. By the one Saviour, who is Christ Jesus our Lord forgive this and all our sins.
Thu 18 Feb: Mark 4:1-20
The word is the best seed. The Sower is faithful and hardworking. Only a quarter of the ground is fruitful and receptive to our Lord’s word. As the soil is worked upon by sunshine and rain, so our hearts are worked upon by God’s Spirit that we might be good soil to received our Lord’s word.
prayer: Come Holy Spirit; enter our cold and hard hearts. Break up the stony places and tear out the weeds that when we read and hear God’s word it might take deep root and bear much fruit within us.
Fri 19 Feb: Mark 4:21-41
Who is this? Who can speak with such knowledge and authority of the Kingdom of God? Who can command the wind and the waves? The disciples of the Lord Jesus know how to answer this question – he is the Son of God come among us and bringing God’s Kingdom upon us.
prayer: Oh, what a mystery – meekness and majesty:
bow down and worship, for this is your God,
this is your God!
Graham Kendrick Meekness and Majesty, various hymn books, including CH4 – 356.
Sat 20 Feb: Mark 5:1-20
The many demons within the man recognize Jesus as the Son of God. Even so they do not want to follow him as Son of God. Often we can know Jesus is Lord but in our hearts hold back from discipleship. Only the Lord Jesus can set us free from this bondage; set us free to follow him as Lord, to depend upon him as Saviour, to worship him as God.
prayer: We praise you, Jesus our Lord and Saviour. Set us free that we might be your disciples; may we love you with our whole being: heart, mind, strength and soul.
The paths of opposition and amazement
Mon 22 Feb: Mark 5:21-43
A worried father comes to Jesus seeking help because his daughter is dying. A lonely woman who has suffered for twelve years comes to Jesus because she has no one else to turn to. The Lord Jesus knows why they have come, he knows what they need and he is able to help them. The woman is healed and sent home in peace, the daughter is raised to life amidst gasps of astonishment. What needs do you have to bring to the Lord Jesus today?
prayer: Lord Jesus, you call all who are weak and weary to come to you. Help me to come today. Lift up my burden from me and let me know your peace.
Tue 23 Feb: Mark 6:1-13
The people of Jesus’ home town take offence at his teaching and his deeds. They think they know who Jesus is and are scandalized when he breaks out of the box they have made for him.
The Lord Jesus is not concerned about gathering honour for himself, he sends out twelve commissioning them to preach and heal – just as he has. The desire of the Lord Jesus is that all should hear about and enter into the joy of the Kingdom of God.
prayer: Gracious Lord, forgive me when I treat you with contempt and when I try to control you by limiting you to my understanding. May your Kingdom come in the preaching of your word to all who hear it.
Wed 24 Feb: Mark 6:14-29
A terrible story of cruelty done to a good man. John was the last and greatest of the prophets, he spoke of Jesus being the Lamb of God who would take away all our sins. If the world cannot silence the Lord Jesus it will try to silence those who speak of him.
prayer: O Lord our God we thank you for the faithful testimony of John to Jesus as Christ. We pray for all who serve us today in making Jesus known in our communities.
Thu 25 Feb: Mark 6:30-44
No one shared their lunch with anyone, because no one had any lunch to share! Feeding multitudes in the desert, providing bread from heaven, in this the Lord Jesus displays his power and his love.
prayer: Lord Jesus we thank you for the daily provision of food and pray for the hungry in our world. We also thank you for the provision of that food which sustains us to eternal life and ask that you would feed us on your eternal word.
Fri 26 Feb: Mark 6:45-56
It is our over familiarity which such stories that leaves us unafraid when we read such things. Our God is greater and more powerful than we can know or imagine. We are only set free from an overwhelming fear when he calls us to himself.
prayer: Open my ears, Lord, that I may hear your gracious call. Lay your hand on my life, Lord, and bring me to yourself.
Sat 27 Feb: Mark 7:1-23
It is easy to clean the outside and leave dirt on the inside. We are so good at appearing clean as we go about our religious duties. All the evil that is sin does not come to us and stick upon us from the outside but rises up from inside us. The human heart is the heart of our human problems.
prayer: Almighty Father, not only have we wandered from your path of discipleship we run in our own ways further from you as our sin comes from the inside out. Have mercy upon us, forgive us our sin according to your promises in Christ Jesus our Saviour.
The path of the cross
Mon 29 Feb: Mark 7:24-37
Faith in Jesus as Lord is found in a Gentile woman and a deaf man. This is not positive thinking but clinging to the reality of God with us in Christ. The woman does not set her daughter free; the deaf man does not fix his ears, the Lord Jesus displays the power and compassion of God in works of mercy and grace. Do we place our faith in this Jesus as Lord and Christ?
prayer: Open our deaf ears and set free our sin enslaved hearts that we might live by faith in Christ Jesus our Saviour. O Lord, do this mighty work for those we know who are deaf to you and in bondage to this world.
