Christ in the Bible: Markís Gospel

Christ in Markís *Gospel

An EasyEnglish Bible Commentary (1200 word vocabulary) on the Gospel of Mark

Keith Simons

This commentary has been through Advanced Checking.

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

About Markís book

The Bible has 4 books about Jesusí life. They are called the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. People often call them Ďthe Gospelsí, which means Ďthe good newsí.

The Book of Mark is the shortest Gospel. Like the other Gospels, it tells us about the things that Jesus did. And it tells us some things that he taught.

The writer of the book was Mark. He belonged to a family who lived in Jerusalem. Mark became a Christian and he joined the church there. Then he travelled to tell people about Jesus. Mark worked with both Paul and Peter.

Bible students think that Peter helped Mark to write his book. But Mark was present at some events that he describes. He was a young man then.

Mark wanted to help people across the world. He wanted to teach them about Jesus. And Mark wanted people who never met Jesus to know Godís good news. Mark wrote his book for those reasons.

Mark chapter 1

John *baptises Jesus

Verses 1-8

Before Jesus began his special work for God, there was John the *Baptist.

Mark uses words from Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3 to describe Johnís work. People prepared the roads before a king came. And John prepared people before Jesus came. John told them that they were doing many wrong things. They must change their minds, because the *Lord was coming.

John did not go into the towns. He stayed near the river Jordan. But people came to him. Large crowds came. They listened to the words that he spoke. They believed that he was right. They asked him to *baptise them.

Verses 9-11

People came across the country called Israel to meet John. They came from Judea (that is, the south). And they came from Galilee (that is, the north).

Jesus was among the people who came. And John *baptised him. Then something happened that surprised John. The sky seemed to open. The *Holy Spirit came from *heaven. And then the *Holy Spirit came upon Jesus.

And God spoke from *heaven. He said that Jesus was his son.

Verses 12-13

Jesus left John. Jesus did not return to the towns yet. Instead, he prayed for 40 days. No people were there, but Godís *angels were with Jesus.

During those 40 days, *Satan spoke to Jesus. *Satan wanted Jesus not to obey God.

But Jesus always obeyed God completely.

The first 4 *disciples

Verses 14-20

These 4 men worked on the lake called Galilee. They had their own boats. They caught fish on the lake. That was their work. It was a family business. In other words, their families had done this work for a long time.

Then Jesus came. He told the men that God had other work for them. They must leave their work, their boats and their families. The men had worked with fish. But soon, the men would work with people. Jesus would teach the men. They became his *disciples, that is, his special students.

Jesus in Capernaum

Verses 21-28

There was a special building in Capernaum. People prayed together in that building. Many towns had buildings for that purpose. Those buildings were called Synagogues.

The *Jews did not work on Saturdays. They called that day: the Sabbath. They rested on that day. And they met to pray. They also read the Bible. And a teacher taught them about the Bible.

On this Saturday, Jesus taught the people. He spoke with authority. He explained the Bible well. And the people understood it.

The people were listening to Jesus quietly. But then a man came into the building and he screamed!

This man had a bad *spirit. That *spirit had authority over the man. The man could not do the things that he wanted to do.

The *spirit knew who Jesus was. But Jesus would not let the *spirit speak. He told the *spirit that it must leave the man. And so the *spirit left the man.

The people could see that the man was well again. They were very surprised. Clearly, Jesus had authority that they did not understand.

Verses 29-34

Jesus made many people well. This was part of Jesusí special work for God. Jesus did this often, in many places.

God had sent Jesus to help the people. So the people knew that God loved them. And they knew that they must believe God.

Verses 35-39

Jesus loved his father, God. So Jesus prayed often.

Some people only pray if other people can hear them. But Jesus prayed alone.

Jesus makes an ill man well

Verses 40-45

This man had a bad illness. People were afraid of anyone who had that illness.

After the man got his illness, he had to leave his family and friends. He lived alone. People kept away from him.

The man knew something about Jesus. He knew that Jesus was able to make him well. But the man did not know whether Jesus wanted to do this.

God is always good and kind. And Jesus was kind to the man. Jesus was not afraid of the illness. He knew that God had given him the authority to make the man well. So Jesus touched the man. And the illness left that man.

Jesus wanted the man to obey Godís *law (Leviticus chapter 14). So Jesus told the man that he must go to the *priest. And the man must give a special gift to God.

The man wanted to do other things. He wanted to tell everyone about Jesus. But Jesus did not want all the people to know about him yet. It was not the right time. And the people had many wrong ideas about the things that God was doing.

But the man did what he wanted to do. He told many people about Jesus. The result was that Jesus had to stay away from the towns. Too many people wanted to see him. They travelled long journeys to meet him. And very many people were talking about him.

Mark chapter 2

Jesus *forgives a man

Verses 1-12

Jesus had made many ill people well. But he did not come only to make peopleís bodies well. The health of their bodies was important. But the health of their *souls is much more important. The *soul continues to be alive after the body is dead.

God sent Jesus because he wanted to save peopleís *souls. God wants people to live in his home, called *heaven. But people have done things that are wrong and bad. God is completely good and he is always right. He cannot let wrong and bad people into *heaven. And everybody is wrong and bad (Romans 3:23).

But God saves people, by Jesus. God *forgives them because of Jesusí death. People must believe God. They must ask him to *forgive them. And, with his help, they must stop the bad things that they are doing.

The people knew that this man was ill. But they did not know that his *soul was also ill. But Jesus knew that. The man needed God to *forgive him.

The manís friends believed. Clearly, the man believed too. We know that because Jesus *forgave him. God *forgives people who believe him.

The teachers did not think that Jesus was able to *forgive anyone. They thought that only God can *forgive. But Jesus showed them that God had given that authority to him. He told the man that he should stand. Then he told the man that he must walk to his home. That could only happen if God had made the man well.

God had given to Jesus the authority to make the man well. So clearly, God had also given to Jesus the authority to *forgive the man.

The people that God helps

Verses 13-17

Some people in Israel were trying to do the right things. They tried to obey all the rules. They rested each Saturday. They prayed often. They worked for their money. They were called the *Pharisees. And they thought that they were good people.

Other people in Israel did not want to do the right things. They did not obey any rules. Usually, they did not pray. They took their money from other people. They included some men who worked for the government. These men were often not fair. The *Pharisees thought that these men were bad people.

Some people thought that God would only help good people. They were wrong. Everybody has done bad and wrong things. And God wants to save them all. God did not send Jesus to help good people only. God wanted to help the worst people too.

People who refuse food

Verses 18-20

The *disciples of John were not eating food. Perhaps this was because John was in a prison. They were sad. And they needed to pray. So they did not eat. Perhaps they refused food for a few days.

The *Pharisees were not eating food, too. Perhaps they were obeying a rule that their leaders made long ago. They refused food often. And they wanted people to know this (Matthew 6:16).

Jesusí *disciples were eating at this time. They had no reason to refuse food. Jesus was still with them. So they were happy, like people at a marriage.

But Jesusí *disciples would not always be happy. Jesus would not always be with them. Other people would take him away from them. Then, they would be sad. Then, they would need to pray for Godís help. And then, they too would refuse their food.

Old and new things

Verses 21-22

God sent Jesus with an important message. That message is for everyone. But many people are not ready to believe it.

If people already have their own ideas about God, often they do not want to believe something new. Old thoughts seem right. New ideas seem dangerous.

That happened to many *Pharisees. They had all their old rules. So they did not want to believe Jesusí message.

The person who wants to believe God must become like a little child. Then that person is ready to learn the new things that God is teaching. For example, that person cannot continue to rule his own life. He must start to obey God. That is a difficult lesson for many people. They do not want to change the things that they do.

In past centuries, glass was very expensive. People used leather to store *wine. They made the leather into a bag that could contain the *wine. But they had to use new leather. *Wine is powerful. It will destroy old leather.

People should not use new cloth to mend old clothes.

Old things and new things have a different nature. God has given something new. We believed many old things before we became Christians. But now God has changed our lives.

Jesus speaks about David

Verses 23-27

The *disciples were only picking a few seeds to eat. They were hungry. But Godís *law says that people must rest on one day of the week (Deuteronomy 5:12-15). Some *Pharisees thought that the *disciples were working.

Jesus told those *Pharisees about King David. Before David became king, he was an officer in the army. People were trying to kill David then. David and his soldiers went to a town called Nob. They had no food and they were hungry.

So David asked the *priests for help. They too had no bread. But they wanted to help David. So they gave Godís special bread to David. Godís *law says that only *priests should eat that bread (1 Samuel 21:4-6; Leviticus 24:5-9).

Those *priests did the right thing. They helped the men who were hungry. God wanted to help poor people. He made his *law so that poor people would not have to work every day.

Jesus was like David. Both men were special servants of God. Other people were against them. But God was helping them. God had promised them both that they would rule as king (1 Samuel 16:13; Psalm 110; Mark 11:10).

Mark chapter 3

The day for rest

Verses 1-5

Jesus obeyed God, his father, completely. Jesus did only those things that God wanted him to do. Some people were against Jesus. So they were against God too. But these people did not always know that fact.

These people thought that Jesus was doing something bad. They were wrong, because Jesus was doing Godís work. And God never does anything bad. But these people thought that Jesus was not obeying Godís *law. It was Saturday; and the *Jews do not work on that day. That is in Godís *law (Deuteronomy 5:12-15).

Jesus told the people that they should think about the *lawís purpose. God had given his *law so that people would do good things.

And God was still doing good things. It was God who made the man well. This was not against Godís *law. It was the purpose of Godís *law.

But the people who were against Jesus were not happy. They wanted to kill him. They thought that some friends of King Herod would help them.

Jesus teaches from a boat

Verses 6-12

This was a very large crowd. Many people had travelled for several days to be there. They wanted Jesus to help them.

Many people in the crowd were ill. They wanted to touch Jesus. They believed that they would then become well.

Jesus taught the people from the boat. The crowd stayed on the shore (Mark 4:1).

There were also people who had bad *spirits in the crowd. These *spirits were from *Satan. They knew who Jesus was. But Jesus always told them that they must be quiet. God is completely good. And *Satan is completely bad. So Jesus would not listen to the words that those bad *spirits caused people to say. He did not even want them to say true things about him. God, and not the bad *spirits, would show people who Jesus was.

The 12 *disciples

Verses 13-19

Jesus chose 12 men to work with him. He wanted to teach them. And he would send them out to tell Godís message to people. They worked together for about 3 years.

Judas was among these men. He worked with the other *disciples. But in the end, he joined the people who were against Jesus.

But the other 11 men did Godís work. They became very afraid because of Jesusí death. But after Jesus became alive again, they continued their work for God. You can read about them in the Book of Acts.

People say bad things about Jesus

Verses 20-30

Many people were saying bad things about Jesus. Even Jesusí family were saying bad things about him. They should not have said those things. But they did not know the true facts.

Other people were saying bad things for worse reasons. And those people were doing something that was very bad. They were against Godís work. God works by his *Holy Spirit. So these people were speaking against the *Holy Spirit.

Those people said that *Satan was using Jesus. They told people that they must not believe Jesus. *Satan wanted to rule peopleís lives. So they said that Jesus was working on behalf of *Satan. This was a very bad thing to say. And they were very wrong.

