When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it…Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends.

Of course Jesus wasn’t really lost. Only momentarily missing from his parents!

In three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."

"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?"

How did it happen that Jesus was temporarily lost to them? Maybe Mary thought He was with Joseph and the men. Perhaps Joseph thought He was with Mary. We’re not sure.

What we know is they weren’t paying attention to Jesus. And so it happens today. We let Jesus get out of our sight.

It isn’t intentional. We just get otherwise occupied. Jesus gets lost!

Not that Jesus is ever really lost. As in this story, He is always in the Father’s House and about the Father’s business. It is we who are lost to Him.

If this can happen to Mary, something like this can happen to us. And if it does, like Mary, we can recognize we aren't paying attention to Jesus and retrace our steps.



She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.

Here is Anna! She is an 84 year old widowed prophetess. She doesn’t have to come to the temple to meet Jesus when His parents bring Him because she never leaves the temple!

Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

Think of Anna. Worshiping night and day for all those years! Devoting her whole life to God! Praying and fasting.

And then one day she looks at the little face of God on earth and recognizes Him.


Like Simeon, Anna doesn’t miss the presence of Jesus. Not only that but she lets others around her know about the child!

It seems only Anna and Simeon - out of all the thousands in Jerusalem – knew God when He came calling!

What does their faith, devotion, and spiritual insight say about everyone else in town?

Simeon’s prophesy says it well.

This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.



For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people.

Amazing isn’t it. God Himself comes to the temple and most people miss it. Yet, there Jesus was. In plain sight of all the people!

For when Jesus was eight days old, Joseph and Mary brought Him to the temple. Nobody noticed at first. Except for one man named Simeon.

God had promised him that he would not die until he saw the Christ. Now, moved by the Holy Spirit, Simeon comes to the temple at the same time Joseph and Mary arrive with Jesus.

Simeon takes Jesus in his arms and praises God. He announces Jesus will be - a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.

Why this man of all people?

Because he was waiting for the coming Messiah! Waiting and expectant!

Has much changed since that day? Don’t most people fail to see Jesus even though He’s presenting Himself every day in the temple of our hearts!

Who is expectantly waiting for Jesus today?



And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

The birth of Jesus! To whom does God send angels with the news? Surprise! The Jerusalem religious establishment doesn’t get the news!

It is shepherds who hear, Hark the Herald Angels Sing!

And this refrain echoes throughout Luke’s story of Jesus. God chooses the poor. This good news is for them.

Did you notice God’s choice? Luke does!

Mary is just girl from an out-of-the-way village. Zechariah and Elizabeth are not important in the eyes of the world. And now shepherds…

In almost every culture and every time, shepherds are not wealthy. Very often the flocks they tend are not even their own.

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord!

The shepherds hurry off to discover the child in a manger. We’re not surprised somehow!

They spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

To lowly shepherds God gives the privilege of first telling the news. People were no doubt astonished, not only by the incredible story, but by who was telling it!

Soon Jesus will speak for Himself and will also announce He has come to preach the good news to the poor!



And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

No headlines in the nearby Jerusalem Herald! Not even a back page story in the weekly Bethlehem Post!

God literally steps into the world and no reporter is covering it. Few even notice!

Headlines: Caesar Orders Census! Registration Commences! Traffic Snarled! Hotels Report No Vacancies!

The birth of Jesus didn’t even make the ten o’clock news!

Only the usual talking heads blathering on about the implications of coming higher taxes on the bottom line. A few on-the-street interviews with angry tax payers! The obligatory rebuttal by officials about public projects and the importance of proper tax revenues!

And there was the 20/20 Special on the hardship created by forcing families to travel great distances to register in their hometowns.

The entertainment channel focused on a few celebrities who arrived to register. Complete with the usual exuberance over their expensive wardrobes and jewelry.

It’s the same today. Jesus has come, but He’s never the headline. He doesn’t make the ten o’clock news!

