Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time — Mark 10:32-34

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 209

Mark 10:32-34

Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time

(also read Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53)

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. For the third time now in Mark Jesus tells, maybe warns is a better term, His disciples what will happen to Him. It is now not long before the actual events will take place.
  8. Jesus is aware of this for any number of reasons: one, His dying as a sacrifice had been noted by any number of O.T. prophets; two, His enemies could not allow Him to go on much longer; three, His arch enemy, Satan, had long been working in the background; four, Jesus reasoned the signs of the times properly.
  9. The “chief priests” the “scribes” – likely reference to the Council of Israel, the Sanhedrin – who had the power to see to it the Romans would execute Him.
  10. Jesus spelled out exactly what would happen to Him, just as it was stated by King David 1000 years earlier and by the prophet Isaiah some 770 years earlier: Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 are replete with the events.
  11. The Gentiles – a wider grouping than merely the Romans at the time. Romans 3:23 expresses it more exactly: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The all is absolutely inclusive, both Jews and Gentiles.
  12. We cannot fully grasp why the Son of God should be abandoned (Psalm 22:1) by God the Father, but to say that the Son must receive the righteousness judgment for our sin. He literally suffered and died in our place.

 

The Rich Young Man — Mark 10:17-31– Gospel Meditation

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 208

Mark 10:17-31

The Rich Young Man

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Carefully read the passage of Scripture. Reread it.
  6. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. “Good Teacher” – “Good” is a term Jews used of God. Jesus wanted to know if the man was referring to Him as deity. Jesus continues not really expecting a reply. It may be assumed the phrase was intended to flatter Jesus.
  8. Jesus lists seven of the 10 commandments from Exodus 20:1-17 leaving out the first three which are focused on the proper relationship toward God rather than the seven which have to do with proper action toward others.
  9. Shockingly, the man claims to be keeping all of the seven.
  10. Jesus looked at the man, loved him, and the word is agape in the aorist tense meaning an immediate concern for him, one which transcended temporal well being.
  11. Jesus could see what the trouble was – the man wanted approval for his right acting and that was all. His religion taught him such made him fit for heaven.
  12. Jesus’ reply cut to the heart of the matter; the pride of wealth and the accompanying power that provided. The man would not give it up. Eternity in the presence of God did not mean much to him.
  13. “Follow me” would mean leaving all behind. Sadly, the man went away, retaining all his wealth and losing all he would ever have.
  14. The eye of a needle, in Luke the needle of a surgeon, no possibility of getting through such, an example of Jesus’ hyperbole, makes the story memorable. “How difficult” and twice, the emphasis is clear.
  15. Nothing a human can do is enough. God alone saves.

 

Mark 10:13-16–Let the Children Come to Me

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 207

Mark 10:13-16

Let the Children Come to Me

(Read also Matthew 19:13-15 & Luke 18:15-17)

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. Parents, and perhaps other relatives, were bring children to Jesus. Luke uses the word “infants” thus small kids and of all ages.
  8. Was this a usual thing that children are brought to rabbis for a special prayer of blessing like Jacob blessed his sons as in Genesis 48?
  9. Jesus’ disciples, for reasons that are not explained, attempt to prevent Jesus from being so disturbed.
  10. Jesus sees it and is indignant, or angry, which is the literal meaning of the Greek word Mark uses. Again we are not told exactly why Jesus was not happy with what the disciples were doing. Notice, right in front of the crowds, Jesus expresses annoyance.
  11. Jesus insists that the children have a legitimate right to be brought to him. With strong words Jesus said, “Do not hinder them.”
  12. How it is that “such belong the kingdom of God” is not clarified for us. We can suppose that only those without power, or agenda, or strength, or knowledge, or platform, or righteous deeds – can receive or enter the kingdom.
  13. We know from numbers of other passages that salvation is based upon grace and nothing to do with anything an individual is or has. Clearly, salvation is based on a gift and not upon works or knowledge.
  14. Only the child-like enter the kingdom.

 

