Gospel Meditation # 189 Jesus Sends out the Apostles

GOSPEL MEDITATION #189

JESUS SENDS OUT THE APOSTLES

MARK 6:7-13

  1. Find a quiet place without 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. Jesus, undaunted by the rejection at His hometown, begins sending out the twelve, two by two, into other parts of Galilee.
  7. He does not go with them; likely He continued teaching, preaching, and making people whole as He had done before He called the Twelve to follow Him.
  8. He gave the apostles “authority” exousia in the Greek and not dunamis or power over unclean spirits. Miracles accompanied the preaching, which focused on repenting, a message similar to that of John the Baptist.
  9. This was certainly risky business for Jesus to commit to; Judas was also among them and none really understood who Jesus actually was.
  10. The Twelve were to go out empty handed, without provision. In that part of the world it was customary for travellers to be received as they journeyed. The pairs of two would be recognized as itinerate prophets and thus invited into homes for food and shelter.
  11. Jesus strictly charged them not to take advantage of customary sustenance by ‘moving up’ to better accommodations if offered. Have we lost this lesson along the way?
  12. Shaking the dust off the feet – a sign that one leaves behind whatever the results of the ministry was or was not. Moving ahead is the point.
  13. Miracles accompanied the apostle’s work, as is typical in times of awakening.
  14. How we wish for these days.

 

Gospel Meditation # 188 Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 188

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

Mark 6:1-7

  1. Find a quiet place without 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. Luke 4:16-30 has Luke’s account of Jesus’ rejection at Nazareth. The Gospel writer has this event earlier in the ministry of Jesus than does Matthew and Mark. In Luke the rejection goes to an extreme: there is an attempt to kill Jesus. Not known why Matthew and Mark are silent.
  7. Jesus taught as one who had authority and it amazed his home town folk since they knew he was not educated as a rabbi. They knew Jesus all too well.
  8. They knew he did miracles also, yet this did not impact them or become evidence of something more.
  9. Jesus was known as a carpenter, a tekton — A worker in wood, metal, and stone.
  10. His family was known to them as well. Joseph is not mentioned as he was likely dead at this point. Four brothers, two sisters, children of Mary and Joseph after Jesus’ birth. James and Judas (Jude) would become disciples of their half-brother and would write letters that are in our New Testament.
  11. The whole family “took offense at him.” Shocking, but not so really as it requires the revealing of the Holy Spirit before anyone really knows who Jesus actually is.
  12. The old proverb expressing a saying that prophets are not appreciated among those who know them – Jesus much to common to be specially used of God.
  13. Little ministry occurred in Nazareth as a result.

 

Gospel Meditation # 187 Jesus Heals a Woman and Jairus’s Daughter

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 187

Jesus Heals a Woman and Jairus’s Daughter

Mark 5:1-20

  1. Find a quiet place without 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. Jesus was unable to get away from crowds of people.
  7. Jairus, the president or ruler of a synagogue (Capernaum?), had a 12 year old daughter, an only child, who was dying. He came to Jesus believing He could do something about it.
  8. While walking to Jairus’s home, a woman who for 12 years suffered terribly from an unknown malady, thought that if she merely touched Jesus’ garment, she would be healed.
  9. The woman was healed instantly, and Jesus, in a way that is unexplained other than “power had gone out from him” then searched for the woman and spoke with her.
  10. Jesus said her faith had healed her, and then said, “be healed of your disease.” One must ask, what was the nature of her healing? She sought Jesus–perhaps this is the key. She had faith Jesus could heal her but that alone did not result in her healing. It was the work of Jesus alone.
  11. In the midst of the healing of the woman, word comes that the little girl is dead. What use then of Jesus? But He continues. As per custom, the mourners had already arrived and the scene was chaotic. Taking only the inner three with Him, and the parents, Jesus enters the room. Those gathered laughed at Him when Jesus said she was only sleeping.
  12. One must again ask, why did Jesus say this? He knew she was dead. He took her hand, and speaking Aramaic, told the corpse to rise up. She did and there was no trace of disease. Jesus did not want news of this first of three resurrections to be broadcast about. Curious for sure.

 

