For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

-Mark 10:45


In most religions, gods stay at a distance from humanity, needing to be appeased with service or acts of devotion. The existence of such another god wouldn’t be big news. But Mark is bursting at the seams with excitement regarding what he has to share about God! With an almost breathless eagerness, Mark showcases in his Gospel who Jesus is and what he has done. At the heart of his message is the one, true God who came not only to serve humanity but to sacrifice himself for them.


Mark’s Gospel is composed from the eyewitness accounts of Peter, one of Jesus’s disciples. With Peter, however, the reality of a sacrificial savior did not at first sit right.


Peter could champion the displays of power at the beginning of Jesus’s ministry. Jesus was bringing God’s kingdom, confronting evil and cultivating restoration. Jesus was doing something big, healing people and performing miracles!


But then, Jesus lets his disciples in on the climax of his earthly mission. He explains that he is going to suffer, face rejection, die and then rise again. Peter quickly rebukes Jesus, thinking he’s saving Jesus from humiliation. In Peter’s mind, God’s promised Savior is a king with great military strength who will defeat the Romans and liberate Israel from their rule! But Jesus cannot be deterred. He is resolved to sacrifice himself, and he claims that anyone who wants to be his disciple must do the same. “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me,” Jesus says (Mark 8:34).


Shortly before his death, Jesus practices Passover, a Jewish tradition that celebrates Israel’s liberation from slavery through the sacrifice of a lamb. With his disciples, Jesus reinterprets Passover to be about him: he is humanity’s liberator from sin and death through the sacrifice of his own life.


After the conclusion of this meal, Mark records that Jesus is “grieved to the point of death,” knowing the anguish that lies before him. He cries to his Father, “Remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will (Mark 14:36).” Jesus is ready to take up his cross.


The Jewish religious leaders arrest Jesus and put him on trial before the Roman government. Jesus is accused, tortured, mocked and hung on a cross. While he has the power to free himself, he surrenders his strength.


“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus cries out with his final breath, and then he gives up his life (Mark 15:34). A Roman soldier declares, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” At last, someone who recognizes that at the heart of God is his sacrificial love.


Those of us who recognize the crucified Jesus as our king are called to follow in Christ’s footsteps and sacrifice our lives for others. But this new way of life doesn’t come naturally to us, does it?


Peter understands our struggle. When Jesus was being interrogated and tortured, someone asked Peter, “Aren’t you one of Jesus’s followers?” Afraid that he might face condemnation if he was associated with Jesus, Peter denied Jesus three times.


But Peter was not rejected by God because of his denial. After Jesus’s resurrection, Peter accepted Christ’s sacrifice on his behalf, and his previous denial made him all the more grateful and passionate about God’s love and forgiveness in his life. Peter went on to be a leader in the early church, sacrificing his life to share the Gospel with others. As we see through Peter’s story, living a sacrificial life as a disciple of Jesus comes from embracing His sacrifice for you in humble gratitude.


RESPOND: Take a moment to ask God to give you a deeper understanding and appreciation of Jesus’ sacrifice, that you might follow in his footsteps.

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Encounter God through his Word

with Renew Devotionals

 

How do you grow in your faith? What does it look like to become closer with God? 

 

The Bible is God's gift to us that we might know Him and His great love for us! And it is knowing God and his love that fuels a journey of spiritual growth and faithful living. 

 

Centered on God's Word, Renew’s devotionals dive deep and shine clarity on Scripture's teaching. Drawing out tangible application, devotionals weave together your story with the Bible's narrative.

Meet with God anywhere! 

Listen to a 10 minute devotional with scripture, teaching and a worship song!

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FOUNDER & AUTHOR

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"I doubted God’s existence for the first time when I was eleven years old on the night of New Year's Eve. A Christian worldview was all I had ever known. Too anxious to sleep, I found my dad’s laptop and googled “good bible verses.” As you might have expected, this google search did not bring an end to my doubting. 

For the next year, I was unable to shake the fear, anxiety and loneliness that doubt brought on. I found myself wondering, if God and an eternal existence with him weren’t real, then what was the purpose of life? I finally decided to face my questions and look to God and his Word for answers. I started in Genesis and read through Revelation, and then I read through again and again. As time went on, through the help of good mentors, teachers, books and eventually seminary classes, God began to reveal himself to me in the Bible.  My quest for answers transformed into a relationship, and that relationship with God is deepened each time I meet him in his Word.  

 

I know how daunting it can be to approach the Bible, so I wanted to create something to help others in their walks of faith. I have experienced so much purpose and joy, so much fulfillment and peace in knowing God through his Word, and I wanted to share that with others. So, I created Renew. I pray that God uses the devotionals to bring you into a deeper, richer relationship with him."

-Grace 

GRACE THWEATT

CONTRIBUTORS

JUSTIN LEU

Producer

KAREN HENSON
 
Content Editor 

Dallas Theological Seminary: M.A.C.E.

LESLIE PEACOCK
 
Content Editor 

Covenant Theological Seminary: M.A.C.

MADELEINE GRIEGE

Social Media Management

DEVON CURRY

Instrumental Music

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