The world will always miss what God is doing. If we want good news about what is going on today, we must listen to God ourselves by paying attention to the Teacher!

I wonder why God doesn’t seek the headline?



What a happy man! He sees the immediate future. God is moving among His people and everything will soon change. Salvation is coming.

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.

He has raised up a horn of salvation for us… to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,

and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

What a happy father! He understands his son’s part in preparing for Jesus’ coming. Forgiveness of sins! Heaven’s mercy and Peace!

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,

to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,

because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven

to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.

And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.



What then is this child going to be?

When John was born, everyone was wondering what he was going to be when he grew up.

Of course, there were special circumstances surrounding John’s birth. But this is still the question on the mind of every new parent today.

What kind of person will my child become?

The answer to this question always depends greatly on the parents.

Of course, we know how John turned out. What a blessing he became to his nation. How instrumental in preparing the hearts of the people to receive Jesus.

But why did God choose Zechariah and Elizabeth to be John’s parents? What have we learned about them so far from Luke’s narrative?

Luke records – Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.

We’re beginning to see why God selected them and why John turned out to be such a powerful person of God.

What else do we know about them?

Zechariah was a priest of God. In fact, he was offering incense as the people were assembled to pray when the angel informed him of John’s coming birth.

They were also a praying couple. The angel announced – your prayer has been heard.

Godly parents! In God’s eyes, every child’s birthright!



Mary’s Song is a song of worship. A prayer of complete confidence in God’s power to accomplish His plans!

For Mary, God is a Savior! She praises His holiness, His perfection!

Mary’s God can go from one impossibility to the next! Yet, she praises God for His favor upon the humble.

This is Mary’s Song. Let’s listen to the lyrics!

My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name.

His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.



Blessed is she who has believed, that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!

Here Mary visits Elizabeth. And the Holy Spirit prompts Elizabeth to pronounce a blessing upon Mary for her faith. Faith that God would do what He promised her He would do.

How incredible to believe that Mary would actually become the mother of the Son of God. Nothing like this had ever happened in the entire course of human history! But Mary believed God!

Now Mary’s blessedness, her happiness, is assured!

What is true in Mary’s life is equally true in our own lives - when we believe what the Lord has said to us!

We are happy when we believe God offers us forgiveness of sins through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross!

We are content when we trust God, who says because of Jesus’ resurrection we will live with Him forever in heaven!

We are blessed when we believe God who tells us we can actually be changed in heart. We can become students of the Teacher! Empowered to become like Him!

What a source of joy to know that everything God promises us in Jesus Christ will become a reality in our lives.

Are we blessed? Happy? Contented?

We are, if and when – like Mary - we believe God is able to accomplish everything He has said to us!



The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

There are differing ideas about Mary. But the angel tells us God’s opinion of her – highly favored!

What a remarkable young woman she was. For out of all the girls in Israel, God chose Mary to bear the child that would be the Savior of the world. To be His mother and to raise Him!

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God…his kingdom will never end.”

Mary’s simple response to all these incredible, miraculous promises?

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”

What a reply! An answer worthy of one who would become the mother of the Son of God!

And a perfect example of how to respond to the call of God for our lives today – We are the Lord’s servants, may it be to us as God has said.



I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.

When the angel told Zechariah he would have a son, he couldn’t believe it! How could it be true?

The angel answered, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time."

Zechariah received good news from God. But he couldn’t believe it! Therefore, he couldn’t speak until the day of John’s birth!

He was struck speechless because he didn’t believe the good news. This seems harsh, but wait!

Haven’t we received good news from God? Not from an angel but from God’s only Son! The good news of Jesus!

Yet very often we are speechless when it comes to sharing His message of joy and hope.

Unlike Zechariah’s silence, ours is voluntary and self-imposed! His was a punishment. Ours is deliberate.

Yet, isn’t both his and ours caused by the same thing – a lack of faith in God’s message?

Do we truly believe the good news of Jesus or are we speechless?



