Mark’s gospel devotional: Days 21 – 30

Quick off the Mark: Thinking, praying, and living Mark’s Gospel over thirty quick sessions. Here are days 21 – 30 for you.

Bible Discipleship Evangelism
An image of Matt Britton Matt Britton

Journey through Mark’s Gospel with accompanying devotional content.  Created for those on estates hungry for scripture, these thirty easy-to-follow bible notes help break down the gospel of Mark into manageable chunks of reading.

Whether you’re new to the revolutionary power of Jesus’s words and works, or a seasoned soldier, these bitesize ideas invite you once again to be amazed at the life of God’s son. With helpful thoughts, prayer suggestions, and simple ways to apply the Gospel to your everyday living, this series of devotions helps to refresh, refocus, and renew faith. 

Hello
People fill the streets when someone famous comes to town, whether it’s a red carpet for a movie star or an open-top bus parade for a cup-winning football team. The banners aren’t often waving on the arrival of a religious person (unless it’s the Pope on tour) but that’s where Day 21 begins. Crowds jostle, the noise is deafening as Jesus rolls up in a stretch limo… er, sorry… make that a donkey! 

Read
Today’s reading is from Mark 11:1-33. 

Think 

You don’t put your coat on a dusty, stone road for just anybody. You do it for royalty. The people waving tree branches and flinging down cloaks are welcoming Jesus into the capital city as if he’s a king. But then he does something very un-regal: entering the temple, the king begins to kick around tables and scream his lungs out. Now, Jesus isn’t in need of anger management here: he’s making a stand against the corruption of God’s holy place. He’s kicking up a storm about how far God’s people have strayed from God’s purposes. God has been squeezed out of his own home by corrupt, overly religious, people on the make, and he isn’t pleased about it. Who did this young penniless preacher think he was? The ‘holier-than-thou’ entourage end up wrong-footed when Jesus corrects them about his ‘right’ to do such things. You see, it all stems back to Day 1’s reading where a voice broke through the sky saying, ‘This is my son whom I love.’ There’s the answer, right there. Jesus is the true King, God’s own Son. He has the right (or authority) to do anything. Especially to put his father’s house back in order. 

  

Pray 

Today’s reading is a good example of Jesus getting angry with the things wrong with this world. What do you think is unjust or unfair about life today? Homelessness? Racism? Violence? Pray for change in our world. 

 

Live It

Now, think of ways you could be the answer to your own prayer today. How could you be the peace-maker next time it’s kicking off? What do you need to do to effectively challenge discrimination? Other than buying a copy of the Big Issue- is there anything else you can do to address homelessness? Ask God to break your heart for some of these issues.

Repeat

It’s the beginning of the end for Jesus. He makes enemies of influential people by disrupting the temple. By the end of the week, he will pay the price with his own life. The city now welcoming him like a King will soon be calling for his execution. Don’t miss a day from now on as we uncover Jesus’ final days. Tomorrow, more trouble

Hello
and welcome to Fight Night! In the red corner, the Pharisees, and their usual suspects… in the blue corner, Jesus and his raggedy bunch of uneducated fishermen and ‘low lives.’ Day 22 begins with the religious leaders once again baying for Jesus’ blood. Armed with trick questions designed to trip up this Galilean upstart, the Pharisees are soon going to learn Jesus has one or two surprises up his sleeve, too. Firstly, a parable that pulls no punches… 

Read
Today’s reading is from Mark 12:1-17.

Think
Jesus has done away with the codes; here’s a parable which the religious leaders will understand straight away! God represents the vineyard owner, God’s people are the vineyard; those sent with warnings symbolise the rejected Old Testament prophets, and the beloved son is Jesus. The parable predicts what the Pharisees and other religious leaders will do to Jesus by the end of the week: kill him. The story is aimed squarely at them and don’t they just know it! Fuming, they want to kick-start ‘Operation Crucify Jesus’ on the spot. But they know the crowds will riot. And so, they look for a way to trap Jesus. With wet palms and limp handshakes, they butter him up, ready to catch Jesus off-guard, ‘Should we pay taxes to Caesar or not?’ There! We’ve got him on the ropes now boys. If he says ‘Yes’, he’ll be accused of supporting Rome, the enemy. If he says ‘No’, he’ll be arrested for treason against Rome. As always, Jesus boxes clever, saying, ‘Yes, pay the tax – after all the man has a job to do. But more importantly, give to God what is God’s – which is everything!’ 

