Mark 4

Mark 4

Mark 4:3-8 NIV

[3] “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. [4] As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. [5] Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. [6] But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. [7] Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. [8] Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

As I was reading Mark 4:3-8 I was once again reminded of the many levels of the Bible. This section is the parable of the sower.  Some seed falls along the path and is eaten by birds. Other seed lands in rocky places and is scorched. Still other seed lands among weeds and is choked out. Finally some seed lands in good soil and produces a crop.

At first reading I saw that this was referring to different people and their faith. As I was reading it today I was struck by the fact that at different times I am the different seed. There are times when the world eats me up. Other times I feel scorched and dry. There are times when I feel chocked by life’s worries. But then, there are those times when I feel very productive indeed.

I am trying to maximize these productive times by immersing myself in the word. Praying continuously (haven’t been as continuous as I would like).  And sharing my thoughts and the good news that God sent his Son to redeem us.

Mark 4:11-12 NIV

[11] He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables [12] so that, “ ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’ ”

Isaiah 6:9-10 NIV

[9] He said, “Go and tell this people: “ ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ [10] Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”

Some teachings are hard and these two seem as though God is restricting those who will be saved. I am reminded of the saying “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”  Meaning that he was never convinced in the first place. Our job is to share our story, why we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and believe in the resurrection. We can not convince others. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. But, we need to be sharing our story so the Holy Spirit can work in the lives of those we share with.

Mark 5

Mark 5:5 NIV

[5] Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

I pray daily for those that suffer from mental illness. Not to equate mental illness with demon possession but this verse made me think about the suffering happening today. Mental illness seems so widespread these days. It is difficult for me to understand what those who suffer from any mental illness are going through so all I can do is support and pray. Please join me in praying for those who suffer.

Mark 5:18-19 NIV

[18] As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. [19] Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”

What a simple command: “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you…”. Simple, yes, but sometimes so hard to do. We risk humiliation and ostracism if our people are not believers. I hope that I am sharing with you how much the lord has done for me.

Mark 5:25-29 NIV

[25] And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. [26] She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. [27] When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, [28] because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” [29] Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

According to the law, this women touching Jesus would make him unclean. Yet what happens is Jesus makes her clean. Amazing what faith she has and that touching Jesus clothes heals her. He does not have to say a thing. I am reading a book that points out that only Jesus is referred to as “the power of God.”  This power heals if only we believe.

Mark 3

Mark 3

Jesus appoints his twelve disciples: Mark 3:13-19.

Mark 3:16-19 NIV

[16] These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), [17] James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”), [18] Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot [19] and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

What Ever Happened to the Disciples?

(listed alphabetically)

Andrew (Peter’s brother, also a fisherman) died on a cross at Patrae, in Achaia, a Grecian Colony.

James (the elder son of Zebedee, brother of John) was beheaded at Jerusalem.

James (one of Jesus’ brothers, also called James the Less) was thrown from a pinnacle of the Temple, and then beaten to death with a club.

John, the beloved disciple (elder son of Zebedee, brother of James, both James and John we also called “Sons of Thunder” or “Boanerges”), died of extreme old age in Ephesus.

Judas (also called Iscariot), after betraying his Lord, hanged himself.

Thaddeus (one of Jesus’ brothers, also called Jude) was shot to death with arrows.

Matthew (also called Levi, a tax collector) — Matthew was crucified in Alexandria.

Nathanael (also called Bartholomew) was flayed alive and beheaded in Albanapolis, Armenia.

Peter (also called Simon or Cephas, also called The Zealot) was crucified, head downward, on a cross in Persia (now Iran) during the persecution of Nero.

Philip was hanged against a pillar at Heropolis (Abyssinia).

Thomas (also called Didymous and the doubter) was run through the body with a lance at Coromandel, in the east Indies.

None of them recanted

Even in the face of death, they still proclaimed Jesus the Messiah.

Would they all have died like that to preserve a lie? They were all afraid when Jesus was crucified. They ran away and hid. After Jesus arose and came to them, they were different men. Changed. Not from without, but from within. They spread the Good News because they knew it was true.

And what is the Good News? That the Lord came, not to condemn the world, but to save it. He is the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Him shall live even if he dies

Simon-Peter:

Matthew 4:18-19 NIV

[18] As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. [19] “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

Mark 8:29 NIV

[29] “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”

Mark 8:32-33 NIV

[32] He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. [33] But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Luke 22:31-34 NIV

[31] “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. [32] But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” [33] But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” [34] Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

John 21:15-17 NIV

[15] When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” [16] Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” [17] The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

Acts 10:34-36 NIV

[34] Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism [35] but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. [36] You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

Acts 12:11 NIV

[11] Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”

James

Mark 3:17 NIV

[17] James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”),

Mark 10:35-37 NIV

[35] Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” [36] “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. [37] They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

Luke 9:54-56 NIV

[54] When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them ?” [55] But Jesus turned and rebuked them. [56] Then he and his disciples went to another village.

Acts 12:2 NIV

[2] He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.

John – Son of Zebedee – James brother.

Mark 10:35-37 NIV

[35] Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” [36] “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. [37] They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

Luke 9:54-56 NIV

[54] When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them ?” [55] But Jesus turned and rebuked them. [56] Then he and his disciples went to another village.

John 19:26-27 NIV

[26] When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” [27] and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Mark 2

Mark 2

Mark 2:3-5 NIV

[3] Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. [4] Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. [5] When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

I am impressed by the faithfulness of the four men to the paralyzed man. They actually had to lift him up on the roof, dig a hole in the roof, and then lower him down in front of Jesus. How many people are you willing to exert so much effort for so that they can be reconciled with Christ?