He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth…

Here an angel appears to Zechariah to announce that he and his wife Elizabeth will have a son. He will be great in the sight of the Lord!

This son, John, will not only be a joy to his childless parents, but to the nation of Israel as well.

Israel, like much of the world today, was in a state of oppression. Religion had become empty. Revival was desperately needed.

Through John’s powerful preaching - Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God.

Families will be transformed – he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous.

The angel tells Zechariah – And he will go on before the Lord…to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

John will prepare the people for the coming of Jesus!

Today, nearly 2,000 years later, the world is in need of similar revival. A return to wisdom and obedience to God! A restoration of families! Hearts prepared for the final coming of Jesus!

This is what students of Jesus are all about. Becoming more like Jesus! Influencing their world and preparing for the Lord’s return.

John was a source of joy to his generation. And now, like John, students of Jesus can be a source of joy in this troubled time.



That’s what the name Theophilus means and to whom Luke writes his good news account.

Is Theophilus a person Luke knows or is he writing to all who love God? We aren’t sure.

What we know is Luke read other narratives about Jesus - perhaps Mark’s and Matthew’s – and decided to make his own examination and publish the results.

Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account…

Carefully investigated! Orderly account! This doesn’t surprise us. Luke is a physician. He now applies his natural curiosity and organized mind to the life and claims of Jesus.

Who were Luke’s sources? Where did He gather evidence? He tells us - those who from the first were eyewitnesses!

Luke’s gospel also bears the imprint of God’s Hand. Certainly, it is God who gives Luke a desire to share the Lord’s story and guides him in the composition.

Here in the very first paragraph the good doctor reveals his own personal estimation of the evidence – so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught!

Luke is fully convinced. He’s certain about Jesus. And he is sure Theophilus will be too after reading this gospel.

Not only Theophilus, but every one who loves God!


Again, A Woman!

Mark 16:9-20

“When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had driven seven demons.”

Again, a woman has the privilege of first seeing the risen Lord!

Jesus healed Mary and she responded with devotion to Him. Now He appears to her. And it this woman who first announces the good news to the others!

But they did not believe her!

When Jesus appeared later to two other people, the disciples did not believe their report either.

Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven, as they were eating, and he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen Him after he had risen.

The women who followed and served Jesus provide the greatest examples of persistent devotion. We are grateful for their examples of loyalty and faith.

Today we continue to be most encouraged by women of faith who often quietly and humbly serve. Listening daily to the voice of the Teacher! Their lives speak eloquently for Him.

Today, as we close our study of Mark’s Good News, may we all follow their example and heed the parting words of the Teacher:

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whosoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whosoever does not believe will be condemned.”


No Surprise

Mark 16:1-8

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.

The women stayed with Jesus all the way to the cross and the tomb. So we’re not surprised, it is the women who seek to serve Jesus when the men are no where to be found.

And it is to the women – not the eleven – that the angel first announces the good news of the resurrection!

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus. The Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.”

We are not really surprised, are we? Even today it is usually the women who seem most fervent in their love of the Lord’s cause. There are more women at worship services than men!

Men may often take the lead in public. Do most of the visible preaching. But the women are the backbone of most congregations.

And they have great influence in the home. They guide the children in their most formative years. And they encourage their husbands to be faithful also.

It is said in jest, “Behind every successful man is a woman who is surprised!”

Not true really. Rather alongside of most faithful men are persuasive women who are out front with great love and devotion to the Lord. Influencing by their example of devotion!

It is fitting that these women who come early to the empty tomb of the risen Lord should have the privilege to be first to announce this Good News!

“But go, tell his disciples…”

No, we’re not surprised. It’s the women!


Man's World?

Mark 15:38-47

God made man for practice. Then He got it right. He made woman!

It’s a man’s world they say. But look who is always around after man messes up!
Have you noticed? The last few days there have been hints of this.

First the woman who anointed Jesus for burial pouring expensive perfume on His head! Even Pilate’s wife interceded for Jesus! And now that all the men have run away, who’s left?