Jesus explained that God always does good things. And *Satan always does bad things. God caused the bad *spirits to leave the people. And God was doing a good thing. *Satan did not want this good thing to happen. Nobody chooses to fight against himself. *Satan would not want to fight against his own bad *spirits.

But God was helping his people.

Jesusí family

Verses 31-35

Jesusí family wanted to take Jesus away from the crowd. They thought that he was crazy (Mark 3:21). But nothing crazy was happening. The crowds were sitting quietly round Jesus. And Jesus was teaching them about the Bible.

People told Jesus that his family had come. Jesus replied that, really, he was already with his family. The crowds included people who, like Jesus, wanted to obey God. Those people belong to the family of God. So they were really Jesusí family.

Mark chapter 4

The story about the seeds

Verses 1-9

Every farmer knows that he must plant his seeds in good *soil. Seeds are expensive. Also, they are important. You cannot make flour without seeds. And you need flour to make bread.

A farmer wastes any seeds that do not fall on good *soil. Birds eat any seeds that fall on paths. The hot sun kills plants if the *soil is not deep enough. And any weeds are stronger than the farmerís young plants.

A farmer only plants this kind of seed for one purpose. He wants more seeds. Then he will have seeds that he can sell. And he will have food that he can eat.

Jesus did not explain his story to the people. He wanted them to think about it. God had sent a message to them. So it was clear that, like the farmer, he had a purpose.

People are not ready to learn

Verses 10-12

Jesus explained all these stories to his *disciples. He wanted them to know how God rules his people. Jesusí *disciples were ready to learn.

But many people in the crowds were not ready to learn. Some people were against Jesus. And some people only wanted Jesus to help them. They did not want to learn anything. They did not want to obey God. They would not think about Jesusí words.

Jesus said that Isaiah 6:9-10 described these people well. They listened to everything. But they learned nothing. They would never obey God. And God would not save them.

Jesus explains the story about the seeds

Verses 13-20

Jesus explained the story in Mark 4:1-9 to his *disciples. It was not a difficult story. It was easy to understand.

The seed is like Godís message. *Soil receives all the farmerís seeds. And people receive Godís message. But all the seeds do not fall in the same place. Some places are better than other places. And people are different from each other. Some people obey God if they hear his message. Other people do not obey God.

Some people do not even begin to obey God. They hear Godís message. But immediately, *Satan takes it from them.

Other people like Godís message. They start to obey it. But soon they change their minds. They decide that it is too difficult to obey God.

Other people try to obey God. But other things seem very important to them. They may think about their troubles. They may think about their money. They may think about other things. But they do not still think about Godís message. So they cannot obey him.

God sent his message for a purpose. He sent it so that people would obey him. Those people are like the good plants in Jesusí story. God will help them to do the things that he wants. Those people will not waste their lives. They will use their lives well, because they will do Godís work.

Jesus speaks about a *lamp

Verses 21-25

The only purpose for a *lamp is to give light. Nobody hides a *lamp.

The *lamp was like Godís message. Jesus had told Godís message to the *disciples. And they must tell it to other people.

Godís message is like something that is valuable. Usually, a person loses something valuable if he does not keep it. But light is different. It is only valuable if people can see it. A person wastes it if he does not give the light away.

So God wanted the *disciples to take his message to many people. If they did that, they would not lose the message! Instead, they would receive even more!

Only God can save

Verses 26-29

This man knows how to plant his seeds. But he does not know how his plants grow. He does not tell his plants what they must do. But each plant grows by itself. And it continues to grow until the new seeds are ready.

It is God who causes the seeds to grow. So the man did his work. But God did the most important work.

The seed is like Godís message. People must tell Godís message to other people. But only God can save someone. Only God can change a personís life. These things are Godís work.

The plant called mustard

Verses 30-34

This seed was very small. But it became a very large plant.

During Jesusí life on earth, only a few people believed Godís message. But they told other people. And God did his work. So many more people believed.

Today, there are very many Christians across the world. God has done this. He wants everyone to know his message.

A storm on Lake Galilee

Verses 35-41

Lake Galilee is a very large lake. There are often storms on the lake. But this storm was very bad. There were several *disciples who had worked on the boats there. But even those *disciples were very afraid. They thought that they would die.

Jesus had authority over that storm. He told the wind to stop. And it stopped. The sea became flat again. The wind and the water had to obey Jesus.

It was clear that God had done this. A man cannot stop a storm. So, after the storm, the *disciples were afraid of Jesus. They still did not know who he really was. But by Godís authority, Jesus had saved their lives.

Mark chapter 5

Jesus in Gerasa

Verses 1-20

This man seemed strong and well. But his mind was very ill. He wore no clothes. He never seemed to sleep. He screamed often. He hurt himself. And he wanted to be with the bones of dead people.

Other people were afraid of him. They could not help him. They had tried often. But they always failed.

The manís problem was that bad *spirits had power over him. Those *spirits came from *Satan. The man could only do what the *spirits wanted him to do.

Then Jesus came. Immediately, the man knew who Jesus was. Jesus said that the bad *spirits had to leave the man. Those bad spirits were very cruel. They left the man, but they killed the pigs.

Immediately, the man was well again. His mind was well. He wanted Jesus to teach him. He quietly listened to Jesus.

But the other people were not happy. They were afraid. So they asked Jesus to go away. Jesus went away, but the man stayed in that country. Jesus told him to tell everyone about God. The man would tell them how kind God is.

Jairusís daughter and the ill woman

Verses 21-43

Jairus was an important man. He came to Jesus because he needed help. Jairusís daughter was very ill. He thought that she would die.

Jesus started to go to Jairusís house. But a large crowd went with Jesus. And those people had their own problems. They pushed against Jesus because they too wanted his help.

An ill woman was in that crowd. Her body had bled for 12 years. The doctors could not help her. Their bills were expensive. The woman became poor. And she was still ill.

So she came to Jesus. She believed that God had sent Jesus. So she believed that Jesus would make her well. But she thought that she had to go to him. She thought that she must touch his coat.

God helps people who believe him. And he helped that woman. She touched Jesusí coat. And immediately, she was well again.

Jesus knew that something had happened. And the woman knew too. She was afraid, but she came to Jesus. Jesus told her not to be afraid. Because she believed, God had made her well.

While this was happening, Jairusís daughter died. People came to tell Jairus. But Jesus told Jairus that he should not be afraid. Like the woman, Jairus too should believe God.

The people at Jairusís house were very sad. They screamed and they cried. Jesus told them that everything was well. But they did not believe him.

Jesus went inside. And he asked the girl to get up. Immediately, the girl got up. She was alive again. She was well. And she was hungry.

But Jesus did not want anyone to know about this event. He knew that people would have wrong ideas about it. They would know that God had sent him. But they would not know why God had sent him. And those wrong ideas might cause trouble. Many people wanted to fight against the government. And they might think that God had sent Jesus to be their leader.

Mark chapter 6

Jesus in Nazareth

Verses 1-6

Everywhere that Jesus went, the crowds came. They wanted to see the things that he did. They wanted to hear the things that he taught. Ill people wanted to become well again. People with bad *spirits needed Jesusí help. Everyone thought that Jesus was important.

But this did not happen in Nazareth. Jesusí family lived there. And Jesus had been a worker in that town. So those people did not think that Jesus was important. They did not believe that he had Godís message. Instead, they sent Jesus away.

Jesus sends the *disciples

Verses 7-13

Jesus had taught the *disciples for several months. Then he asked them to go to some towns that he had not visited. He wanted them to teach Godís message there too.

Jesus gave them authority to do this work. They too would make ill people well again. They too would cause bad *spirits to leave people.

Jesus asked them not to take money or food. Then they would know that God was with them. He would give them the things that they needed each day. Some people wanted to hear Godís message. Those people would ask the *disciples to stay. And those people would make meals for the *disciples.

But sometimes the *disciples would go to a town like Nazareth. The people in Nazareth had sent Jesus away. And the people in other towns may send the *disciples away. They should leave those towns. But first, the *disciples should tell the people that they (the people) have done something wrong. They have refused Godís message. So the *disciples must clean the dirt from their feet. This would show the people that God would be their *judge. They were doing something dangerous if they refused to obey his message.

John the *Baptist dies

Verses 14-29

Jesus had done some very powerful things. So people wanted to know who he really was. Even the king wanted to know who Jesus was.

The people had many different ideas. The *Jews did not believe in reincarnation. Reincarnation is the idea that a person can be born many times. But the *Jews did believe that God can make dead people alive again. And many *Jews thought that this had already happened to Jesus.

King Herod was very afraid. He thought that God had made John the *Baptist alive again. And so Herod believed that God was very angry with him. This was because Herod had caused Johnís death.

This Herod was a son of the king who tried to kill the baby Jesus (Matthew 2:16). Like his father, this Herod was a cruel king.

Herod had taken another manís wife. John said that this was against Godís *law. So Herod put John into a prison. But Herod did not want to hurt John.

Herodís wife was called Herodias. She was angry with John, and she wanted to kill him. But Herod would not let her.

Herodias waited until Herodís birthday. Herod had drunk much alcohol. And he wanted his visitors to think that he was a great king. But Herod was a fool. He made a promise to Herodiasís daughter. He should have never made that promise.

The daughter seems even worse than her mother was. She told Herod that she wanted Johnís death. Herod should have refused. But he had made a promise. And his visitors had heard it. Herod did not want them to think that he was a fool. So he did the thing that Herodiasís daughter wanted. He sent a soldier to kill John.

Food for 5000 men

Verses 30-44

Jesus had sent the *disciples to some towns and villages. The *disciples went. They told Godís message to the people there. Then the *disciples returned to Jesus again.

Perhaps they returned because people had told them about Johnís death. John was a great servant of God. John had taught many of Jesusí *disciples about God. So the *disciples would be very sad. They needed to be with Jesus. And they needed to rest.

But the *disciples were not able to rest. Jesus was very busy. There were many visitors. Many people wanted to speak to Jesus. There was no time even to eat. The *disciples could not rest there.

Jesus said that they should all go into the *countryside. They should find somewhere away from the crowds. There, it would be quiet. And the *disciples, with Jesus, would be able to rest.

So the *disciples left the town in a boat. Jesus was with them. But the crowds saw them. And they walked along the coast. They too wanted to be with Jesus. They too needed his help. So they went round the lake to find Jesus.

So they found Jesus. And he did not send them away. An old song says, ĎThere is no love like the love of Jesus.í Jesus wanted to help all these people. So he taught them. He stayed with them for the whole day.

Because the people left so quickly, they had no food with them. But God gave them food. He gave even more food than the people needed. Sometimes God does something that people cannot do. We call special events like these: Ďmiraclesí. God does these things because he is kind and good. And he does these things because he wants to help people.

This should not surprise us. God gives food to everything that is alive. Without his gifts, nobody and nothing would be alive. We should all accept the gifts that God gives. He is always good and kind.

Jesus walks on water

Verses 45-52

It was evening, and Jesus wanted to pray. So he asked the crowd to go back to their homes. And he asked the *disciples to leave in the boat.