Mark 2:5-7 NIV

[5] When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” [6] Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, [7] “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

It is interesting to me that in this instance the man is healed not due to his own faith but by the faith of his friends.

The teachers of the law realized that by forgiving sins Jesus was claiming to be one with and have the power of God.

Mark 2:16-17 NIV

[16] When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” [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.”

How easy it is to socialize and get together with our friends, neighbors, or others like us. Much more difficult to have a heart for the downtrodden, the homeless, the needy, those with AIDS or other communicable diseases.

Mark 2:21-22 NIV

[21] “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. [22] And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”

Jesus is indicating here that the Pharisees that are against him are like the old wine skins and will not accept his new teaching. People still struggle today with his teaching and invent ways to earn their way into heaven when all they have to do is accept the free gift of his death and resurrection for eternal life.

Mark 1

Mark 1

Mark 1:1 NIV

[1] The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God,

How straight to the point is the author of the Gospel of Mark. “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.”  The first statement in this Gospel declares that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.”  The good news is defined by John 3:16-17 NIV

[16] For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. [17] For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Mark 1:8 NIV

[8] I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Only God is able to pour out or baptize with the Holy Spirit. Mark is again signifying that Jesus is the Messiah.

Mark 1:11 NIV

[11] And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Mark makes it very clear in the first 11 verses that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.

Mark 1:35 NIV

[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.

Even Jesus needed time alone to pray and be in community with God.

Mark 1:41 KJV

[41] And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

To touch a leper made one unclean and unable to participate in religious or social events but Jesus did not hesitate to touch the man because “He had compassion for him.”  I wonder how many people would be attracted to Christianity if believers showed more compassion and less judgement and condemnation?

Matthew 24

Matthew 24

Matthew 24:4-8 NIV

[4] Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. [5] For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. [6] You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. [7] Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. [8] All these are the beginning of birth pains.

From these verses it sure seems like the end of times are here but theses things have been happening since Jesus’ death. In fact, statistics show the generally the world is the most peaceful it has ever been.   I was approached I Boston by some young men who told me that Christ has indeed risen again and was a Korean man. I remembered verse 4 & 5 and ended the conversation there. I later did an internet search and there is indeed a movement claiming that this man is Jesus come back to earth. It is unfortunate that many are deceived in this way by this man and others who also claim to be the Messiah come back to earth. How easily we are led astray.

Matthew 24:9 NIV

[9] “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.

Christians around the world are facing this type of persecution. How lucky we are that we currently live in a nation that does not persecute believers in this way.

Matthew 23

Matthew 23

Matthew 23:11-12 NIV

[11] The greatest among you will be your servant. [12] For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

The Bible mentions in many places that we should be humble and serve others. The latest style of leadership, “Servant Leadership,” probably comes from this.  This is the opposite of Western culture where meek is seen as weak and few are humble. Yet Jesus humbled himself so much that he died a criminals death on the cross to redeem us from our sins.

Matthew 23:23 NIV

[23] “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

It seems like many in society today are also neglecting justice, mercy, and faithfulness.

Matthew 23:28 NIV

[28] In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

Beware those that pretend to be followers of Christ but are not filled with his love.

Matthew 22

  • Matthew 22

    The parable of the wedding banquet

    The king sent three separate invitations. God has sent us an invitation to join him in heaven — his only begotten son Jesus Christ. Have you accepted his invitation?

    Matthew 22:7 NIV

    [7] The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

    Revelation foretells the end of times when Christ will return with his army to defeat Satan and separate his followers forever from God. Through belief that Jesus is the Christ we will be saved from this fate. 

    Matthew 22:14 NIV

    [14] “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

    The invitation to come to Jesus is available to everyone. Apparently, few will accept the invitation. 

    Matthew 22:29 NIV

    [29] Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.

    A very strong rebuke for the Sadducees as they were studious if the Hebrew texts.  It is good to know the scriptures but better to know God and have a relationship with him. 

    Matthew 22:36-40 NIV

    [36] “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” [37] Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ [38] This is the first and greatest commandment. [39] And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ [40] All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    Love is the essence of what God wishes for us and from us. Love for God and love for our neighbors – everyone around us. 

Matthew 21

Matthew 21

Matthew 21:8-9 NIV

[8] A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. [9] The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

The people welcome the king and are excited. Days later the crowd will be begging Pilate to crucify the one they are now cheering for. How fickle we are when things don’t meet our desires. The people wanted a military king to throw off the yoke of Roman oppression. When Jesus did not meet this expectation the crowd turned on him. This was done so that scripture would be fulfilled and the lamb sacrificed for the forgiveness for everyone. 

Matthew 21:12-13 NIV

[12] Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. [13] “It is written,” he said to them, “ ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’ ”

What have we turned God’s house of worship into?  In the book “The Heavenly Man,” the author,a Chinese pastor who has faced great persecution but also seen fantastic miracles, marvels at the size of churches in the west. His comment is that we spend so much money on buildings where in China they meet in houses and spend what little money they have on bibles and equipping missionaries. Maybe we ought to rethink our priorities. 

Matthew 21:21-22 NIV

[21] Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. [22] If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Sermons discussing these versus sometimes focus on the mountains that we are facing and how prayer can help us overcome the mountains.  I am struck by the planeness of it and the thought that I either don’t have enough faith or I have too much doubt. I continue to pray for healing for the afflicted and for hearts of stone to be broken and hope that my little faith is enough.  I have also read that bringing just one heart to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior is more of a miracle than moving many mountains. 

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