Vs. 4, “Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” Jesus returns to Nazareth and we are shocked to see how the people respond to Him (vs. 1-6)! How sad to think that Jesus desired to love and heal them, but their hearts could not accept Jesus because they looked at Him as a human rather than the Son of God. They couldn’t get past the fact that they knew Jesus as a man and boy growing up in Nazareth. Jesus then confidently sends out the twelve apostles in pairs of two (vs. 6-13) to help minister to the growing need of the kingdom of God. Not only is there safety in numbers, but we must also serve. Mark then gives us different perspective on Jesus’ growing ministry and how it has now reached the ears of King Herod. We are sadly reminded that it was Herod Antipas who scandalously had John the Baptist beheaded (vs. 14-29). After the disciples short missions trip, they gather to report only to find crowds of people surrounding them and Jesus (vs. 30-44). However, there is an issue that the crowds were so many that now they all found themselves hungry. It is here that Jesus miraculously feeds the five thousand. Upon instructing the disciples to set sail to Bethsaida on the sea, Jesus goes to pray. And lastly, we encounter another storm, where Jesus walks on water (vs. 45-56).
Regarding application…Finding Rest. Vs. 31, “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” The disciples had just gotten back from a busy schedule of missions. They were all excited to share and talk about what God had done through them. But, Jesus could see the weariness on their faces. I love how Jesus encouraged them to get some rest! While we may not all have grandiose opportunities to serve in missions, our workplaces and school environments serve as our own version of missions. Sometimes we get too busy in our lives. Jesus not only encouraged rest, but He was the source of their rest. Question: Are you getting enough rest? When we come to church, Jesus brings us rest in His word and the fellowship of believers.
Vs. 2, “When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him.” The disciples go from a storm on the sea to a storm of evil spirits in a demon-possessed man (vs. 1-20). It’s important to recognize that the evil spirits immediately know who Jesus is. How sad that even that the enemy can recognize Jesus, but the hearts of many of us still don’t today. This event is a stark reminder of the spiritual warfare that is a reality in our lives. It’s shocking to hear that a legion (many) of demons has taken residence in this man’s body. The Gentile region of Gerasenes (vs. 1) sadly beg Jesus to leave their region. Though Jesus healed their neighbor, the loss of their pigs seemed to be more important (vs. 17). Mark then continues to share two more examples of how Jesus is truly the Son of God; the healing of the bleeding woman and the raising Jarius’ daughter from death to life (vs. 21-43). Though I’m not a parent, I can only imagine how Jarius would have felt to do anything possible for his dying daughter (vs. 23). As Jesus heads towards the home of the dying girl, we encounter the faith of the bleeding woman. Though she was not a synagogue ruler like Jarius, this did not prevent her from making every effort to reach out to Him. She heard of Jesus the healer and thought at least if she can somehow touch Him she may be healed (vs. 28).
Regarding application…Acknowledging Jesus. Vs. 33, “Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.” Question: Why did Jesus ask who it was? Of course he knew it was the woman. But, we see that there was a purpose for this: He wanted her to acknowledge Him. I think that’s pretty cool. Jesus didn’t just heal her, He wanted to see her, talk to her, and have a relationship with her. I wonder how many times Jesus does things for us that we don’t even realize. The woman teaches us that Jesus will make time for us no matter what our status is. After acknowledging Jesus, He calls her daughter (vs. 34). What a powerful reminder when we seek Him out earnestly, we will be found by Him.
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.” Question: Why did Jesus speak in parables? The purpose of parables were to compare and broaden our understanding. In Jesus’ parables, they often were used to point out the falsehood of the self-righteous and teach about the kingdom of God. In the Parable of the Sower (vs. 1-20), it is an allegory to the different responses a person may have; Jesus is the sower, the seed is God’s word (Gospel) and we are the types of soil. Question: Which soil/heart are you? The Lamp on a Stand (vs. 21-25), Jesus uses something very ordinary to share how we must be the lamp that gives light to others. The Parable of the Growing Seed reminds us that we are not the ones who are the source of the growth. Just like the farmer, he plants the seed, but cannot rightfully understand how it truly grows. The Parable of the Mustard Seed (vs. 30-32) is a poignant reminder how something so insignificantly like a small seed can grow into a tree. The growth of the mustard seed compares the growth of the Gospel and the church as the kingdom of God is forcefully advancing (Matthew 11:12). And lastly, the calming of the storm (vs. 35-41) pictures Jesus sleeping and the disciples thinking they will die from the storm. It must have been a violent one for seasoned fisherman to be so frightened.