Uh huh. The women!

Some women were watching from far away. Among these women were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and Joses, and Salome.

When Jesus was in Galilee, they came with him and helped him. Some other women who had come to Jerusalem with Jesus were also watching.

Much emphasis is placed upon the twelve men Jesus first chose as students. Rightly so! But they are not His only students.

A company of women followed Him as well. Some of them supported His ministry financially. They were among His first students also. Perhaps His best!

They are here in His last hour. They do not run away. We are not surprised. Even today the cause of Jesus is supported by dedicated and loyal women of faith!

Here they are joined by a new student of Jesus, Joseph.
Then Pilate let Joseph take the body. Joseph went to buy some cloth. Then he took Jesus down and wrapped him in the cloth. He laid him in a grave that had been cut in a rock. Then he rolled a very big stone to close the grave. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where they laid Jesus.


Cry of Hope

Mark 15:25-37

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice - "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Jesus’ cry is purposeful. His words are a direct quote from Psalm 22, the Crucifixion Psalm! And He knows it!

This Psalm – written nearly 1,000 years earlier - also predicted the people’s rejection of Him, the insults they hurled, the pain of the crucifixion, the piercing of his hands and feet and even the dividing of His clothes!

Now, ever the Teacher – even in the excruciating agony of the cross – Jesus is sending a message of hope.


Yes, because while Jesus quotes the first verse of Psalm 22, He also knows very well how the Psalm ends. With victory! His cry is of victory! Victory in seeming defeat!

This doesn’t mean that our Lord wasn’t suffering real feelings of abandonment on the cross. The physical pain was intense. The spiritual even greater!

We can never comprehend the suffering of bearing the sins of the whole world. Surely, He experienced the loneliness and abandonment sin always brings. Our sin, not His!

Nor is this is a cry of surprise. He knew perfectly well what He came to do, why, and what it would mean for Him. He predicted this many times.

By quoting Psalm 22 He is actually making another prediction. Like the Psalm, this will all end very well for Him. His cry is for us. For our faith!

With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.


One And Only

Mark 15:16-24

Then they led him out to crucify him. A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.

This is the one and only time anyone is asked to carry Jesus’ cross! The Teacher often told His students they must take up their cross and follow Him. Their own though! Not His!

We’re not told how Simon felt about this. We know he wasn’t given a choice by the Roman soldiers. We suspect he wasn’t happy about it.

Simon was a long way from Africa and his hometown in Libya. He just happens to be in the right place at the wrong time. Or is he?

Students of Jesus learn to doubt coincidences. Experience teaches God is always involved. A coincidence is God’s perfect timing!

Naturally, that’s what we believe about Simon. We suspect this close encounter with Jesus is God’s providential move in his life.

Any evidence to support this? Yes, right here in Mark’s text!

Mark mentions Simon’s sons, Rufus and Alexander, without explanation. Why even include them? Unless, of course, these two men are already well known to Mark’s Christian readers!

Forced or not, what a privilege to carry the cross of Jesus as He walked alongside! Don’t you wish it could have been you?

Wait a minute! Jesus is walking with us too! As we take up our own cross and follow Him each day. He's helping us along.

They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). And they crucified him.


Just The Facts

Mark 15:1-15

For Mark it’s - Just the facts, Ma’am! His story of Jesus is fast-paced action.

Immediately is a favorite word in Mark. Jesus has come to teach and to do. Mark simply records it – barebones!

His is a practical man’s version of Jesus’ life. For those who appreciate economy of word and a sense of urgency. Mark leaves it to preachers and poets to dress it up if they must.

In Mark’s gospel Jesus is on the loose! God has become a man and Mark does not strain to put Him on paper!

Get the facts about Jesus out there and let the truth do its own work in people’s hearts!

We understand this about Mark and still we are surprised with the rapid, matter-of-fact way he records these last most important hours of Jesus.

