Krista Vaughn | Good, Good News
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Krista Vaughn

A Beginning to an End | Mark 16

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It is an end….to this book, this chapter, this testimony of a disciple.

It was only a few months ago that we started this study together. Together, Pastor Josh preached about the word, small groups discussed the chapters, and writers delved a little deeper each week. We learned from historical events about Jesus and the place they have today with us. Each week we grew a little closer. Each week we went a little deeper. Each week we came closer to the end.
But is it the end?

As today was designated to celebrate the eve of Jesus’ birthday, we can only reflect the time and words spent in Mark. Looking back at this week, we tied in how Jesus’ Resurrection feels like Christmas (I recommend viewing the sermon of this week): similar motifs but different times. It had a beginning and an end…but another beginning always follows shortly after.

So, no, this is not the end (unless you let it be). Just as Jesus’ Resurrection started a new path with the Holy Spirit, so does the end of this bible study hopefully start a new path for your personal relationship development with Jesus. No matter how many times you read the bible, you can always learn something new.

As we close this study with Mark 16, end this crazy year with Christmas, and start a new year of 2021, let’s begin the new year with hope and insight.

“Blessed is the man[a] who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord,  and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,  and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”
~Psalm 1:1-6

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Hidden Truths | Mark 13:28-31

Hidden Truths
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The bible is filled with many symbolisms, analogies, and parables, but what are they for?

As described in the Oxford Dictionary, a parable is a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson.

Symbolism is the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities.

Analogies are comparisons between two things, typically for the purpose of explanation or clarification.

Of course, some of these things were not given recognition until later in the timeline, but through our understanding now, we can just as easily see the effort given to help believers understand the truth and message that may more less be hidden from others.

In Mark 13:28-31, the fig tree is revisited:
28 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
As previously stated in the beginning part of the chapter and the message Pastor Josh spoke about, Jesus discusses the end times. In this parable, the fig tree is used to further the lesson about recognizing the signs just as they can recognize when a fig tree is coming into season.
Before this, the fig tree was mentioned in Mark 11 in regard to Israel not producing fruit when they were supposed to be. It is like this throughout the bible as well. Fig trees are used throughout the bible to further help believers understand what is being discussed.
The fig tree is also symbolic of Israel itself – It often symbolized the health of the nation both spiritually and physically [1]. Hosea 9:10 says,
‘Like grapes in the wilderness,     I found Israel. Like the first fruit on the fig tree     in its first season,     I saw your fathers.’”
(Oneforisrael.org)

Aside from the same symbolism being used throughout the bible, there were many times in the gospels that Jesus had to give a parable to His followers as well as explain them! God wants us to know the truth and gives us multiple chances to understand it and study it in different ways to truly understand the love He has for us…

What parables can you study more?

What symbolism and analogies have you come across in the bible?

What symbolism and analogies have you come across in the bible?

Jesus Questioned | Mark 11:27-33

Jesus Questioned | Mark 11:27-33
By Krista Vaughn
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Let’s talk about the big “A” word. No, not that one… I’m talking about AUTHORITY.
There are many types of authoritative figures: government, teachers, managers, bosses, parents. They regulate laws. They guide us through life. They provide jobs…but why do we struggle with authority? In a nation that encourages individualism, we have the tendency to defy authority, but is individualism the root of the problem? Not entirely. The main concern in individualism is when people lean towards the aspect of not wanting to live a life on other peoples’ terms. This is especially dangerous when we let that mentality bleed into our relationship with Jesus.

Now let’s talk about Mark 11:
27 And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, 28 and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” 29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” 31 And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 32 But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. 33 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” (See also, Matt. 21:23-27 and Luke 20:1-8)
In this passage, Mark mentions authority again. Again? Yes. How about a mini recap?
Mark 1:27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”
Mark 2:7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Mark 3:14-15 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons.
Mark 4:41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
Mark cannot emphasize the authority of Christ enough. He has authority over all, including your life. “Most of us want enough teaching just to get by and remain in control of our lives. Jesus taught with authority because holiness is not up for debate. Jesus taught with authority because the gospel is not an opinion.” (The Fellowship.site)

Jesus taught with authority because the gospel is not an opinion.


