The Image of God pt (3)
Jesus is no longer being questioned by the religious leaders, in fact, he has turned the tables and gone of the offense. After dealing with the question of a sincere scribe, Jesus attacks the scribes as a group. Our narrative is filled with comparisons of the scribes, the rich and a poor widow. Only one is living in the image of God. Over the last two weeks, Jesus has told God’s creation to give to God what belongs to God. What belongs to God? Our whole selves. Loving God with our heart, soul, mind and strength. As God loved us, we are to love our neighbor. Today we are given an example of what that looks like.
The Image of God (pt 2)
Jesus is speaking about what it means to live in the image of God. For the first time He is not confronted by a group, only a single scribe. Something is different with this religious leader, he is genuinely interested in what Jesus has to say. Jesus gives the greatest commands in the Law – love God and love our neighbor. Everything hinges upon these two commands. They are greater than the most sacred sacrifices offered at the Temple. But it is more than emotion – it is an action given of our whole being.
December 29 (pt 1)
The Image of God
For Jesus, the biblical story is all about imagining a world where we receive the love of our life-giving creator and we return that love through our love for our neighbor. That's what it means to be the image of God. However, we have done such a poor job of it, we must be reborn and transformed into something new. Jesus's response to the religious leader of the day still resonates today with the meaning of life and how to live out that meaning.
Peace on Earth
Peace on earth. It’s one of the most popular sentiments of the Christmas season. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, after all, who doesn’t want peace on earth? Join us on as we discover together the true meaning of Peace on Earth.
Tragic Love Poems
When Jesus clears the Temple by running out those selling animals for sacrifice and overturning tables of those exchanging money for the Temple tax, the Jewish religious leaders wanted to know who gave him the authority to do these things. Jesus does not answer their question, but He does give them a parable similar to the prophets of old. Jesus continues as a prophet of God. The parable not only condemns the religious leaders, but reveals the amazing love the Father has for humanity.
Through the literary brilliance of Mark, our narrative is wrapped around a fig tree cursed by Jesus. It, like the Temple, looked as if it bore fruit, but in fact there was none. Both the tree and the Temple are judged. No matter how holy an institution may be, if it doesn’t bear fruit, it must be removed. Today we will explore what that means to us.
The King is Coming
Jesus arrives in Jerusalem like a king. His actions are completely out of character from the ministry of Jesus. There is much drama only to end, on what seems to be anticlimactic. We are meant to follow the breadcrumbs back to the Old Testament to understand the long-awaited Servant King has arrived in the Holy City. But the expectation of the crowds and the expectation of God is different.
The Model Disciple
This section ends with the only one with spiritual sight – a blind man from Jericho. He becomes the model disciple, not the Twelve or even Jesus’ inner circle. Jesus asks the blind man the same question He asked James and John – “What do you want me to do for you?” It is one of the most important questions God asks us today. Our answer reveals our motives.
Everyone Can Be Great
Jesus is marching to Jerusalem to die for humanity and James and John are marching to receive glory for themselves. They still don’t understand the purpose of the Messiah. They too will suffer. Human nature hasn’t changed through the centuries. We often follow Jesus to receive something in return. And what we desire, we want without suffering. Like the brothers, we too can struggle with pride and spiritual competition. We define greatness differently than Jesus.
Who Can Be Saved?
A man, who has kept the law of God since his youth, wants to know what else he needs to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus shocked the man by telling him to sell all his possessions, give it to the poor and come and follow Him. The man left sad and not a follower of Christ. This narrative is intended to show us there is nothing we can do to inherit eternal life. Jesus’ own disciples were “exceedingly astonished” by Jesus’ declaration of the rich. That was the intent. They then asked the right question, “Then who can be saved?”
Jesus and Marriage
The Pharisees are trying to trap Jesus by asking him a question that ultimately cost John the Baptizer his head. Instead of giving them what they wanted Jesus taught the true understanding of marriage from Genesis. We live in a world were marriage is seen as a temporary commitment. But God intended it to be a symbol of something higher.
