Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mark 8 through Mark 12

Mark Chapter 8

Mark Chapter 9

Mark Chapter 10

Mark Chapter 11

Mark Chapter 12

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mark 3 through 7

Mark 3

Mark 4

Mark 5

Mark 6

Mark 7

Friday, February 11, 2011

More NT Readng Questions. Did Jesus minister to the Gentiles?

Most of us are Gentiles. A Gentile is simply a person who is not a Jew. Those that are familiar with the book of Genesis know that God founded the nation of Israel from Abraham so that they would be led to understand his ways and in the course of that be a witness to all the peoples of the earth. There were times in the Old Testament that the Jews were told to separate from the other nations that did not serve God and that practiced evil. We are all blessed that we as Gentiles were graphed into the family of God through Jesus. So what did Jesus mean when he said,

Matthew 10:5-8

5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,a]">[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. NIV

That sure sounds like Jesus is encouraging the wall to remain up between Jew and Gentile. As Gentiles it can make us feel like...Wow doesn't He care about us? "Go to the lost sheep of Israel" As we put things together by continuing to read the New Testament (and even the book of Matthew) a picture emerges. That is that the gospel, the good news, was given first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. Jesus primary ministry was to the Jews to whom the Messiah had been promised to come through. God had made them guardians of His Word (the old Testament) His life was to be a revelation of God's Promise and an opportunity for the Jews to understand and accept God's redemption. He was rejected by His own. (Though keep in mind the first Christians were primarily Jews who had accepted Him as Lord and Savior) The encouraging thing is that as we continue to read Matthew and the rest of the New Testament we see the plan for the Gentiles emerge. We see Jesus healing the Centurion's servant, the Gentile woman's daughter who was bound by an evil spirit, we see the Jesus ministering to the Samaritan at the well. All of these people had faith to see God move in their life and Jesus honored that faith. The book of Acts goes even further as Peter has a vision which opened the floodgate to introducing the gospel to Gentiles. Jesus spoke first to His people the Jews...but as evidenced by His inclusion of those Gentiles with faith to believe upon him in the gospels we are welcomed into the fold.

Here is a verse that clarifies the fact that Jesus went first to the House of Israel...but that the gospel is for all men.

John 11:49-52

49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” 51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Some good Questions as we Read through the New Testament

We are done reading the book of Matthew and some folks have asked me some great questions in regard to our readings. So in the next few days I'll talk about some of them here on the blog.

When I was in Bible College I started my quest of reading through the entire Bible for the first time. God is always faithful to show us wonderful things and to speak to us about issues that are just what we need for our everyday life. Sometimes we have questions...some questions may seem silly and some may seem profound...but the searching and asking God for answers draws us closer to Him and helps us in our everyday life .

1. Matthew 15. Didn't Jesus understand about germs? I know people in those days didn't know about germs...but Jesus is God the Son .
This was the first question I had at seventeen years old as I tackled reading through the entire Bible for the first time. I look back now and laugh at myself, but the truth is we all have these moments of not quite understanding. I studied the answer to it all those years ago, but a few days ago...I found a few more things that shed some new light. I've read through the Bible many times since then and every time there is something new to search out, to ponder and to allow Holy Spirit to speak to our heart about.

The Pharisees asked,

2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

Jesus answers first by calling into question their hand washing tradition and neglect of the law of God. I remember as a seventeen year old my mind immediately went to what could You possibly have against washing your hands...get rid of the germs. What I was missing was it was not simply washing hands as we would today but it was a ceremonial washing. I was reading this week that there was a special way to do it and one was suppose to wash all the way up to the elbows. That satisfied me at that time...realizing that Jesus was not against washing hands but that a special ceremonial washing was not necessary. The phrase the "tradition of the elders" says a lot here. This washing was not about God's law or even hygiene it was more about tradition.

Matthew 15:10
10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

There it was again. A few verses down I was back on the germ issue. Germs after all can hurt a person if they eat without washing there hands and it seemed like Jesus was saying that it didn't matter. I was totally wrong about what Jesus was really saying. I didn't have any idea why he was saying what he was to the Pharisees or the multitude. I decided to leave it to the answer above...this was just about tradition...Jesus wasn't against the washing of hands. A few days ago I decided to look at it again and I found something I'd missed before. I found out that Jesus was denouncing a belief that the tradition of the elders was espousing. They actually believed that if you didn't wash in the ceremonial way that the devil could gain entrance to your soul while you ate. Wow! That explains a lot. Jesus was dealing with an issue that was putting people into awful bondage. Imagine the normal person washing their hands up to their elbow everyday at meal time afraid of giving entrance to the devil if they didn't. Jesus was setting that straight among the people.

Others had some great questions that I'll discuss in the next few days. Did you have questions as you read Matthew? It is not to late to is fun to study it out.

Hope you are enjoying the book of Mark which is another look at the life of Jesus. More later on that.

Matthew 28-Mark 2

Matthew 26....Monday's Reading

Matthew 27....Tuesday's Reading

Matthew 28 Wednesday's Reading

Mark 1 Thursdays's Reading

Mark 2 Friday's Reading

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Matthew 26....Monday's Reading

Matthew 27....Tuesday's Reading

Matthew 28 Wednesday's Reading

Mark 1 Thursday's Reading

Mark 2 Friday's Reading