So why authority? Not just because Jesus IS authority, but because He also GIVES authority. If we truly let go and let God, doesn’t that mean we should also respect the authority around us? We honor up, we honor down, and we honor all around, so let’s live a life on God’s terms.
(Additional Reading:
Ray Stedman, The Fellowship, Preston Highlands Baptist Church)

Children of God | Mark 10:13-16

Children of God | Mark 10:13-16
By: Krista Vaughn
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Mark 10:13-16
13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

I am not the most relatable when it comes to children. Most of my interactions were through Vacation Bible Schools and Church camps, but my dear niece and nephew will always hold a place in my heart. I have not seen them for 6 years due to family complications, but one thing I have learned from all these children, is that they want to belong. They want to be loved. They want to be accepted.
The fact that Jesus brought the attention to children should be significant enough. As it is also mentioned in Matthew 19:14 and Luke 18:15-17, the Kingdom of God belongs to the children as well.
The old testament even mentions this: Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Then Matthew 18:2-6 explains the importance of believing in God like a child; eager to seek God, as well as the importance of their innocence and not causing them to stumble.

We should let them teach us.


Jesus focuses on the children, so should we. They are the future generation. They will be leaders for others. We shape them; they shape us.
They do belong. They are loved. They are accepted.

Not only should we teach them, but we should let them teach us.

The Transfiguration | Mark 9:2-13

The Transfiguration | Mark 9:2-13
By Krista Vaughn
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Mark 9:2-13
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one[a] on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi,[b] it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son;[c] listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean. 11 And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” 12 And he said to them, “Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”

This encounter with Jesus’ inner circle of friends takes place a few days after Jesus proclaims His death. If we look back, that discussion also tells the struggle Peter had in digesting the information Jesus said about His soon-to-be departure. They were in a place of disbelief and probably hopelessness. Now, they experienced another event that threw them for a loop, as the scripture says, they were terrified…

How many times have you expressed something silly because you were afraid or awestruck?

I feel sympathy for Peter for that reason. In those events, we try to normalize or downplay the situation onto a level we can better understand. In Peter’s case, he saw Jesus transform from whom was within while seeing the human representation of the Law (Moses) and the human representation of the Prophets (Elijah) having a discussion with each other. With Peter’s normalization of wanting to celebrate this encounter, he wanted to create tents (tabernacles) for them to potentially stay in that state for a time. In saying this, he ended up equalizing their authority, but God disproves that in the following statement:
“This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” (Luke 9:35) “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew 17:5)
Jesus is above the Law and the Prophets, not on an equal plain.

“This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!”


After this confrontation, they were given a better understanding of Who to believe in and have hope in, in the coming days of the cross and the resurrection.

I believe that some encounters we experience cannot always be justified to our terms of understanding the situation. It is in those moments we need to stop and listen to the main authority in our lives: Jesus. Then, the hope we have in Him will guide us through our journey.

(Further reading:
Grace Communion International; Enduring Word; Through The Word)

Matthew’s Transformation | Mark 2:13-17

Matthew’s Transformation | Mark 2:13-17
By Krista Vaughn

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“He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”” Mark 2:13-17 ESV Once upon a time in the city of Capernaum, there lived a tax collector named Levi. Now during the trying times of the first century of the common era, tax collectors were greatly disliked by people from all backgrounds, except the Roman Empire of course. Being a tax collector was a wealthy trade. It was the task of the tax collectors to make the monetary goal of the districts from the people living in it. The tax collectors even kept the surplus money. Now, having a career with dirty money was greatly frowned upon and gave them the titles of “sinners” by the Pharisees, and if they happened to work for Rome, traitors.

