Way back in his opening chapter, Mark tells us that:

14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.

Mark 1:14

And then he says nothing else about John for 6 chapters. Until today.

And today’s story is a masterpiece, with each layer unrolling like an onion. Read it for yourself:

14 King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”
15 Others said, “He is Elijah.”
And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.”
16 But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”
17 For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, 20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.
21 Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.
The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” 23 And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”
24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?”
“The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.
25 At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
26 The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, 28 and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. 29 On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Mark 6:14-29

I think that final verse is just heartbreaking.

Today’s Scripture

Mark 6:14-29


***Sign Up to Receive My Weekday Updates***

Subscribe here to receive a weekday update on that day’s Mark reading.

In addition to my weekday blogging on Mark’s Gospel, I also write occasionally about other topics. Subscribe here to be notified when I publish a new post.

P.S. All Subscribers Will Get My Free Whitepaper!

If you sign up for my Andrew Forrest newsletter, I’ll send you a white paper I’ve written called “The Simple Technique Anyone Can Immediately Use to Become a Better Communicator”.

2 comments
1 FacebookTwitterGoogle +Pinterest

After medical school, new doctors are supervised by experienced physicians. These residents are given more and responsibility and freedom, always overseen by attending physicians to ensure that they develop all the skills they need to be competent and capable physicians.

In today’s passage, Jesus is like an attending physician, giving his residents just enough responsibility to learn, but not so much that their possible failures could do irreparable harm:

Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.
These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt.10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

Mark 6:7-13

Here’s the point: Jesus wants us to learn to live like him.

How can you “practice” your faith today?

P.S. I didn’t post anything the last two days (Mark 5:21-43 and Mark 6:1-6). But, I preached on Mark 5:21-43 on Sunday, and you can watch or listen to my sermon here.

Today’s Scripture

Mark 6:7-13


***Sign Up to Receive My Weekday Updates***

Subscribe here to receive a weekday update on that day’s Mark reading.

In addition to my weekday blogging on Mark’s Gospel, I also write occasionally about other topics. Subscribe here to be notified when I publish a new post.

P.S. All Subscribers Will Get My Free Whitepaper!

If you sign up for my Andrew Forrest newsletter, I’ll send you a white paper I’ve written called “The Simple Technique Anyone Can Immediately Use to Become a Better Communicator”.

1 comment
1 FacebookTwitterGoogle +Pinterest

Do you actually want to change, or would you rather wallow in the filthy status quo?

They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”
Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened.15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Mark 5:1-20

Jesus performs an astounding miracle in their village, freeing this forsaken man from filth and misery, and the villagers would prefer he leave than cause any more changes to the way things are.

You don’t think that those villagers had parts of their lives that needed healing? But rather than begging Jesus to stay and work among them, their immediate response is to beg him to leave and never come back.

How true of human nature–so often we prefer the pain we know to the possibility of change.

[This was previously published for the Gospel of Matthew readings, and has been updated.]

Today’s Scripture

Mark 5:1-20


***Sign Up to Receive My Weekday Updates***

Subscribe here to receive a weekday update on that day’s Mark reading.

In addition to my weekday blogging on Mark’s Gospel, I also write occasionally about other topics. Subscribe here to be notified when I publish a new post.

P.S. All Subscribers Will Get My Free Whitepaper!

If you sign up for my Andrew Forrest newsletter, I’ll send you a white paper I’ve written called “The Simple Technique Anyone Can Immediately Use to Become a Better Communicator”.


2 comments
1 FacebookTwitterGoogle +Pinterest

Matthew, Mark, and Luke each tells the story of Jesus calming the storm, but only Mark includes this wonderful detail:

As Jesus and the disciples are sailing across the Sea of Galilee one night,

37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.

Mark 4:37-38, my emphasis

That little homely detail has absolutely nothing to do with the plot, so why does Mark include an irrelevant detail that both Matthew and Luke omit?

Because that’s how Peter remembered it and re-told it ever afterwards.

Today’s Scripture

Mark 4:35-41


***Sign Up to Receive My Weekday Updates***

Subscribe here to receive a weekday update on that day’s Mark reading.

In addition to my weekday blogging on Mark’s Gospel, I also write occasionally about other topics. Subscribe here to be notified when I publish a new post.

P.S. All Subscribers Will Get My Free Whitepaper!

If you sign up for my Andrew Forrest newsletter, I’ll send you a white paper I’ve written called “The Simple Technique Anyone Can Immediately Use to Become a Better Communicator”.

0 comment
1 FacebookTwitterGoogle +Pinterest

Today’s scripture passage is listed below, but I want to address something else from yesterday’s reading: does Jesus tell parables for the purpose of confusing people? He certainly seems to imply it:

10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that,
“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
    and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'”

Mark 4:10-12

Jesus quotes from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, chapter 6:9-10. It’s Isaiah’s prophetic instructions from the Lord. Here’s Isaiah’s divine job description: “go to my people and preach to them, but be forewarned: they aren’t going to listen. However, if they ever did listen, then things would change for them immediately.” Basically, God sends Isaiah to the Israelites out of an abundance of forbearance and grace.

