It’s here! It’s here!
I feel like a child on Christmas morning…though it’s Lent morning.
Perhaps I should take a more somber tone.
But for me, one of the most transformative seasons of the year is here.
Today is Valentine’s Day, Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of Lent all wrapped into one. This marks a powerful season in the church calendar, one in which we ready our hearts for the coming resurrection.
This simple commitment requires reading less than one-half chapter each day, but if you dive in, you dive in, you’ll find your life transformed…
Mark’s Gospel spends no time describing Jesus’ birth, childhood, genealogical inheritance. He rushes straight into the action without a moment to spare. He uses the word euthus, meaning “immediately, directly, straightaway, at once” 11 times in chapter 1 alone.
Bonus challenge: Star each occurrence of these words as you read along in your Remarkable workbook.
Like a movie whose opening scene launches straight into the car chase, the curtain peels back and we’re greeted with a strange, camel-covered fellow named John the Baptizer who proceeds to proclaim a coming Messiah. Without skipping a beat, the Messiah himself enters the act and John baptizes him.
“Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’” –Mark 1:10-11
The Greek word, schizomenous, meaning “to tear open, cleave, split, rent asunder” is used only one other time in Mark’s Gospel—at Christ’s death.
Mark 15:38 describes the veil between heaven and earth being ripped open. This symbol would remind the Jewish audience of the curtain inside the temple that kept man from God being rent from top to bottom.
It’s interesting to note that Matthew and Luke tame their language when they retell Jesus’ baptism. Rather than use the word meaning “to tear open,” they use a more passive approach of “was opened” (Matthew 3:16, Luke 3:21).
Mark’s use of the violent, jolting word meaning “tear open” indicates an important truth.
At Christ’s baptism and at Christ’s death, heaven comes to earth.
Through Christ, God tears through all that stands between us and Him.
God isn’t passively waiting for our invitation, patiently waiting at the doorstep to be let in. God is ripping open the heavens and tearing down the walls to unleash his kingdom and power on earth.
The best part?
God is still tearing in.
The Kingdom of God is tearing in around our dinner tables and in our church pews, in doctor’s offices and in cubicles, in the carpool pickup line and even while we’re on hold with the customer service agent.
The Kingdom of God tears in whenever we allow Christ’s love to saturate us and spill out onto those around us. Dripping with the love and grace of Christ, we splash it out onto those around us.
How will you be a Kingdom-bringer today?
How have you seen God’s kingdom tearing into your life?
It’s not too late to join us in studying this amazing Gospel Remarkable: 40 Days in the Gospel of Mark. The book includes the Gospel of Mark divided into 40 readings, 40 devotions, and 40 sets of reflection questions. Click here to buy a copy of Remarkable.
Or….ask a long-distance BFF, co-worker, neighbor, small group to join you. Click here to buy a 4-pack of Remarkable workbooks for you and some of your friends.