Mark 9:42-50, Temptations to Sin

GOSPEL MEDITATION #205

Mark 9:42-50

Temptations to Sin

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. The identity of “the little ones” is key: perhaps the child in the question of who is the greatest (see Mark 935-37) or maybe the unknown exorcist in 38-41, both and more. My idea is “more.”
  8. The millstone for offenders, above, tie the mill stone around their own neck, and this per the obvious Greek grammar.
  9. Cutting off a hand or a foot – if such cause one to sin. Gouging out an eye if such causes one to sin – we would all be blind and crippled.
  10. Jesus’ use of hyperbole, or exaggeration, to make a dramatic point is characteristic of His method of teaching. If Christians throughout the ages were to take such statements literally, then what a horrid state of affairs. And this is a point Jesus makes.
  11. To the people of Jesus day, to be without a hand, a foot, or an eye would render them unable, mostly and usually, to make a living, care for a family, and even survive. (Did Muhammad take this passage literally?)
  12. Undying worms, unquenchable fire – idioms that described Ghenna, a large garbage dump just outside the walls of Jerusalem, that was kept burning, always, and had nevertheless organisms that consumed rotten matter. This was not a place to be and meant that a person was without usefulness.
  13. It must be noted that verses 44 and 46, identical to verse 48, do not have the best manuscript support.
  14. Salt, and are we are the salt of the earth, (see Matthew 5:13) for salt is necessary to life, and it would be lost by striving for power, position, and scandalizing each other. This is Jesus’ teaching for those who follow Him.

 

Mark 9:38-41, Gospel Meditation # 204 Anyone Not Against Us is For Us

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 204

Mark 9:38-41

Anyone Not Against Us is For Us

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. John, the youngest of the disciples, reports to Jesus that “we” had seen someone casting demons out of some person who did so “in the name of Jesus.”
  8. Motivated by some impulse, sectarian spirit, clannish prejudice, jealousy, who knows, and they tried to stop it, apparently unsuccessfully, and complained to Jesus.
  9. It is assumed that the unknown person was able to do the “mighty work”; but was not amongst the immediate twelve.
  10. Could it be that the unknown person had seen Jesus cast out demons and had been with the large groups who had heard Jesus preach and teach? It is highly likely.
  11. This unknown disciple was not, like the sons of Sceva, doing paganistic exorcism. (see Acts 19:11-20). Apparently, he was emulating Jesus.
  12. Jesus is sharp and clear: “do not stop him.” It is strong enough to end the conversation.
  13. Jesus recognized the man was going a mighty work and it met the criteria of authenticity. The trouble is that the man was not a part of the Twelve, but he was for them nevertheless.
  14. Imagine if the disciples had not been taught such a lesson. Division, factioning, bias, jealousy, competition — all these and more might have dominated the early church. At least it took some couple of centuries for all this to emerge.
  15. Giving a “cup of water” – an idiom meaning the work of a servant – characterized or described what the man we doing.
  16. “A reward” – the unknown disciple would enjoy His presence in heaven as would the Twelve. There is no greater thing than to enjoy the presence of God for eternity.

 

Gospel Meditation # 203 Mark 9:30-37, Jesus Again Foretells His Death, Resurrection & Who is the Greatest

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 203

Mark 9:30-37

Jesus Again Foretells Death, Resurrection &

Who is the Greatest

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. Now for a second time Jesus tells His followers that He will be killed and for a second time they did not understand. And why they were afraid to ask Jesus about it, we can only guess.
  8. The apostles were men of their time with the usual expectations of who the Messiah would be and what He would do. It would be much later that they would get it.
  9. Clues were all through the Hebrew Scripture and perhaps the best of it all are found in Genesis 22:1-14, Psalm 22, and Isaiah 53. The earliest hint is in Genesis 3:15.
  10. The writer of Hebrews (9:22) put it succinctly: “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”
  11. Since sin “brings forth death’ nothing is of greater importance. (see James 1:15)
  12. The “will to power” seems to continually ensnare us all. At the core of dangerous and cultic human affairs, including that which is religious and political and economic, is the lust for power. The apostles were not immune either.
  13. The religious leaders of Judaism saw Jesus as a threat to their power. The values of the kingdom of God run exactly counter to all else. The first is last, and even then the first are servants only.
  14. To receive a child was not highly regarded in that era, but was lowly work. This is what we are called to.

Gospel Meditation # 202 Mark 9:14-29 Healing of a Boy with an Unclean Spirit

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 202

Healing of a Boy with an Unclean Spirit

Mark 9:14-29

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. Jesus, Peter, James, and John descend the mountain and find the nine apostles arguing with religious leaders. Perhaps the issue was the debacle of a failed exorcism.
  8. Jesus asks a questions and learns of the trouble. (Jesus asks other questions in this story. A clue to his humanness?)
  9. The boy seems to be an epileptic; the father, and Jesus as well, believe the physical problems have a demonic root cause.
  10. The unclean spirit appears to be attempting to kill the boy.
  11. When the boy is brought to Jesus, there is another terrible episode with the boy, and that perhaps convinces Jesus the problem really is a demonic one.
  12. The father is not sure he has enough faith for there to be a cure. He pleads with Jesus that whatever faith he has is enough. Jesus has compassion upon him.
  13. The crowd that had witnessed the argument between the nine and the scribes rushed over to the main event, which prompts Jesus to act. He commands the unclean spirit to come out. A spiritual battle takes place, but the demon leaves. The boy is so exhausted it seems he is dead.
  14. Jesus refreshes the boy and he is is restored to his family.
  15. The disciples are wondering why they were not able to help. Jesus says such a demon cannot be driven out except by prayer, a direct appeal to God and not by any magical ministrations. (Fasting in some manuscripts is absent in the oldest and best.)

