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. 28-29, “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” Jesus continues to teach in this chapter on how to live a righteous life. The section on judging others (vs. 1-5) has been miunderstood by many. In other areas of scripture, we are taught to judge the actions of other Christians and speak truth in love, but in this teaching…Jesus is exhorting us not to judge the inward motive. In other words, it is not our place to condemn someone, that is only reserved to God. Vs. 6, may be confusing, but it is just referring to our relationship with enemies of the Gospel. We are not even to waste our time judging or rebuking such people. Jesus also reminds us in the midst of all these things we must keep in mind, we must never forget to pray with faith (vs. 7-12). Jesus continues on to give us further understanding of where we are at when it comes to true Godliness. The narrow gate/wide gate (vs. 13-14), Good fruit/bad fruit (vs. 15-23) and wise/foolish builders (vs. 24-27)…these are all examples of true vs. false ways of living. Take time to ask yourself which of these are you?
Regarding application…Are You Wise? Vs. 26, “But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.” We are constantly bombarded with knowledge everyday. We go to work, we go to school, we watch T.V., read the news, etc. Many people have their opinions on how we should react to life and what decisions we are to make. Question: Who are you listening to? While there are a great many wise people by the standards of this world…Obama or Oprah may come to mind, even Gordon Ramsey could be considered wise. Yet, they are fools compared to the words Jesus has to share. Exercise, eat healthy, study well, be successful financially…all good endeavors in this life. But, most importantly, make sure you are wise enough to put God first. There is no substitute and there is no other way. Build this life on the rock of Christ! AMEN?!?! Have a blessed Tuesday! This week is flying by!
There is a pause between the sixth & seventh seal…judgment is given a temporary break as God chooses 144,000 people from the tribes of Israel . Remember…the church as we know it today will have been raptured up to Heaven. Yet, God’s message of redemption will still need to be shared while it is not too late. This is a literal 144,000 Jews who will then take part in sharing God’s word in this time of Tribulation. And during this time multitudes of Gentiles will come to know the Lord, because of the preaching & sharing of God’s love through the 144,000 chosen Jews! This multitude of Gentiles came to know the Lord during the Great Tribulation and here they are presented before the Throne of God. They most likely have been martyed during the trials of living as a Christian. What a glorious sight to see…the twenty-four elders & the church, Angels, four living Creatures, Jesus & now the new multitude of Gentile believers are bowing down to proclaim the truths of our Lord!
Regarding application…Wow, a lot to digest in one setting! It will be amazing what God is going to do in the time of tribulation! So many multitudes of sinners will come to know the Lord…but they will also pay a deep price of suffering during this time. We read in the latter half of this passage what they all had to endure. To live in the tribulation will not be easy! It’s amazing to think that so many will come to Christ in this short time. It really is quite humbling to think about. Perhaps they (those who live during tribulation) are the fortunate ones for out of great tribulation…God is sought after more than ever. Perhaps our lives here on Earth have been to easy…for that is why so many have turned their hearts away from the Lord. Either way…it all balances out and God is Just! Let us continue to remain steadfast in our hope for one day we will witness this marvelous event!
Vs. 27, “Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.” The author of Hebrews continues to stress the importance of understanding that Jesus is superior to the priesthood of Aaron. Jesus is not only a priest but he is also a King! To expound upon Melchizedek….He was the priest who blessed Abraham after returning from a battle. He is considered by some scholars to be a supernatural figure forshadowing Jesus…while others believe it was Jesus himself. Going back to Aaron…the priesthood was not perfect…but Jesus’ priesthood is not only perfect, but eternal.
Regarding application…Intercession. Vs. 25, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” The story of Jesus does not end at Easter…it’s important for us to realize that the story of Jesus did not end there. Jesus is alive (Amen?!)…and He sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us! On the dictionary website “Onelook” it actually defines intercession as the act of intervening. Jesus intervenes/prays on our behalf. We have the wonderful opportunity to go on a missions trip and we are now starting fasting. As we fast, we implement intercessory prayer! We pray for others that God’s mercy and compassion would be upon them! Not only are we backed by the strength and prayer of other saints (Christians)…we are backed by Jesus! When no one else will stand up for us…Jesus will…he took one for all of humanity. So when life gets difficult and the road is unknown, always remember that Jesus is praying for you!