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January 7 | Mark 1:1-20


 

DAILY READING


 

REFLECTION


Preparing the Way

by Elaine Pierce


Happy New Year! Are you ready to begin studying the book of Mark? We will be going through this gospel, probably the first one written, from now through Easter. I encourage you to read through this short book (16 chapters) in one sitting, then come back each week and delve deeper into the themes and see what God has for us in 2024. He has much to teach us, as "all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16).


Mark's gospel centers on Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, but it starts with how John the Baptist prepares the way for him. I suspect John might not be warmly received in our 'modern' churches...he lived in the desert, ate locusts and wild honey, and he didn't exactly fit the profile of a successful rabbi. And yet he baptized Jesus, and he led countless Jews to faith (v. 4-5). I am reminded of I Samuel 16:7: "The Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."


Yes, John leads the way. He prepared hearts and minds for the Savior. Jesus began his earthly ministry after John baptized him, and he went to work forming his close-knit team of disciples, calling Simon, Andrew, James and John to follow him. Again, we see God at work in the lives of unlikely people: an itinerant rabbit who lived in the desert, humble fishermen, and yes, a carpenter's son.


Where is God calling you to serve in 2024? What is God preparing you to do? You may be new in your faith or you may have been a Christian for decades. Or you may still be exploring faith. Start where you are. Spend time with him, in scripture, in prayer, in worship. John said "The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (v.15).


PRAYER


Dear Lord, thank you for another year. 2024 is here, and with it are renewed opportunities to grow in our faith and serve you. Help us each day to spend time with you and to be open for ways to bring joy and blessings to others. Amen.




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