New Testament Reading Reflection Week 2

Written by: Jeremy Schultheiss

Mark 14:50 Then all his disciples deserted him and ran away. 51 One young man (in greek: neaniskos) following behind was clothed only in a long linen shirt (in greek: sindona). When the mob tried to grab him,52 he slipped out of his shirt and ran away naked.


It’s easy to read the Bible and miss some details. I get it. There are a lot of characters, names, and places to keep track of at times. But a man that would rather streak through the garden of Gethsemane in his birthday suit than be caught by the Roman soldiers surely deserves his own reflection. 


Jesus has just been betrayed and arrested in this scene. One disciple tries to fight back and cuts off a guard’s ear. This young follower, described as neaniskos in Greek (this detail matters), decides to flee from Jesus and leaves his linen cloth (sindona) behind. Why would Mark, in the midst of Jesus’ arrest, insert this seemingly needless detail about a young man fleeing from trouble? Unless it’s because he wanted us to pay attention. 


Part of the genius in the Bible is the way it uses repeated words to link thoughts, events, or ideas together. When we read the Bible in an English translation some of this nuance is lost. That’s why pastors and Bible nerds everywhere like studying original languages to learn more about the meaning behind the text. 


In Mark 15 Jesus is buried, "46 Joseph bought a long sheet of linen cloth (sindona!). Then he took Jesus’ body down from the cross, wrapped it in the cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance."


It is not a coincidence that Mark uses the same word to describe Jesus’ burial cloth and the young man’s tunic. He wants us to connect these. The linking of these two events, the young man’s shame and Jesus’ death, is a reminder that all things are made new. The young man’s shame is not the end of the story, Jesus took it to the tomb with him. 


On the next page, Mary and Mary go to the tomb with the intent of tending to Jesus’ body. Mark 16:5, "As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man (neaniskos!) dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.”


By using the same word for young man, Mark is linking the young man in the garden and the angel who is the first to announce the resurrection of Jesus. The young man was previously naked and ashamed and is now clothed in white, the color of purification! 


The clothed young man is a testament that to be part of following a resurrected God we get to take full part in a resurrected life. That’s the power of Christ in us. That’s the restoration that Jesus came to initiate for each and every one of us.


The way of Jesus takes what is dirty, broken, and lost and actively restores.


All things are made new. Your shame, mistakes, and failures are not the end of your story. We are all made new and transformed by the resurrection of Christ. 


Cole Beshore

Over the past week, we have been reading through the first part of The Gospel of Mark. As I read this week, I was struck by how after both the feeding of the 5000 and the feeding of the 4000, the disciples seem to be unable to grasp all of who Jesus is and what he is doing. They put their focus on the problem in front of them instead of the fact that they have a personal relationship with the one who is performing miracles at every stop. The reminder for me this week is that it is easy for us to forget that God is still at work and He is more powerful than whatever issue we face. Part of why I forget that he is at work currently is because I fail to remember all he has done in the past. God, over and over, shows himself to be powerful and at work in our lives. This week, take a moment and be mindful of who God is, what he has done in your life, and how much he loves you! I will be doing the same as it helps me to be more aware of how he might be working in the present.  

Cole Beshore

In Acts chapter ten we find Peter is on the roof praying, he is also hungry, at this time God speaks and calls him to what Peter would think is an unlikely place. God is sending Peter to bring GoodNews to a roman officer. When Peter arrives at this mans house, he asks “why have you sent for me” Peter must now listen and hear what God has been doing in this person's life. Peter would not have thought God wanted to do something in this man or his house and yet this is where Peter is sent and must begin with listening. Peter must listen to the holy spirit, and he must listen to this mans story. 

Where is God sending you to go and listen this week? Are you gathering with friends as we wrap up summer? Maybe as you head back to school and see people, you have not connected with in a while. I wonder, what might God do through us if we take some time to listen this week?

Cole Beshore
Acts 10

In Acts 10, God declares in a vision to Peter that He is creating a church for His mission that would look different than Peter could have ever thought. Starting with Cornelius, God is going to show Peter that He is at work in all sorts of groups. The story of Acts is encouraging and overwhelming as the writer shows how God's church becomes an incredible force within the world.

