We are about to begin the annual season historically known as “Lent.” Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes on Palm Sunday. This time is meant to be an embodied experience of heart preparation anticipating the coming of King Jesus.
Traditionally, this has been a season of repentance and cleansing for “righteousness goes before Him, and prepares the way for His steps” (Psalm 85:13). This is why things like fasting and confession are typically associated with Lent.
Though these guides do not line up specifically with Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday, we hope that the spirit of the season is captured in these pages. Our hope is that, as we journey with Jesus through the Gospel of Mark together, we’ll be made more like Him. Mark will force us to wrestle with who we really believe Jesus to be and then challenge us to take up our cross daily and follow Him.
A great place to start before reading, and to reference back to periodically, is the overview of the Book of Mark that the Bible Project have put together.
The main verse we want you to consider throughout this series is Mark 10:45 which says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Be encouraged to memorize, meditate on and seek to implement this verse in your life.
“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5-6
How to use these guides
1. There will be daily reading assigned from the Gospel of Mark starting February 22nd and concluding on Easter Sunday, April 17. There is some bonus material for you March 6-8 to help you get started and April 18 to help you consider how to apply what you read the previous 40 days.
2. There is also weekly devotional content to help prepare your heart for what you are about to read that week. As you prayerfully consider the time and place each day to spend with Jesus, let these devotionals situate you in the story. Imagine yourself walking with Jesus in the streets of Jerusalem, sitting in the crowd when He heals the paralytic or watching Him feed 5,000 people with just a little bread and a few fish. The more you are able to visualize what you are encountering, the more you will get out of this reading guide.
3. There is a key verse each week for you to consider memorizing. Memorization helps crystallize key points in your heart regarding the section of reading you are taking in. These verses have been selected to help you grab hold of the meaning of each section so that you can carry it with you throughout the coming days.
4. There are reflective questions for you to interact with each week. The goal is to answer the questions before you read the upcoming section and after you finish. Then compare and contrast your responses to see how a fresh encounter with Jesus may confirm or reshape things you previously thought about Him.