Tue 1 Mar: Mark 8:1-21
Even after a second feeding miracle the twelve disciples still do not understand who Jesus is. The yeast they and we with them are to beware of is that denial of Jesus as the Son of God, that refusal to receive this Jesus as our only Saviour. We may see mighty things from God and still despise and reject his salvation in Christ Jesus our Saviour.
prayer: O Lord, I confess it offends my pride to depend upon Jesus as my Saviour, work in my heart by your Spirit’s powerful presence to root out this pride and bring me to depend upon Christ alone.
Wed 2 Mar: Mark 8:22-38
A blind man healed and a blind disciple sees. Here is the heart of the Gospel: this Jesus is the Christ of God, he saves by his death on the cross and calls all people to follow him through the cross into new life.
prayer: Lord Jesus, how great is your love for me. As I survey your wondrous cross may my heart be broken before you and in my life may I follow you in the way of the cross.
Thu 3 Mar: Mark 9:1-29
The glory of the Lord Jesus is revealed on mountain top and in valley healing. We see Jesus made known as the Son of God by the voice from heaven and the powerful saving of a young life. Where do we see the glory of Christ made known today?
prayer: Lord Jesus, you are worthy to receive our praise and thanksgiving, may our prayers of praise be added to the choir of angels every singing your glory.
Fri 4 Mar: Mark 9:30-50
Even after a second prediction of his saving death the disciples argue about who is the greatest and prove to be stumbling blocks to others who would follow Jesus. In what ways are we like these twelve disciples?
prayer: O Lord, forgive me when I limit your salvation and cause those you died for to stumble in your way. Teach me the humility needed to follow you in the path of the cross.
Sat 5 Mar: Mark 10:1-16
The Pharisees come to test and accuse and find one who teaches the truth of God. Parents bring their children and find the warm welcome and prayers of one who as God with them loves them and their children. Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank you that you make known the truth of God, your Father and our Father; we thank you that you welcome those who come to you seeking the Kingdom of God, which has come near in you.
The paths of fulfilment and challenge
Mon 7 Mar: Mark 10:17-31
We read that Jesus loved this young man, and our hearts are drawn to him as well. The disciple of Jesus is not one who only obeys the commands of God but whose whole heart and life is given over to following Jesus in his cross bearing way.
prayer: O Lord, search my heart today. You know how I long to follow Jesus and be his disciple, help me by your Spirit’s work to follow wholeheartedly in the way of your Christ.
Tue 8 Mar: Mark 10:32-52
A third prediction by Jesus of his death and resurrection; another misunderstanding from his disciples. The path of discipleship is not about getting the good seats in the Kingdom but about humbly receiving the salvation won for us by Christ our Lord. Do we not see this in the response of Bartimaeus to his healing “Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.”
prayer: ‘Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to your cross I cling.’ Lord Jesus, make these words my prayer today.
Wed 9 Mar: Mark 11:1-19
Vision from the prophets made real, cries of praise and prayer from the psalms given true voice, Jesus the Son of God rides into the city of God and enters the temple of God. Rather than joyful recognition and welcome they sought how they might kill him. How do we reject and deny the claims of Jesus to be God and Saviour?
prayer: O Lord our God, every promise you made you have kept in Jesus our Saviour. We praise and bless you for all your faithfulness and kindness towards us.
Thu 10 Mar: Mark 11:20-33
Now we come into the temple and sit before Jesus that he might teach us. Before entering the Lord Jesus displays his authority over the fig-tree and then has his authority challenged by the temple authorities. If we refuse to know Jesus as he makes himself known to us we will never know him or learn by what authority he does these things.
prayer: Lord Jesus, I confess that I seek to abuse your authority to control and manage you even as I try to worship you as my God. Forgive my sin and humble me before your glory.
Fri 11 Mar: Mark 12:1-17
A parable which offends the self-righteous religious people who think they don’t need a Saviour is followed by a challenge from them, they think they are so clever but are left amazed by the wisdom and grace of God in Christ.
prayer: O Lord, we are not often enough amazed by your being God with us in Christ Jesus our Lord. Overwhelm us with your glory and your grace that we might acknowledge your saving love for us.
Sat 12 Mar: Mark 12:18-34
God’s not dead, he is always alive and those saved by Christ are alive to God. It is this eternally living God, who has shown us his love in Christ Jesus, that we are to love and as we love him so we are to love our neighbour and love our self.
prayer: ‘The King of love my shepherd is, whose goodness faileth never.’ How you have loved me, my God and my Saviour, may I love you and learn how to love my neighbour through Jesus Christ my Lord.
The paths of darkness and prayer
Mon 14 Mar: Mark 12:35-44
The Lord Jesus teaches the crowds in the Temple about the Christ; the Christ is the son of David but is also the Lord of David. The devotion due to the Christ as Lord is shown by a poor woman giving everything to her God. Do we give everything in our following of Jesus Christ as Lord?
prayer: Lord Jesus there is no one more worthy of the love and devotion of my heart and life than you, lead me in such ways of humble and wholehearted devotion to you.