There was a bad storm during that night. The *disciplesí boat was still in the middle of the lake. Jesus was on the land. But he saw that the *disciples were in difficulties. The storm was too strong for them.

So Jesus came towards them. He walked across the water. He did not want to get into the boat. He only wanted to go near to his *disciples. If he was near, the *disciples would believe God.

But the *disciples saw him. They knew that no man can walk on water. So they were very afraid. They did not think that it was Jesus. Instead, they thought that a *spirit had appeared.

So Jesus spoke to them. Immediately, the storm stopped. And he got into the boat.

The *disciples had seen how God gave food to the crowd. And then they saw this event. They should have learnt that God is kind to his people. But the *disciples could not understand these events. And so they felt surprised and afraid.

Verses 53-56

Everywhere that Jesus went, he helped the people. He showed them that God is kind.

Jesus made all these sick people well again. He was always doing Godís work.

Mark chapter 7

Godís people must be different

Verses 1-16

Godís people should not do all the same things that other people do. They must be different. God gave his *law to teach people how they should do that.

The first leaders of the *Pharisees also wanted to teach people that they should be different. So those leaders made rules. And the *Pharisees were careful to obey those rules.

For example, they had to wash before a meal. They were already clean, but they washed again because of the rule. The *Jews all did this. So the *Pharisees were surprised when Jesusí *disciples did not do it.

Jesus told the *Pharisees that they must always obey God. That is more important than any rules are. Men made those rules. So the *Pharisees did not need to obey those rules. But they must always obey Godís *law.

Jesus gave an example to the *Pharisees. God has said that a person must help his parents. But the *Pharisees had another rule. A person did not have to help his parents if he gave a gift to God instead. Jesus did not agree.

Jesus told the people that they should think about his words. The *Pharisees had many rules about food. But food is only something that goes into a personís body. And God teaches that other things matter very much. They are the bad things that people do. They start as ideas. But they do not stay in a personís mind. They come out of it. And then they cause trouble for other people. Godís *law is against those things.

Verses 17-23

The *disciples wanted Jesus to explain the words that he had spoken to the *Pharisees.

God has given many kinds of food that people can eat. All these foods are good, because they are all from God. But Godís rules said that the *Jews should only eat certain kinds of food. Those rules made the *Jews different from other people.

God gave those rules to teach an important lesson to his people. The *Pharisees knew the rules, but they had not yet understood that lesson. So Jesus explained the lesson to his *disciples.

Jesus said that food passes through the body. If a person is well, his body is able to take the good part out of the food. The body itself cleans the food. God made the body so that it would do this.

But other things happen during peopleís lives that God does not want. People do very many wrong things. Jesus gave a long list of those things. They always start as ideas in a personís mind. In the end, they usually cause troubles for other people. They are all against Godís *law.

Godís people should obey him. That is how God wants his people to be different.

Jesus in Syrophoenicia

Verses 24-30

Jesus did not often leave the country called Israel. God had sent him first to the *Jews, who live in Israel. But God loves the people who live in every country. He wants to help them all. Everybody should believe him. And everybody should obey him.

Everywhere, people have the same troubles. The womanís daughter had a bad *spirit. And the woman was sure that Jesus was able to help the girl.

Jesus wanted to know whether the woman really believed God. So he told her that God had sent him to the *Jews. The *Jews were like Godís children. God knew that they needed help. So God had sent Jesus to them.

It would be easy for the woman to say that all people are Godís children. God made them all. And he loves them all. That is right, but the woman had another answer.

This was her answer. God is good to his children. He gives them everything that they need. But God loves everything that he has made. He even gives good things to those animals that people do not like.

The woman had given a good answer. It was clear that she believed God. And God did help her. Jesus told her that her daughter was well. The bad *spirit had left the girl.

A man who could not hear

Verses 31-37

Jesus continued to travel. A man came who could not hear.

Jesus could not use words to talk to the man. So Jesus could not explain to the man that he should believe God. Instead, Jesus did certain things so that the man would know.

First, Jesus led the man away. So it was clear that he wanted to help the man.

Then Jesus touched the manís ears. So the man knew that Jesus wanted to make the ears well.

Then Jesus took water from his mouth. Doctors used water from their mouths. They used it with their medicine. Jesus was not making any medicine. But he was explaining that he was able to make the man well.

Next, Jesus looked up. He looked towards Godís home that is called *heaven. So Jesus was showing that God would make the man well.

Immediately, the man was well again. He was able to hear. And he could speak, too.

Godís message is important. When we explain it, people should be able to understand. Sometimes we must learn a new language to speak about God. Sometimes we teach people by the things that we do. Sometimes we must explain in a different way. Jesus did that for this man. We should do the same for other people.

Mark chapter 8

Food for 4000 people

Verses 1-10

Jesus gave food to a large crowd that did not have any food. And there was enough food for everyone.

Jesus had done this before (Mark 5:35-44). This time, the crowd was smaller. They had food when they left their homes. But Jesus continued to teach them for three days. In the end, they had eaten almost all the food. They only had 7 small loaves and a few fishes. But God used that small quantity. Everyone ate. Nobody was still hungry.

Jesus told the *disciples that they must not waste any food. God had given this food, so they must be careful with it. They put all the food that people did not eat into baskets. It filled 7 baskets. So they then had even more food than they had before the meal.

Powerful things

Verses 11-13

These *Pharisees wanted Jesus to show that he had power from God. So they asked Jesus to do something that people cannot do. They said that they wanted to believe Jesus. But he must do something powerful before they would believe.

It is clear that Jesus was doing powerful things often. He made ill people well. He caused bad *spirits to leave people. He gave food to crowds. These were all powerful things. A person cannot usually do these things. So these things show that Jesus had power from God.

These *Pharisees knew about these events. That is why they came to Jesus. But still they did not believe. That is why they argued with Jesus. They did not want to believe him.

People often ask God to do something powerful. Then they say that they will believe. But they should not do this. People should believe God because he is God. They should always love him and they should always obey him.

God will help a person who really wants to believe. But he will not cause anyone to believe if that person does not want this. And there are many people who do not want to believe.

Ideas that are like *yeast

Verses 14-21

The *Jews have a holiday called Passover. During that holiday, they eat flat bread. The bread is flat because it has no *yeast in it. They are very careful that no *yeast gets into their flour.

Jesus told the *disciples that the *Phariseesí ideas were like *yeast. The *Phariseesí rules seemed good. But they did not help people to believe God.

Also, Jesus spoke about the ideas of Herodís friends. Their ideas came from the foreign countries called Greece and Rome. There, people had many false gods. But there is only one God. And these ideas did not help people to know him.

So all these ideas were like *yeast. They confused people. And then people did not believe God.

The *disciples did not understand, so Jesus spoke about the bread. God had given this bread to the people. He gave them everything that they needed. There was even more food than they needed.

So, the *disciples did not need the *Phariseesí ideas. And they did not need Herodís ideas. God would teach them everything that they needed to know.

A man born *blind

Verses 22-26

We think that this man was born *blind. In other words, he could never see.

Jesus took the man away from the village. He did not do these things so that other people would know. He did these things because he wanted to help ill people.

When Jesus put his hands on the man, God made the man able to see. But the man could not understand the things that he saw. So he thought that people seemed like trees. His eyes were well. But he had not yet learned how to recognise things.

So Jesus put his hands on the man again. And God helped the man again. Then everything was clear. The man was able to recognise everything. His mind understood whatever things his eyes saw.

Jesus still did not want the people to know what he had done. So he told the man that he must go to his home. Jesus did not want the man to return to Bethsaida.

Jesus is the Christ

Verses 27-30

The people had many ideas about Jesus. Mark has already told us about these ideas (Mark 6:14-15). People were talking about these things because of something that God had promised.

Godís promise was that he would soon begin to rule his people (Mark 1:15). He would do this by a king. That king would be like King David (Mark 10:47; Mark 11:10). But he would be more important than David was (Mark 12:35-37). People called that king: Ďthe Christí or Ďthe Messiahí. The word Messiah means the same as Christ.

So when Jesus did all these powerful things, people talked about Godís promise. And they wanted to know whether Jesus was the Christ.

The *disciples had seen the things that Jesus did. They had heard the things that he taught. They had done this for almost three years. They knew the things that the Bible said about the Christ.

Jesus asked them: ĎWho do you say that I am?í It was Peter who answered. He believed that Jesus was the Christ.

Jesus did not want his *disciples to tell anyone about this. People had many wrong ideas about the things that the Christ would do. Many people thought that the Christ would be the leader of a powerful army. Those people wanted to fight against the government.

Even Jesusí *disciples did not know about the things that the Christ would do. Jesus had to teach them about these things.

Troubles for the Christ

Verses 31-33

Isaiah chapter 53 explains the things that the Christ would do. There would be many troubles for him. The leaders would be against him. They would cause his death.

These things would happen because the Christ was Godís servant. He did nothing that was wrong. But everybody else has done wrong things against God. God sent the Christ so that he could *forgive people.

Peter was angry when Jesus told him about these things. Peter wanted Jesus to be a great king. Peter certainly did not want Jesus to have all those troubles. Jesusí troubles would be Peterís troubles too; and Peter knew it.

So Peter tried to stop Jesus. But it was *Satan who did not want Jesus to do these things. It was *Satan who wanted Jesus not to obey God.

The idea that the Christ would do these things was a problem for many people (1 Corinthians 1:18-25). Some people said that it was a foolís idea. Instead, they wanted God to do powerful things. Or they wanted God to show how clever he is. But this was not a foolís idea; it was Godís idea. God himself had decided how the Christ would die. It was the only way that God could save his people.

Jesus also said that the Christ would become alive again. In the end, the Christ would rule as Godís king. The *disciples did not understand this yet (Mark 9:9-10).

Troubles for Godís people

Verses 34-38

The *disciples were thinking too much about their own lives. Instead, they should think about God. And they should try to obey him.

There will be many troubles for people who obey God. Many people will be against them. Sometimes people die because they believe God. But they are not wasting their lives. Nobody who gives something to God is wasting that gift. But a person who loves money is wasting his life. A person who loves the things in this world is wasting his life. Even a person who rules the world gets nothing. That is clear because that person must die. And when that person dies, he loses everything.

So people must not be ashamed that they believe God. They must not be ashamed when people are against them. They should remember that Jesus will return. On that day, he will be beautiful and powerful, like God the Father. And the *angels will be with him.

But even before that will happen, God has begun to rule his people. He rules the lives of the people who believe him. He has saved them, and he has made them his people.

Mark chapter 9

Jesus with Moses and Elijah

Verses 1-10

Before Jesus began his work for God, Jesus had left the people. He went away from the towns. He was alone for 40 days (Mark 1:12-13). Jesus always obeyed God his father. So during those days, Jesus prayed. And he prepared for his special work.

Soon, Jesus would begin his most important work for God. Jesus already knew what would happen. There would be many troubles for him, and he would die (Mark 8:31; Isaiah chapter 53). This work would be very difficult. But God had sent Jesus for this reason (John 3:16). Because of it, God would save men and women. And after it, God would cause Jesus to be alive again. And Jesus would receive the most important place in *heaven.

