Mark’s Gospel: God Up Close

PRINT_Mark_Series_Full_PrintingImage We’ve recently studied the OT book of Leviticus which answered the question of how can a holy God dwell with sinful people. The answer was that God was gracious and dealt with people’s sin through the whole sacrificial and priesthood system. However, through all that there was still ultimately a barrier between God and man. God still kept his distance. Mark’s Gospel shows that God comes close in Jesus Christ. You’re invited to look closer at the story of Jesus and how by trusting in him all barriers between us and God are removed.

Talk 1 – How to get ready for God’s arrival? [Mark 1.1-15]

You know that feeling when your house is in disarray and maybe you, your spouse, and all the kids are yelling at one another and then you hear a knock on the door. You suddenly feel exposed for who you really are. The facade is lifted. How do we get ready for that day when God arrives? The opening of Mark’s Gospel shows us how be ready.


Talk 2 – Death & disease is still all around us, is there any hope for today? [Mark 1.16 – 2.12]

We read the story of Jesus in Mark and we see Jesus combat death, disease, and demons. Today we still have lots of hurt, broken, and dying people all around us. So is there any hope like Jesus gave in the 1st century for people today?


Talk 3 – Religion Is The Problem. [Mark 2.13 – 3.6]

Jesus makes clear that it is not just the people who don’t do follow God’s law who are rejecting God, but people who do God’s law and present it to him as their righteousness, they too are rejecting God. Mark 2 makes clear that there is only one attitude to have if we want to have access to God’s forgivness of sins.


Talk 4 – Belonging To The Kingdom [Mark 3.7 – 3.35]

At the beginning of His ministry Jesus performs many miracles and provides some controversial speeches. How do people respond to Jesus?


Talk 5 – The Riddle of the Kingdom of God [Mark 4.1 – 35]

Jesus provides a riddle to his listeners, concerning the Kingdom and character of His ministry. Are you listening with open ears?


Talk 6 – Does God Care We’re Perishing? [Mark 4.35 – 5:43]

The world is perishing, we are perishing. Often lots of the things we fill our lives with, and chase after, are because in moments of honesty we are gripped by the fear of death. Does God care that we’re perishing? This passage from Mark answers that question decisively.


Talk 7 – Christian life feels like a warzone: What to do about it? [Mark 6:1-29]

Living as a Christian can be an uncomfortable experience – we often feel different and despised by the world around us. This morning, as we continue in Mark chapter 6, we find thatJohn the Baptist and even Jesus had the same experience! I pray that their response will serve as an encouragement to us to stand firm and to be bold in speaking God’s truth in our own situation.


Talk 8 – What if God came close? What would He look like? Would we recognise Him? [Mark 6:30-56]

Lots of people accept that Jesus was an exceptional man. Mark’s Gospel has been showing Jesus do some exceptional things. Yet, the things Jesus did and said about himself force us beyond the category of exceptional. We have to make a decision about who this man is? Is he God? Has God come close?


Talk 9 – What if God came close? What would He look like? Would we recognise Him? [Mark 7:1-23]

If someone asked you ‘What’s your biggest problem?’, how would you answer? Today we learn what is our biggest problem, and what we can do about it?


Talk 10 – Is Jesus racist, tolerant, or what? [Mark 7:24 – 8:13]

Sometimes Jesus’ words sound offensive, even racist. And yet, when you take the time to hear Jesus and see him in action, you realise here was a man who brings blessing to all people from all nations. In fact, Jesus is the only hope of our world!


Talk 11 – Do You See Jesus Clearly? [Mark 8:11-33]

Seeing Jesus clearly is not necessarily a simple or easy thing. Even Jesus’ disciples, while understanding that Jesus is the Messiah, still failed to see exactly who Jesus is. How is it that we can see Jesus clearly, and what about people who we love around us?


Talk 12 – What is Jesus’ Destiny, What is My Destiny? [Mark 8:27 – 9:13]

Sometimes we get lost in life, but reading Mark it reminds us that all of history has been ticking down to reveal God Up Close in Jesus. If that is the case, then that changes our destiny. Today, we face our destiny.