Pray
If Jesus says give ‘everything to God,’ what do you find hardest to hand over? Ask God to help you in this.  

Live It
Putting God first in your life is a choice. Try shooting up a quick prayer in your head at various points of your day. You’d be surprised how much there is to be thankful for once you start looking for it!   

Repeat
Notice how many times the religious leaders try to trap Jesus. Time is running out – they want him out of the picture by the Passover festival (we’ll get to that) but how can you outsmart the brain of God? You can’t. Which is why dirty tactics and downright lies will be flung in Jesus’ face. Find out more as the next few days unfold.  

Hello
Someone once joked, ‘I don’t believe in the afterlife, although I am bringing a change of underwear.’ Well, it’s day 23 and Jesus is in no doubt there is life after death. And it’s not what you expected… 

Read
Today’s reading is from Mark 12:18-44.

Think
People seem to have strange ideas about heaven, involving clouds and harps and angel wings. It all sounds a bit boring. In today’s reading the rich and religious Sadducees (think Pharisees with a credit card) question Jesus about life after death. Interestingly, the Sadducees didn’t believe in Heaven, so their odd question about marriage is really a way at poking fun at the whole idea of an afterlife. Jesus suggests they’ve missed the mark completely. Life after death isn’t nearly as boring as they make it out. Nor is it as mundane as we sometimes make it out. What’s your idea of Heaven: A place where chocolate is considered as one of your five a day, a palace packed with every wish you could dream of; a land where cellulite is illegal? Well, all of that is nothing compared to the reality of the actual afterlife! Heaven is going to be transformational. Life’s terms and conditions will be ripped up and there will be nothing holding us back from enjoying God and living a fulfilled existence. Every bad thing we experience in this world will be wiped out forever. So, make sure you get your seat reserved next to the dessert table!  

Pray
Life is short, but eternity is long. Ask God to help you make the most of your short time here on earth.  

Live It
Revelation 21:4 says there will be no more death or crying or pain, for the old has passed away. You can build up a better picture of heaven by reading your Bible. Good places to start are Isaiah 25: 8-12, John 14:2-4 and Revelation 7:13-17.  

Repeat
The final scene of today sees Jesus applauding a widow for popping a couple of quid on the collection plate. It might not seem much, but she’s given all she has to God. Mark is setting us up for Jesus’ finale. Very soon Jesus too will give up every bit he has to God – his life. Today’s reading might have brought up a whole load of questions around death, heaven, what’s out there? Why not talk them over with someone from church? In the meantime, see you again tomorrow.

Hello
In recent years, ‘gender reveal’ parties have become the norm. Parents-to-be make an event of their as-yet unnamed foetus’s gender using twelve blue coloured balloons or pink layered sponge cake. How nice, except our cute little ceremony conveniently misses out the true revelation of childbirth: pain!  Day 24, Jesus compares the screaming, crying, and groaning of life to the pangs of giving birth. New life, or God’s kingdom, is being born so we should expect one or two labour pains… 

Read
Today’s reading is from Mark 13:1-37.

Think
Justice, peace, love, truth, and mercy will be the norm when God’s kingdom fully arrives. In the meantime, we shouldn’t be surprised to see tragic pictures of earthquakes or children starving in our newspapers. We shouldn’t be shocked to see countries at war or acts of terrorism on our flat-screens. They’re distressing signs that the world is groaning with labour pains, waiting for God to put things right once and for all. Jesus tells us not to sit around thinking about timetables for the end of the world but to keep watch. To stay alert. Not to fall asleep on the job and wash our hands of all responsibility. We are to admit our part in what’s wrong with the world, do a ‘three-point turn in the road’; and start living like God’s kingdom has already come. By being slow to anger, quick to forgive, loving no matter what cost, we can begin to play our part in putting God’s world right-side up today.

Pray
Is there anything you need to do a ‘three-point turn’ on? Maybe your anger is out of control, or you find it hard to forgive someone. Ask God to help you with it. 

Live It
Ask yourself: is there is anyone you need to say sorry to, or anything you need to put right today? Then be brave and do it!  

Repeat
Did you know, 40 years after Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem’s temple, history books tell us that it was burnt down, destroying the city and murdering thousands of Jews? Jesus’ words came true! More importantly, Jesus’s own predictions about his death and resurrection are about to come true. Stick with Mark’s Gospel this week to find out more.  