 

Gospel Meditation # 201 The Transfiguration Mark 9:2-13

AGOSPEL MEDITATION # 201

The Transfiguration

Mark 9:2-13

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. Peter, James, and John, the ‘inner three’ accompany Jesus on the mountain. (Mt Hermon?) (see Exodus 24:15-18)
  8. Suddenly Moses and Elijah are present, and present in body not a ghostly or soulish presence. Here resurrected, come from the presence of God, indicated by the whiteness and the overshadowing cloud, Moses likely representing the Law and Elijah likely representing all of that which is prophetic, they are speaking with Jesus.
  9. Peter is so clear about the real and actual presence that he wants to provide shelter for the three.
  10. “This is my beloved Son, listen to him” is the central message and reason for the transfiguration. (see Mark 1:9-11) The words are for the three apostles as well as for Jesus Himself; they are words of affirmation and confirmation.
  11. Once the words from the Father are heard, the glory cloud as well as Moses and Elijah are suddenly gone.
  12. It is probable that the ‘inner three’ needed the experience given the recent announcement of the killing of Jesus by the religious leaders. The ‘three’ were vulnerable and given to error as we see in many places in Scripture. But they would never forget what happened on the mountain.
  13. Typical of Jesus, He did His best to keep the three from broadcasting what they now knew.
  14. They did as told, yet wondered about the incredible truth of resurrection they had just witnessed. Obviously, Moses and Elijah had been raised form the dead.
  15. The question about Elijah indicates the three did not yet fully understand so Jesus patiently explains more to them. It is not surprising such would be most difficult to grasp.

 

 

Gospel Meditation #200 Mark 8:34-9:1 Jesus’ Four “Fors”

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 200

Mark 8:34-9:1

Jesus’ Four “For’s” or A Different kind of kingdom

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Recite the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. The If in verse 34, “If anyone would come after me” is a 3rd class condition meaning there may be those who do.
  8. The maybe nature to following Jesus is because it is costly: self-denial, taking up of the cross, losing his or her life, and not being ashamed of Jesus.
  9. Self-denial–to turn from that which is unholy and to seek to serve and please God rather than ourselves, both of which are contrary to our natural instincts and nature.
  1. To take the cross is to identify with the death of Jesus, His dying in our place and for us, in order that our sin be covered. What an odd message indeed, to be washed in the blood of the Lamb.
  2. Losing one’s life rather than seeking health, wealth, fame, fortune, honor among people, and much more. It is seeking first the kingdom. It is giving all to obtain the pearl of great price and that treasure hidden in the field.
  3. Not being ashamed to identify with Jesus and His Gospel means among other things, not being afraid to say the Name of Jesus when we know it will likely bring unfavorable reaction.
  4. An adulterous and sinful generation is not a fan of that which is holy and righteous. And the pressure to conform to it is great indeed.
  5. To be ashamed of Jesus now only will result in His being ashamed of us when the kingdom of God arrives in power. And this event’s advent is merely a matter of time.

 

Gospel Meditation #199 Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection, Mark 8:31-38

GOSPEL MEDITATION #199

Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

Mark 8:31-38

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. It is assumed this story takes place in Caesarea Philippi; Jesus is not alone with His disciples, but others are nearby.
  8. Isaiah, chapter 53, had spoken of the rejection the Messiah would receive culminating in the death of the suffering servant of Israel. Jesus knew the passage was about Him.
  9. Jesus explained all plainly to the Twelve, but Peter, perhaps speaking for himself as well as the rest, protested the meaning of Jesus’ words. The Messiah would reign as king was their mindset.
  10. Redemption, Salvation, eternal fellowship in heaven was the object and not the things of men. Jesus knew that Satan was behind the misunderstanding.
  11. Not an idiom, “Get behind me, Satan!” as Jesus knew Satan’s deception was behind Peter’s exclamation as it is with every suggestion or doctrine that denies the cross and resurrection. There is nothing new under the sun.
  12. Genuine conversion, real discipleship meant followers of Jesus would deny themselves (as to worldly goals), take up the cross (of suffering and shame), and follow Him however troublesome, humiliating, and painful that might prove to be. These do not save a person but do illustrate that genuine conversion is in place.
  13. The issue is nothing less than eternal life.