Regarding application…Are You Trusting Jesus? Vs. 40, “He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” When things are going well, it’s very easy to claim our trust and faith in the Lord. It’s the storms of life that will test our true faith. If we the church on in the storm, we too may think Jesus is sleeping on the job. Where is Jesus when I lost a family member? Where is Jesus when I lost my job? Where is Jesus in my broken relationships? The disciples thought they surely would perish. Likewise, there are times in our lives where we feel like it just can’t get any worse. In this miracle, we are reminded that Jesus has power of any source that can bring us a storm. It was inevitable, the Sea of Galilee would have its share of storms. Question: Are you trusting Jesus in your storms of life?
Vs. 4, “Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.” Jesus knew the hearts of those who conspired to kill him. The Pharisees and Herodians knew Jesus could heal, now they were just waiting for Him to heal on the Sabbath (vs. 1-6). Notice the silent and coward response of the plotters as they are not brave enough to speak against Jesus. Though Jesus retreats to the lake with the disciples, the large crowds continue to follow Him (vs. 7-12). We now see Jesus calling the twelve Apostles which certainly has significance when we contrast this with the twelve tribes of Israel (vs. 13-19). They were selected to help testify and witness Jesus to the world. Certainly we see how important it is to select leaders who are willing to step up. The last section of our passage is an intriguing one (vs. 20-35). Jesus as assembled His twelve and is now probably returning to Capernaum to begin ministry with the full team intact. However, two different groups of people come to challenge him: Pharisees and Jesus’ own family. The Pharisees cross the line of acceptability as they accuse Jesus of not only being the Son of God, but that Jesus is Satan (vs. 22). We see the gravity of this accusation for Jesus would share the unpardonable sin (vs. 29). Without going into too much detail regarding the “unpardonable sin,” believers can be rest assured that we are never going to be able to commit such a sin. Jesus’ family more than likely thought they were going to protect Jesus (vs. 21) for they surely heard the rumors of the Pharisees who were plotting to kill him. Jesus aptly gives us a new way of thinking of family as he points to those who do God’s will are your true family (vs. 31-35).
Regarding application…We Are Family. Vs. 35, “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” First, it’s important to note that Jesus was not trying to be rude to His immediate family. He knew they had the right intention, but they did not understand the will of God. Jesus certainly valued the family unit for He chastised the Jews for trying to get out of financial responsibility to their parents (Mark 7:6-13) and He asked the Apostle John to look after Mary His mother (John 19:26). But make no mistake, the body of Christ is your family! We share a bond that is thicker than blood. I’ve never been a soldier in battle, but I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a few who have. These soldiers build a bond so strong because they literally have to have each other’s back. They are relying on the other person to help protect them in battle. They often owe each other their lives. The bond of Christian brotherhood should be like this. We battle a spiritual war that supersedes the physical. The bond that is in Christ brings people together that is supernatural! Take time today to consider your spiritual family/church family and be thankful for them.
Vs. 5, “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Jesus and the disciples now come back to Capernaum. Capernaum served as the home base for the ministry in Galilee. It is likely they used Peter’s home (vs. 1) as their location. Our first scene opens up with Jesus healing the paralytic who was lowered from the roof (vs. 1-12). Upon excavation findings in Capernaum, the roofs were nothing more than thatched (reed, branches, dried mud) and could easily be replaced. What amazes Jesus is the undaunting faith of the friends who go to extreme measures to help their paralyzed comrade. What was shocking to the crowds and the teachers of the law was the fact that Jesus stated to the paralytic that his sins were forgiven (vs. 5). Question: Who was Jesus that he could forgive sins? What stands out to me is that Jesus knew their thoughts (vs. 8)! We then see the calling of Levi (Matthew) who was a tax collector (vs. 13-17). This just continues the shocking selection of those whom Jesus would call to be Apostles. It’s important to note that while Jesus was accused of dining with “sinners”, he was not partying it up. He was with the safety of other believers and these “sinners” were not there to party but to know more about Jesus. We can’t really use the excuse to go party with sinners because that is what Jesus did. The questioning of fasting (vs. 18-22) remind us that there is a time and place for everything. The kingdom of heaven was upon them and there was no reason to be somber while Jesus was physically with them. However, we are told that fasting is appropriate after (vs. 20). Jesus is also questioned about breaking one of the Sabbath laws (vs. 23-27). Jesus is quick to let them know that He is the Lord of the Sabbath (vs. 27). The Sabbath was created for us as a gift of rest, but the Pharisees made it a legalistic regulation.
