Friday, October 12, 2007


I’ve been reading through the book of Mark lately. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never noticed Mark’s tone throughout this book. Everything is so quick. Most new paragraphs or stories start with “Then,” “How,” “Immediately,” “When,” “So they went,” “Now,” “And,” etc. The story moves along so well, and while these aren’t necessarily transitional phrases, they bond the whole book together. Mark wrote to Gentiles, so that also gives his writing a different tone—they were welcome, they could believe the Messiah of the Jews and be saved.

I am not ashamed to admit that I am learning more as I read through this and am picking up on this I may not have connected before. For instance, Mark highlights many of Jesus’ healing miracles. After nearly all of them, Jesus tells the one healed not to tell anyone what he had done and who He was. (See 1:34, 43; 3:13; 5:34; 7:36; 8:26, 30; 9:9; and 11:33.)

His fame, however, spread, and He had to stay basically in hiding for a time because He was being pursued by so many. (See 1:28, 35, 45; 2:13; 3:7; 6:32; 7:24; 8:9–10, 13, 30; 14:32.)

And then, the climax. When directly questioned by the high priest, He answered clearly. “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus said, “I am.” Short. Sweet. TRUE. And the high priest accused Him of blasphemy.

Jesus continues His silence during the beatings and mockings, although He had the power to call on the angels to save Him. But as He had said, He must endure to fulfill the prophecy. After another direct question, this time from Pilate, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus answers, “It is as you say.” Again, the truth. And it led, ultimately, to His death on the cross.

If He had remained silent, they may not have killed Him. Yes, men testified against Him, but their testimonies did not agree. Yet He told the truth and paid the price of death.

The amazing thing is that He paid that price for you and me, if only we believe who He says He is and obey His commands. He loves His children and wants to have a personal relationship with those who trust Him. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” But don’t stop there. James 2:19–20 warns and encourages: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” Note here, however, that “James is not contrasting two methods of salvations (faith versus works). Instead, he contrasts two kinds of faith: living faith that saves and dead faith that does not.” (John MacArthur, the MacArthur Study Bible, NKJV)

I am continually amazed at how, through numerous writers and hundreds of years, the 66 books of the Bible tie together through the Spirit’s work in the writers. As I said, I am not ashamed to say I am still learning as I read and grow. In everything I do, I’ve found that the more you think you know, the more you realize you have so much more to learn.
Isaiah 40:28–31 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

One of Whom the World is Not Worthy?

Am I one of whom the world is not worthy? Have you ever looked really closely at the men (and women) in9 the hall of faith in Hebrews 11? Many of these people were never recognized for the tasks that they performed. They showed faith. The only way they could have done what they did was through faith.

Take Gideon, for example. The Midianites had a huge, frightening army. Gideon had next to no one, but he had God on his side.

David had five stones and a sling shot to fight against Goliath. David should have been crushed. But he knew God was on his side—he hit Goliath with the first stone and finished by cutting off his head.
1 Samuel 17:37, 45–47

Moreover David said, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands.”
But what about the saints in the hall of faith who ended up like Goliath because of their obedience to God. They were tempted, imprisoned, wandering, mocked, scourged, tortured, stoned, slain, destitute, afflicted, slain, sawn in two. And they obtained a good testimony through faith.

Would I be willing to endure those struggles to bring glory to my God and Savior Jesus Christ?
Hebrews 11:32–40

And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again.

Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.

And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.