This is Day 13 of our Bible Study.  Newcomers still welcome!  We’re reading about Jesus, just one chapter per day, in preparation for Easter. To date we’ve read the first eight chapters of Luke, and the first seven chapters of Mark.  Don’t have a Bible handy?  Just go to http://www.BibleGateway.com 

Harmony of the Gospels  As noted before, many stories and information about Jesus are repeated among the four Gospels.  However, each Gospel also has scriptures and stories that are unique for that author. To help readers compare the Gospels and find desired scriptures, some Bibles feature a  “Harmony of Gospels”.  (You can probably find them online, too.) This is a comparison of the four Gospels displaying which stories, information and parables are contained in each of the Gospels.  The information is usually provided in a parallel format, meaning that it is in spreadsheet-like form, offering a column that lists each of the stories, topics or parables contained in the Gospels, and a column for each of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John).  The reader can scroll down to see which authors tell about particular events, or use the Harmony of Gospels to look up particular passages.  There are 250 events listed in chronological order, meaning they are listed in the order they’re believed to have happened.  Each event is numbered, and the same number is used to identify that event in each of the Gospels in which it appears.  For instance, event 16 is “John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus.”  If I look across the columns for each Gospel, I see that Matthew, Mark and Luke wrote about this, and in each column is the Bible address (chapter and verse) so I can locate it easily.  Some Bibles included the numbers for the events in the headings.  If I go to Luke 3:1-18 in my Life Application Bible, the heading looks this:  

       John the Baptist Prepares the Way for Jesus (16/Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8)

The inclusion of verses from Matthew and Mark show me where to find this same event in each of those Gospels.  It also tells me that John does not include this event.  Hopefully knowing about the Harmony of Gospels will be helpful for you. 

Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees  (Mark 8:15)  When the disciples talk about food, Jesus responds using yeast as a metaphor to refer to the evil teaching of the Pharisees.  The commentary in my Life Application Bible says this: “Just as only a small amount of yeast is needed to make a batch of bread rise, so the hard-heartedness of the religious and political leaders could permeate and contaminate the entire society and make it rise up against Jesus.”   

A Key Verse:  As the man stared intently, his sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly.  (Mark 8:25)    When we “stare intently” by reading the Bible, meditating on God’s Word, and praying about what is on our minds, our sight will also be “completely restored”, giving us clarity and perspective, allowing us to “see everything clearly”, too. 

Jesus predicts his death for the first time (Mark 8:31)   We’re getting closer to the events that we commemorate at Easter.  Jesus knows He is nearing the end of his three years (approximately) with the disciples, and begins preparing for them for the events to come.  Jesus rebukes Peter for saying that Jesus shouldn’t talk about such things, but Peter’s reaction is understandable.  The disciples have grown very close to Jesus.  It’s hard for Peter to hear Jesus talk like this about Himself.  However, Jesus knows of God’s plans, the purpose for what is to come, and the significance of the ultimate sacrifice He is about to make. Only Satan would try to stand in the way God’s divine plan to save the world from sin and death. 

Following Jesus (Mark 8:34-38) Following Jesus isn’t as easy as using a social media site.  We can’t just click a “like” or “follow” button.  Jesus is straightforward when He says that following Him means putting aside our selfish ways, ambitions and goals, and being willing to carry our own cross (as Jesus had to do as He was led up to Calvary), and follow Him.  We must be willing to put forth the effort, even when it’s difficult, to abide by God’s will and follow as Jesus leads.  If we are willing to do these things for the “sake of the Good News”, Jesus promises we will find true life! 

Great question:   How do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process?  Is anything worth more than your soul?  (Mark 8:36-37)       Another question:  Does anyone hear Toby Mac singing?  Love that song!  Love anything Toby Mac.  🙂 

Dear God, May Your blessings be upon us as we continue to read and learn about Jesus. I hope each of us reads with an open heart, as well as an open mind.  To You be the glory for any good that is done.   In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen. 

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