Hello
Day 25 of our Bible reading starts with a woman smashing open her best bottle of Vera Wang on Jesus’ feet. Those looking on feel embarrassed. And not for the first time in Mark’s Gospel, the women get it right, whilst the men get it wrong… 

Read
Today’s reading is from Mark 14:1-25. 

Think
Passover was supposed to be a celebration – a kind of Christmas Day before turkey and sprouts were dreamed up. Everyone in Jerusalem ate the Passover meal in remembrance of how God had rescued the Jewish people from slavery in the days of Moses (for the full story, check out Exodus 12 in the Bible). Yet there are no party poppers popping tonight; Jesus seems troubled. Judas seems jumpy. Jesus takes the bread and wine, as he’d done before, only this time he looked pained. Were those tears in his eyes? ‘Remember this’ he said, voice breaking mid-sentence. And the atmosphere grew unbearable. Judas slipped away into the night. And the darkest drama in history began. Christians today still remember this painful story as they break bread and pour wine during church services.

Pray
The disciples must have painful memories about the last supper before Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. No doubt, you have your own painful memories about a personal situation. Ask God to bringing heal from the pain.  

Live It
Get involved in a Communion service at a church near you. Take the bread and wine and thank Jesus for his incredible sacrifice. If you’re trying to steer clear of alcohol most churches offer an alternative.

Repeat
Do you remember when you learned to ride a bike? First kiss? First fight? Memory makes us who we are. Jesus asks us to remember his Last Supper because it reminds us of who we are: friends at his dinner table. It reminds us of what he has done: poured out his blood like wine and broken his body like bread. Tomorrow, we begin to follow Jesus’ dark steps to the cross, as Mark’s Gospel begins to narrow into clear focus. You’d be crazy to jump ship now! See you then.   

Hello
You join us on Day 26 in the quiet of Gethsemane Gardens. It’s cold and late. A dog howls in the distance, a small animal scurries into the plants. Jesus is getting up to rejoin his disciples. His face is strained, his eyes white with fear. What a privilege to be with Jesus in his hour of need. What a shame the disciples are caught napping on the job! Think of the opportunities we miss by not being awake. God is about to write the most important chapter in history and the disciples have nodded off… 

Read
Today’s reading is from Mark 14:26 to Mark 15:15.  

Think
At last, the masks are off, the secrets out, and the coded messages of the parables left behind. Jesus admits to being the Messiah, the one sent by God to save the world. Now the religious leaders can present Jesus as some rebel king bent on the destruction of Rome. Jewish law didn’t permit the execution of anybody, but Roman law did. In fact, the Romans reserved special treatment for would-be anarchist guerrilla leaders: crucifixion. So, after a series of taunts and games, the chief priests dump Jesus on the doorstep of Pilate, the local Roman in charge. Pilate knows Jesus is an innocent man – this carpenter is no threat to Rome – but he isn’t interested in fair trials. For the sake of keeping the peace (and preventing full scale riots) he bows to public pressure. Jesus must die.

Pray
After shouting about God’s goodness for so long, Jesus now knows to be quiet in front of Pilate. Ask God to help you know when to talk about your faith and when to keep quiet. 

Live It
Be the opposite of those sleeping disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, by setting your alarm an extra hour early to pray tomorrow morning. 

Repeat
The story of Barabbas paints a picture of what Jesus has done for us. Barabbas, a dangerous terrorist who deserves to die, walks away free; Jesus dies instead. Similarly, even after all the wrongs we have done we get to walk free, as Jesus takes our punishment. When we see Jesus doing for us what we could not do for ourselves we are at the very heart of Mark’s Gospel. We are at the bullseye of the Christian experience: free by the grace of God. Tomorrow, we look at the cost of our freedom – Jesus on the cross. Be sure to join us.  

Hello
Day 27 is an extremely important part of our month with Mark’s Gospel. Throughout the story, Mark has given us more than a nod that Jesus is the Son of God. The voice of God has declared it at his baptism (Day 1) the parable of the wicked tenants (Day 22) spoke of it, and in yesterday’s reading, Jesus himself admitted it (Day 26). Today we see what God’s Son was sent to do. A dark cloud of evil descends on Jesus as he absorbs all the suffering, sin, and death of this world into his crucified body… 

Read
Today’s reading is from Mark 15:16-39. 