Regarding application…What’s the Point? Vs. 17, “On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” In the process of holiness and living for God, there is a danger of forgetting what the main point is. We can get so wrapped up in our religiosity, that we forget God’s ultimate purpose: to save the lost and sinner. We the church can look much more like Pharisees than we would like to admit. Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). Church programs are great ways to grow with God. But they are just conduits to remembering the point of church. Yes we are to grow spiritually, but don’t forget the Great Commission: to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). And that really comes down to creating avenues of relationship. God wants us to in a daily relationship with Him. And if we are walking daily with Him, we will naturally love His mission to seek and save the lost. That my friends is the point why we are here.
Vs. 1, “The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Mark wants us to make sure there is no mistake: Jesus is the Son of God! The first section of the Gospel is spent on giving the audience the privileged insider information as to who Jesus really is (vs. 1-13). John the Baptist prepared the way (vs. 2-8), God the Father affirmed His Son (vs. 9-11) and Jesus would overcome the temptation of Satan (vs. 12-13). Because this is a Gentile audience, there is no need to go into long details proving the genealogy of Christ to the Jews. We see the fulfillment of John the Baptist’s ministry and the dawning of Jesus’ ministry (vs. 14-15). The latter half of our chapter, we see the beginnings of Jesus’ ministry as he “serves” others and calls his disciples to him (vs. 16-45). It’s no coincidence that the main apostles were fisherman for they would be able to relate to Jesus’ mission (vs. 16-20). Question: Why did Jesus command the evil Spirit to be quiet (vs. 25)? The evil spirit was telling the truth about the identity of who Jesus was. But, Jesus did not need the testimony of the enemy. The time was not right to reveal who He was yet. If too much information got out about who Jesus was, it would compromise the time He had to minister until the Cross. Mark gives us a touching picture of the servant heart Jesus (vs. 41) had for all who were downtrodden.
Regarding application…Heart of Prayer. Vs. 35, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” I love it! Jesus shows us through example one of the most important ingredients of our lives: prayer. Yesterday, I preached a message about “Praying with God.” God’s timing is impeccable as He now reminds us of the dependence and relationship we also have as sons and daughters to the Father in Heaven. We were reminded of the empowerment Jesus had when the Holy Spirit descended upon Him (vs. 10). The Trinity was at work in God the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. Jesus as the Son of God empowered by the Spirit of God was able to have the power to heal and love. Prayer is like the fuel that enabled this power to move. As Christians, we are encouraged to live our lives as servants like Jesus. We are not going to get too far if we do not pray and devote our walk with the Lord. Because of prayer, Jesus was able to serve others in healing. Question: How can you be a servant today?
Vs. 5, “And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said.” We have finished the Pentateuch (First five books in the Bible)! Moses has taken us all on quite a journey from Adam & Eve to the cusp of reentering the Promised Land. You may recall, most scholars agree Moses is the author of the first five books (though, someone must have written the last couple of chapters after Moses’ death). Though Moses was disciplined for his unbelief and anger (Numbers 20:1-13), he is given much honor from the LORD (vs. 10-12). No one but God knows where Moses was buried, for it was God who buried Moses (vs. 6). How wonderful to think before God called Moses home, Moses spent intimate fellowship with the LORD! The baton of leadership now passed to Joshua. Joshua was a faithful General and right hand man for Moses. He along with Caleb were the only two who came back in faith that Israel could enter the Promised Land when they first arrived 38 years earlier.
Regarding application…Ready to Die. Question: How was Moses ready to die? We were told earlier that Moses’ eyes were still good and he had his strength (Deuteronomy 34:7). Moses still had years ahead of him though he was 120 years old. I believe Moses was ready to die because he knew he was in God’s will. There was no doubt or fear. Question: Are you scared of death? When I was younger in my walk with the Lord, I did have fears of dying. It wasn’t a fear of not knowing if I was going to heaven, but rather a fear of not hearing the Lord say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” I knew there were things I wasn’t doing that kept me from ultimately being in God’s will. But finally, at the halfway point of my life, I have the confidence in Christ that I am ready for life or for death! It would break my heart to be away from my wife and loved ones for a temporary time, but thank the Lord we have eternity to look forward to!