Even here, he doesn’t slow down. Jesus has come to do something and He does!

Mark faithfully and hurriedly brings us along. Jesus is the main character and everyone else - Pilate, Barabbas, chief priests, elders, and the crowd - is just supporting cast on the way to the final scene!

We are thankful for Mark’s account of Jesus. And maybe it should become our favorite?

Mark’s brevity forces us to think between the lines. This is best because Jesus can never be completely reduced to ink and paper!


Mirror Perfect

Mark 14:66-72

Here we look at Peter and see ourselves!

Peter recently boasted of his willingness to die for Jesus. Now he denies Him three times!

Peter is one of Jesus’ best students. Now with curses he disavows any association with His Teacher – I don’t know this man!

What happened?

Peter is simply being human. Peter is strong, then weak. Peter is excited, then discouraged. Peter is a fighter, then afraid.

Things like this go with being Peter. With being human!

We’re glad to know of this incident in Peter’s life, because we know the rest of the story.

Peter will reconcile with Jesus. Preach the first gospel sermon. Become a pillar in the church. Write two books of the New Testament. Carry the good news to the world.

Peter will do this. A real human being will do these things!

We love Peter and we love this story because of the redemption in it. His story is our story. His denial is ours. His sin is ours! And his forgiveness ours too!

Sometimes we look at ourselves in the mirror and see the face of Peter? It’s mirror perfect.

Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

Then we see the face of Jesus…



Mark 14:53-65

Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?"

"I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

That’s it! This trial is over now. Jesus is quickly condemned for blasphemy!

However, at the beginning perhaps many of them secretly wonder. Maybe, just maybe, this Jesus is the promised Messiah – The Christ.

But any hopeful seeds of faith evaporate the moment Jesus claims to be a part of heaven. Their conception of the coming Christ included many things but Deity was not one of them!

Amazing! God is standing right in front of them and yet He is under their radar! A stealth invasion from heaven they can’t detect.

None of them had the faintest idea the future Savior they hoped for would in fact be God Himself. It was beyond their wildest imaginations that God would come incognito! Disguised in flesh!

Today, the world still can’t receive Jesus because they don’t expect God! For them Jesus can be a good man but not a God-man! A great moral teacher, but not God coming in human form to instruct us!

This is the reason most do not receive the sacrifice of Jesus for their sins. They aren’t looking for God. They don’t recognize Him.

And this is the reason many do not become serious students of Jesus. They don’t engage the process to become more like God because they don’t believe God ever became like them!


Kiss of Death!

Mark 14:43-52

Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: "The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” "Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Rabbi!" and kissed him.

A Judas kiss! An outward sign of affection masking a heart of betrayal!

A kiss of death! Not only for Jesus! Judas didn’t realize it was a kiss of death for him too! Yes, Jesus will be put to death on a cross, but Judas will be sooner dead by his own hand!

Two hearts: One true and another false. One loyal, the other traitorous! One full of light, the other darkened with clouds of greed!

Earlier that night one washed the other’s feet. Within hours the other betrays Him with a kiss.

Jesus has the peaceful conscience of a Teacher who has done everything in His power to save Judas. His former student has 30 pieces of silver in his pocket and a growing hole in his heart.

In a few minutes Judas will seek peace at the end of a rope.

But real peace only comes in being true to Jesus. Freely receiving His forgiveness and loyally seeking to please the Teacher! Being the best student we know how!

Because we are in a relationship with the Teacher just as Judas was! And this connection is all about the heart.

May all our outward displays of affection for Jesus – our works of service - be from a true heart of love for Him?

Otherwise, it may begin to look a little like a Judas kiss.



Mark 14:32-42

Impossible and God don’t belong in the same sentence! This has been the message of the Teacher. With God all things are possible!

He understands the power of God as no other before Him! Living in faith has been both His message and His life.

Now with the cross only hours away, He prays with this kind of faith: Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you.

