Sunday, March 27, 2022

Reaching the end of the road


The final days of the journey have arrived. Mark chapter 11 announces a special time and place. The King arrives at Jerusalem in the appointed way – riding on a donkey (see Zechariah 9:9). The crowd is elated and begin to sing the anthem from Psalm118:

"Hosanna, blessed is He that comes in the Name of the LORD, blessed is the coming Kingdom of our father David. Hosanna in the Highest"

Previously Jesus had rejected the crowds' enthusiasm to make Him king, but now in the right place , at the right time He gives the Israelites the opportunity to open wide the gates and receive Him as their rightful King.

But what happens? The leaders respond – "Who is this?" In their willing ignorance they missed this God given opportunity. The Lord finds a welcome in the home at Bethany village.  The temple, which was intended for prayer , He finds over run by merchandising! The nation (fig tree) has no fruit for the Master. Then the leaders seek to silence the Teacher of Truth with the question "By what authority are you doing  these things?"

True, He was not ordained by men, nor schooled in the academy of Jerusalem. The three years of signs and teaching confirmed that He was sent by God in heaven!

Now chapter 12 demonstrates the heavenly teaching of Jesus the Messiah.

1  The authority of the Son as sent by the owner of the vineyard.

2  The scripture prophecy of the stone rejected.

3  The wisdom of separating God's things from worldly authority

4  The summation of the law – to love the LORD our God and our neighbour.

6  The prophecy of David, that his Lord would sit on the highest throne in heaven.

7  The true evaluation of giving.- two copper coins out of true devotion


Such a lot to learn! I encourage you to read Mark 11 and 12 and let your heart rejoice in Him and His Divine wisdom. What an opportunity to praise Him, trust Him and become wise in Him.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Travelling to Jerusalem

 The journey with the Lord is making me nervous.(Mark 10). Where do I fit into this crowd of people. The Lord Jesus does not have much space for sideline critics or half hearted followers. We were hoping that He might use some of His mighty power to subdue the enemies, but instead He is talking about being killed. The trip to Jerusalem for the Passover was meant to be joyful, but everyone has become fearful that something dreadful might happen. 

The good things that happened were :- He took time out to receive and bless the children. Then as they were leaving Jericho, He stopped to heal blind Bartimaeus. 

At times I like to be near the twelve apostles as they have much to learn:

 Learning that the Lord's teaching supersedes that of Moses (Mark 10:11)

 Learning that great wealth is an obstacle to entering the kingdom (10:24) 

Learning that God will reward true commitment to Him (10:30)

 Learning that religious leaders seldom can be trusted (10:33) 

Learning that leadership is achieved by service (10:44) Learning that His impending death was deliberate , to die as a ransom payment for others.

 Chapter 11 begins well – for next time.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Mountaintop experience


On this journey with the Lord Jesus, I am learning  of His character and His purpose. Mark chapter  eight  we read of His compassion. Once again He feeds the crowd, using  seven loaves of bread. Following this He gives a warning- "beware of the yeast of the Pharisees (religious extremism)  and of Herod ( political manipulation).  Jesus, in the plan of God was independent of both.  He was serving God and saving people.

          The disciples had been with Him for almost 3 years, and it was time for the most important question:- : " Who do you say that I am?" Peter said "You are the Christ  (Messiah)".  Jesus accepted that confession, and Peter was later martyred for believing that.

At that critical point on the journey, The Lord explained to them the cost of being a disciple (Follower) , along with the eternal reward. I quote:-

" If a person is ashamed of Me and My message in these adulterous and sinful days, I the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when I return in the glory of My Father with the holy angels."  Mark 8:38

This is challenging to me. But it is more important to understand the principle stated – everything  depends on our relationship to HIM.! And then the promise – He will return in glory with the holy angels.

Chapter 9 is a mountaintop experience for three witnesses. They saw a glimpse of the coming kingdom – whiteness, companionship, heavenly approval. Read it for yourself and worship Him.

The journey is nearing the end. He explained to the disciples in detail that He would be killed and the rise to life again. They didn't understand.  The prophet Isaiah had prophesied 600 years earlier that the LORD's servant would suffer death for the purpose of atoning for the sins of the people. It was all happening according to God's plan.

He said "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross and follow Me."  (8:34).

Are we ready to continue with Him?

Saturday, March 5, 2022

A journey of the unexpected


My journey with Jesus has hit some difficult moments. Reading in Mark 7, He denounced the religious critics as hypocrites. He explained that extreme tradition keeping suppressed the commands of God. To the people, He then explained the deeper problem of the human heart. Instead of affirming the people, He laid bare the common reality of sin in the mind and often pondered in the heart, leading to sinful behaviour. He said " all these vile things come from within: they are what defile you and make you unacceptable to God".

 I encourage you to read the list, to recognise the problem; to renounce them as sin; to repent and seek forgiveness. Our God, through Jesus Christ the Lord, can and does forgive. Ours is to walk in the light, not claiming privacy, but openness.

"If we are living in the light of God's presence, as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus Christ  His Son cleanses us from every sin".  (1 John 1: 7).

When Jesus visits the city of Tyre,  the encounter with the Gentile woman is puzzling. He seems to ignore her, until she takes low ground . Then, when she expresses her unworthiness, His response is superlative.

"Good answer, and because you have answered so well, I have healed your daughter."  Mark 7.29

Most of us are unworthy Gentiles. His mercy and grace is not added to our best behaviour. It is freely granted when we admit our need and unworthiness.

The next miracle overcomes a different problem. A man who cannot hear Jesus nor speak to Him.  The mercy of the Saviour again prevails and the people are amazed.

"Everything He does is wonderful , He even heals those who are deaf and mute" Mark 7.37

May you too be amazed at the character and kindness of God's perfect servant.