Mark 9-16 continues Jesus' life story, includes some parables, and ends with crucifixion and resurrection. Parallel to the end of Matthew.
One of the first things I notice is in chapter 10, when Jesus is discussing how divorce is wrong, He doesn't include the "unless the other is unfaithful." In Matthew, Jesus discussed divorce as only being justified if the spouse is unfaithful. This difference fascinates me simply because it is a written from a different perspective and an important aspect seems to be missing from Mark's version (or was added in Matthew's).
The next thing is in 11:14. Jesus has come up to a tree and finds no fruit on the tree and thus rebukes the tree and says "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." Was this His way of getting back at the tree for not providing Him fruit?? What exactly is the significance of this statement??
Then in 11:18 it discusses how the chief priests and teachers of the law feared Jesus and discussed how to kill him. Was fear one of the reasons Jesus was crucified?? This question sort of lets me jump right into the bigger question I kept pondering while I was reading: How do we balance the concept of free will and God already having our life planned out?? This concept has always driven me crazy because there doesn't seem to be a straightforward answer. Take Peter for example-Jesus knew that Peter would deny Him 3x before the rooster crowed twice, and this happened-but Peter still could have chosen not to deny Jesus. Does this passage explain the relationship of free will and Jesus having a plan for our lives?? and if it does-what is it?? It's one of those things that have always bothered me, and it really bothered me this afternoon while reading. The purpose of Him coming was to fulfill scripture-so He knew what would happen and when the time was right and everything. Yet, why then do we, as humans, still feel we have the choice of different paths in life?? Is this the concept of sin coming into play?? Is it the concept of giving our life to Him makes our paths straight and then we follow His will?? But what if we miss a step in His plan?? God knows that, then why does He let people go to hell?? When I get to Heaven, I think I am going to ask God-if I still care at that point.
Verse 11:24 is the last thing I want to point out. This verse is very good for those who struggle with prayer. It can be difficult to know that prayer is your only option for some things. I read this verse and thought about how you have to believe in what you pray in order to receive it-faith. Interesting.