If you want to start with a Gospel, Mark is definitely a good choice. His writing is very concise and to the point, often grouping a great deal of information into a short space of writing.
Mark 15 finishes the Passion story as we all know it: Jesus being turned into Pilate who doesn't really want to condemn him but also doesn't really want a riot on his hands. The usual Passion story ensues but with a couple of details stand out. I always remember hearing the story of the two thieves crucified with Jesus, one mocked him while the other repented. In Mark, they both mock him in order to fulfill the Scriptures, "And he was numbered with the transgressors." Joseph of Arimathea takes Jesus body and buries it after his death. Another interesting thing we picked up on: In a previous post, we noted a passage mentioning Jesus as the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses. In this chapter, we are told that Mary Magdelene and Mary the mother of James and Joses were there at his death. Is this supposed to be Mary his mother? If so, why not mention her in that light rather than mention her as the mother of others. Any insight from our readers on this would be helpful.
Another thing to come out of this reading is the mob mentality. We typically think of the people turning on Jesus, but it becomes clear that it was simply the chief priests rallying the people into a frenzy to get Jesus crucified. This mob mentality is easy to fall into, not just in the time of Christ, but in today's society as well. So often it seems easier to go with the flow of everyone around us rather than stand up for what we really believe in. Another connection here to make is with Isaiah, where we noted that Isaiah warned against trusting and putting faith in the men that lead. In this case the people followed their religious leaders blindly in putting Jesus to death.
Mark 16 finishes this Gospel with the resurrection story (women going to the tomb and finding an angel) and then several appearances by Jesus to others, eventually ascending into heaven. Before leaving his disciples though, he commissioned them with the ability to cast out demons and speak in new tongues so that they could spread the news of the savior not just to the locals, but to all man. He essentially was commissioning them to be the first priests and missionaries.
That's all for tonight. We'll be back at it again tomorrow night with a new book to start in.