Introduction: Sanctify them by the Truth. Thy Word is Truth. —John 17:17
“Thy Word is Truth” (John 17:17). “The grass withers, the flower fades; but the Word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8). “The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword…” (Hebrews 4:12). “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
The Word of God is Truth. It is Good News. The meditations which follow are based on the Gospel readings in the daily lectionary found in the Book of Common Prayer, and the Simplified Liturgy of the Hours which I compiled. The weekday readings for weeks one through five are from the first ten chapters of the Gospel of Mark. The Sunday readings and those during the week of Ash Wednesday are from the Gospel of John. But the primary focus of our meditations will be on Mark. Why? Mark was the first of the Gospel writers. Mark was enthusiastic about the message of Good News, and yet, his Gospel is the most simple and straightforward of the four Biblical Gospels. Mark’s focus is the Passion of our Lord—Jesus’ sacrifice that brought salvation to mankind. Fully one third of his Gospel, chapters 11-16, is dedicated to the events of the final week of our Lord’s incarnate life. But the first ten chapters describe Jesus’ three-year ministry and preparation for His Passion. It is upon these chapters that we will concentrate. Why? Because Mark has something to say to each one of us. He is speaking the Word of Truth. His is a message of hope and redemption.
The message, though, can never be divorced from the man. God has chosen to make known His revelation to mankind through fallible human messengers. The Gospels are no different. The four Gospel narratives we have in our Bible each reflect the personality and experiences of the four evangelists. Mark was a man who failed in his early ministry, but by grace experienced redemption. The loving care of our Lord, through the leadership of the Church, informed and influenced Mark’s presentation of the Gospel. His message has something to say to each one of us. Both Barnabas, his cousin, and Peter, who himself knew failure and redemption, helped Mark overcome his early failings. And as we shall see, these first ten chapters of his Gospel are most probably reflections of the stories that he heard from his mentor, St. Peter.
In the meditations which follow, we will examine not only the Word, but the man who brings us the Word. Each Sunday we will look at an aspect of the life and experience of Mark. These early chapters of his Gospel are an expression of his experience of our Lord’s redemption, and have been a hallmark of faith for Christians in every century. We have much to learn from Mark.
The lessons during the week of Ash Wednesday, as noted above, are from John’s Gospel. They lay a very good framework for us to enter into meditation upon Mark’s Gospel. And reference will be made to the Johannine lessons each Sunday. But our focus will be on the Word of Truth made manifest in the first ten chapters of Mark’s Gospel. If you want a meditative study of the final six chapters of Mark, I wrote a booklet of Lenten meditations on the Passion in Mark’s Gospel in 2013. If you would like a copy of those meditations, please let me know and I will e-mail a pdf copy to you.
Mark presents Jesus as always looking to and journeying toward Jerusalem. In these readings and meditations, let us join Him as we make our Lenten pilgrimage, journeying to the New Jerusalem.
One thought on “Thy Word is Truth”
I would like your 2013 Mark meditation. Enjoying your blog. Just finishing an almost year long group study of Mark here!