So Jesus had to prepare himself for this difficult work. Again, he left the people. He took three *disciples with him. And like Moses and Elijah (Exodus chapter 19; 1 Kings 19:8-18), he went up a high mountain to pray.

Moses and Elijah lived long before this event happened. Perhaps they came down from *heaven to meet Jesus. Or perhaps Jesus and the *disciples went into *heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2). We do not know.

The *disciples saw bright light and then they saw a cloud. These things showed that God was present. The *disciples were afraid. But still, they wanted to be there.

The voice that came from the cloud was Godís voice. He repeated his words in Mark 1:11. And he told the *disciples that they must listen carefully to Jesusí words. They had wanted to stay there with Moses and Elijah. But God had sent Jesus to teach them. And Jesus would teach them everything that they needed to know.

Then the cloud went away, and the *disciples were alone with Jesus.

Jesus told the *disciples that they must not speak about this event yet. They must keep it secret. But when he became alive again, they could speak about it. The *disciples could not understand Jesusí words. But they knew that those words were important.

Elijah and John

Verses 11-12

The *disciples were thinking about Malachi 4:5-6. Those verses say that Elijah would return. He would prepare people because the *Lord was coming to them.

Jesus showed the *disciples that those verses were about John the *Baptist. People were cruel to John. And Herod killed John. Jesus explained that people would also be cruel to Jesus himself. The Bible says that these things must happen.

God can do all things

Verses 13-15

Jesus returned from the mountain. He had prayed to God his father there.

The *disciples were not ready for Jesusí return. They were arguing with other people.

The people were surprised to see Jesus. And they were afraid of him.

Verses 16-27

This boy had a bad *spirit. The *spirit was very cruel. The boy could not hear or speak because of it. And the *spirit often tried to cause the boyís death.

The boyís father brought his son to the *disciples. They tried to help the boy, but they failed.

God helps people who believe him. But during Jesusí life, most people did not believe God. This is still true today. People believe many things. But they do not often want to believe God.

The boyís father thought that, perhaps, God was not able to help.

Jesus replied that God can do anything. But people must believe him. When Jesus explained this, the boyís father replied immediately. He wanted to believe.

So Jesus told the *spirit that it must leave the boy. Even then, the *spirit was cruel to the boy. The people even thought that the boy was dead. But the boy was not dead, and the *spirit had left him.

Verses 28-29

The *disciples had told the *spirit that it must leave the boy. But it would not go. And the *disciples did not know why they had failed.

But Jesus had come from the mountain. There he was praying to God his father. He gave himself completely to God, so that he would do Godís work. And it was Godís work to help the boy.

The *disciples needed to give themselves completely to God, too. Then they too would do his work.

The *disciplesí wrong ideas

Verses 30-32

Jesus had to explain this often to his *disciples. But still, they could not understand. They did not want these things to happen to Jesus. So they did not believe that these things would happen.

But they should have learned the things that Jesus was teaching them. Then, when these events happened, they would not be so afraid. They would know that God wanted these things to happen. And they would know that God would make Jesus alive again in the end.

Verses 33-37

The 12 *disciples were not important men. But they still wanted other people to say that they were important. And each *disciple thought that he was more important than the other *disciples.

Jesus taught that those ideas were wrong. One Christian should not try to be more important than another Christian. Instead, each Christian should try to help other people.

A Christian should be like a servant. He should even be like a servant of a little child. When the Christian helps a little child, he is doing Jesusí work. And it was God who sent Jesus to do that work.

That does not mean that Christians must obey everyone. They must always obey God. And because they obey God, they should help other people.

Verses 38-41

This man saw the things that Jesus was doing. And he decided to do the same things himself. He was not against Jesus. He believed Jesus. And he used Jesusí authority to tell bad *spirits that they must leave people.

John tried to stop the man. John wanted the man to become a *disciple of Jesus. But Jesus told John that the man was doing Godís work. So the man was helping Jesus and the *disciples. God knew about the things that the man was doing. And God knew about the things that the *disciples were doing, too. He would be kind to everyone who does his work.

Bad things that people do

Verses 42-48

Sometimes a person says, ĎIt does not matter if I do bad things.í But that person is wrong. These things do matter. Jesus died because of them. He died so that God would *forgive people. So people must not continue to do bad things.

If a personís hand, eye or foot becomes really bad, sometimes a doctor decides to cut it off. The doctor removes the bad part so that illness does not destroy the whole body.

The bad things that people do are worse than illness. This is because these bad things do not only cause pain and trouble. A person will also go to *hell because of those bad things. God does not want this to happen. He wants to *forgive people. But God will only help people who change their minds. They must want to change their lives. They must really want his help.

Jesus did not want his *disciples to cut their bodies. Instead, he wanted them to know how bad these things are. And it is even worse if someone causes another person to do bad things. We must learn never to do that.

The *disciples must love each other

Verses 49-50

A person tastes food to decide whether it needs more salt.

Fire destroys most things, but it does not destroy gold. A person can put metal into a fire to decide whether it is really gold.

God will be the *judge of everyone. He will decide whether a person should go to *heaven or *hell.

So the *disciples must not be like other people. The *disciples should not argue because they want to be important. Instead, they must be like salt. A cook knows quickly whether there is salt in the food. And people will know quickly that the *disciples are Godís people. They will know this if the *disciples love each other (John 13:35).

Mark chapter 10

Jesus speaks about divorce

Verses 1-11

Sometimes a man leaves his wife and he does not want to return to her again. Or he sends her away. We call this Ďdivorceí.

People were not sure whether God *allows divorce. So these *Pharisees asked Jesus about it.

People had their own ideas. But Jesus did not ask about peopleís ideas. Instead, he told the *Pharisees that they should think about the Bible. Then they would know what God thinks about divorce.

So Jesus told the *Pharisees to look at the books that Moses wrote. These books included the *laws that Moses made for the *Jews. God gave these *laws to Moses.

The *Pharisees told Jesus about Deuteronomy 24:1. That verse has a rule for a man who wants to leave his wife. The man must write a letter for her. Then she can marry another man.

God *allows some things because people do not want to obey him. So he *allows a man to leave his wife. But God does not want a man to do this. Jesus told the *Pharisees about Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:24. God wanted husbands and wives to remain together for their whole lives. Marriage is important.

Jesus and the children

Verses 12-16

Families are important. And children are important too.

Jesus had already taught his *disciples about the importance of children (Mark 9:36-37). But the *disciples still wanted Jesus to be with the *Pharisees and other important people. So when people brought their children to Jesus, the *disciples tried to hurry them away.

Jesus was angry. The people had brought their children because they wanted Jesus to pray for them. God loved those children.

And if people want God to rule their lives, they too must become like little children. Those people must want to learn. They must want to do good things. They must ask for Godís help.

Jesus and the rich man

Verses 17-22

People would think that this man was a good man. He obeyed Godís *law. He spoke well about Jesus. And he wanted a life that had no end.

But Jesus knew the manís thoughts. This man wanted other people to like him. So he spoke well about them and he did the right things. Also, the man loved money. It seemed more important to him than God did.

The man asked for a life that would have no end. But he thought that only his life on this earth was important.

A Christian should give his whole life to God. And that includes his money. In other words, a Christian should let God teach him how to use his money. Sometimes he will keep it for himself and his family. And sometimes he will give money away for Godís work. God should always be more important to Christians than money is.

Verses 23-27

God does not save a person because that person is rich. God does not save a person because that person does good things. And people cannot pay God to save them.

God saves people because Jesus died. Those people know that they cannot save themselves. They need Godís help. So they ask God to come into their lives. And God saves them because he is kind and good.

He *forgives them. And he gives them a life that has no end.

God is kind to his people

Verses 28-31

God is very kind to his people. He does not cause them to be without anything that they need.

This is true, even in this world. Someone might leave many things because he wants to work for God. Other people might be cruel to that person, but God is not cruel.

Perhaps that person left his family to work for God. But God will give that person other people who love him. Perhaps that person left his home. But God will give him a new home. And God will give him many new homes, if he needs them.

In this world, there will always be troubles. But there will not be troubles in the future world that God will rule. And there, Godís people will have lives that will have no end.

Jesusí journey to Jerusalem

Verses 32-34

Jesus was not afraid to go to Jerusalem. He knew the things that would happen there. So he walked in front of everyone. His *disciples followed him, and the crowd was behind.

The crowd were afraid. They thought that there may be trouble in Jerusalem. They knew that some important people were against Jesus. And they did not know what would happen in Jerusalem.

So Jesus spoke again to the *disciples. He told them clearly about the things that would happen. People would hurt Jesus and they would kill him. But God would not let Jesus remain dead. Jesus would become alive again.

James and John speak to Jesus

Verses 35-45

When Jesus climbed the mountain to pray, James and John were with him (Mark 9:2-8). They saw the things that happened there. They heard Godís voice.

So James and John were sure, like Peter (Mark 8:29), that Jesus was the Christ. (See my note about Mark 8:27-30). So Jesus would become the future king. And he would rule on Godís behalf.

James and John did not know how this would happen. But they wanted to be with Jesus then. They had left everything to become *disciples (Mark 1:19-20). And they had heard Jesusí words in Mark 10:29-31. He had promised that they would receive good things. And there was something that they wanted very much.

James and John were not only *disciples. Many people think that the brothers were Jesusí cousins. And they were his friends. John called himself: Ďthe *disciple that Jesus lovedí (John 13:23). So James and John did not want to leave Jesus when he became important. They wanted always to be with him. So they asked for the seats that were next to his seat.

Jesus told them that they were thinking about the wrong things. They were trying to get important seats for themselves. But soon, people would cause many troubles for Jesus. Those troubles would be like a cup of bad *wine. Or, they would be like deep water. Those troubles would cause Jesus pain, and they would make him very sad. James and John should prepare themselves for those same troubles too.

The other *disciples were angry because James and John had asked for important seats. Only rulers would sit next to the king. And the other *disciples wanted to be important too. Clearly, they had not learned the lesson that Jesus taught in Mark 9:33-35.

Sometimes a teacher must teach the same lesson again. And this time, Jesus told the *disciples why he came. He came to be a servant.

Perhaps his words would cause them to remember the servant in Isaiah chapter 53. (See my note about Mark 8:31-33).

The *blind man called Bartimaeus

Verses 46-52

Jesus was travelling towards Jerusalem. Jericho was the last town before Jerusalem.

Bartimaeus could not see. But he still knew who Jesus was.

David was the great king who ruled in Jerusalem many centuries before. The Ďson of Davidí was another name for Ďthe Christí. (See my note about Mark 8:27-30).

People believed that the Christ would cause *blind people to see (Isaiah 35:5; Luke 4:18). Bartimaeus believed this too. So he shouted to Jesus. A crowd was there; the people wanted Bartimaeus to be quiet. But Bartimaeus continued to shout. This was his only chance to meet Jesus. So this was Bartimaeusís only chance to see.

Jesus asked Bartimaeus to come. Then Jesus spoke to Bartimaeus. Because Bartimaeus believed God, God had made him well.

And then Bartimaeus saw. But he did not leave Jesus. Instead, Bartimaeus followed Jesus. And they continued towards Jerusalem.

