Tag Archives: Jesus

Mark 11-16; One More Week

Long before God separated the light from the darkness on the first week of Earth’s existence, He formed a plan. Man would be created with a will, and would need a Savior. Long before that first Word was spoken in the creation of this beautiful world, God determined to BE that Savior!

Then for thousands of years, God watched as His creation worshiped Him, then rejected Him, then repented of their sins, only to start the cycle all over again. God’s created people chose sin time and time again. How it must have hurt God to watch. Jesus, the Son, knew He was the answer.

I think of a third string quarterback, sitting the bench game after game, year after year. “Put me in, Coach. Put me in.” Not that there is anything third string about Jesus. In fact, He was the ace! But He was forced to sit on the sidelines while one quarterback tried and failed, then another, and another did the same. “Put me in, Coach.”

I believe it was with that enthusiasm that Jesus came to earth when, at just the right time, God did put Him in the game, to get the job done once and for all.

Now we read about Jesus’ last week on earth. We watch Him enter Jerusalem amid great fanfare. We hear Him tell His disciples His parting words to them. We are invited into the courtroom to see a sham of a trial, a defendant who never answered an accusation against Him because He wanted to go to the cross.

In fact, the only time we hear Him speak is when He was asked if He was the King of the Jews. “Yes. I AM,” He answered. Make no mistake about it. Jesus proclaimed that He Is God! And He wanted us to know exactly Who He is!

We see Him abused, tortured, lied about, and humiliated, and all the while knowing He had the power to crush His abusers at any moment. But he didn’t crush them because He wanted to die for them.

We hear the same people who, days before celebrated His coming, cry “Crucify Him!” Our hearts break as He is betrayed, rejected, denied, and hung on that cross. Yet that cross was why He was here in the first place. He was finally getting to do what He’d wanted to do since Adam and Eve.

I believe it was for the joy of my salvation, and yours, that Jesus willingly endure the cross. Victory over sin came because of that cross. But He didn’t stay dead! He is alive! And some day He will come again and take His children home.

The account of Jesus’ last days on Earth is recorded in all four Gospels, but I never tire of reading it. I believe this is the most important week anyone has every lived. It was lived by the One who loved us and gave Himself for us.

Thank you, dear Jesus.

Mark 9-10; Paradoxes in Christianity

The Gospel of Jesus certainly wasn’t what the 1st Century Jews were expecting They had been living by the “what goes around comes around” philosophy of life, and were expecting the Messiah to give the Romans what was coming to them. Jesus blew that idea right out of the water.

The Gospel isn’t exactly what many 21st Century people expect, either. That all-loving grandpa in the sky who makes bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to good people doesn’t exist any more than a 1st Century political leader.

Warren Wiersbe, in his With The Word, (Thomas Nelson, 1991, page 660) points out that the true Gospel, in fact, is juxtaposed to the world’s philosophy of life. Just in these two chapters you’ll see several paradoxes that are at the core of our faith.

You’ll see victory out of surrender, when the world would tell you victory comes after hard work and personal effort. You’ll see greatness out of service, when the world would tell you you are great when people serve you.

You’ll see gain out of loss, when the world’s drive is for more possessions, more wealth, more, more, more. Jesus tells us we gain eternal life when we let go of all of that.

And ultimately, you’ll see glory out of suffering. Like Paul in Galatians 6, we can glory in the cross of Christ because, as awful as that death was, as humiliating and degrading, it was there Jesus paid the debt of our sin, the punishment we deserved. Jesus suffered and died for me. And for you. I love that old cross.

To many, the idea of letting go of material things, family members, our health, our reputations, our future, as well as our present, doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t sit well with some to humble ourselves, consider other people more important than ourselves in order to be of service to them. It doesn’t make sense to give up control of our situations and our future, and to trust Someone we can’t even see with it all.

That is, until you do. And you realize the flip side of that coin is amazing. It’s God Himself for today and eternity. Nothing can compare in this life. Nothing!