As we approach our launch date, I am excited for us to see God continue to work in a similar way, drawing more people to Him and declaring His love for the surrounding communities through His church.

Cole Beshore
What is in your hand?

"What is in your hand?" In Exodus chapter 4, God comes to Moses and tells him to go back to Egypt and free his people from captivity. Moses seems to think that God has the wrong guy. While Moses protests, God declares who he is and how he will be with Moses by asking him this question—what is in your hand? God shows Moses that he will be with him and that he is powerful enough to overcome all obstacles.

Similarly, in Matthew's account of the feeding of the 5000 (Matthew Ch 14), Jesus tells the disciples they need to feed the crowd. They respond, "But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!" Jesus takes what little they have and makes it more than enough.

Sometimes I feel like the task ahead is too great and that we do not have enough. But God never seems to be discouraged by how little we have in our hands. As long as we are willing to turn it over to him and step forward in obedience, God is willing to take care of the rest. My prayer for us as a church this week is that we would be able to trust God in new ways and say yes to whatever interactions he may invite us into this week. 

Cole Beshore
What's in front of you?

As I have been reading through the book of Acts, I had an opportunity to reflect on a familiar story in a new way. Read Acts 8:26-40.

As some of the followers of Jesus are scattered from Jerusalem due to pressure from the religious authority, we find Philip having this incredible encounter with an Ethiopian eunuch. Before this encounter can happen, Philip must first obey the Holy Spirit’s directions to go south to a road. Philip finds himself in an uncertain place. I think I have missed the subtlety of this in past readings. He is not given much, just a general direction. When Philip encounters the Eunuch and crew on the road, he is given another set of directions: “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.” Okay, now what? No other instruction is told to us, but Philip seems to know what to do next. He helps the Eunuch interpret the scripture he is reading and then explains who Jesus is in the context of the scripture. Philip is primarily obedient to head in the right direction and be in the right place. 

If we camp on this and not move on too quickly to the result of the eunuch being baptized, we are reminded and perhaps challenged in the way we evangelize. Philip is willing to walk into uncertainty and even position himself in humility alongside or behind the carriage to see what opportunity God might have placed in front of him. Philip then asks questions and responds to the Ethiopian's questions. 

Some questions I will be asking myself in response to this are… 

  • When am I too proud to even place myself in a position to listen well?
  • Do I ask good questions?
  • Do I care for the people I am engaged with?
  • Am I obedient to the Holy Spirit’s lead even when it seems unclear?

I am excited to continue to be part of a great church that is passionate about impacting the community in which it exists! 

Cole Beshore

I love a good firework show, and the festivities that usually accompany a good 4th of July are my favorite kind. Food, sun, water, and games, it's a good day! With the celebration of independence just over the horizon for our country, 'freedom' will be talked about and celebrated.

As I have been reading through the book of Acts, the theme of freedom has struck me. In the story of the early church, there is much talk about people being set free in Christ. However, the reality is that at least part of this group was facing persecution. While part of the early church seems to be escaping it, (i.e. Peter and John never seem to be forced to leave Jerusalem), another group flees the city because of this persecution (Phillip and others).

Yet in the midst of this persecution that early Christ followers were going through, it did not seem to affect the way they speak about freedom in Christ. As the good news is preached in Jerusalem and surrounding areas, people are healed, demons are cast out and the followers of Jesus find the courage to continue to speak about God's love and what was done for them in Christ's death and resurrection. 

The freedom early followers are talking about is a much greater freedom. It is a freedom from that which could hold us captive, freedom from the things that would destroy our lives, the sin that separates us and breaks us. 

This week, we are grateful to live in a beautiful country, especially one that gives us the ability to worship freely. We are grateful for those that have sacrificed so that we could experience it. We are even more thankful for the freedom we have found in Christ! 


Cole Beshore
Life to the full!