Gospel Meditation # 186 Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Man

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 186

Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Man Mark 5:1-20

  1. Find a quiet place without 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. Now Jesus and the disciples, having crossed the Sea of Galilee from west to east are in an area known as Gerasenes. Luke and Mark have Gerasenes, Matthew has Gadarenes. The two districts are separated by about 75 miles, Gadarene being to the south.
  7. It was a desolate place where outcasts like lepers and dangerous people lived, many in caves used as burial places.
  8. A demon possessed man, wild and powerful, confronts Jesus. He acts like one deranged, out of his mind; and there was no hope for him. He falls on his face before Jesus.
  9. His demons speak; they know who Jesus is and their utterance is not one of reverence or respect, but a taunt, a challenge, and a cry of fear also. The demons know Jesus has authority over them. The demons plead with Jesus to leave them be.
  10. Jesus begins ordering the demons out but they do not obey at once. Jesus pauses, and asks for the name of the lead demon.
  11. “Legion” is the answer and means there are many demons in the man. More pleading from the demon; they desire to remain. What is meant by “out of this country” is a mystery.
  12. Begging Jesus again, the demons wish to be cast into a herd of pigs that were nearby. For a reason we do not understand, Jesus permits this. The invading demons panic the pigs who run headlong over a cliff and are drowned in the Sea of Galilee.
  13. The inhabitants of the area, fearing Jesus, ask Him to leave.
  14. The man now freed of unclean spirits begs to follow Jesus, but He prefers the man proclaim the mercy of God to those who live nearby–an area of Greco/Roman cities known as the Decapolis, or 10 cities, in which were both Gerasene and Gadarene.

 

Parable of the Mustard Seed and Jesus Calms a Storm

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 185

Mark 4:30-41

The Parable of the Mustard Seed and Jesus Calms a Storm

  1. Find a quiet place without 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. Mustard seed, very tiny, not the smallest of all seeds, so we see a proverbial phrase that simply means – little.
  7. Of greatest significance here is that this first parable Jesus tells has to do with the kingdom of God.
  8. The tiny seed grows into a large plant, almost a tree. In that part of the world the mustard plant would grown 10 to 15 feet high and when the branches stiffen, birds would nest in them.
  9. Jesus loved parables and Matthew and Luke have many more, but this is the last one in Mark’s Gospel.
  10. The crowds, including the Twelve, did not always understand the parables but Jesus would explain them. Only a few of Jesus’ interpreted parables found their way into the New Testament.
  11. Jesus wanted to sail east across the northern tip of the Sea of Galilee, perhaps to get away from the crowds.
  12. We see He was extremely exhausted so that when it was time to depart, Jesus appeared not to be ready. No explanation is given for such, but most assume it was because He appeared so tired out.
  13. We reflect on the humanness of Jesus then; could He have summoned strength from the Father? If so, He did not.
  14. Sea of Galilee, about 7 miles long, 3.5 miles wide, was 600 feet below sea level and when the sun went down, there could be a drastic temperature change. Sudden squalls would occur.
  15. Jesus was so tired out that He slept through part of the storm.
  16. The disciples were afraid and woke Jesus who was resting on a ‘headrest’ probably made of wood at the stern of the boat.
  17. The disciples were upset with Jesus and accused Him of not caring whether they lived or died. Yes, storms happen even when Jesus is present, both then and now.
  18. Jesus told the wind to stop and the waves to hush and be muzzled.
  19. The disciples saw something about Jesus they had never known.

 

Gospel Meditation Mark 4:21-29, A Lamp Under a Basket & The Parable of the Growing Seed

 

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 184

Mark 4:21-29

A Lamp Under a Basket & The Parable of the Growing Seed

  1. Find a quiet place without 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. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. The first parable, “a lamp under a basket” continues the theme of the sower of seed. Now instead of sowing, the metaphor is letting the light shine for all to see.
  8. The metaphor of fire is used by Jesus. Fire was light and heat, vital to the people in that day and this.
  9. Clearly, a lamp was put on a stand not under a basket or a bed.
  10. The Light is Jesus and His Word, His Gospel. The Gospel was not held by the disciples as a mystery or a secret – the opposite of much religion of that day. Not for the elite, but for all.
  11. Those who broadcast, those doing the work, will be given more and more opportunity to do so; and sadly there is the opposite.
  12. This principle is evident in most every endeavor people undertake.
  13. Our second parable, the parable of the growing seed, again it plays off the parable of the sower.
  14. It is assumed that the sower, the farmer, the evangelist is busy scattering the seed on the ground. We already know that there are any number of places, four really, the seed could fall upon.
  15. Patiently the farmer waits for the seed to do its work, which it always does when the seed is good and healthy.
  16. The sower does not understand how it all works, indeed, he does not have to. Time and again the sower spreads the seed and time and again he watches the miracle take place. With an actual farmer the miracle is built into the process. With the witness the harvest is purely miraculous.
  17. The Holy Spirit does the work from beginning to end. First a person sees their own sinful nature as well as their hopeless efforts to relieve themselves of their sin. Only then will they see their need of the Savior’s sacrifice on the cross.
  18. The farmer knows the harvest will come and that there will be rejoicing.

