Have you ever taken a helicopter ride over your home area? It would certainly change your perspective on the setting and details of your neighborhood, wouldn’t it? You would be able to see the amount of open space, the variety of roofs and garden areas, as well as the size of your own property compared to your neighbors. It would give you an opportunity to view “the big picture” so the next time you drive down your street or take a walk around the block, you would notice different things and have a very new way to understand what you are seeing.
The same thing happens when you decide to read a whole book of the Bible in a short amount of time. We tend to read or study one episode, a few verses, or possibly a chapter, and focus on the content of only a small part of a book. Perhaps your pastor or teacher briefly explains the setting or context of that short passage, but rarely are we challenged to really look at an entire book from the perspective of a “helicopter ride”. With this in mind, you are invited during this week to actually read for yourself (or listen audibly to) the entire Gospel that Mark wrote for the benefit of the Gentile believers in Rome who were experiencing severe persecution. It is an action-packed presentation of the life of Jesus as He performed miracles, traveled throughout the whole region, and taught His inexperienced disciples what it means to serve and to sacrifice for the sake of those whom you love.
Why not look at your calendar and set aside about 80 to 90 minutes (either in 1 or 2 segments), pick up your favorite translation, and then simply read the Book of Mark in its entirety? You might want to just jot down a few phrases or events that impress you, but for now the point is to “take a helicopter ride” so when you study each chapter for the next 12 weeks, you will see it in the light of the entire story of Jesus.