THE WORDS OF JESUS IN THE GOSPEL OF MARK
We are so glad you are joining us for these daily prayer devotionals as together we seek the heart of our God. Over the coming weeks, we will focus on some of the most meaningful words of our savior Jesus Christ from the book of Mark, as we follow his journey with his disciples on the path toward the cross. Our journey of prayer and fasting will culminate on Easter Sunday as we celebrate His resurrection, declaring victory over sin, death and shame.
Each devotion will take less than ten minutes of your time.
- We will Engage the Word – looking at some of Jesus’ words in their biblical context.
- We will Connect the Heart – considering a truth that is applicable to our lives.
- We will Reflect on the Truth, asking a number of questions each day that invite us to look and listen with intent.
- And we will Depend on the Spirit – We will pray, for it is in praying that we learn to pray. And it is in praying that the Spirit changes our hearts.
We want to encourage you to grab a journal or a notebook – something to write on as you walk through each prayer guide. Yes, it will add a few minutes to the time it takes to do the devotion, and it will also deepen your experience and shape your walk with God for years to come. This journal or notebook will be a keepsake to remind you of God’s faithfulness during this challenging season for all of us.
Engage the Word
34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”
Connect the Heart
Today, many people wear cross necklaces as a fashion statement. But for first-century Jews, the cross was the symbol of ultimate suffering. It’s striking that Jesus would use this vivid imagery in verse 34 to set criteria for following Him. Any marketing expert on gathering followers might have advised Him differently! While we might be happy to wear the necklace, none of us like the idea of denying ourselves and carrying an instrument of torture to our death.
However, in verse 35, Jesus reveals that when we are focused on protecting ourselves from suffering, we aren’t willing to take risks for the gospel and we ultimately lose what is most important. But when we are willing to suffer for the sake of Christ and the gospel, we release our grip on our comfort and safety and the stuff of earth and desire only for God to be glorified. The reward is two-fold: We store up treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:21), and His glory is the ultimate win!
Reflect on the Truth
- Are you happy to wear the cross necklace but afraid to actually carry it and suffer for Him? What fears do you need to give to the Lord in order to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him?
- What would it look like for you to release your grip on your comfort and safety and the stuff of earth and say “Yes” to whatever God wants for His glory?
- Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the deeper longings, desires or motives in your heart that these thoughts are pointing to. (for example: you may write down, “I don’t even know what it would look like to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow You.”) The Lord can help us discern the path forward – through His Word, His Spirit, His people.
- In what specific way during this season do you think you could “lose your life” by trying to save it? On the flip-side, how could you ultimately save your life by being willing to lose it for the sake of Christ and the gospel?
Depend on the Spirit
Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you the courage to follow Jesus and be willing to suffer for His sake and the gospel. Pray to hear Jesus’ words from this passage clearly through your prayers, especially when you start to worry about your earthly life, “Whoever loses His life for My sake and the sake of the gospel will save it.”