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“Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed” (Mark 1:42 NLT).

February 16, 2019

CHRIST’S IMMEDIATE CARE The Gospel of Mark is unique among the four in that it was written in present tense. Mark’s action-oriented writing is marked by his favorite phrase, “and immediately” (καὶ εὐθὺς), which is found throughout the book. Here, the NLT translates the phrase as “instantly.”   Each gospel presents a different perspective of… Read more »

“Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone” (Mark 16:15 NLT).

March 12, 2018

Jesus commissioned His disciples to share the “Good News” to everyone in “all the world.” Are we obeying this commission? What are we doing as a church and what are we doing as individual believers to answer this call? Do we pray for the gospel to be preached in every nation and language? Do we give financially to support those who carry the Good News to every “people group” (An ethnic group which identifies based on similarities such as common ancestry, language, society, culture or nation)? Are we willing to go personally to see that the gospel is offered to everyone?

According to the Joshua Project, there are 16,970 people groups in the world out of which 7,040 groups have yet to be reached. This means that 3.14 billion people, out of the world’s total population of 7.48 billion, have not yet heard the gospel!

There are two important spiritual questions that we must ask ourselves: 1) What did we do with Jesus? and 2) What did we do with the gospel? How have you answered these two questions in your own life? If we have believed Jesus then we must obey His commission.

“But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise” (Mark 15:5 NLT).

March 11, 2018

As Christ’s accusers made charge after charge against Him, Pilate was surprised at His silence. Pilate already suspected that the Jews were acting out of “envy” (Mark 15:10), but he was amazed that Jesus offered no defense. No doubt he was accustomed to seeing the accused blubber out a passionate defense when facing his court. Yet, Jesus uttered not a word. Certainly, he must have also marveled at Christ’s dignity and self-control. He had never seen a man such as this.

Jesus could have easily offered a verbal defense that would have made Pilate see Him as innocent and His accusers as fools. But Jesus said nothing. Jesus could have responded with a devastating military defense, as He had told Peter when he tried to defend Jesus in the garden, “Put away your sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:53). Yet, Jesus took no action.

As the prophet Isaiah prophesied concerning the Messiah, “He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth” (Isa. 53:7). Jesus was silent.

And as the chorus of Ray Overholt’s 1958 hymn declares:
“He could have called ten thousand angels
To destory the world and set Him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
But He died alone for you and me.”

“You have all heard his blasphemy” (Mark 14:64 NLT).

March 10, 2018

The high priest asked Jesus, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” (Mark 14:61). Why was it blasphemy for Jesus to answer the high priest’s question in the positive? The question itself revealed the first century expectation that the Messiah would also be called the Son of God. It has been well documented from the Dead Sea Scrolls that many first century Jews and rabbis thought the Messiah would be called the Son of God. So, why was it blasphemy for Jesus to reply, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62)?

They called Him a blasphemer because they rejected His claim. They saw Him as a challenger to their position and power. After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, they were so concerned with the great crowds following Jesus, that they called a special council meeting, concluding, “If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation” (John 11:48).

Yet, calling him a blasphemer was a stretch. The law concerning blasphemy states, “Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death” (Lev. 24:16). Notice that the law concerning blasphemy makes no mention of claiming to be the Messiah or Son of God.

Jesus was not a blasphemer because He did not “blaspheme the name of the Lord,” nor did He make a false claim by answering the high priest in the positive. I can find no other instance in history when Jewish authorities accused and executed a so-called Messiah. And there have been many. Jewish author, Jerry Rabow, wrote a book entitled, “Fifty Jewish Messiahs.” None of them endured the rejection and accusation that Jesus did. Why?

It was always God’s plan for His Son to come as Messiah, to be rejected and killed and on the third day to be raised again, so that we might be saved.

“Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives”(Mark 14:26 NLT).

March 9, 2018

On the Thursday night before His crucifixion, Jesus and His disciples sang a hymn together after finishing the Passover meal. My first observation is that Jesus sang. O what joy it must have been to hear His voice sing praises to God! How wonderful to have been one of the disciples who joined with Him in harmony. But what hymn did they sing?

The Greek word translated “sang a hymn” is “hymneō” (ὑμνέω). Literally, “They ‘hymned’ as they went out.” We don’t have a verb for “hymning,” but we did borrow the Greek noun, “hymnos,” for our English noun, “hymn.” What is a hymn? The dictionary says, It is “a religious song or poem, typically of praise to God.” Yet, in both Jewish and Christian circles, the word hymn is used in a more precise way.

In their book, “Sing With Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Hymnody,” authors Eskew and McElrath describe a hymn as a kind of poem set to music. They write, “It should be simple and metrical in form, genuinely emotional, poetic and literary in style, spiritual in quality, and in its ideas so direct and so immediately apparent as to unify a congregation while singing it.”

So, the hymn is a unique form of worship music that usually begins as a poem before music is added. It is easy to sing, metrically precise, and sounds as good to the ear with or without accompaniment. It can be read aloud in private devotions, sung alone or together. Hymns are rich with words and doctrines from Scripture.

There are other types of worship songs. The apostle Paul encouraged singing three types in his letter to the Colossian church: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16).

So, what hymn did Jesus sing the night before His crucifixion? Jewish tradition called for singing the Paschal Psalms, Psalms 113 through 118, after the Passover meal. These psalms surely fit the definition of a hymn. They also match perfectly with the moment in time that Jesus faced.

Take a moment and read through Psalms 113 through 118. Pay special attention to the words of Psalm 118. Imagine you’re with the disciples as Jesus sings, while walking out into the night through the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem and up the Mount of Olives to pray.

“I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.” (Mark 14:9 NLT).

March 8, 2018

On the Wednesday of Passion Week, Jesus and His disciples took a day of rest a short distance from Jerusalem in a town called Bethany. While eating a meal at Simon the leper’s house, a woman anointed Jesus’ head with an expensive perfume worth a year’s wages. This was an incredible gift, so costly that Judas Iscariot was offended by its extravagance. Yet, Jesus rebuked Judas and commended the woman for her gift. Her deed has been remembered to this day, just as Jesus predicted.

This reminds me of a line from a poem by C. T. Studd:
“Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

“Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear” (Mark 13:31 NLT).

March 7, 2018

Jesus answered the disciples’ question concerning the last days by describing the signs leading up to it. He talked about how many things would come to pass, but concluded that His words would never disappear.

When we study, memorize and apply God’s Word, we are investing our lives in that which will never disappear. There is no other investment greater. Even as the ages roll on, we will still be chewing on and growing in our understanding of God’s eternal Word!