April 18, 2015.
Daily Reading: Mark 9-10.
Background: Mark 7-8.
Concepts and Connections.
1. Times to come: Upon two occasions in the chapter, Jesus speaks of certain things that are to come. The first is about the kingdom of God, which would come with power before that generation died, which was fulfilled in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost when the church was first established with Peter’s first gospel sermon. A major theme of Jesus’ ministry was “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” as i would indeed soon be established. The second foretelling of things that would soon happen was Jesus’ description of His death, burial and resurrection that He gives to those who are listening. He does this both in this chapter and the next, giving them ample opportunity to learn what He was saying and to ask Him questions about it if they did not know. However, they did not understand what He meant and were too scared to ask Him what He meant. Though they didn’t ask, Him telling of this would give them the opportunity to look back on what He said after it did come time for His crucifixion, so that they could know that this was all part o the plan, and not just some accident or something that wasn’t supposed to happen.
2. The glory and power of Christ: In the middle section of this chapter, we get two stories that show the glory and power of Jesus as the Son of God. The first is the transfiguration, which can also be found in Matthew 17, in which the Lord Jesus took Peter, James and John with Him up on a mountain and was transfigured before them when Peter suggested that they build three different tabernacles, once for of the men present (Jesus, Moses and Elijah). This account gives a bit of insight as to why Peter suggested this, for it says that they were afraid and didn’t know what to say. This could be comparable to a situation where there is an awkward silence that causes us to say something not vey well thought out just to get out of the situation. Regardless of the reason, after Peters suggestion was made, Moses and Elijah disappeared and all they saw was Jesus, shining bright before their eyes, with a voice from heaven that confirmed who Jesus was and that the three should hear what He as to say.
The second story that shows the power of Christ is the story of a demon possessed boy whom his parents had brought to the disciples, but they could not cast out the demon. When the child is brought to Jesus, He makes a comment about their lack of faith, and then heals the boy in what would turn into be quite a scene. Before He heals the boy, however, the father asks Jesus “If you can…,” a statement that Jesus seems to take offense to, for He certainly can. The father does believe that Jesus can (or else he would not have brought his boy to His disciples in the first place), but he still asks Jesus to “help his unbelief.” We can take lesson from this, asking the Lord to increase our faith, even when we feel like we have it.
3. Humility and sin: Like most of us at some point in our lives have done, the disciples started to argue amongst themselves who was the greatest. When Jesus asked what they had been discussing, however, they were afraid to tell Him, indicating they knew that it was not something that they should actually be discussing. Knowing their thoughts, He takes a child and teaches by example of the child how His disciples should be in humility. The last shall be first and the first last. He later goes on to teach that if anyone causes one of these little children to stumble, then that was a very bad thing. Further, He makes a hyperbole about sin, specifically the members of our bodies that cause us to sin, and how we should cut them off if they cause us to fall. It is certainly better to enter the kingdom of heaven without one of these members than to enter hell with them. Think about the drastic teaching that is laid out here.
1. Divorce: At the beginning of this chapter, Jesus teaches a fairly unpopular concept on divorce, telling the people that though Moses allowed for a certificate of divorce, from the beginning it was not so. Marriage is held in high regard to God, as it should represent the relationship of Christ and the church. In the beginning, God said that man and woman should leave their parents and cling to their spouses. Jesus goes so far as to say that anyone who divorces and marries another commits adultery, which was just as unpopular of and idea back then as it is now. In other gospels, He is recorded as having said this, but giving one caveat for fornication in the marriage (see Matthew 19:1-9).
2. Humility: Just as in the previous chapter, a lesson in humility is taught by Jesus here through the example of children. We have to become as children in many aspects in order to enter the kingdom. Then a certain rich man, who seemed to have some humility problems himself, comes to Him and asks Him what he has to do to have eternal life, and Jesus tells him to keep the commandments. However, when the man insists that the has kept the whole law from his youth up, Jesus gives him another condition of eternal life, which was to go and sale all his possessions and give the money to the poor. However, the rich man was unable bring himself to sell his possessions, for he was very right. How often riches can keep one from following God.Yet another story with people who had problems with humility is told in this chapter, and that is of James and John when they came to Jesus as asked for positions on His right and left-hand side when he comes in the kingdom. Of course the rest of the apostles got upset when they found out the request of James and John, but Jesus told them that that was not His position to give. Let us learn from these sections that it is Jesus’ will for us to stay humble.
3. The glory and power of Christ: Perhaps to drive the point home, Jesus once again tried to teach His disciples of what was about to take place, where He would be lifted up on a cross, buried and raised to life once again on the third day, in not many days to come. This would be ultimately for the glory of God, as through this sacrifice would all men be offered a hope of salvation. As another display of HIs power which came from above, Jesus on this occasion heals a blind man, commending the man’s faith and confirming that He really was who He said He was. He really was the Son of God.
Tomorrow’s Reading: II Corinthians 4-6.
Grace and peace.