Think
The troops have smashed him, the crowds laughed at him, and the disciples deserted him. Jesus must face the cross alone. When evil has played its last hand and Jesus has faded into nothingness, it is left to an unbelieving soldier to have the last word. This is God’s Son. The first voice of sanity is left to a war-hardened thug, who thinks nothing of killing a man like we might kill a fly. From now on God’s kingdom is open to us all. Jesus’ death tears the curtain between God and humankind. The temple is as good as finished; Jesus is now the only ‘temple’ we need to worship God. The sin that would separate us from God’s presence is dealt with on the cross. Evil has been paid off; God has foot the bill himself. From now on, we know where God is when we hurt, when we think we can’t find him – he’s hanging on a cross. He’s taking on our pain. This is a God who understands what it feels like to suffer. This is the God of love. This is our God.

Pray
Imagine Jesus on the cross. Hear the crowds goad him, watch the evil of it all, look at that broken figure. Jesus did that for you. Edge nearer to the cross and tell him what you need to tell him. 

Live It
There are three other versions of Jesus’ death in the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John. Check them all out. Try to think of them as stories of love. Keep in mind, that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. 

Repeat
Jesus’ work is complete. It has taken him 33 years to show people the way back to God. He’s used stories, miracles, healings and finally his own life. With his last breath, he utters, ‘It is finished.’ But the good news has only just begun. Stay with us for the last few days as we begin to glimpse Jesus’ mission for us at the end of Mark’s Gospel. 

Hello
What’s the mood in camp like on Day 28: disbelief, grief, fear? Until yesterday, Jesus had always been the one in control. He controlled nature by calming a storm. He controlled the laws of physics by feeding 5,000 with a small, packed lunch. He controlled crowds with his short sharp parables and healings. But now it looks like the religious leaders and the Romans are in control: sealing his fate by sentencing him to death. Now Jesus is dead, everything is out of control. The disciples hide, scattered around the city. Enter the unsung heroes of the Gospel story…  

Read
Today’s reading is from Mark 15:42-47. 

Think
Not everybody at Jesus’ trial wanted him out of the picture. Take Joseph of Arimathea. He was a member of the Jewish council, and he must’ve sniffed a political stitch-up when he saw it. Why else does he find the courage to ask Pilate for the battered body? He goes to Golgotha, lowers the crossbeam, picks out the nails from the torn flesh and carries the twisted frame of Jesus in a cloth and places him in a tomb. He gives up his own grave. He does the right thing. More importantly, he’s created a space for God’s next miracle. He’s given a space or a room for the miracle that will change the world. Just as Mary, Jesus’ mother, had given space in her womb to grow God’s Son for nine months (See Luke 1:26- 2:30), Joseph has given God a space for the resurrection (we’ll get to that tomorrow). 

Pray
Joseph of Arimathea has given Jesus a resting place. God has set everything up for the next part of the story. But for now, everything must rest, including Jesus’ body. Pray for great rest for yourself. 

Live It
Joseph of Arimathea created a space for God to work a miracle. How could you create space in your life for God to work the unexpected? Think about what things you could drop to create more time to be with God. 

Repeat
Today’s reading was only seven verses long. It is, however, one of the strangest short pieces in the Bible. Why? Well, it’s the only part of the story where Jesus seems lifeless. Contrary to all the bumper stickers, for one day only; Jesus isn’t alive. But watch out, the most extraordinary event in the history of this planet is just around the corner. Is that the sound of Jesus rising you can hear? Make sure you’re on board tomorrow! 

Hello
and welcome to not only the most important part of your Bible – but also to the most important day of your life! It’s Day 29. Jesus has been telling the disciples time and time again he would suffer, be killed, and rise again from the dead. So far, they’ve not understood this, probably thinking he was talking in riddles or something. But he’s not, he’s speaking the truth. And just to prove it, here he is, back from the grave and live in person. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the resurrected Jesus… 

Read
Today’s reading is from Mark 16:1-8. 

Think
It must have been a depressing walk to the garden early that Sunday morning. Their minds remembering only last week Jesus welcomed to the city as a hero and saviour. Next the bloodthirsty crowds crying out for his execution. And then his battered body left to rot on a cross. Not only was it the death of their closest friend but the death too of all their hopes and dreams. They thought he would save them, but he couldn’t even save himself. As they wound through tired streets, they turned a corner and froze. The tomb was wide open! So, they cautiously crept in. Empty! What? How? Who? And then the man in white – where had he come from? ‘You’re looking for Jesus. He isn’t here. He’s been raised to life.’ But they’d seen him die with their very own eyes. He was dead. A corpse. Not breathing. How could this be? Had grief toppled over into madness? The greatest miracle ever! That’s what had happened!  Jesus is alive. The trouble is they’ve been so preoccupied with the hurt and shame and death, they’ve forgotten what Jesus said he would do with the hurt and shame and death. He would defeat it. Well now he has. An empty tomb is the proof. 

