Most of us have probably read the crucifixion accounts many times before. So does that mean the next few weeks in the closing chapters of Mark's Gospel are just going to be revision? If so, is it really worth thinking hard about? In fact, is it really worth coming to the studies at all?
Whenever we come to look at a passage of Scripture that's familiar, the temptation is to think we know it all already, and so not really work hard at studying the text. That generally means that the applications we come up with are ones that we've already thought about before, and so while they might be helpful reminders, we can easily go away not really feeling challenged or particularly encouraged.
Here are two important things to remember as we study Mark 14-16 together:
1. Mark has his own angle
Avoid the temptation to assume that you know the crucifixion already and therefore skim over the details - Mark is writing to fit in with his book's own unique purpose, and so his language, detail and ordering is important. Imagine you'd never read about these events before.
2. This is a crucial section to take to heart
Why? Because seeing what Jesus has done for us on the cross is what motivates everything in the Christian life. We can and should worship God with our whole lives just because the Bible commands us to, but, that will always come as difficult for us to do if we don't really want to worship Him. If, on the other hand, we really believe that God is worthy of praise then it will come as natural to us to worship Him. Thus, what really matters when studying the Bible is not just an increase of knowledge, but a change in our affections - and we do that by understanding God's character more. And God's character is supremely displayed in Jesus at the cross!