Pray For Muslim Month: Muslim parents often encourage their children to fast and engage in Ramadan activities, and many kids comply in order to receive the approval of their parents, peers, and community. However, we pray that God will instill concern and a deeper sense of purpose in their hearts, leading them to seek acceptance from Him above all else.
Yesterday we finished reading the book of Matthew. Today we’re continuing with Mark 1-3.
The book of Mark describes Jesus from another perspective, not as King, but as a servant. Mark documents a total of 18 miracles and only 1 sermon, without any genealogy, reference to the birth of Jesus or forewords. Mark begins with the introduction of John Baptist as Jesus’s forerunner, followed by Jesus’s baptism and then the 40 days of temptation in the wilderness. From there, Mark highlights Jesus’s ministry, including his calling of the disciples, driving out demons, and performing numerous miracles such as healing leprosy and Peter’s mother-in-law.
Chapter 2 of the book of Mark features several significant events. Jesus forgives the sins of a paralyzed man and completely heals him, which serves as another affirmation of his divine power. He also calls Levi to be one of his disciples and reaches out to other tax collectors and sinners with the Gospel message. However, these actions lead to conflicts with the Pharisees, who hold different views on practices such as fasting and plucking grains on the Sabbath.
Chapter 3 of the book of Mark contains several notable events. Jesus heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, which angers the religious leaders and leads them to plot against him. Despite this opposition, Jesus chooses 12 disciples to be his apostles and help spread the Gospel message.
Unfortunately, Jesus faces further rejection from the leaders of Israel who even go as far as blaspheming the Holy Spirit by accusing Jesus of driving out demons by the power of Beelzebub. Even some of Jesus’ relatives doubt his sanity and question his actions. Overall, this chapter highlights the growing conflict between Jesus and the religious establishment, as well as the importance of discipleship in spreading the message of the Gospel.
It is not advisable to pour fresh wine into old wineskins, which symbolize traditional customs, superficial rules, and formats. Conversely, the new wine represents the life of believers. True citizens of the heavenly kingdom worship God through spirit and truth, rather than adhering to external forms. As Christians, we ought to embrace our new lifestyle, in harmony with our new life, and the new wineskins. It is inappropriate to cling to old lifestyles, represented by the old wineskins.