Tue 15 Mar: Mark 13:1-23
There will be hard times and difficult days before the Lord fully establishes his Kingdom. The greatest danger is not that we suffer during these days but that being deceived we follow after false-Christ’s and are lost to the Kingdom.
prayer: Our Father, we thank you for the gift of your word in which we are shown your Christ and that will keep us in your way, fix our hearts upon the Lord Jesus that we may never be drawn away from him.
Wed 16 Mar: Mark 13:24-37
The Lord Jesus, who is the Son of Man, will return again, not now in humility and weakness but with all the glory and power of heaven. The day is coming but we don’t yet know when, therefore, we watch and pray that when he comes he may find us living as his own people.
prayer: Open our eyes, Lord, enliven our prayers that when you return we might be found to be your children and be gathered into your eternal Kingdom.
Thu 17 Mar: Mark 14:1-21
Two meals, two people respond to the Lord Jesus. A woman anoints him for his burial, his dying love drawing out her deed of love. A disciple prepared the betrayal of his Lord and yet eats bread with him. What response does the Lord Jesus draw out from our hearts?
prayer: Lord, you know the seeds of betrayal are often found in my heart. May your Spirit root them out and in their place plant such love for you as will grow into deeds of sacrificial service.
Fri 18 Mar: Mark 14:22-31
Bread and wine are shared; the death of the Lord Jesus is displayed in this broken bread and poured out wine. One of those sharing the bread and wine speaks words of commitment and love but still the root of denial is found within his heart. Do we not find this same mixture of commitment and denial in our lives?
prayer: Lord Jesus you know how often we declare our desire to be faithful to you and how often we stumble and fall. Keep us in your love and your grace, when we fall find us and restore us in your love.
Sat 19 Mar: Mark 14:32-42
The weakness of the disciples is contrasted with the troubled humility of the Lord Jesus. There is no other way chosen by God by which men and women may be forgiven, it is to this work of achieving our forgiveness that the Lord Jesus submits himself in the garden.
prayer: Dearest Lord Jesus, we cannot look upon your prayers in the garden with cold and untroubled hearts, it was the burden of our sin that caused your distress. Make us ever thankful to you for your wonderful salvation undertaken for us.
The paths of suffering and glory
Mon 21 Mar: Mark 14:43-52
Now the passion of our Lord, long predicted by him begins with his arrest in the garden. Our Lord is betrayed by a disciple, one committed to following him hands him over to his enemies. However, the betrayer is not in charge here, the Lord Jesus identifies himself and is willingly taken to his death.
prayer: O Lord, we confess that we are often like Judas, quick to betray you and reject your way of the cross. Forgive us and restore us in Christ that we may follow him more faithfully.
Tue 22 Mar: Mark 14:53-65
At one point our hearts cry out that the Lord Jesus would speak and answer these false charges, and then as we read his bold confession we wish he had been silent. How quick we are to speak when we should be silent and slow when we should speak. The Lord Jesus is hated for who he is, the one who will sit at the right hand of the Mighty One.
prayer: Lord Jesus, we marvel at your wisdom and your courage. You know well what to say and are able to say it. As we follow you give us your wisdom and your courage that we might speak for you.
Wed 23 Mar: Mark 14:66-72
We often wish we had been a disciple with Jesus, but perhaps not like Peter here. In the security of our comfortable lives how often do we deny our Lord?
prayer: Under the light of your Spirit’s searching gaze, I confess that I have denied you, my Lord and Saviour. Forgive me for this most hateful of sins against you who loves me.
Thu 24 Mar: Mark 15:1-20
Pilate thinks he is a powerful man, but he is weak before an unruly crowd. The crowd thinks they can silence Jesus by crucifying him and the soldiers ignore his claims by mocking him. The powerful, majestic character in these verses is the Lord who is suffering for those who abuse him.
prayer: ‘Not what I will, but what you will’. Lord Jesus so often we wish you would save us in our way, thank you that you have saved us your way.
Fri 25 Mar: Mark 15:21-47
We should take our time today and read these words over again.
They think he can save himself by coming down from the cross, by staying on the cross he saves a lost world.
A Roman centurion confesses ‘Surely this man was the Son of God’, words we remember from Mark 1:1. This is to be our confession; the Son of God has died for our salvation.
prayer: Lifted up was he to die, ‘It is finished’ was his cry; now in heaven exalted high: alleluia! What a Saviour! Lord Jesus teach me again that it is my sin you bear on the cross, my penalty you pay, my forgiveness you achieve, and let me sing with joy ‘Alleluia! What a Saviour!’
Sat 26 Mar: Mark 16:1-8
On this Saturday of waiting we look ahead to the early morning coming to us. ‘He has risen! He is not here.’ This good news is made known by angels and told to disciples. Jesus our Lord is declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead.
prayer: Yours be the glory, risen, conquering Son. May we share in the joy and new life of your victory over sin and death and hell. Lord Jesus, strengthen this faith in us until you come again, you the Living One who was dead but is alive for ever and ever.