Vs. 1, “This is the blessing that Moses the man of God pronounced on the Israelites before his death.” Moses was chosen by God to help deliver His people from Egypt. What a whirlwind of a life Moses led: found in a basket on the river, 40 years in luxury, 40 years as a shepherd, and 40 years shepherding God’s people through the desert! And now, like any great prophet and patriarch, Moses passes on blessings to the tribes of Israel. I preached last weekend a special message on Saturday morning regarding Jacob’s blessings upon his sons in Genesis 49. Here, we see Moses do the same for the tribes, but the tenor is lighter. We see the forgiveness and love of God and the hopeful future blessings, even though they will fail many times. Moses could have complained that he was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. Moses could have lamented for himself rather than bless others. Moses was Israel’s example of a father figure and how appropriate to pass on these last words of blessings to God’s children.
Regarding application…Rise up in Faith. Vs. 29, “Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will trample down their high places.” We are a blessed people! Because the Lord fights for us, we can rise up and go forth in life with no fear. Like Israel, the church is looking for people who are ready to embrace the blessings of God; people willing to stand up in the midst of a world that is sitting down. Question: Will you rise up? Don’t get disheartened, that is why we have the bible to testify that it can be done! When I read books about exercise, each author loves to show before and after pictures of clients who have adhered to their program. These people who have lost all this weight are testifying that it works! We can rise up in faith because we have people in the Bible and people in our history since, that have risen up in faith.
Vs. 46, “he said to them, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law.” Moses’ song is a beautiful and sobering collection of pictures and metaphors illustrating God’s heart towards His people. Undeniable to any, are God’s just ways (vs. 4). Sadly, His people would be tested and fail in learning the easy way. Throughout the song, we are given this metaphor of God being the rock (vs. 15, 18, 30-31). The Israelites found much benefit from the rock, but their prosperity and pride were their downfall (vs. 15). Moses’ song is also prophetic for it would sadly predict Israel’s response (vs. 19-33). However, God would not allow the evil nations who unknowingly did His bidding be without their consequences (vs. 34-43). Lastly, we see Moses instructed to go up to get ready for God to deliver the last consequence of death (vs. 48-52). But this was only a physical death, for Moses eternal life was witnessed on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus & Elijah (Matthew 17).
Regarding application…Word is Life. Vs. 47, “They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” King Solomon would tell us, “words are meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 5:7). But the words passed on through God are not just words spoken or written down; they are life! If Israel would abide by God’s word, abundant spiritual life would come. Moses’ song for Israel was to serve as a deterrent from turning away from God. For Christians today, not much has changed. The Bible is God’s word that gives us life. If we turn to His word daily, then we will do have the strength to “just say no” to the things that the world entices us with.
Vs. 7, “Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance.” The passing of the baton of leadership has come; God will now have Joshua take over for Moses. Moses would gather all Israel together to remind them to strong and courageous (vs. 7) as they would now lose their leader and go into a new land. The reading of the Law every seven years (sabbatical year) at the Feast of Tabernacles was important for all to hear. Bear in mind, they didn’t have the words of God written for every household to possess. Notice that the children were also to be present at the reading of the Law (probably the whole book of Deuteronomy). There is something very powerful about the spoken word! Afterwards, Moses and Joshua would go into the Tent of Meeting and would be told some incredibly sad news (vs. 14-23). Put yourself in Joshua’s place; when you take over in leadership everything will crumble! And lastly, after the completion of the written law, it was to sit aside the Ark of the Covenant (vs. 24-29).
Regarding application…Faithful Love. Vs. 16, “And the Lord said to Moses: “You are going to rest with your fathers, and these people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them.” I don’t know what is more shocking; Israel forsaking God or God’s faithful love. It almost seems absurd that after all the obvious ways God provided that Israel would turn away from God. Yet, it is a sobering reminder of my own journey of life. I had the faithful love of the Father, yet I turned away from God for five years. There is shock value from both perspectives because God’s love is so extreme even in our rebellious times. Take time today to consider what is most important to you. Israel was going to be in the right location (Promised Land), yet their hearts were not turned to God. You too may be in the right place (work, church, etc.), but not walking with God. Thank you Lord for your faithful love.