If you have ever attended a memorial, it is often said “they lived a long full life.” But what does a full life mean? Have you found it? It is easy to fill our lives with stuff. We can fill our time, our days and therefore our lives with stuff. "Filling" our lives is no longer a difficult task; our culture reminds us that we should continuously be amused, entertained or busy. Does this equate to a full life?

Church planting is one of the most exciting things I have ever done. I am so filled with hope. Even in the frustrating moments, it is clear God is at work. It is fun to think about how God might truly reach these communities around us.

The Ranch is full of so much. It is a community that has been intentionally designed and is a fantastic place to live. But even with all it has to offer, it is missing something. It needs a church or more of the Church. The Ranch needs Jesus, and Jesus has sent His followers, His church. To be a part of God’s work is an exciting thing!

It is in opportunities like this, joining a church plant, where we get to experience the fullness of life in a new way. When we take a risk or choose a less comfortable path, we find ourselves living in faith. In moments of faith, we experience God's gift of living life to the fullest in unique ways (John 10:10). I think that when we say yes to what Jesus has invited us into, we have opportunities to experience this fullness in big or small ways. It is a wonderful adventure to be on, and I am grateful for it.

Cole Beshore
Don't flatline.

As we read the story of the church in Acts chapter 5, we see a that people clearly respond to what God is doing in their midst. There is also real resistance to the church. We are told that despite the high council’s warning against the disciples sharing about Jesus, the news quickly went throughout the city of Jerusalem. God continued to bless the church! and they continued to share.

As exciting as it must have been to be a part of the church in these early days, it was certainly not comfortable. There are moments of great highs where people are healed and those hearing about the healings are coming to believe in Jesus. There are also moments when people are afraid to be associated with them when leaders are tossed into jail or have their lives threatened.

It’s funny to me how resistant people (my self-included) can be to change or adventure, especially since it is in the midst of this that the best things seem to happen. Someone once pointed out to me that the only time that our life is steady and flat is when that little line on the heart monitor goes flat: you are dead. Life is full of tension, change, and adventure and this is a good thing! God is up to something in South Orange County! Though there are moments when things are not great, it is clear that God is at work and we can indeed celebrate that!

Cole Beshore
Who We Are.

Ephesians 2:4-5
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 

Paul in his letter to the church in Ephesus spends the first three chapters declaring to the communities of Jesus followers in and around the city who they are in Christ. Paul wants them to be firmly grounded in their identity before he gets to anything else. In Christ, even though we are broken, and are participants in a fractured world, Jesus' work on the cross and in his resurrection gives us new life. The life that we begin to experience now and will fully realize upon his return. 

I am excited about Mariners Ranch Church being an example of this new life in the community. God continually has shown himself to be present, and at work in our planning. Please continue to join us in prayer for how we can join God in what he is already doing. 

Cole Beshore
Stepping out

"Then Peter called to him, "Lord if it's really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water."
Matthew 14

I am challenged by Peter's ask to stand in the storm with Jesus. Peter believed that if Jesus called him out, then he too could stand on the water. Peter believed that he also could do the impossible. Sometimes even simple things like engaging in a meaningful conversation with someone can feel like an impossible task. More and more I find myself asking the Holy Spirit to lead me into conversations with people that might point them towards Jesus. Often even something as simple as this feels like stepping out on the water. I am confident that Jesus is already working; it's my prayer to join him in what he is doing. 

Join me this week in praying for conversations led by the Holy Spirit and pointing people towards Jesus. 

Cole Beshore
Traveling With Family. 

What a great joy it was to share with Mariners Ocean Hills Church last weekend about what we believe God is doing. I am so grateful for all who signed up to be on our prayer team and for all those who said they would be a part of the launch! It is a blessing to be on this adventure with such great people. 

Cole Beshore

We are praying for all the marvelous things that God wants to do in Rancho Mission Viejo, Ladera Ranch, and the surrounding communities. Every day as I drive by the new developments I am reminded to pray for the families that will call this place home in the coming years. I am so excited that the people of Mariners Ranch Church will be here to bless them.

Pray with us for the prosperity of the community and our church. 


Grace and Peace,


Cole Beshore