What about our fellow, Matthew? Well, in the book of Mark and Luke, his name is Levi. Levi stems from the tribe of Levi who consisted of priests, especially from the Levites…so a descendant of holy attribution took up a career known for deceit and thieving. AND being marked as a sinner from the Pharisees, people were not supposed to intertwine their lives with them unless they were to be labeled as “unclean.”
A broken man not wanted by anyone… Was there any hope? Yes, yes there was.
Levi began to hear rumors about this Galilean who preached around the city. He attended a few of the meetings, and probably started to feel a tug at his heart. How do I come to this conclusion? Because Jesus calls him to “follow” Him.

…Which brings me to an Art Historical reference!
This sculpture depicted was created by Michelangelo, and is commonly known as one of his “unfinished” pieces. However, Michelangelo claimed it was meant to be that way in order to describe the transformation Levi went through: from being a sinner to being a disciple.
It encapsulates a frozen piece of time. A transition. A transfiguration. A testimony.

Layer 1
Now how can a non-believer, such as Michelangelo, create a beautiful representation as this? Well, that is another story, but I do believe God can bring goodness from many situations, including from a sinner ;) Which brings me to the second part of the passage, although we will have to side-step into the book of Luke 5:27-32. “And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” This transformation led Levi to hold a celebration for Jesus and invite his friends. What a great way to fellowship! There, Jesus was comfortable in the presence of Levi with his friends. He welcomed them and saw them as people. He gave them the opportunity to have their lives changed for the better! No longer outcasts.

Ultimately, there are many things to take from this passage, but the main CATCH is about sowing. Jesus planted seeds during His preaching. From there, He was able to help those seeds of knowledge sprout into a lifelong journey of discipleship, for that is a part of the Great Commission: make disciples.

What we do, what we say, who we portray can all influence the people around us. It only took Jesus to recognize a man as a person who could be loved, to change a life.
And they lived in joy ever after.

Jesus Calls the First Disciples | Mark 1:16-20

Jesus Calls the First Disciples | Mark 1:16-20
By Krista Vaughn
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Mark 1:16-20
16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”[f] 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.

A few things to consider in studying the bible consists of understanding the context of the scripture, the culture at the time, and the chronological order of information. In this case of Jesus calling His first disciples, the focus is on Simon (who is later called Peter or Cephas), Andrew (the brother of Simon), James and John (the sons of Zebedee). All of the four gospels mention this encounter varying from perspective, and I would like to bring attention to the mention of how “immediate” the encounter was.

There are two different perspectives of immediacy I would like to discuss.

First in looking at context, in both
Matthew 4:18-22 and Mark 1:16-20, the disciples mentioned that Jesus’ followers left their career and current lifestyles to directly follow Jesus. Were they complete strangers to Jesus? Well, no. Let’s look at this chronologically.
In
John 1:35-42, John brings in a timeline detail to the scenario. In this part of the gospel, we learn that Andrew was already a disciple of John the Baptist before his actual encounter with Jesus Christ. And as O’neill Trull mentioned in a previous previously, John the Baptist was the “one who prepared people to encounter Jesus.” As we continue in the Book of John, Andrew followed Jesus and then told his brother, Simon about Jesus. Thus, began their discipleship, although it was only part-time.
In this, we see the immediacy in believing in Jesus and wanting to follow Him.

Second, we further our study in chronology and context as we now dapple into the culture of the time with the Gospel of
Luke 5:1-11. Luke brings to us the view of the disciples’ jobs at the time. They were fisherman. In this encounter, Jesus shows them a miracle, a representation of stability for their families, as well as an invitation to delve deeper into their discipleship and become a full-time disciple while literally following Jesus where He goes. They then take on the task of learning how to be fishers of men.
In this, we see the immediacy to delve deeper into their relationship.

Where does your immediacy stand?


Through this understanding, we now know that the disciples immediately followed Jesus knowing it was to increase their discipleship after the preparation John the Baptist made for them.

Where does your immediacy stand?
Is God asking you to follow Him or is God asking you to go deeper?
In either case, we are here for you!

If you want to see the in-depth version of this study, please check out what John W. Schoenheit discusses at
https://thesowermagazine.com/the-calling-of-the-disciples/

I would not have understood it as much without his guidance.