Mark gives us a series of narratives to help us understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Despite following Jesus all this time, they are still hard-hearted and struggle to over come their culture and longtime beliefs. In order for us to truly see Jesus, we must come as people who are ready to be humble and carry a cross. The church struggles with the same things as people in the world – wanting to be in places of honor or deciding who gets in or not. To be a follower of Jesus it takes a complete claim of our lives.
Help Me Believe
Jesus and the inner circle leave the glory of the mount of transfiguration to return to the world’s reality – evil, suffering, faithless crowds and religious
disputes. The remaining apostles had not been able to heal a boy with an unclean spirit. Jesus heals him and builds the faith of a father who had lost all faith. Many in our world struggle with their faith, especially in a world filled with chaos and suffering. Jesus is the one who encourages our faith and shares the key to spiritual warfare.
Suffering and Glory
The message of suffering and death is mixed with resurrection and glory. You cannot have glory without death. Our own suffering brings us into deeper fellowship with Jesus. We become an extension of His ministry and find new life.
October 6, 2019
Healing the Blind
Jesus heals a blind man in stages to show how the disciples would be healed of their spiritual blindness. Declaring Jesus is the Christ is only the beginning of spiritual sight. It is important to understand the true meaning of Jesus being the Christ - death and resurrection. A follower of Jesus must also be willing to bear a cross of suffering.
September 29, 2019
An Annual Spiritual Check-Up
Most of us have an annual physical check-up. What about an annual spiritual check-up? An examination that compares our present attitudes & actions to those of our Savior and Lord. This simple procedure ensures that we are following Christ and being like Him to others.
September 22, 2019
Breaking the Mold
Jesus’ response to us is the same response he had to the Pharisees, he says I can’t and I won’t give you that type of sign because you are blind to what I am here to do. We have to stop telling God to approve of what is right in our own heart and instead seek the heart of God. These Pharisees do not want to seek the heart of God, they wanted God to fit inside of their pre-constructed mold of who God is and how he should work in the world.
September 15, 2019
The Good News for All
Jesus goes into “unclean” areas and demonstrates His love and compassion toward non-Jewish people. Jesus shows the Kingdom of God will ultimately be for all humanity. And like the Jews, we enter through humility and faith.
September 8, 2019
Clean Hands and Pure Hearts
Jesus shows the Pharisees how they used the “traditions of the elders” to serve their own purpose and disobey God’s written Law. While they lived by strict rules their hearts were far from God. When we allow our own religious traditions to become equal or more important than God’s Word, they become idols. When we focus on particulars we lose sight of the greater commands of the law – justice, mercy and faith.
September 1, 2019
The Water Walker
Jesus reenacts to significant Old Testament stories. When He walks on water, Mark says He wanted to “pass by them.” God did this twice in the OT to reveal His name and identity. Jesus calls out to them by the personal name of God.Jesus is God. He does what only the Creator of the Universe can do.
August 25, 2019
Empty Hand and Full Bellies
Jesus was trying to enjoy a spiritual retreat with the Twelve when He sees the crowds running along the Sea of Galilee to follow Him to His next stop. Out of compassion Jesus puts the retreat on hold to teach the people. As darkness started to set in, a problem arose. The people are hungry, and they needed to eat. Once again Jesus teaches us about discipleship. It isn't sitting back and watching Jesus do everything. He brings us in, to be His hands as we serve Him with faith.
August 18, 2019
The One Shall Become Twelve
Jesus sends out the Twelve for the first time. They are a continuation of the mission of Christ - casting out demons, preaching the good news and healing the sick. Suddenly Mark recounts something that had already occurred - the death of John the Baptizer. Immediately after this flashback, Mark simply tells us the disciples returned to their mission. To be a disciple of Jesus is to count the cost. One must be prepared to die for the cause if necessary. But the victory has already been won. And Christianity cannot be extinguished.
August 11, 2019
Familiarity Breeds Contempt
Jesus visits His hometown synagogue and teaches. The people are astonished but not for the right reasons. They cannot get past how Mary's boy, the carpenter, could have such wisdom and power. Many believing parents wonder why their children leave, stop going to church and turn their backs on the things they had always been taught. We have made sure we and our children know the stories but have neglected to allow our faith to grow.