Talk 13 – No More Fear [Mark 9:14-32]

This world is certainly filled with pain, sickness, suffering, and evil. On the face of it we can fall into fear of all these things. Yet by watching how Jesus responds to all these realities shows fills us with hope and also places us in a position to no longer fear.


Talk 14 – No More Fear [Mark 9:30-50]

The logic of the kingdom that Jesus promotes is really controversial compared with what most people today would count as a logical decision. However, grasping this logic is a matter of life and death.


Talk 15 – How Do We Respond to Divorce [Mark 10:1-12]

Apologies but the audio for this talk is unavailable.


Talk 16 – How Can I Inheirt Eternal Life [Mark 10:13-34]

What is Jesus’ answer to the most important question of all?

For another sermon on the same text:


Talk 17 – The Road to Greatness Reversed [Mark 10:32-52]

Jesus constantly challenges the way we perceive ourselves and our world. We desire greatness: the approval and esteem of others.  And yet Jesus comes along and calls us to a life of service.


Talk 18 – Jesus, The King Arrives?[Mark 11:1-11]

The buzz word ‘FOMO’ – Fear of Missing Out. In today’s society there’s a great obsession with what other people are doing and what we might be missing out on (Facebook and social media content often reflect this!). We can easily get caught up trying to create experiences for ourselves so that we keep up with everyone else and so that we don’t miss out on all that this world has to offer. How much of our time, thoughts and energy is spent working towards the next travel opportunity, dining experience or adventure?

The challenge from Mark’s Gospel here is this: our greatest FOMO should be that of missing out on Jesus, this includes what He is doing in the world now and being with Him on His great triumphal entry when He one day returns to this earth!


Talk 19 – Jesus lashes out at a fig-tree?

We come to the final days of Jesus’ life as he enters Jerusalem. On his way he curses a fig-tree. At first glance it appears to be a random and petulant abuse of power. But as we wrestle with this passage we will see a far deeper significance that reminds us just how good Jesus is!


Talk 20 – Leadership Challenge [Mark 12:1-34]

Nearly every few months in Australian politics there is the threat of a leadership spill. Indivduals and factions vying for position to press their claim on who, and what, the leader of Australia should look like. Back in Jesus’ day, a similar leadership challenge took place between Jesus and the religious leaders. Join us and find out the outcome of the clash.


Talk 21 – Watch Out by Looking Closer [Mark 12:35-44]

There is a big ‘watch out’ given by Jesus in this passage. Watch out that you are not fakin’ it. While it is possible to fake-it-till-you-make-it with those around you, but you can’t fake-it-till-you-make-it with God. Jesus shows here another aspect of what looks pretty good and polished from afar, upon a closer look proves to be rotten to the core. There is only one way to avoid going down the fakin’ it line, and Jesus here in this passage points to that.

(An implication from this talk challenged our motivations behind much social media engagement, a further resource here)


Talk 22 – Jesus and the End of the World [Mark 13]

The arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem was a big deal. Jesus regards it as a catastrophe of biblical proportions. And yet the religious leaders failed to realise what was going on. Why was Jesus’ arrival such a catastrophe? And how does it prepare us for that day when Jesus comes again?


Talk 23 – Jesus and the Coming Crisis [Mark 14]

The death of Jesus is the great tragedy in the history of our world. Today we come to the final hours of Jesus’ life… as he prepares himself for the crisis he is about to face. And yet, the disciples fail to recognise the urgency of the moment.


Talk 24 – The Most Appalling Mis-carriage of Justice in History [Mark 14:43 – 15:15]

The hour of Jesus’ trial has come and all his followers desert him, even Peter. Though innocent the King now stands condemned and ready for execution. This is the most appalling moment in history and yet it will achieve such good!


Talk 25 – The Heart of What We Believe [Mark 15:16-39]

No historical event is more horrible or troubling than the death of Jesus. And for Mark to give it such prominence in his account of Jesus’ life seems shocking. But there is much more going on here than initially meets the eye. Today we explore why this event has had such world-shaking – and for many people life-changing, significance. My prayer is that you too might see the profound hope that is in this awful event.


Talk 26 – This Changes Everything! [Mark 15:40 -16:8]

He has risen! Three words that change everything. If those words are not true, then Christianity is a hoax. If those words are true, then everything changes: life can never be the same again.