Mark chapter 11

Christ the King comes to Jerusalem

Verses 1-11

Jesus and the crowd were near Jerusalem. Jesus sent two *disciples into a village. There, they asked someone to lend them a donkey. A donkey is a small animal that is like a horse. It is able to carry a man.

Jesus wanted the animal so that he could ride toward Jerusalemís gate. He only rode it for a short way.

The crowd had been afraid that there would be trouble in Jerusalem (Mark 10:32). But when they saw Jesus on the donkey, they were not afraid. They were very happy. They remembered that God had promised to send a king, called the Christ. (See my note about Mark 8:27-30). And they began to thank God for that promise.

They used the word Ďhosannaí. That word is in the language called Hebrew. It means, ĎWe ask you to save us.í People said that to a great king or an army officer. They were saying, ĎWe need your help.í

The crowd said that their king (the Christ) would come on behalf of God. He would have Godís authority. And that is how the king would save them.

The crowd also said that the king was from Davidís family. David was the first king who ruled Israel in Jerusalem. He was a good king, who loved God.

People took their coats. And they took branches from the fields. They put these things in front of Jesus. His donkey walked over these things, like a carpet. People did that when a great king arrived at a city.

But Jesus did not seem like a great king. Jesus chose a little donkey. A king would ride on a large horse. Jesus rode alone. A king would have a large army with him. And Jesus did not have the beautiful clothes that a king would wear.

The *disciples did not know why they did this (John 12:16). But after some time, they remembered Zechariah 9:9. That verse describes this event. And then they knew that Jesus really was the Christ.

A tree without fruit

Verses 12-14

The donkey (small horse) in Mark 11:1-7 was ready to work. It was in the right place when the *disciples came. It let Jesus ride it. So it did its work for God.

But this tree was not ready. Jesus was hungry. He wanted its fruit. But when he came, there was no fruit. So the tree could not do its work for God.

That tree disappointed Jesus. Everything that God has made should be ready to do his work. And that tree is like many people. Everybody that God has made should be happy to do his work. But many people are not ready for God. He wants to come into their lives. But they send him away. They disappoint him.

The purpose of that tree was to grow fruit. But that tree had failed completely. Jesus said that the tree would never have any fruit again.

It is bad if a tree is not ready for God. It is even worse if a person is not ready for God.

The market in the temple

Verses 15-19

But even the temple (*Godís Great House) was not ready for God. God had come to his temple. (See Malachi 3:1-3).

Inside its gates, people were doing business. There was a market in its yard. Some people were selling the special coins that people used in the temple. Other people were selling birds and animals. People bought birds and animals there to give them to God.

The temple had a proper purpose. That purpose was certainly not business. The temple was a place for people to pray. People from other countries would see how the *Jews prayed. And then those other people would learn about God. And they would pray too (2 Chronicles 6:32-33). God wanted people in every country to know about him.

But this temple disappointed God. Jesus stopped the market. He told the people that they must take their animals away. He would not let them continue their business.

Jesus did all these things in a very strong way. But nobody stopped him. The important *priests were afraid because the crowds wanted to listen to Jesus.

And Jesus taught the Bible to the crowds. He told them about Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11.

Jesus teaches the *disciples to believe

Verses 20-25

Peter was very surprised when he saw this tree. On the day before, the tree was leafy and healthy (Mark 11:12-14). But Jesus said that it would die. And when Peter recognised the tree, it was completely dead. Peter did not think that Jesusí words would be so powerful.

Jesusí words were powerful because Jesus had Godís authority to speak those words. And God is very powerful. Jesus told the *disciples that they should always believe God. Even a mountain must obey Godís words. If a person believes God, God will do powerful things to help that person.

But a person who prays must do two things:

(1) He must continue to believe God. That person must not let other thoughts into his mind.

(2) He must *forgive other people. Then God will *forgive him too.

Jesusí authority

Verses 26-33

Jesus had stopped the market at the temple (*Godís Great House). And he was teaching the people.

The leaders asked Jesus whether he had authority to do these things. Really, they meant that he had no authority. The government did not tell him to do these things. The important *priests did not tell him to do these things. All the *priests did only the things that their leaders let them do. And the teachers did the same. But Jesus was doing whatever things he wanted to do. That is what the leaders thought.

Jesus told the leaders that he was like John the *Baptist.

Nobody told John that he should *baptise. John was a *priest, but the important *priests did not give any authority to him. All the people believed that God chose John to do his work. In other words, God gave John his authority. God is more important than any person is. So John did not need any human authority.

But the leaders did not want to say that God gave authority to John. All the people believed that God had sent John. Only the leaders refused to believe him.

So the leaders would not answer Jesusí question. And Jesus would not answer their question.

Jesusí authority was from God his father. But the leaders were against Jesus.

Mark chapter 12

The garden and the cruel workers

Verses 1-12

A servant does his work on behalf of his master. The servant brings the messages that his master sends. If someone is against the servant, that person is against the master too. If someone is cruel to the servant, the master will be angry.

A son has his fatherís authority. If the father is important, the son is important too. If someone is against the son, that person is against the father too. If anyone kills the son, the father will certainly *punish that bad person.

The master made a good garden. Fruit would grow well there. He chose men who would work in the garden. Then he went away.

But the men would not give any fruit to the masterís servants. They were very cruel to the servants. And they even killed the masterís son. In the end, the master had to *punish them.

Jesus wanted the leaders to know that they were against God. God had tried to help them. He had sent his servants to them. Those servants had spoken Godís message to them. But the leaders had not obeyed Godís message. They did not obey the Bible. They were cruel and bad men.

In the end, God sent his son, Jesus. But the leaders still did not want to obey God. They were against Jesus, so they were against God too.

God would certainly *punish them. But he would be good to his son. Jesus spoke about Psalm 118:22-23. The builders did not want a certain stone. But the master chose that stone. He made it the most important stone in the building. The leaders did not want Jesus. But God chose Jesus. And God would make him important. See Philippians 2:5-11.

The *Phariseesí question

Verses 13-17

There were three important groups who were against Jesus. They were called the *Pharisees, the Herodians and the *Sadducees.

The *Pharisees believed that the *Jews should obey all Godís *laws. And they wanted the *Jews to obey other rules too, which the *Phariseesí leaders had made.

The Herodians seem to be friends of King Herod. The *Jews did not rule their own country. Instead, the king of Rome (called Caesar) ruled. But Rome is a long way from Israel. So Caesar had asked Herod to rule Israel on his (Caesarís) behalf. But for a few years, Caesar had chosen a man called Pilate to rule there.

The *Sadducees were against the *Pharisees. We shall read about the *Sadducees in Mark 12:18-27. The most important *priests were all *Sadducees.

Jesus always taught people that they must obey God. So the *Pharisees came to Jesus with the Herodians. And they asked him whether he was against the government. Caesar demanded that people pay him money. The *Pharisees wanted to know whether people should pay that money.

The men who asked the question did not really want to know the answer. They were against Jesus. And they wanted the crowds to be against Jesus too. The crowds did not like Caesar. They thought that his government was cruel. But if Jesus told the people not to pay Caesar, then the Herodians would be against Jesus. And they could put Jesus in the prison.

Jesus did not have any money. So he asked the leaders to lend him a coin. And he looked at it. There was a picture of Caesar on the coin. And Caesarís name was on the coin.

So Jesus told them that, clearly, the coin was Caesarís. If he demanded his coin, then they should give it to him.

But our lives are Godís. He made us. He causes us to be alive. He gives us the things that we need. And he tells us that we must obey him.

So we should give our lives to God.

In the end, many *priests believed Jesus (Acts 6:7). Several *Pharisees believed him too (John 19:38-39; Acts 23:6).

The *Sadduceesí question

Verses 18-27

The *Sadducees said that they believed the books of Moses. These are the books called Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. But really, the *Sadducees did not believe several important things that those books teach. They did not believe that God will make dead people alive again. They did not believe that there are *spirits or *angels.

But the *Sadducees were important. The most important *priests were *Sadducees. So the *Sadducees ruled the temple (*Godís Great House).

The *Sadducees became important because they liked the government. So the rulers helped the *Sadducees.

These *Sadducees knew that Jesus had given a good answer to the *Pharisees (Mark 12:13-17). But they thought that they knew the true facts about death. So Jesus would seem to be a fool if he argued against them.

The *Sadducees told Jesus about a *law that Moses had made. The *lawís purpose was to help a woman after her husbandís death. If that woman had no children, her dead husbandís brother should marry her. You can read that *law in Deuteronomy 25:5-10.

Then the *Sadducees told a story about 7 brothers who married the same woman. They were all obeying Godís *law. But if dead people became alive, they would not be obeying Godís *law then. Godís *law did not let a woman have 7 husbands!

The *Sadducees were wrong for two reasons:

(1) They did not know the Bible.

(2) They did not believe that God is powerful.

But God is very powerful. He will cause dead people to be alive again. Then they will be like *angels; they will not marry.

Jesus told the *Sadducees about Exodus 3:6. God called himself: ĎThe God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.í Those three men died long before God said that. But only people who are alive can be Godís servants. So clearly, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were alive. They were not alive on the earth. They were alive in *heaven.

The teacherís question

Verses 28-34

Both the *Pharisees and the *Sadducees wanted to cause trouble for Jesus. That was why they asked their questions (Mark 12:13-27).

But we must not think that all the important *Jews were against Jesus. Many of them wanted to know the things that Jesus was teaching. These people wanted to learn.

This teacher asked his question because Jesus had answered the other questions well. The teacherís question was important. So the teacher hoped that Jesus would answer his question well, too.

God had given many *laws to the *Jews. And their leaders had made some more rules, too. The teacher wanted to know which *law was most important.

Jesus said that it is the *law in Deuteronomy 6:4-5. People should always remember who God is. He is the only God. So people should love him. They should give their lives to him. They should think about him. And they should work for him.

Then, people should obey Leviticus 19:18. They should love other people. And they should help those people. Then they will be doing Godís work.

The teacher said that Jesus was right. Jesusí answer was very good. These *laws are the most important *laws. Then the teacher said something extra. These *laws are more important even than the gifts that people offer to God.

Jesus saw that the teacher answered well. The teacherís words were like Micah 6:6-8. A person who does not love God may make many gifts to him. But God does not want those gifts. God wants people to love him. God wants people to obey him. And God wants people to be kind and fair to other people.

The son of David

Verses 35-37

Jesus wanted the crowd to think about something that the teachers taught. They said that the Christ was the son of David. (See my notes about Mark 8:27-30 and Mark 11:1-11.)

Jesus did not say that the teachers were wrong about that. Perhaps the teachers meant that the Christ belonged to Davidís family. That was right (Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 11:1; Matthew 1:1).

But the word Ďsoní shows the idea that the Ďfatherí is more important. And David is not more important than the Christ.

David knew this. Godís *Holy Spirit helped David to write about the Christ in Psalm 110:1. There, David calls the Christ Ďmy *Lordí, which means Ďmy masterí. Nobody calls his son, Ďmy masterí.