Pray
Nothing is ever dead and buried with God. Our hopes, our dreams, our promises… just when you think they’re dead, God brings them back to life. Pray for God to revive those precious things you thought were gone. 

Live It
Jesus has been raised to life which means we can be, too. Death is not the final full stop. There is a new world waiting for us which is free from all hurt and shame and death. We can start to demonstrate that new world in how we live now, and who knows, it might begin to rub off on other people, too. Tonight, you could light a candle for anyone who is still struggling in the dark and pray that Jesus would send them shafts of light from this new world. 

Repeat
Well, we’ve just one more day to go with Mark’s Gospel. Be sure not to fall at the last hurdle. See you tomorrow.

Hello
Handkerchiefs at the ready, hope you’re wearing waterproof mascara, … because it’s our final day of Mark’s Gospel! Yes, it’s (drumroll please) Day 30! With no explanation of ‘Jesus: the Nappy Years,’ Mark’s Gospel has taken us from Jesus in the desert to Jesus on the cross and yesterday we reached the whole point of the story: Jesus bursting out of the grave to prove once and for all that death will always be the runner-up. Mark hardly lets you stop for a quick blast of your inhaler: in sixteen chapters he’s covered the universe’s greatest ever event. But are you ready for the bombshell? Most experts don’t think Mark even wrote today’s ending. Er, awkward… 

Read
Today’s reading is from Mark 16:9-20.

9 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. 10  She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.

12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13  These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.

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

15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

19After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Think
First, let’s deal with the whole ‘who wrote what?’ fiasco. It’s thought that Mark’s original ending has been lost. Perhaps the last page of his scroll was accidentally torn off, or maybe he intended to end it as abruptly as it starts, or who knows, his dog ate it, honest Miss. Mark 16:9-20 seems to be the work of somebody else’s laptop – more than likely added on by early Christians who thought the reader needed to know more about what happened next. So, what did happen next? Well, we read in the other Gospels (and this ending looks pretty much like a greatest hits compilation from Matthew, Luke, and John’s ending) that Jesus is quite clear the gospel needs to go viral. Death is defeated. Sin is wiped clean. Life’s purpose is unlocked. Heaven is touching earth. These are the headlines!  Throw in a few healings and miracles along the way- and you’ve got the makings of a great story. The greatest ever told. One that needs to be shouted to the ends of the earth. 

Pray
If you had the cure to every sickness and disease in the world, wouldn’t you want to pass on that cure? Well, Jesus has the cure to life’s meaninglessness, and he wants you to help get that good news out. Ask God to help you be brave in sharing what you believe about Jesus.  

Live It
Today tell somebody about what you’ve discovered about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection during the last 30 days of Mark’s Gospel. Go on… get the good news out!   

Repeat
Well, that’s Mark’s Gospel done. You’re now an expert. You can close your Bible and expect the Archbishop of Canterbury to text you for advice. Er, not quite. Reading the Bible is not like reading a DM. You don’t read it once and then press delete. The Bible is one of the main ways God reveals himself to us – so to get a fuller picture of God we need to carry on reading. Making it a regular habit like you’ve made it for these last thirty days will set you up for life. The Word of God calls itself ‘alive’, which means you can keep coming back to bits you’ve read before and keep seeing something different. Not a fan of reading? Fine, head over to YouTube and there’s plenty of people who’ll read it for you. 

We’ve loved having you along for the ride and we’d love you to keep on reading. You might want to check out the Gospel of Matthew, Luke, or John next. Or for whatever happened to those disciples, try the book of Acts. Joining a local church will help you in all of this. As for us? This is Mark’s Gospel signing off. It’s been emotional. Au revoir!

  • Join in the conversation on Facebook and Instagram

Join our community for regular updates!

This field is Required.
This field is Required. Invalid email format.

Your personal data will be used to support your experience throughout this website, to manage access to your account, mailing list signup and for other purposes described in our privacy policy.

Loading...