Dr. David Rose, Pastor
Monday, October 25, 2021—Mark 7-10
Coaches and trainers teach their athletes a variety of stretching exercises that prepare their bodies for activity and outstanding performance. Those calisthenics are not the goal. They are preparation for the goal.
The Pharisees were experts in the Law. They knew the minute details, and they made sure the people knew the importance of acknowledging those details. Jesus wanted the people to understand that the Law was not the goal. Knowing God and walking in holiness were the goal. The Law helped them understand His character and holiness. Abiding by Sabbath rules or ritual washing paled in comparison to enjoying Him.
Jesus took a small amount of bread and fish and multiplied them to feed a multitude (8:8). He was demonstrating that in knowing Him and learning from Him the people would find the satisfaction for which they longed. They needed no sign. God’s word had pointed to Him and was sufficient. Its truth would multiply within them if they trusted in Him.
Though Peter confessed Jesus as the Christ (8:29), he also tried to keep Jesus from fulfilling His calling (8:33). Nonetheless, Jesus was gracious to show Peter His glory in a powerful, intimate way (9:1-8). Jesus is not looking at the outward appearance but the condition of the soul, gladly helping unbelief become genuine, child-like faith (9:24, 10:14-25).
God wants to do the impossible (10:27) so He receives the glory and His followers find real life. Pray for daily disciplines to serve as “calisthenics” to a deeper knowledge of Him and fuller life of faith.
Sunday, October 24, 2021—Mark 4-6
“But wait! There’s more!” The announcers on various infomercials stir viewers with the exciting thought that their money will go further, purchasing more than has already been described.
Jesus often used parables to teach the truths of His Kingdom and to teach that there was more than meets the eye. He told His disciples the parables helped separate the simply-interested from the truly-committed. The parable of the soils was case-in-point. Some would hear the gospel and reject it. Others would have an initial response, but their lack of root or the attacks of the world would choke it out. Those who truly believed would find there was so much more, and God would produce a harvest in them.
Many see the transformation of the gospel but prefer the ways of the world and have no desire for Jesus to be around them (5:17). Those that are transformed have the privilege of remaining among the doubtful, unbelieving, and ignorant to proclaim daily His worthiness and hope (5:19). They become visible examples of the power of faith in Him (5:20-43).
For those who doubted, Jesus could do very little, but for those who believed Jesus did amazing things. He used the disciples to bring healing. He multiplied a small meal to feed thousands. He walked on water and calmed a stormy sea (6:1-51). There was so much more to know and experience, but the disciples often missed it (6::52).
Praise God for the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to change lives. Pray to know Him more and more each day.
Saturday, October 23, 2021—Mark 1-3
New things receive mixed reviews. Some are continually excited by the hottest technologies and the latest developments. Others wonder what was wrong with the old that prompted a development of the new.
When Jesus began His ministry, He was inaugurating the New Covenant. God had promised He would write His truths on the hearts of the people and give them a new spirit. John the Baptist proclaimed the arrival of a new day and the need to walk in a new way. He baptized people to illustrate the forgiveness God provided and the new life they sought.
This new way required people to walk away from the old. Some left behind professions and identities so they could walk with Him. Others needed freedom from spiritual bondage and physical ailments that hindered their ability to follow Him. As Jesus did these new things, people were amazed and glorified God for His grace and power (2:12).
Not everyone was pleased with this new work. The religious leaders accused Jesus of false teaching and sinful practice. They conferred with their enemies to plot ways to get rid of Jesus (3:6). The hardness of their hearts grieved Him (3:5). He was offering the way to true life, but they were more enamored with what they knew and made them comfortable.
God offers a new way of life, but this new way requires repentance. Pray for a desire to know Him and obey Him that overcomes any hesitancy or allegiance to the old ways that have become second-nature or routine.
Friday, October 22, 2021—Matthew 26-28
Action movies often end with a scene of the aftermath of a great battle. Lights are flashing, and first responders scurry around assisting the injured and taking away the guilty. The main characters are preparing to walk away from the scene to enjoy a life made easier by their success.
Matthew brings his Gospel to a climax with the recounting of Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection. While the great battle was visible on the cross, the height of the battle may well have been in the Garden of Gethsemane (26:36-46). Through all of it, Jesus was wrestling with His own humanity as well as the weight of humanity’s sin and the attacks of the spiritual forces of evil. He rose victoriously from the grave and began a process of visits with His disciples before His departure.
Rather than wrapping things up and returning to heaven so people could “live happily ever after,” Jesus gave His disciples their marching orders. Because He had won the battle, their daily lives had purpose. They were to be intentional about bringing people to faith in Christ by baptizing them into the church and teaching them to obey Jesus’ teaching (28:16-20). They weren’t going to live passively in the glow of His resurrection but to live actively in the establishment of His Kingdom on earth.
Those who betrayed Jesus deeply regretted it. The one who honored him with her faith remains honored herself (26:13). Pray for faith that honors Him and a life of obedience that leads others to faith.