So, when Jesus quotes Isaiah, he is not saying that he wants to confuse people; rather, he is identifying himself with the prophetic mission: to preach to people who won’t listen. The Parable of the Sower is about the many people who won’t listen; but if only they would, then great things would happen: “Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown” (Mark 4:20).

Today’s Scripture

Mark 4:21-34


***Sign Up to Receive My Weekday Updates***

Subscribe here to receive a weekday update on that day’s Mark reading.

In addition to my weekday blogging on Mark’s Gospel, I also write occasionally about other topics. Subscribe here to be notified when I publish a new post.

P.S. All Subscribers Will Get My Free Whitepaper!

If you sign up for my Andrew Forrest newsletter, I’ll send you a white paper I’ve written called “The Simple Technique Anyone Can Immediately Use to Become a Better Communicator”.

2 comments
1 FacebookTwitterGoogle +Pinterest

The good soil in the parable Jesus tells is astoundingly fruitful, producing a crop 30x, 60x, or even 100x of what was sown. Want to pray a powerful prayer today? Ask God to make your life similarly productive for his purposes.

Today’s Scripture

Mark 4:1-20


***Sign Up to Receive My Weekday Updates***

Subscribe here to receive a weekday update on that day’s Mark reading.

In addition to my weekday blogging on Mark’s Gospel, I also write occasionally about other topics. Subscribe here to be notified when I publish a new post.

P.S. All Subscribers Will Get My Free Whitepaper!

If you sign up for my Andrew Forrest newsletter, I’ll send you a white paper I’ve written called “The Simple Technique Anyone Can Immediately Use to Become a Better Communicator”.

0 comment
1 FacebookTwitterGoogle +Pinterest

The teachers of the law accuse Jesus of being in league with the devil. Jesus calls this attitude the unforgivable sin. Why? The one sin God can’t forgive is the sin of refusing to acknowledge the grace of God, the refusing to acknowledge the good, and instead calling it bad. And this makes sense: God won’t force anyone to accept his grace. If you insist that God is bad and refuse his grace, God can’t help you.

Today’s Scripture

Mark 3:20-35


***Sign Up to Receive My Weekday Updates***

Subscribe here to receive a weekday update on that day’s Mark reading.

In addition to my weekday blogging on Mark’s Gospel, I also write occasionally about other topics. Subscribe here to be notified when I publish a new post.

P.S. All Subscribers Will Get My Free Whitepaper!

If you sign up for my Andrew Forrest newsletter, I’ll send you a white paper I’ve written called “The Simple Technique Anyone Can Immediately Use to Become a Better Communicator”.

1 comment
1 FacebookTwitterGoogle +Pinterest

The Pharisees are so filled with hatred and jealously that they are more concerned with trying to find a way to kill Jesus than they are amazed at the miracle of the healing of the man with the withered hand. Right in front of them a man is made well, and all they can think is how much they hate Jesus.

A good test to apply to yourself: are you able to rejoice when good things happen to your enemies?

Today’s Scripture

Mark 3:1-19


***Sign Up to Receive My Weekday Updates***

Subscribe here to receive a weekday update on that day’s Mark reading.

In addition to my weekday blogging on Mark’s Gospel, I also write occasionally about other topics. Subscribe here to be notified when I publish a new post.

P.S. All Subscribers Will Get My Free Whitepaper!

If you sign up for my Andrew Forrest newsletter, I’ll send you a white paper I’ve written called “The Simple Technique Anyone Can Immediately Use to Become a Better Communicator”.

0 comment
1 FacebookTwitterGoogle +Pinterest

Jesus makes a startling statement in today’s reading: “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”. In other words, God gave the Sabbath to humanity for the purpose of blessing us, not harming us. What if all the laws and commands of God have been designed to work the same way? What if they are all for our benefit?

They are.

Today’s Scripture

Mark 2:23-28


***Sign Up to Receive My Weekday Updates***

Subscribe here to receive a weekday update on that day’s Mark reading.

In addition to my weekday blogging on Mark’s Gospel, I also write occasionally about other topics. Subscribe here to be notified when I publish a new post.

P.S. All Subscribers Will Get My Free Whitepaper!

If you sign up for my Andrew Forrest newsletter, I’ll send you a white paper I’ve written called “The Simple Technique Anyone Can Immediately Use to Become a Better Communicator”.

1 comment
1 FacebookTwitterGoogle +Pinterest

New Wineskins

by Andrew Forrest

What Jesus is doing won’t fit in the old categories. The Kingdom of God is not something with which I accessorize or decorate my house; it is the priceless work of art that causes me to pull down all the old walls so I can build a new place all around it.

21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”

Mark 2:21-22

Today’s Scripture

Mark 2:13-22


***Sign Up to Receive My Weekday Updates***

Subscribe here to receive a weekday update on that day’s Mark reading.

In addition to my weekday blogging on Mark’s Gospel, I also write occasionally about other topics. Subscribe here to be notified when I publish a new post.


0 comment
1 FacebookTwitterGoogle +Pinterest