During June at Gospel in the City we’re returning to Mark’s gospel for a 4 part series we’re calling “Kingdom Secrets”. Focusing on chapters 3 and 4, we’ll see how Jesus is rejected by people, including his own family, and how he begins to build a new family in God’s kingdom.
We will be thinking about our witness in the workplace by answering the question “if Jesus is God why don’t more people believe in him?” through four key passages:
- 7 June: “Far from the madding crowd” (Mark 3:6-21)
- 14 June: “The strong man bound” (Mark 3:20-35)
- 21 June: “The four soils” (Mark 4:1-20)
- 28 June: “The secret word” (Mark 4:21-34)
In the run-up to Easter, we are returning to Mark’s Gospel after a couple of months’ break. After the excitement and enthusiasm of the early days of Jesus’ public ministry, the mood has turned sour as Jesus is challenged again and again about his unique claims.
We’re going to be looking at five “conflict stories” in Mark 2-3. In each we’ll see how Jesus’ claims are at the same time wonderfully good news and strangely controversial. Ultimately, we’ll see that Jesus’ commitment to bringing life sets in motion the events that lead to his death.
- 08 Mar The Christ who blasphemes Mark 2:1-12
- 15 Mar The Christ who eats with sinners Mark 2:13-17
- 22 Mar The cutting-edge Christ Mark 2:18-22
- 29 Mar Christ the law-breaker Mark 2:23-28
- 05 Apr The Christ you want to kill Mark 3:1-6
- 12 Apr Dead Man Walking: the Case for the empty tomb
This series will be great for anyone exploring what Jesus’ life was all about, and there will lots for Christians to chew on as we consider together what it means to follow a controversial Christ.
Our speakers for this series are Moore Casement (Cornhill Belfast), Sam Bostock (Union College), Christoph Ebbinghaus (Kirkpatrick Memorial Presbyterian Church) and Jim Crooks (the Crescent Church). The series will finish in Easter week with a special talk from Stephen Shaw QC, “Dead Man Walking: the Case for the empty tomb” (12 April).
A copy of a flyer for this series is available to view and download here. Feel free to share this with anyone you know who may be interested.
Some people, and some messages, seem to command a hearing. For most of the last two thousand years, in most of the world, Jesus and his message of the good news of God have created just such a response. The gospel writer Mark tells us that at the beginning of his public ministry Jesus went into Galilee saying “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
In the crowded religious marketplace of 1st century Palestine, Jesus was immediately recognised as a uniquely authoritative voice. Since then few people have felt able to ignore Jesus’ message. But perhaps in Belfast today we find it harder to understand exactly why the people who first heard Jesus asked themselves, “What is this? A new teaching with authority!” (Mark 1:22)
In this series of four lunchtime Bible readings in the first chapter of Mark’s Gospel, we’re aiming to go back to those heady early days of Jesus’ ministry and see for ourselves what it was that made Jesus and his gospel so compelling.
12th Oct The Voice of God (Mark 1:1-11)
19th Oct A top line summary of the entire Bible (Mark 1:12-15)
26th Oct Listen to the boss! (Mark 1:16-34)
2nd Nov Words of life (Mark 1:35-45)
Sam Bostock (Gospel in the City)
Moore Casement (Cornhill Training Course, Belfast)
Martyn Cowan (Union Theological College, Belfast)
Join us upstairs in Caffe Nero on Fountain St (1 min from City Hall), 1:10-1:40pm, for lunch, a reading from Mark’s Gospel and a short talk. Sandwiches are available (suggested donation £3).