August 4, 2019
The Healer of Humanity
A synagogue leader pleads with Jesus to heal his sick daughter. Jesus agrees but is interrupted by a woman who was suddenly healed by touching His garment. She demonstrates a saving faith that the father will be asked to have. Two very different people are represented, and both were restored. All are equal before God. Jesus loves us all and longs for humanity to stop living in fear and learn to trust Him no matter the situation – even death.
July 28, 2019
The Quieter of Souls
Jesus heals a man tormented by a legion of demons. This man, who lived among the tombs, could not be restrained by the strongest of chains. Jesus not only has the power to confine him, but to set the man free from the evil within him. Jesus calms the inner being. He has power over the spiritual forces of evil. Not all have demons tormenting them from within, but many struggles with inner conflict. Only One can bring peace. He has a power that is greater than the strongest of irons. He can bring calm to our chaotic inner battles.
July 21, 2019
The Stiller of Storms
Despite following Jesus and seeing His miracles, the disciples are terrorized by the power of Jesus over nature. The point isn’t to show Jesus saves them from a storm, but to demonstrate He is God. He does what only God can do. All of us find ourselves in sudden, terrifying storms in life. In those moments of desperation, we are to turn to Jesus, even if we do not fully understand who He is and the power He possesses.
July 7 & 14, 2019
Understanding The Parables
Jesus’ parables are like stained glass windows, in a cathedral, dull and lifeless from the outside but brilliant and radiant from within. Jesus's parables are not simply good advice, nor are they tools to help you understand something better, they are good news. The life of Jesus is itself a parable, indeed the greatest of them all.
June 30, 2019
The True Family of Jesus
Jesus has come to liberate humanity from the power of evil. Casting
out demons was a sign God’s kingdom was arriving. Satan is being defeated one battle after another. He is plundering the house of Satan. Jesus will not even allow his mother or brothers to take priority over the new community being formed. The true family of Christ are those who sit in His presence and do the will of God.
June 23, 2019
Chosen by God
The popularity and demand of Jesus has increased. The crowds are pressing on Him but they still show no signs of faith. Jesus goes up on a mountain to choose the 12 apostles to be sent out to continue His message of good news. Like the apostles, we are not chosen for our abilities, merits or status. We are chosen out of love.
June 16, 2019
Lord of the Sabbath
Jesus demonstrates His divinity with His authority over the Sabbath.
June 9, 2019
The presence of Jesus meant it was a time of festivities. Jesus came to gather all under His wings of grace and love.
June 2, 2019
The Son of Man
Jesus demonstrates His power to forgive by healing a paralytic. We all have greater needs than the physical. The One who could heal the sick can also forgive sins.
May 26, 2019
The Humanity of Jesus
Jesus is fully God but also fully human. He needed time away to pray in order to fulfill His mission. He felt compassion for the people He healed. Jesus can sympathize with our weaknesses. He loves us and comes to us when all others keep their distance. Jesus not only makes the leper clean, but He trades places – Jesus becomes the one bearing the burden.
May 19, 2019
The Power of Jesus!
Jesus amazes the crowds with His authoritative teaching, as well as, His power over human sickness and the evil powers of the world. Jesus was not just a great religious authority or prophet. He is the Messiah who has come to redeem captives. Jesus healed the sick and the
May 12, 2019
The Time Has Come
The kingdom of God has finally broken into our fallen world. Although hidden, it awaits a future manifestation. With the coming of Jesus, there is an urgency for humanity to choose to accept it or reject it. One must repent and believe the gospel.
May 5, 2019
A Spirit-Filled Life
The baptism of Jesus demonstrated Jesus is the one promised in the Old Testament and the one who will launch God’s kingdom. But like humanity, He must go to the wilderness for testing. Will he emerge the promised Messiah? This event reveals Jesus as the Son of God. It also signifies the long-anticipated return of the Spirit of God. If He passes the test, Jesus becomes the One who can bring salvation to the world
April 28, 2019
In The Beginning
The Gospel more than a set of beliefs - it is a person – Jesus Messiah. The “beginning of the gospel” was as momentous as the creation of the world, for in Jesus new creation is at hand. It is a call for the world to wake up!