People who think that they are great

Verses 38-40

Some teachers were doing things that were very wrong. They wanted people to think that they were great men. So they wore long clothes. They sat in the best seats. They prayed so that other people would hear them.

But these teachers were not doing the things that good men should do. A good man would help poor women after their husbands had died. But these same teachers were taking money from these poor women.

God knew what those men were doing. He would be their *judge.

The woman who gave everything

Verses 41-44

Other people gave more money than this woman did. But they still had plenty of money. This woman gave everything to God. She had nothing else.

Jesus said that, really, the woman gave a bigger gift than anyone else. She gave all her money because she loved God very much.

Perhaps other people thought that she was a fool. But when she gave her money, she was also giving her life to God. She wanted him to have everything. And God would not disappoint her.

Mark chapter 13

Jesus describes future troubles

Verses 1-2

The temple (*Godís Great House) was a large and beautiful building. King Herod began to build it about 50 years before. He chose marble, which is a white rock. And he used plenty of gold.

There were yards, rooms and other buildings round the temple. These were all big and beautiful. The whole place was at the top of a hill.

But Jesus said that those buildings would not always be there. He was right. Forty (40) years later, the enemies of the *Jews destroyed all those buildings. Even the best things in this world will have an end.

Events before Jesusí return

Verses 3-8

Jesus began to describe the troubles that will happen before his return. There will be wars. People will be without food. And some people will even say that God has sent them. This will not be true; but many people will still believe them.

These things have to happen before Jesusí return. They happen because Jesus has not yet returned. They are the beginning of the troubles. Even worse things will happen before Jesusí return.

Troubles for Christians

Verses 9-13

There will be many troubles for Christians. Theirs is the new world when Jesus returns. So they should not be surprised if people in this world do not like them. Some people will be very cruel to the Christians. They will take the Christians to their *judges. And many Christians will die because they believe.

But Jesus said that Christians should not be afraid. God will be with them. His *Holy Spirit will give them the words to speak to the *judges. And Christians have an important message for everyone. They must tell Godís good news in every country.

And in the end, God will save his people. Enemies may kill their bodies. But they will always live in *heaven. There, they will be safe. And nobody will hurt them then.

The worst troubles

Verses 14-23

Here, Jesus described events immediately before his return.

Someone will make something that is very bad. We do not know what that thing will be. Daniel also wrote about it (Daniel 9:27; Daniel 11:31 and Daniel 12:11). People will put that thing in Godís special place. Their purpose will be to destroy Godís special place.

When that happens, the worst troubles will begin. The Book of Revelation says that those troubles will continue for 42 months (Revelation 11:2-3). After that, God will *punish *Satan and all the bad people. And Jesus will return to rule the world (Revelation chapters 19 and 20).

But before Jesus returns, there will be false Christs. These people will say that they are Christ. And there will be false servants of God. These people will help the false Christs. Many people will believe them because of the powerful things that they will do. So Christians must be careful. John told us how to decide if someone comes from God (1 John 4:1-3). We must not choose teachers who say the wrong things about Jesus. We must know the things that the Bible really teaches. We must give our lives to God; and we must let the *Holy Spirit teach us.

We must prepare for Jesusí return

Verses 24-27

After all these troubles, Jesus will return. He will not return secretly. Everybody will know about it. Even the sun and the stars will not remain the same. Everything will change.

There will not still be bad rulers who do wrong things. Christ will save his people; and he will *punish those rulers. He will be powerful, and he will be beautiful. And Godís *angels will be with him.

Verses 28-31

We do not know when Jesus will return. But we know the things that will happen before his return. Trees prepare for the summer; they grow new leaves. And we should prepare for Jesusí return.

When these things start to happen, the time will not be long. A person could live through all the events that Jesus described.

But that personís life will have an end. Everything that we know will have an end. Even the earth and sky will have an end. But Jesusí words are the words of God. And Godís word has no end (Isaiah 40:6-8).

Be ready!

Verses 32-37

The *disciples wanted to know when these things would happen. But only God the Father knows the answer to that question. Even Jesus did not know it. But he told the *disciples what they should do. They should be ready.

Before a master leaves his house, he speaks to his servants. He gives authority to each servant. Then the servant will be able to do his work. He tells them that they must watch carefully. They watch for anyone who may try to rob the house. And they watch for the masterís return.

Soon Jesus would leave the *disciples. He was giving them authority to do Godís work. And Jesus told them that he would return. So they must be ready for his return. They must do his work. They must use his authority well. They must be good and careful servants of God. They must not be lazy, because Jesus will return.

Mark chapter 14

An expensive gift for Jesus

Verses 1-2

The important *priests had decided that Jesus should die. But they did not know how to take him away from the crowds. During each day, large crowds listened while Jesus taught them. So these *priests needed to know where Jesus was by night.

Usually, nobody would tell them. But some *disciples were not happy with Jesus. This happened because of the event that Mark describes next (Mark 14:3-9). Among those *disciples was Judas (Mark 14:10-11; John 12:3-5).

Verses 3-9

We know many things about the woman. The Bible tells us who she was (John 12:3). And we know many things about her family (Luke 10:38-42; John 11:1-44). But Mark does not tell us these things. He only tells us how she showed her love for Jesus.

She gave something that was both beautiful and expensive. And she gave it all.

Some *disciples thought that Jesus would be angry. They were not rich men. They knew that the gift was expensive. They wanted to use the money so that they could help poor people. And they thought that the woman had wasted her gift.

But the woman did not waste her gift. She had a short time to show her love to Jesus. And she showed that she loved him completely. Soon Jesus would die. But this woman had prepared.

Those *disciples knew that poor people needed money. But they did not know what God was doing. By her gift, the woman showed that she knew. She was preparing Jesusí body for his death. That is why it was right to give this gift.

It was right to give an expensive gift because Jesus is a king. And the woman had to give it before Jesusí death. The women would not have the time to give these gifts after his death (Mark 16:1-8).

Judas decides to help the *priests

Verses 10-11

Because of the last event (Mark 14:3-9), some *disciples were not happy. But only Judas went to the important *priests. Judas knew that they were against Jesus. And Judas decided that he would be against Jesus too.

Perhaps Judas did not want Jesus to die. We do not know. But we know that Judas liked money (John 12:4). The important *priests offered him some money.

So Judas agreed to lead the important *priests to Jesus.

The *Passover meal

Verses 12-16

The *Passover is an important holiday that the *Jews have each year. For their special meal, they ate lamb (a young sheep). And for a week, they ate flat bread. Today, the *Jews still have the flat bread. But they do not still eat the lamb at *Passover.

Jesus told the *disciples how to find the room. Some people think that Jesus had already chosen the room. Other people think that Jesus did not know the right place. But God showed Jesus where the *disciples should go.

Some people think that the room was, perhaps, in Markís own house (Acts 1:12-13; Acts 12:12).

Verses 17-21

Jesus knew that a certain *disciple was against him. That *disciple was Judas. Judas was present with Jesus and the other *disciples. And Judas ate the special meal with them. But he left during the meal.

Jesus knew about the troubles that he would soon have. He knew that the rulers would take him away. He knew that he would die. The Bible says that all these things would happen. (See Psalm 22; Psalm 41:9; Isaiah chapter 53).

Bread and *wine

Verses 22-25

During the *Passover meal, the *Jews break bread and they drink *wine. They often do that at meals. Jesus told the *disciples that these things meant something.

The bread meant Jesusí body. Jesus broke it. So he showed the *disciples that he would die. Then Jesus gave a piece to each *disciple. They all ate it. Jesus had broken the bread so that they would all eat. Soon, Jesus would die on behalf of them all.

Then Jesus took the cup. He asked all the *disciples to drink a little *wine. That *wine was red, like blood. The blood meant Jesusí life. He would lose his life; in other words, he would die. And because of that, God had made a promise to many people. He would be their king; and they would be his people.

When God ruled his peopleís lives, Jesus would be with them again. They would not always be sad, because God was doing something new. That good thing was like the first *wine that comes from a new garden. People are very happy when they taste it. It is fresh and new. And it is the beginning of something good.

Verse 26

This song was from the Book of Psalms. Bible students think that it was, perhaps, Psalms 113 to 118. The *Jews sing those Psalms at the *Passover.

Peterís promise

Verses 27-31

If sheep have nobody to lead them, they go in every direction. If someone hits the *shepherd, the sheep run away. Jesus talked about Zechariah 13:7. People would take Jesus away. Then the *disciples would not remain together. Like the sheep, the *disciples would run away.

But after those troubles, Jesus would become alive again. He told the *disciples that he would meet them in Galilee.

Peter promised that he would not leave Jesus. Peter even said that he was ready to die with Jesus.

But Peter did not know how afraid he would be. He would tell people that he did not know Jesus. Peter would do it during that same night. And Peter would do it three times.

Jesus in Gethsemane

Verses 32-41

Jesus went to the garden called Gethsemane. There the *disciples slept while Jesus prayed. Jesus asked them to pray too. They needed to pray because of the troubles that they would soon have. They wanted to do the right things. But they needed Godís help. If they did not pray, they would not be strong. And they would not be able to do the right things during their troubles.

But the *disciples were not able to pray. They felt too tired. So Jesus had to pray alone. He knew that his death would happen soon. He felt very sad. His troubles felt like a cup of bad *wine that he had to drink. He even asked God the Father to save him from his troubles, if possible. But Jesus did not choose to do the things that he himself wanted. Jesus obeyed God his Father completely. So Jesus chose to do the things that God wanted.

Three times, Jesus came back to the *disciples. When he returned the last time, he did not again ask them to pray. There was no time for them to pray. Judas was coming. Bad men would take Jesus away.

Judas kisses Jesus

Verses 42-52

Men often kissed their friends. They kissed the side of the face. So it did not seem strange that Judas did this to Jesus. But Judas did not do this because he wanted to be friendly.

Judas had led many men into the garden. These men came from the important *priests. The men carried knives and heavy sticks. They had come to take Jesus away. Judas kissed Jesus so that the men would recognise Jesus.

Immediately, everyone became very confused. One *disciple tried to fight against the men. (It was Peter Ė see John 18:10.) Other *disciples were running away. One young man even left his clothes behind. People often say that this young man was Mark. But really, we do not know.

Jesus was the only person present who was not confused. He knew the things that would happen to him. He said that the men did not need to take him away by night. He taught all the people. He was not doing anything secretly.

But Jesus knew the things that the Bible said. And so these things had to happen.

Jesus and Caiaphas

Verses 52-59

The men led Jesus away. They reached the house of the most important *priest. This *priest was called Caiaphas.

Many important men came to the house. They had to decide what they would do to Jesus. They already knew that they wanted his death. But they had no proper reason to decide that. He had not done anything that was against the *law. He had not taught anything that the Bible does not teach. Everything that he did was completely good.

Some people gave reports about him. But their reports were not true. These people did not agree. So they argued with each other.

Other people said that Jesus had spoken about *Godís Great House. Mark says that their reports were not true. They were trying to cause trouble for Jesus. But they said things that were like Jesusí words in John 2:19. Perhaps those people changed Jesusí words so that they seemed to be bad words. These people did not agree also.

Caiaphasís question

Verses 60-64

Godís *law says that people must never say bad things against God (Deuteronomy 5:11). People had died because they had done this (Leviticus 24:10-23).