Paul, in I Corinthians 10 said he was crucified with Christ. He often said he died that day he met Jesus. But in I Corinthians 10:13 he tells us that because Christ lives in him, he is truly alive.

Life out of death might be the ultimate paradox in Christianity. But it’s real. I hope you have died, and know what it’s like to be gloriously alive.

Mark 5-8; He Is That God

These chapters reveal so many precious truths about God through the account of the life of His Son on earth. Please read this Scripture today and get to know Him better.

He is the God even the demons know, respect, and over whom they have no power. He is the God who seeks us out, who comes to us and doesn’t just sit back and wait for us to make the first move.

He has power over sickness and death. He is the God who takes care of our physical needs, and the One who invites us to rest in Him.

He is the God who makes us sinners clean from the inside out. He walks on water, feeds the multitudes, yet has compassion and love for individuals.

We can get to know Him through His Son Jesus. Peter recognized Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God!

He is THAT God!

Mark 1-4; He’s Not That God

The long-awaited Messiah had come! For centuries the Jewish people had looked forward with great anticipation to the day God would send a Savior. They were tired of being abused and looked down upon by the Romans, and every other pagan nation around them. They were God’s chosen people, for crying out loud! And they couldn’t wait until their oppressors got what was coming to them.

They fully expected their Messiah to come with a dramatic flair, crown on head, shiny sword drawn, and riding a white horse, with music blaring in the background, and fireworks exploding overhead. (or the first century equivalent)

But then here comes Jesus. Mark tells us the Messiah’s only herald was some weird looking guy named John who wore camel hair clothes and a leather belt, eating bugs and honey. John wasn’t leading a parade. He was baptizing people in the wilderness.

And Jesus? He wouldn’t even let the demons announce who He was. He surrounded Himself with regular people instead of warriors. He told them He was there to make them fishers of men instead of an army. How could He be their Messiah? He didn’t look like He could win a battle against a pre-school much less a Roman army.  Are you kidding me?

He wasn’t a warrior or a king. He was a preacher! And He didn’t even make sense half the time to the people He was preaching to.

Not my Messiah!

Let me ask you this: What does your perfect Messiah look like? What kind of God do you have pictured in your mind? A loving God? A God who ought to reward good behavior and punish bad? A God who doesn’t let children starve, or countries go to war? A God who lets people decide for themselves what “truth” is, or how they want to live their own lives? A God who accepts any form of worship, and doesn’t condemn anyone to hell? A God who does what you want him to, who bows to your every whim?

Well, guess what. He’s not that God! And that’s good news!

The God of the Bible is so much more loving and fair and generous and forgiving than you could ever conjure up in your mind. And the Messiah Jesus wasn’t just about rescuing a few people from Roman rule. He was and is about rescuing you from the penalty of sin!

I challenge you to read the book of Mark with me in the next few days, and get to know this Messiah, Jesus the Christ. Put aside what you think He should be like, and see Him for who He really is. Let Him reveal Himself to you through the words He Himself inspired Mark to write. This is what Jesus wants YOU to know about Himself.

I believe with all my heart that if you prayerfully read this book and ask God to show Himself – HE WILL. And when you compare His reality with the god you have created in your mind, you’ll be glad He’s not that god.

 

Matthew 26-28; For You

I know it’s not Easter season, but please read these chapters in God’s Word today. Hear God tell you how much He loves you. Understand that it wasn’t just for the human race that Jesus suffered and died. He did it all for you.

You.

At any time He could have called 10,000 angels to rescue Him, and believe me those 10,000 angels were eagerly waiting for that call. But Jesus didn’t call them because He was thinking about the day you would accept Him as your Savior. That meant everything to Him.

The thought of you is what gave Him the resolve to endure the pain, humiliation, and that very public death. Yes, Jesus died for you.