Jesus is right. God can do anything. Anything…except that which is inconsistent with His Nature and Will of course! For example, God is truth. That’s why lying is impossible for Him!

We know God will not lift the cross from the back of Jesus. We also know He would if He could. So what about God makes this impossible?

What is it about God that requires a cross for His Son? We don’t understand it fully, but only the death of the perfect Son of God can save us from our sins. Jesus must die if we are to live!

It is God’s love for us that requires Jesus to take our sin’s punishment.

No, God is not limited except by His own perfection. And to be limited by perfection is no limitation. It is perfection! The perfection of love!

The Teacher understands God is constrained by Who He is. By His own perfect Nature and Will! That’s why He concludes His prayer -Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."

Impossible and God must be in the same sentence. For it is impossible that our God will ever do anything other than that which is perfect love for us.

What about Jesus? To rescue us from the suffering of this world, the Son of God has come to suffer for us. It will be terrible, but in the end it will be perfection and glory for Him too.



We hold a memorial service for someone when they die. We take time to remember their life. Often we establish permanent memorials to perpetuate their memory.

Here Jesus gives us a perpetual memorial to remember His death:

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body."

Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them.

We memorialize the death of Jesus by Sunday observance of this sparse meal of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine. We remember His body and blood! His death on the cross for our sins!

But we also remember He is not dead. The One who died for us is alive! He arose!

And we have Him - not only in memory - but in living presence! With us every day!

As students in the company of our Teacher we are constantly reminded He is still here. He will never leave us.

And together with Him, our lives become a living memorial. A testimony to the power of what He accomplished in His death for us!

And now through His life in us!



On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples asked him, "Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?"

Jesus and the Twelve will keep the Passover meal together. For this, a lamb will be both sacrifice and dinner. The blood will be taken by the priest and the fat also salted and burned as an offering.

Later, the supper will memorialize the historic rescue of God’s people from the tenth plague which was inflicted on the Egyptians. When the death angel passed over the land of Pharaoh and every first born perished!

Only the children of Israel were spared because they followed God’s instructions given by Moses. They took the blood of a lamb and sprinkled it on the posts and lintel of each doorway.

And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:13)

After the Egyptians were devastated by this plague, God’s people were released from the bondage of Egyptian slavery.

The comparisons are obvious. In a few hours, Jesus will give His blood to the post and lintel of a cross. It will be a far greater rescue by this Lamb of God!

Through Jesus’ sacrifice we are freed from the bondage of sin and the penalty of our sins! We receive forgiveness through His blood and liberation from the fear of death by His resurrection.

Because of Jesus, God says it again - When I see the blood, I will pass over you!

O Lamb of God, sweet Lamb of God, I love the Holy Lamb of God. O wash me in His precious blood, My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God .



Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money.

What pushed Judas over the edge? Was it Jesus’ revelation that He would soon be crucified? This would dash any hopes Judas had of becoming rich by following Jesus.

What was the last straw? Was it when Jesus allowed the woman to break a very expensive jar of perfume and pour it on His head? Perfume worth a full year’s wages!

What we know is - He blew it! That’s what we say when someone squanders a golden opportunity. Very appropriate description of Judas!

Judas is a chosen apostle. What an opportunity! He is student of Jesus every day, learning in His School.

Perhaps in some ways Judas - along with the other students – became a little more like their Teacher every day. But Judas had a particular weakness, his greed. He was the treasurer and he stole from the bag!

Every student of Jesus has particular sins that recur in their life. But Judas hides His sin! Doesn’t confess! A foothold of sin becomes a stronghold. Finally he gives up and betrays His Teacher for money.

It’s encouraging to us that the Teacher didn’t kick Judas out of His School, even though He knew Judas was stealing from the group.

What a Teacher! He wants us to succeed in both becoming more like Him and overcoming our sins. He knows this takes time – a lifetime!

Judas could have confessed his sin of greed. Jesus would have forgiven him over and over. We know this, because Judas didn’t confess and Jesus allowed him to continue as a student and as keeper of the bag!

