Mark 16

Vs. 4, “But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.”  Question: Did Jesus use his mighty strength to roll away the rock?  Did he need it to get out of the cave?  I think not.  The rock was rolled away for the benefit of the women who came to pay their respect for Jesus.  And this death on the cross is now life through the resurrection!  The resurrection reminds us that Jesus was victorious over the enemy!  We also see the apostles were given extra power through signs and wonders early on (vs. 17-18), they did not have the completed Bible at that time.

 

Regarding application…Do you believe?  Vs. 11, “When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.”  Question: Can we blame them?  They were in mourning because Jesus’ death was so abrupt and so violent.  Jesus’ public ministry was shorter than just one term of our President in the US.  And the excruciating pain and quick death on the cross was especially sobering.  This isn’t shared for us to rebuke the followers of Jesus, rather, it is shared to remind us we don’t believe in someone who was defeated.  When life seems hopeless and we are against the ropes…will you believe that Jesus can help you overcome?  Let go of your doubts and trust in the Lord!

Matthew 16

Vs. 12, “Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”  The Pharisees and Sadducees were normally in opposition with each other, but here they united to challenge Jesus (vs. 1-12).  Question: How could they demand a sign?  Jesus had just recently fed 5000 and 4000 miraculously and in addition to all his other healings….yet they refused to see what was so evident.  They were blind spiritually and were now trying to lead others blind.  That is why Jesus would warn the disciples to not fall into their false teachings.  We also see Peter’s confession about who Jesus is (I’ll expound on this in the application section) (vs 13-20).  And sadly, we see Jesus letting the disciples know what the future would look like as they traveled to Jerusalem (vs. 21-28).  I don’t think any of us would have responsded any differently than Peter did.  Who wants to see someone we love talk about their death?  But Jesus would use this response as a reminder to all of us that we too must bear our cross and die to ourselves!

 

Regarding application…Who is Jesus? Vs. 13, “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”  A few times prior to this…when Jesus did mind-boggling miracles, the disciples would blurt out that Jesus must be the son of man.  Understandable.  But, Jesus now approaches them with a very honest and introspective question. Question: Who am I?  Notice the intial response…some say John the Baptist, Elijah, even Jeremiah!  It’s almost like they are not sure if this is a loaded question.  But good old Peter would blurt out, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”  Question: How did Peter know this?  Because the Father in heaven revealed it to his heart (vs. 17).  And ever since, Jesus has fulfilled his prophecy of the church that Peter would lead from the book of Acts.  When we believe in Jesus, nothing can overcome us (vs. 18).  I believe there is great value in asking ourselves who Jesus is more often.  If He is the Son of God…what is our appropriate response to him?  Turn to Jesus today and find rest in Him!

Matthew 10

Vs. 7, “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.”  In our previous chapter, Jesus would remind them the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few.  Now we see Jesus take action and send out the twelve apostles (sent out ones) into the kingdom.  The Lord would first send them out to the Jews and then to the Gentiles, this was a different calling than Jesus would give to the church in Matthew 28.  I’m sure there was much hesitation, but Jesus would remind them that they would be provided all things.  In fact, they were not to bring anything with them!  It would not be easy, but it would be a ministry of faith.  Jesus would exhort them to be both wise and innocent (vs. 16).

 

Regarding application…Finding Our Life.  Vs. 39, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”  Jesus is reminding his apostles as well as us that to follow him is going to mean we must die to ourselves.  Remember the beatitudes in chapter 5?  We are blessed when we go through persecution, we are blessed when we are poor, when we are meek, when we mourn.  When we find our lives in Christ, Jesus would tell us don’t be surprised if not only the world hates us…but our own families turn against us.  We cannot love our family more than we love God (vs. 37).  Once you venture forth into being a young adult, YOU must choose your path.  I see the pressures so many of you have to fulfill the dreams of your family and friends.  They want you to be a Doctor, Engineer, etc.  Brothers and sisters…the life you have belongs to God!  Lose YOUR life and God will help you find the life HE has for you!