 

The Pharisees Demand a Sign & The Leaven of the Pharisees Mark 8:11-21

GOSPEL MEDITATION #197

The Pharisees Demand a Sign & The Leaven of the Pharisees Mark 8:11-21

  1. Find a quiet place without 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. “Show us a miracle and we will be satisfied.” Then one more would be requested, and then another. Heal someone, cast out a demon – then we will believe. But they did not.
  7. Seems like a miracle would be enough but it never is. Faith is always a gift, blind eyes must be opened, deaf ears must be made to hear.
  8. Jesus had feed 5000 then 4000 and yet the apostles were worried about the apparent lack of bread. Did they want to see another miracle?
  9. The guys somehow had forgotten the two most incredible miracles ever, one which showed up the fundamental law of nature – new energy or matter cannot be created. We live in a closed system.
  10. Right in front of them, as it had been for the religious leaders, they beheld the miraculous. It was not enough.
  11. As yet there was no inner working of the Holy Spirit, who alone confirms forgiveness and salvation. It is a miracle unseen, which is far superior to even a resurrection from the dead.
  12. There would be the resurrection of Lazarus, which was like casting pearls before swine; then Jesus’ own resurrection was denied.
  13. The Pharisees are like all those who trust in doing good works. Theirs is despair and a longing for proof undeniable.
  14. Good deeds are observed while real faith cannot be.

 

Gospel Meditation

GOSPEL MEDITATION

What Happened Following Jesus’ Birth

Luke 2:22-35

  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. Mary and Joseph presented Jesus at the Temple

according to the Law of Moses. (See Ex. 13:2 & Lev.

12:8). They offered 2 pigeons meaning the family was

poor.

  1. The obedience of Mary and Joseph indicates also that

they were observant Jews and would be Jesus as he

grew up.

  1. Here now they meet Simeon, Holy Spirit inspired     prophet who is awaiting the arrival of the Messiah.
  2. The remarkable statement about Jesus being the cause of the “fall and rising of many,” among other things, is a preparation for Mary about what was to become of her baby. The Child would be loved and hated, both at once, and so it has remained to this day.
  3. This extreme reaction reveals both God’s holiness and our unholiness, and that Jesus has an enemy.
  4. The sword that will pierce Mary, the trauma that only a mother could experience, likely was meant to be comforting to Mary, in taking away any surprise or false expectation.
  5. Then Anna, another witness to Mary and Joseph, two witnesses thus meeting Biblical requirements (see Dt. 17:6). Mary and Joseph would be comforted by this.
  6. Some 33 years before the cross, God brings two people to the temple to announce that great event that was to come.

The Birth of Jesus Christ

GOSPEL MEDITATION

The Birth of Jesus Christ

Luke 2:1-7

  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. Only Matthew and Luke give us the story of the birth of Jesus.
  8. Matthew’s account is steeped in Jewish thinking; Luke has an historical rendering that is written for the Graeco-Roman world.
  9. For Matthew, the birth of Jesus took place to fulfill the statements made by the prophets concerning the Messiah. Luke places the story in actual time and space.
  10. The Savior of the world is actually and miraculously born of a woman in a real place.
  11. Caesar Augustus (ruled 31BC to AD14) was emperor in Rome and Quirinius was governor of Syria. In 5 or 6 BC, Mary & Joseph arrive in Bethlehem to obey Roman law.
  12. Mary, nine months pregnant, made the arduous journey to Bethlehem from Nazareth.
  13. She gives birth to her first child. The birth place was perfect for them: it was private, warm, dry, away from disturbances, and safe. Jesus has a good start in life and Mary and Joseph can enjoy the great moment. The Father has seen to everything.

 

Parable of the Sower

GOSPEL MEDITATION #183

Sower Parable, purpose of Parables, and Interpretation

Mark 4:1-20

  1. Find a quiet place without 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. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. 20 verses, 3 sections, The Sower Parable perhaps the most vital of all parables to be understood by followers of Jesus. The hearers are the Twelve but also a larger group of serious disciples.
  8. Farming context, the sower’s seed would fall into 4 different circumstances: some on the path, some on rocky ground, some among weeds, but other seed sown on good soil.
  9. In verse 8 a great promise is given – there will be fruit and this to be understood as a growing of the Kingdom of God.
  10. The reason for parables may look back to Isaiah 6:9-10. For reasons that are most difficult to understand, hearers of the parables containing the truth of God yet do not experience forgiveness. There is no satisfactory resolution to this conundrum.
  11. The interpretation of the parable now, and Jesus interprets only 3 of His parables., this one, the sower, but also the Parable of the Weeds (Matthew 13:36-43, and, as it is thought, the Parable of the Net (Matthew 13:47-50). All of these have to do with evangelism.
  12. The path: of necessity seed, the Word, will fall on ears only momentarily and Satan rushes in (and in ways unexplained here) and takes away the message of the Gospel.
  13. Rocky ground: at first there is joy but it is short lived since a genuine conversion, an inner working of the Holy Spirit, has not taken place. It does not take much for the Word to be rejected. Very common experience.
  14. Thorny ground: This is more difficult and it is not clear whether a real conversion has taken place; commentators are divided. Bottom line – no fruit is borne and to me indicates no real conversion.
  15. Good soil: Here is the promise to the Christian – there will be fruit, the Kingdom will grow, and the fruit varies from person to person.