Vs. 8, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.” The death toll from the earthquake in Turkey is now 279 as I send out this QT. Let’s pray for Turkey and that the Lord would use the Christians who are there as comforters and witnesses in this time of chaos. In this chapter, we have Jesus remind us of the signs of the end of age. We live in a pretty crazy time, though we do not not the hour or day…let us be ready!
Vs. 12, “Then they looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.” Sinners and murderers, yet….cowards! Jesus called them out in the parable of the tenants (vs. 1-12). But they were persistent and continued to try to trap Jesus to get the momentum on their side. They would go on to challenge Jesus on paying taxes (vs. 13-17), the Sadducees would give a hypothetical scenario based on the Old Testament law of marriage…with a twist of afterlife. Yet, they didn’t believe in the resurrection, so they used this story in a way to mock Jesus. But Jesus would reveal their ignorance of Scripture. We are reminded of the greatest commandment question (vs. 28-34), Jesus being the son and a Lord (vs. 35-40) and lastly, we are reminded of what is honoring to the Lord in what we give (vs. 41-44).
Regarding application…Giving Rightfully. Vs. 44, “They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Question: How much are we to give to Jesus? Whether we give 10%, 20% or give our time and devote to church…in the end it is inconsequential. Believe me…God doesn’t need our money or our time to further His church. God is honored when we give with the right heart! Question: What kind of heart are you giving God? A child that spent a whole hour coloring a page on a book to give to their daddy can be far more touching to him than somoene who gives him a $100 gift card for his birthday from his corporate job. As we grow in the Lord, don’t let the enemy fool you into a wordly view of giving. When you come to church this weekend, check your heart and give your spiritual offering and you’re physical offering with a right heart!
Vs. 3, “If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.” I think that’s a pretty good reason to give him your colt. Jesus is about to enter Jerusalem outside of Bethany (2.5 miles away). The Mount of Olives is elevated about 2600 feet, so it gives a beautiful view of Jerusalem. As Jesus entered Jerusalem, from the Roman perspective it was inconsequential (vs. 1-11). Their leader would ride on a chariot with many armed soldier’s, and here is Jesus riding on a donkey. Though, for the Jews, riding on a donkey was significant because only kings would do such a thing. We then are reminded of the fig tree (12-14, 20-26)…I’ll talk about that in the applicationj. Additionally, we see Jesus clear out the Temple from those who were making it a den of thieves (vs. 15-19). And lastly, we see Jesus show the weakness and pride of the chief priests, teachers of the law and elders as they came to challenge him.
Regarding application...Are You Bearing Fruit? Vs. 14, “Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.” This is a very interesting section because figs were not in season. Yet, when Jesus came up to this tree, He was expecting it to have figs. Question: Huh? Isn’t that illogical on Jesus’ part? Of course, the fig tree represented Israel. Now, how does this apply to us? You see…there are times in our lives when we are not bearing fruit. Times when we are in the valley of life, times when we are so busy…yet, Jesus still expects to see fruit in our lives. Even though it was not the season for it from our logical perspective…there is always a season for spiritual fruit from Jesus’ perspective. It’s time to start bearing fruit brothers and sisters! Review Galatians 5:22-23 and decide what you want to produce today!
Vs. 45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” And Jesus did exactly that…He came to serve. Many of us remember these events from the Gospel of Matthew that transpired in this chapter. The hardened hearts of those who wanted to justify divorce in their lives (vs. 1-12), the joy and beauty of little children (vs. 13-16), the desires for the riches of this world (vs. 17-31), The reaffirmation of Jesus’ obedience on the road to the cross (vs. 32-34), the selfish & ignorant request of James & John (vs. 35-44) and lastly, the healing of Bartimaeus (vs. 46-52).
Regarding application…Do You Need Mercy? Vs. 48, “Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” To understand this scene, what we want to realize is as Jesus was making his way through the cities…many crowds began to increase. Among all the loud cries for help and people seeking out interest in Jesus, we see Bartimaeus. Some scholar’s say, “Son of David” caught Jesus’ attention because not many addressed him with such a title. Notice how others in the crowd tried to silence Bartimaeus, but that would not discourage him. In our own lives, we have those who try to discourage us from crying out to God. But don’t let that stop you! A sinner needs mercy, a righteous person pats themselves on the back….Which one are you? Do you need mercy? If so, take the time to cry out to Jesus today! Mercy triumphs over judgement because of the blood!
Vs. 1, “And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.” Jesus was talking about the very next event we see in this chapter, the Transfiguration (vs. 2-12). In a way, this was Jesus’ moment of validation and preperation before he would enter into Jerusalem. It is not coincidence or bad luck that Jesus would come back down from the mountain to see all the chaos in the valley. The people were agruing (vs. 14) and there was a poor boy who was demon-possessed. When Jesus casted out the demon, It’s interesting to note that it wasn’t just a command to the demon, but Jesus had to also pray (vs. 29). Instead of rebuking the disciples about their selfish desires for greatness in the midst of our Lord’s anguish…Jesus patiently teaches them about kingdom truths (vs. 33-37). We also see a twinge a jealousy from the disciples that Jesus quenches from their emotion (vs. 38-41). And lastly, We must realize the ultimate ending of those who have turned from God and do our best to further his kingdom (vs. 42-50).