Our Teacher patiently allows us to continue in the process of becoming more like him even as we confess our recurring sins. Sometimes it isn’t easy for us to live with this inconsistency, but this is every student’s reality. At least for now!



What I say to you, I say to everyone: Watch!

Here the Teacher tells His students to be watchful for His return - You do not know when that time will come. Be on guard! Be alert!

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Why the counsel to be constantly watchful for the Second Coming? What difference could living in such expectancy make in our lives?

Perhaps the wisdom of the Teacher’s counsel is best understood by asking this question: What would we do right now, if we knew that today was The Day of His return?

Would we make any changes? Tie up any loose ends? Tidy up here and there?What if today was The Day?

We suspect there would be a flurry of activity.

Apologies to those we wronged, fences mended! Restitution for past misdeeds if possible! And prayer…plenty of prayer!

If today’s The Day then of course it’s too late to make much progress in becoming more like the Teacher. Too late to do anything about all those lost opportunities.

Only time to rely on the mercy and grace of the Savior and trust Him! Oh, the things we would do if we knew He was coming today!

This is why the Teacher tells us to live always in watchfulness for His return. It changes everything. Especially our urgency about praying!

Watch and Pray – they go together!

Are we listening to the Teacher? It’s what good students do!



At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.

Here Jesus says His return will be unmistakable. People will see His coming in the clouds with incredible display of power!

The Teacher wants His students to be clear about this ahead of time. Because He knows there will be false reports about a premature coming.

If anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'Look, there he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect…So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.

No, His second coming will be instantly recognizable. The sun and moon and stars will fail. There will be no doubt in anyone’s mind when it happens. It will be even as we sing:

Behold, He comes, riding on the clouds, Shining like the sun, at the trumpet’s call…

So, what will happen then?

The Teacher explains - And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.

Who are His elect?

Those whom He has chosen who have also chosen Him! On this final day we will realize our decision to become a student of Jesus and trust Him was the most important thing we ever did!

Behold, He comes!



Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.

Here is a great paradox. The Teacher of peace and love has come and there will be division and violence!

Jesus has no hostile intentions. The Son of God comes to lead mankind into fellowship with the Father! Bring us into the harmony of the Heavenly Family!

He will even voluntarily surrender His own life to create this new reality!

But here He announces the hostility this will create in a number of families. For some will feel extreme - even violent - antagonism toward their own close relatives who decide to become students of Jesus!

He warns His apostles too - all men will hate you because of me!

Amazing isn’t it? Most of these men will die a martyr’s death for one simple reason. When people don’t like the message, they will kill the messenger!

It’s time to ask why. Why such vitriol against the good news of Jesus?

It’s simple really. The hostile intentions come from the enemies of God. All the usual suspects: Hate-creating prejudice! Misplaced zeal of false religion! Change that threatens existing power structures! The devil!

No, the church of Christ will not gain a foothold in this world without suffering. And the Teacher honestly warns about this in advance.

He also gives a promise to all who persevere in persecution - But he who stands firm to the end will be saved.



As he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, "Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!"

"Do you see all these great buildings?" replied Jesus. "Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."

According to the Teacher, the temple is doomed! Quite expectedly, His students want to know how soon this is going to happen.

Jesus explains - the gospel must first be preached to all nations.

Remember how Mark began his narrative? The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God!

It’s all about the gospel! Jesus and His students have been announcing this good news to the people of Israel. Now the Teacher says this gospel must first be preached to every nation.

In a few days Jesus will be crucified and rise from the dead. Then before He ascends to heaven He will His students to go into the entire world to preach this gospel.

For now He gives them a little insight into what this future mission will mean for them.

"You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit."

Sadly, the temple will be destroyed in their generation. On the other hand, in their lifetime the gospel will be preached to all the nations!

Gradually a different kind of temple – God’s dwelling place - will be sanctified in the heart of each one who will receive the good news of Jesus.