Jeremiah 16

Vs. 1-2, “Then the word of the LORD came to me: “You must not marry and have sons or daughters in this place.”  Ouch…what in incredibly huge sacrifice God would ask Jeremiah to make!  God sometimes would ask prophets to do extraordinary things like not marry, or dress like a prisoner of war to call attention like Isaiah did.  But not only was Jeremiah forbidden to marry…he was forbidden to attend funerals, weddings and feasts.  The  judgment that was to come was going to be so horrible, that one day none of these things would matter.  The laughter would turn to mourning and death.  The people were so out of tune with their own sins, they would wonder why this was happening to them (vs. 10).  They broke the covenant and not only did their forefathers sin, but they sinned twice as worse.  They did not learn from the past mistakes.  Think about it…we therefore are without excuse in every way.  We know the failings of God’s people in the past…therefore our expectation level is much higher.  Throw out the excuses like “I have to make my own mistakes to learn the lesson.”  I say that’s a bunch of bologna.  Does it take a child to have to touch the hot burner to know it will hurt?  For some daring children yes…but the ones who are smart…they won’t do it.  Likewise, we must be smart!

 

Regarding application…Extreme Sacrifices.  (Refer to top verse)  During Jeremiah’s time, all Jewish men were expected to be married by age twenty!. In fact, the rabbis pronounced a curse on any who refused to marry and have children.  So already, Jeremiah would be having a hard time with this.  It most certainly would have helped to have a wonderful spouse there to support you in this troublesome time.  But, there was none to be found.  Jeremiah would obey something God has not asked many to do.  So, I’m sure Jeremiah would experience much grief on this marriage topic…yet, think about the opportunities this would open up for Jeremiah to explain why he chose not to marry? Sometimes during extreme times, God will ask us to make extreme sacrifices.  I believe that we live in a time where God is asking us to make sacrfices.  Not because of legalism or self-rightous living…but because sacrifices can bring us closer to him and open up opportunities to the people who walk in darkness.  Now, it is our endeavor to seek first His Kingdom and righteousness so that we may know what it is our Master wants.  It reminds me of Darth Vader when he would say, “What is thy bidding my Master.”  Likewise, we should ask the same to our Lord & Master…Jesus =)  Keep your hands and eyes lifted to Jesus this week!

Revelation 16

The bowls of wrath contain the direct judgment of God upon the world; they are not the result of what people have done or Satan’s influence.  Once again, they are very similar to the plagues against Egypt .

1st Bowl

These sores will be worse the leprosy or cancer.  It mirrors the sixth plague.  It’s interesting to note that God is in control of all such ailments to the body.  Whether allowed or because of the result of sin.

2nd Bowl

This bowl turns the seas to blood!  Unlike the trumpet that turned 1/3 of the seas to blood, this turns it all to blood.  Of course blood signifies death.  What once was full of life now becomes full of death.

3rd Bowl

This turns to the rivers to blood & fountains to blood.  This is huge because all of the Earth’s water supply is now blood!  The evil world shed the blood of God’s people…now God will most definitely bring consequences!

4th Bowl

The sun will scorch people!  Yikes!  I remember when I was badly sun burnt at last year’s beach outing in San Clemente…It took literraly nearly a year for it to heal.  This will be quite a painful consequence to say in the least.  One biblical commentator mentions this bowl we be a preview of what Hell will be like!

5th Bowl

Now we see the opposite…this bowl will bring darkness to the land.  It is possible this darkness will only apply to where the Beast has setup his kingdom.  Satan is the prince of darkness, so it is only appropriate that darkness from God be a consequence.

6th Bowl

?  Many scholars believe it is the Asian countries that have the largest population in the world.  They will come to fight the war against Israel .  Satan & his trinity (The antichrist & the false prophet) will assemble this vast army against the Lord.  This is also the only passage that has the word Armageddon, although there are many passages that speak of it.  Armageddon: Mount of Meggido.  Har or Ar = Mountain.  Meggido = place of slaughter.  It’s location is the plain of Esdraelon.  Barak defeated the Canaanites & Gideon defeated the Midianites in this same location.  It could be an actual place where the war is done or it can a metaphor for the battles thorughout the tribulation.The Euphrates river will be dried up so that the Kings of the East may come and find passage to eventually fight in the War of all Wars: Armageddon.

7th Bowl

This is the last of the wrath before Jesus comes back!  We are near the end of the seven year tribulation.  The voice is Jesus (vs. 17)  There is a great earthquake that splits Jeursalem into three and destroys the city of Babylon .  And we end the last bowl with Hail the size of 100 plus pounds!

Regarding application…God’s Wrath.  As William Newell says, “Men who will not be won by grace will never be won at all.”  God’s wrath is final…just as Pharoh hardened his heart…the people who live with one more chance…still turn from God.  But that time has not yet come to this world.  We as God’s light are called to do our part in bringing those whose hearts are hard back to the Lord while we have a chance.