Caiaphas and the other leaders wanted to say that Jesus had done this wrong thing. Then they would say that Jesus should die. But they had a problem. Nobody had ever heard Jesus say anything against God. There were some people who spoke against Jesus. Those people were saying things that were not true. But they did not agree with each other.

In the end, Caiaphas asked Jesus to reply to those people. But Jesus would not say anything.

Then Caiaphas asked Jesus whether he was the Christ. The word ĎChristí means the future king that God would send to save his people. Usually, the teachers called the Christ: Ďthe son of Davidí. Jesus had taught that those words did not really show the importance of the Christ (Mark 12:35-37). But here, Caiaphas wanted everyone to remember the importance of the Christ. So Caiaphas called the Christ: Ďthe son of Godí. But Caiaphas did not use the word ĎGodí. Instead, he used a word that means God. Caiaphas wanted everyone to know that he would only use Godís name in a proper way.

Jesus replied with a clear answer. He said that he was the Christ. And he told Caiaphas clearly about the Christ. Jesus, the Christ, would receive the most important place in *heaven. God would give authority and power to Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ will return to be the future king.

Caiaphas understood Jesusí words. That is why Caiaphas tore his own clothes. People did that if they heard very bad words. They wanted everyone to know how sad or angry they were.

Caiaphas said that Jesusí words were false. And if they were false, they were very bad words. They would be words that Jesus had spoken against God. So all the leaders agreed that Jesus should die.

We believe that Jesusí words were true. He is the Christ. He already rules the lives of those people who believe him. And he will return to rule everyone.

The leaders should not have done these things. But we believe that these things had to happen. It was the only way for God to save his people. God *forgives us because Jesus died for us. We cannot save ourselves. We can only ask God to come into our lives. He saves us because of Jesus.

People hurt Jesus

Verse 65

People were cruel to Jesus. They hurt him. They covered his face. They showed that they did not want him to live. They asked him to speak Godís words. But they did not really believe that he ever spoke Godís words.

We too have done wrong things against Jesus. We did not hurt him. But we refused to believe him. We refused to let him into our lives. Like those men, we were against him.

The Bible said that this would happen (Isaiah 53:3). God let it happen so that Jesus would die on behalf of us all (Isaiah 53:4-6). But now we must ask God to come into our lives. Now, we must ask him to *forgive us.

Peter is afraid

Verses 66-72

Peter had promised to remain with Jesus. Peter had even said that he was not afraid to die with Jesus (Mark 14:29-31).

Peter tried to do the things that he had promised. He followed Jesus to Caiaphasís house. And Peter sat with Caiaphasís servants. There, people would tell him what was happening to Jesus.

But it was a dangerous place for Peter to be. People knew Peter. The girl soon recognised him. And when he spoke, people heard him. He spoke as someone from Galilee speaks.

Peter was very afraid. He tried to save himself. He forgot his promise. So he said that he did not know Jesus.

Peter said this three times. Then he heard the sound of a bird. (This may mean that he heard the soldiers. They made loud sounds at certain hours. They did this so that people would know the time during the night. This happened at the same time that the birds began to make sounds. So people called the soldiersí alarm Ďthe birdís soundí.) This noise caused Peter to remember Jesusí words in Mark 14:30. Jesus spoke those words earlier that same night. Since then, Peter had already said three times that he did not know Jesus.

And so Peter wept.

Mark tells us about the things that Peter did. Perhaps this is because Mark knew Peter well (1 Peter 5:13). But all the *disciples were doing the same things (Mark 14:27). They were all very afraid.

Mark chapter 15

Jesus and Pilate

Verses 1-15

The *Jews did not have power over their own country. So their leaders did not try to kill Jesus. Instead, they sent Jesus to Pilate. Pilate ruled Judea on behalf of *Caesar (the king of Rome). They asked Pilate to decide what would happen to Jesus.

Perhaps they thought that Pilate would want to kill Jesus. Jesus had said that he was the Christ. And the Christ was the *Jewsí future king. If the *Jews had a new king, that king would be *Caesarís enemy. So it would be Pilateís duty to kill the king of the *Jews.

But Pilate had his own ideas.

First, Pilate tried to save Jesus. Pilate did not like the leaders of the *Jews. Perhaps he wanted to make them angry. But also, Pilate was afraid of Jesus. Like Herod, Pilate thought that Jesus came from God (Mark 6:14-16; John 19:7-11). Pilate did not want God to be angry with him.

Pilate always wanted to feel powerful and important. That was why he liked to make someone free at *Passover. He decided that he would make Jesus free. But the crowd did not want Jesus. They asked for Barabbas. Barabbas had fought against Pilateís government.

Jesus had not fought against the government. But Pilate was afraid of the crowd. He thought that they might fight against him. So he did the thing that the crowd wanted. He made Barabbas free. And he told his soldiers that they must kill Jesus.

The soldiers hurt Jesus

Verses 16-20

Soldiers usually did cruel things to a man before they killed him. Here, they chose carefully how they would hurt Jesus. People said that he was the king of the *Jews. So the soldiers did the kind of things that they would do for a king. But they did those things in a cruel way.

They made a crown for Jesus. A crown is the beautiful hat that a king wears. But Jesusí crown was not beautiful. The soldiers had made it out of sharp branches that cut Jesusí head. It caused him to bleed.

A king would carry a long stick. The soldiers chose a stick for Jesus. But they used it to hit him on the head.

The soldiers did many things like that. They caused Jesus a lot of pain. They laughed because they had hurt him.

Then they led Jesus out of the city. They would kill him at a place called Golgotha. The same place is sometimes called Calvary.

The *cross

Verses 21-24

The *cross was wood, and it was heavy. Because of his pain, Jesus was too weak to carry it. So the soldiers told an African man called Simon that he must carry it.

The soldiers often killed men who had done something against the *law. They usually did it in a place called Golgotha. (This place is also called Calvary.) Golgotha was near Jerusalem. It was by the road. Many people passed that place.

The soldiers fixed Jesus to the *cross. They used *nails (sharp metal) and a hammer. They put the *nails through Jesusí hands and feet. Then they lifted up the *cross. Jesus hung from it; but he was still alive. He would remain there until he died. He would be there for about 6 hours.

The soldiers had already taken Jesusí clothes. They played a game; the winner got the best clothes.

The people near Jesusí *cross

Verses 25-32

The two men who died with Jesus were bad men. They had attacked other people; and they had taken things from those people. But the soldiers caught those two men. The soldiers wanted to cause those men a lot of pain. Then other men would be afraid to do the same things.

But Jesus had not done any wrong things. The soldiers put a notice on each *cross. The notice explained why the soldiers were killing each man. Jesusí notice read: Ďthe king of the *Jewsí.

Many people passed that place. They too were cruel to the men who were dying. And they were very cruel to Jesus.

Some people repeated the words in Mark 14:58. Mark does not explain those words, but John explains them (John 2:19-22). The people did not understand those words. But clearly, Jesus was saying that God would do something new. And that new thing was even better and more important than *Godís Great House was. These people told Jesus that they did not believe it. He had promised something new. But he was dying, and that would be the end of his promises. Before he saved Godís people, he would have to save himself.

Even the important *priests were saying these things about Jesus. The future king of Israel, called the Christ, would save Godís people. But a dead Christ cannot save anyone. A dead king could not fight on behalf of Godís people. Jesus could only do these things if he were alive.

Even the other men who were dying next to Jesus said these bad things.

The end of Jesusí life

Verses 33-36

Jesus reached the place called Golgotha at 9 oíclock. At midday, something strange happened. The whole country became very dark. It remained dark until 3 oíclock.

At 3 oíclock, Jesus shouted something. It was the beginning of Psalm 22. Psalm 22 describes the troubles that the Christ would have. It describes Jesusí death. David wrote it about 1000 years before Jesus died.

Jesus shouted it because he was alone on the *cross. Jesus had these troubles because of the wrong things that other people have done. He died on behalf of those people. This was necessary so that God would *forgive them (John 1:29; Isaiah 53:5). On the *cross, Jesus had taken the bad things that people do (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 8:3). But God is completely good; and he is against all bad things. So God the Father was not still with Jesus when he died. Even God the Father had left Jesus. So Jesus was really alone.

The people did not hear Jesus clearly and they did not understand these important words. Jesus said ĎEloií, which means Ďmy Godí. But the people thought that he said ĎElijahí. Elijah was a servant of God who had done some very powerful things. The teachers said that Elijah would come before the Christ (Mark 9:11). And Elijah would help the Christ. So the people thought that Jesus was asking Elijah to help him. They thought that this was Jesusí last chance. And they waited to see whether Elijah would come.

Jesusí death and the events after it

Verses 37-39

Jesusí death happened in a loud and powerful way. Jesus did not die as other men died. It was this that surprised the captain of the soldiers. He called Jesus: Ďthe son of Godí.

Immediately, powerful things happened in Jerusalem. The most important event happened at *Godís Great House. A strong curtain was in front of the most important room there. That room was special for God. The *priests did not go into it. Only the most important *priest went there, once each year. But that curtain tore completely. God had done it. He did not want his special place to remain separate from his people. He wanted to be with them. He wanted to live in their lives (1 Corinthians 3:16). And this had become possible because of Jesusí death.

Women who loved Jesus

Verses 40-41

These women knew Jesus well. They knew him in both Galilee and Jerusalem.

These women did not leave Jesus when he died. They were not very near the *cross. But they still saw his death.

These women also watched while the men buried Jesusí dead body (Mark 15:47). This happened on the Friday.

These same women would return there on the Sunday (Mark 16:1). They found that Jesusí dead body was not there.

They saw all these events. They loved Jesus. So they did not want to leave him. They were all very sad because of his death. But in the end, God did not disappoint them.

Many bad things happen in believersí lives. But in the end, God never disappoints anyone who believes him.

Joseph from Arimathea

Verses 42-47

Jesus died on a Friday. The time was 3 oíclock. Sunset was at 6 oíclock. After Fridayís sunset, the *Jews do not work. It is the beginning of Saturday. And Saturday is their special day for rest.

Joseph wanted to bury Jesusí dead body before Fridayís sunset. Joseph did not want to work on Saturday. So he had to bury the body quickly.

First, Joseph had to ask Pilate for the dead body. That was a dangerous thing to do, because Pilate might be angry. But Joseph was a brave man. And he believed that God wanted him to bury Jesus.

Joseph was an important man. He was a leader of the *Jews. And he was also a man who believed God. Joseph believed that God would soon rule the lives of his people. Because Joseph believed, he wanted to bury Jesus properly. Joseph buried Jesus as people buried a rich man (Isaiah 53:9).

Josephís workers had already prepared the place. They had cut a deep hole into the rock. There, Joseph put the dead body. And there was a large stone to cover the front of the hole. Joseph used that stone to close it.

Mark chapter 16

The *angelís message

Verses 1-8

When Joseph buried Jesusí dead body, Joseph did not use *soil to cover the body. Instead, Joseph put it into a small room, which his workers had prepared. This room was a deep hole that the workers had cut into the rock. It was in a garden.