Regarding application…Everything is Possible! Vs. 23, “If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Question: How is everything possible? If you believe. At some point, we all must make a leap of faith in trusting completely in Jesus. And don’t misunderstand what Jesus is implying here. The context shows us that the disciples lacked faith in carrying out something under the umbrella of “God’s Will”. ”Everything” certainly than corresponds to that which would be under the realm of what God can do and will do through us. This is not some magic, hocus pocus…wave a wand like Harry Potter. God does not answer our beckon call like genie in a bottle. But, God can do things our doubt may think is impossible! Question: What are things in your life that seem impossible? God is bigger than all of our troubles. Cast your burden’s upon the Lord and He wil lift you up!
Vs. 11, “The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven.” It didn’t matter how many miracles Jesus did, the hardened hearts of the Pharisees were already decided. I love how we are told in vs. 12, Jesus sighed deeply…that shows some raw emotion from our Lord and Savior! In our chapter today, we have another miracle of feeding only, this time the number is different (vs. 1-9). The Yeast of the Pharisee’s (vs. 14-21) was used to illustrate the dangers of false teachers. We read on to see Jesus giving sight to a blind man (vs. 22-26), and Mark’s version of Jesus’ interaction with asking the disciples who do people say I am.
Regarding application…Do You Understand? Vs. 18, “Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?” I tend to be one of those people that never seem to understand the punchline of a joke. I don’t always get it. This is kind of what happened to the disciples too. They just failed to see the point that Jesus was making. Question: Do you understand? In the end times, there will be many who try to lead you astray. Be careful dear brothers and sisters! We don’t have Herod or the influence of the Pharisee’s (vs. 15)…but we do have others coming with authority telling us the “right” ways to live. That is why it is so important to have a “relationship” with the Lord daily (vs. 34) and know His word. Keep fighting the fight, find rest and trust in the Lord this week!
Vs. 8, “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” Mark reminds us that it is not the traditions of the Jews that made them acceptable to God (vs. 1-23). This was a very important fact for any who were Gentile. While tradition is not necessarily a bad thing, it is when it takes precedence over God. Jesus would quote Isaiah and remind all of us that it is a heart matter. In the faith of the Greek woman, we see a Gentile with much faith and Jesus again remind us that He is here for both Jew and Gentile. And we see snippets of Jesus’ love and ministry in the compassion of healing those who needed His love and healing.
Regarding application…A Clean Heart. Vs. 15, “Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.” Question: Do you have a clean heart? We think if we do this or if we don’t do this, we will be a good Christian. While we don’t look at eating unclean foods, we do look at other things that make us think makes us a more holy person. If our heart is good, it will produce fruit. If our heart is bad it will produce bad fruit. Eventually the condition of our heart will show through by our actions. Let’s find rest this week in the Lord and start with a clean heart!
Vs. 3, “Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, a Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.” Things are not always what they seem, they didn’t get it. How sad to think that Jesus was rejected from his own hometown (vs. 1-6). Many of the events we just went over earlier with Matthew’s Gospel. While the enemy seemed to be victorious over John the Baptist, there was no stopping Jesus (vs. 14-29). The compassion upon the many people is always a good lesson for us as we seem to get to busy to care for others in our lives (vs. 30-44).
Regarding application…Hardened Heart. Vs. 52, “for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.” Mark gives us some insight to the feeding of the 5000 and the discilples hearts. They didn’t get it. They didn’t understand the purpose of the miracle or even perhaps who Jesus really was. Even though they had just gotten back on their own missionary journey, their process of understanding still took some time. Their hearts were still needing to be softened. Question: What does this mean for us? Don’t get discouraged, don’t be afraid (vs. 50)…Jesus is so patient. He does not expect us all at one instant moment to get it. It takes time, it takes effort, it takes making mistakes. Though their hearts were hardened, it was a process…for they still desired to soften their heart. And that’s what God is asking of us too.
Vs. 19, “Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” Jesus would heal two people possessed with demons, Mark’s gospel gives us one of their accounts. In Jesus’ life, we see their isn’t much rest from opposition. But, Jesus would cast these legions of demons into pigs. Question: Why pigs? Why not pigs? Jesus was showing us that He is more powerful than demons, perhaps the pigs served as a sacrifice, and the casting of the demons on the pigs showed the heart of those in the town. Even the the man wanted to follow Jesus, it’s interesting to note that Jesus would tell the man stay and be a witness. The great faith of Jarius and the woman are also wonderful reminders people who put their trust in the Lord
Vs. 1, “Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge.” They say when you speak off of water, your voice carries easier. Question: Why did Jesus speak in parables? Story telling is powerful and through parables, Jesus would be able to share truth, yet avoid too much controversy. It was a perfect way to touch hearts who honestly wanted to know him and confuse hearts that had no desire. We are reminded of the parable of the sower (vs. 1-20) and the importance of the condition of our hearts. Additionally, the “lamp on the stand” reminds us taking His truth and sharing it for the world to see. Our goal is to be obedient to plant God’s word and be faithful in prayer and service (vs. 26-29).
Regarding application…Jesus Cares. Vs. 38, “Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Question: I wonder how many times we have asked Jesus the same question(s): Don’ you care about me? I thought you loved me? Why is this happening? And Jesus replied to them and to us, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Jesus is basically reminding them, of course I care for you. In big situations and in small situations, Jesus cares about what is going on in our lives. Yes, even when we are suffering…Jesus is there and He cares. None of us are immune to the storms of this sinful world, but this storm is momentary when compared to eternity! Keep your head up and turn to Jesus who can calm any storm of today!