But He didn’t stay dead! Doesn’t it thrill you to read about His resurrection? That dear body that was crushed for love of you, was again walking on the dirt roads, talking to people just like before He was crucified. He is alive!

This living Savior wants you! Loves you! Can wash you clean and walk with you today. I want to sing: “Amazing love! How can it be that You, my God, would die for me.”

For you.

Zechariah 11-14; One

The first couple of times I read these chapters I was excited to see how Jesus is woven into so many verses. Then it dawned on me. He’s not just thrown in there a tidbit at a time. It’s all about Jesus! If things about Jesus are woven into this tapestry, the completed product is Jesus Himself.

Jesus, who doesn’t act like a foolish shepherd, but who is the Good Shepherd. The Shepherd who cares for His flock, who searches for His lost sheep. Jesus, the Shepherd of the Church, the Gospel that blesses some, and sends others reeling.

Considering these chapters, Matthew Henry said that those who reject Jesus, and are determined to further their sinful agendas consider the Church an obstacle, and want it gone. (Sometimes I  have to remind myself this guy wrote hundreds of years ago.) What Henry said seems to be gaining momentum in our present society, doesn’t it? But Henry also reminds us that no matter how hard they try to rid the world of the Church, it is built on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ, and it will stand until the end. As bleak as it has looked in any age, as it may look right now, we win because of Jesus.

Jesus, the One who was pierced for our sin, is the Great Leveler, as seen in Zephaniah’s example of the split Mount of Olives. Everyone escapes through that valley. It’s the only way.

Jesus answered him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

The Great Leveler.

Zephaniah reveals Jesus, the Living Water flowing out to all the earth. Reminds me of Pentecost when the Spirit of our Lord was poured out on the believers, and people heard the Gospel in their own languages, no matter where they were from. Then those people took that same Good News home with them and told others who spoke their language about the saving power of Jesus. That Living Water is still reaching lost souls everywhere.

I hope you’ll read the book of Zephaniah and let the old prophet encourage your relationship with Jesus, help you to see Him, and know His great love for you. There is so much more in here than what I’ve shared. It’s a book about the Name above all names.

14:9 tells us what those of us who know Jesus personally already know:

There is only One King, One Lord. One Name.

Jesus.

 

Zechariah 4-6; Priest and King

What does it mean when God, through the prophet, tells us the Branch will be both priest and king? That’s not how it worked back in Zechariah’s day. Got me to thinking…

A priest was responsible for the spiritual care of the people. The priest was the one who offered sacrifices day after day for the sins of the people. He wasn’t a soldier, or a ruler. He stayed pretty close to the Temple, and his concerns were for the relationship the people had with God.

A king, on the other hand, ruled the people. A king made the laws, and had an army around him to uphold those laws. The king was feared, sometimes loved, respected, and obeyed. The king was responsible for the physical welfare of the people.

Now Zechariah is told to take a crown of gold and silver, and place it on the head of the high priest as a picture of what was to come. There is a Branch coming who will not be a priest OR a king, but a priest AND king.

This One, Zechariah tells us, will branch out to build the Temple. This Branch will sit on His throne and rule in majesty and glory – a Priest on the throne. And there will be harmony between the two.

Jesus is that Branch, that Priest on the throne! This Priest/King not only made the laws, He made the ultimate sacrifice for those of us who break those laws. HE became that sacrifice once and for all.

This Priest/King invites His children into the throne room where we can enjoy His Presence, eat at His table, be clothed in His righteousness. This King, who rules with an iron fist, also loves and forgives us when we bow before Him.

I don’t need to go to a priest for one thing, and to a king for something else. It made me think of I Peter 1:3:

His divine power (King) has given us everything required for life (King) and godliness (Priest) through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory (King) and goodness. (Priest).  (words in parentheses mine)

Jesus is everything I need. I can trust Him with my physical health, my day to day needs, and I can trust Him with my soul, my eternity. Do you know Him?