After Joseph had buried the dead body, he put a large stone in front of the hole. This stone covered the room so that people could not easily go into it.

At Fridayís sunset, Joseph had done his work to bury the dead body. There was more work that the women still wanted to do. But the *Jews do not work on Saturdays. So Joseph rolled the stone into its place. The work would have to continue on Sunday.

So the women returned very early on Sunday morning. They came to put seeds and oils on Jesusí dead body. The *Jews did this for two reasons:

(1) They wanted to show love for the person who had died. So they chose seeds and oils that have a lovely smell.

(2) They believed that God will cause dead people to live again (Mark 12:24-27). Those seeds and oils are like the seeds and oils that people use to keep foods good. The *Jews wanted the dead body to be ready for the day when people will live again. They knew that their seeds and oils would not make a dead body ready to live again. But they still used the seeds and oils. And they remembered what God would do.

The women were trying to find someone who would roll the stone away. But they were very surprised when they reached the place. Pilate had sent soldiers there. But the soldiers had left. They had run away because they saw an *angel (Matthew 27:4). The women had not seen the *angel yet. But they saw that someone had already rolled the stone away.

So, the women went in. There, they found a young man. This young man was the *angel (Matthew 28:2-5). His clothes were bright white. They were like Jesusí clothes on the mountain (Mark 9:3). The women were very afraid of the *angel.

The *angel told them a message from God. The dead body was not there, because Jesus was alive. The women should tell the *disciples. And they should tell Peter, too. Jesus was going to Galilee. They should meet him there.

Jesus had told them that this would happen (Mark 8:31; Mark 9:9; Mark 10:34). And he had told the *disciples that they should meet him in Galilee (Mark 14:28). But they did not believe then. And they still did not believe. An *angel had come from God to tell them this message. But the women did not go immediately to tell the message to the *disciples. Instead, the women tried to run away. They said nothing about this event. They were too afraid.

The end of Markís book

A note about Mark 16:9-20

Bible students do not think that Mark 16:8 is the end of Markís book. But the two best old copies of the book stop there. It is clear that the last page of the book became separate. And some people did not know what the end of the book should be.

Mark 16:9-20 may be Markís words. But today most Bible students think that someone else wrote it. But it may not matter who wrote it. That is because its report agrees with the reports of Matthew, Luke and John. And it agrees with the other parts of Markís book. All these books say that Jesus became alive again. They agree about the things that he told his *disciples. And they agree about the things that happened after that.

If Mark did not write Mark 16:9-20, he wrote something like it. He had already written that Jesus became alive again after his death (Mark 8:31; Mark 9:9; Mark 10:34 and Mark 14:28). Mark had written that Jesus is the Christ (Mark 1:1; Mark 8:29). And Mark had written that Jesus is the son of God (Mark 1:11; Mark 9:8). Also, Mark had written that the *disciples must tell Godís good news to people everywhere (Mark 4:22; Mark 10:29-30; Mark 13:10 and Mark 14:9). All these things are also in Mark 16:9-20.

Mark 16:9-20 includes another important idea that is also in Mark 16:1-8. Here is that idea. Even after Jesus was alive again, the *disciples still did not believe. The book repeats that idea often (Mark 16:8; Mark 16:11; Mark 16:13 and Mark 16:14). The writer clearly thought that this was a very important fact.

So the writer of Mark 16:9-20 did not only want to tell people that Jesus is alive. He also wanted them to know that they must believe God. And that is also something that Mark writes often (Mark 1:15; Mark 2:5; Mark 5:34; Mark 8:12; Mark 9:23-24 and Mark 11:23-24).

Mary from Magdala

Verses 9-11

Mary from Magdala had a special reason to love Jesus. Bad *spirits had ruled her life. But Jesus had caused the *spirits to leave her. And then she began to travel with Jesus and the *disciples. She had helped him in Galilee (Mark 15:40-41). And she came to Jerusalem.

Mary did not leave Jesus when he died (Mark 15:40). She was present in the garden when Joseph buried the dead body (Mark 15:47). She had returned there with the other women (Mark 16:1). They ran away. But she stayed in the garden (John 20:14-18). And there, she met Jesus. He was alive again. She went to tell the *disciples. But they did not believe.

Two *disciples meet Jesus

Verses 12-13

These two people were travelling away from Jerusalem. They met Jesus but they did not recognise him. They walked with him. And he explained the Bible to them. They did not know who he was until later (Luke 24:13-35). Then they returned to Jerusalem. And they told the *disciples that Jesus was alive.

But the *disciples were not yet ready to believe. They heard these reports. And they hear other peopleís reports too. These things surprised them very much. They did not think that Jesus would become alive again. It was too difficult for them to believe that God would do this. But they should have believed. The Bible says that this would happen. Jesus had taught them that it would happen. And God sent both *angels and people to tell them that it had happened.

Jesusí message to his *disciples

Verses 14-18

In the end, the *disciples would not believe until they saw Jesus. But God wants people to believe even before they see those things (Hebrews 11:1-2). People should believe because God has given a promise (Hebrews 11:11-16). And God does not disappoint. He does everything that he has promised.

So, it is wrong not to believe God (Mark 6:6; Mark 9:19). It is wrong to refuse a message that God has sent (Mark 6:11).

But God is kind. He often gives people several chances to believe him. And in the end, he helped the *disciples so that they could believe.

And when they believed, Jesus had a special message for them. He gave them authority to continue the work that he had begun.

Jesus spoke these things to the 11 *disciples. Judas was not there; he had killed himself (Matthew 27:5). But the other 11 *disciples were all present. And they would tell very many people about Godís good news.

The things that Jesus said were not only for the 11 *disciples. The *disciples began this work, but they did not finish it. Christians are still doing this work. And they will continue to do it until Jesus returns. They must tell Godís good news to people everywhere.

It is good news. God will save those people who believe him. But it is also important news. People must not refuse Godís message.

Christians are not alone when they speak Godís message. Godís *Holy Spirit is with them. Sometimes the *Holy Spirit will do powerful things to help them. And then other people will see that Christians really do have Godís authority.

So, Christians would cause bad *spirits to leave people. That happened in Acts 16:18. Christians would speak languages that they had not learned. That happened in Acts 2:4-12. God would make Christians safe, even from snakes and poisons. That happened in Acts 28:3-6. And when Christians prayed, God would make ill people well. That happened in Acts 3:1-10; Acts 5:15-16 and Acts 14:8-10.

These things have not all stopped. God still does powerful things when Christians pray. He still works with his people. He still gives them the things that they need to do his work.

But Christians must never try to use Godís authority for their own purposes. And a Christian must not do dangerous things because he wants God to save him. So, an ill Christian may pray that God will make him well. But that Christian should also ask the doctor for help.

God wants his people to be careful. And he wants them to use his authority properly.

Jesus returns to *heaven

Verses 19-20

After 40 days, Jesus left his *disciples (Acts 1:3). God took him to *heaven. There, Jesus again had the importance that he had in the beginning. Jesus is the son of God. Before the world began, he was there with God the Father (John 1:2). God caused Jesus to be so important again because Jesus worked as Godís servant (Philippians 2:6-11; Mark 10:45).

The *disciples believed that this fact was very important. They did not only teach that Jesus became alive after his death. They also taught that God gave Jesus the most important seat in *heaven. See Acts 2:33 and Acts 5:31.

And so the *disciples went to do Godís work. You can read about the many events that happened. See the Book of Acts.

The *disciples went to many countries. They told Godís message to many people. Some people believed; but other people were against them. They had many troubles, but God was with them. And God did not leave them. He did powerful things. And he helped people everywhere to believe.

Word List

allow ~ to let someone do something

angel ~ one of Godís special servants in *heaven. *Angels bring messages from God.

baptise ~ to wash a person in a special way while people pray for that person. John baptised the people who came to him. The people were sorry for all the wrong things that they had done. And they wanted to obey God.

Baptist ~ John was called John the Baptist because he *baptised people.

blind ~ a blind person cannot see.

Caesar ~ the most important *Roman ruler. He lived in the city called Rome.

countryside ~ a place that is not near the towns.

cross ~ someone fixed one piece of wood across another piece of wood. This made a cross. The *Roman soldiers fixed people to crosses to kill them.

disciple ~ a student of a great teacher. Usually, the disciple travelled with his teacher and he worked for his teacher.

forgive, forgave ~ not to remember wrong things that a person has done. God forgives us for the wrong things that we have done. He chooses to do this, but we must change our minds. We must ask him to come into our lives.

Godís Great House ~ the special big building in Jerusalem usually called the temple. There people prayed and they gave gifts to God. Only the *priests went into the building. Other people went into the yards that were there.

Gospel ~ a book that tells about the things that Jesus did. And it includes some things that he taught. There are 4 Gospels in the Bible. They are the books by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

heaven ~ Godís home.

hell ~ the place where God sends some people when they die. It is a place of *punishment for those people who refuse to obey Jesus.

holy ~ special for God.

Holy Spirit ~ The Holy Spirit is God, even as the Father and the Son are God. But there is only one God. The Holy Spirit is always working in this world. He helps people to believe. He teaches them. And he is present in the lives of people who believe.

Jew ~ a person who is born from the families of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

judge ~ to say what is right or wrong, good or bad; A judge is a person with authority to say if another person is right or wrong.

lamp ~ a light to use in a house.

law ~ a countryís rules; the rules that God gave to Moses; one of these rules. The *Jews had to obey the laws that God gave to Moses.

Lord ~ a name for God or for Jesus. The word means Ďmasterí. But it also translates Godís name from the language called Hebrew. And in that language, Godís name may mean ĎHe is always God.í

nail ~ a sharp thing that someone has made out of metal. People use a hammer to put a nail through something. This fixes it against something else.

Passover ~ an important holiday for the *Jews. They eat a special meal on this day every year. They remember that God took them away from Egypt. They were slaves in Egypt and Moses led them away.

Pharisees ~ a group of *Jews. Pharisees went to a special school to learn Godís *laws. They tried to obey all Godís *laws. But many Pharisees did not like the things that Jesus taught.

priest ~ a man who offered gifts to God on behalf of other people. The *Jews had priests who worked in *Godís Great House.

punish ~ to cause someone pain. Usually, it is because that person has done wrong things.

punishment ~ a personís pain or trouble. It usually happens because that person has done wrong things.

Roman ~ from the city called Rome; or from its rulers or government.

Sadducees ~ a group of *Jews who did not believe that peopleís *spirits continue to live after death. They believed that dead people could not become alive again.

Satan ~ the bad *angel whom God sent away from *heaven a long time ago.

shepherd ~ a person who works with sheep. He feeds them and he keeps them safe.

soil ~ the top part of the ground. Plants grow in it.

soul ~ the soul is a part of a person that we cannot see. Our soul is in us while we are alive. It still lives after we die.

spirit ~ the part of a person that is alive, but which we cannot see. There are also bad spirits and good spirits. The *Holy Spirit is Godís Spirit.

wine ~ a drink that people make from the fruit called grapes. It has alcohol in it.

yeast ~ people put yeast into flour and water to make bread. It grows in the bread. It makes the bread rise.


© 2010, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This book is in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

March 2010

Visit our website: