Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Heart Condition

Mark 7:1-23 has lots of stuff in it. As Martin and I re-read the scripture together this morning, we paused as things jumped out at us. Verses 6, 7 have always been amongst my favorite verses in the Bible. They challenge me to examine my Heart Condition.

We both were reminded about how we worship in song on Sundays. Do we do it just because it's part of the program? Why don't we "feel" his presence at times? Are we really focusing on what we're singing and what the song means?

This was one of our conclusions...
It is dangerous and wrong to worry about our reputation rather than our character. It is dangerous and wrong to set standards for others out of our own interpretation of the Bible. We need to focus on how Christ needs to deal with us and allow Him to deal with others in certain details of their own lives (I'm not talking about sin here, I'm talking about standards of living--or traditions). It is also dangerous and wrong to elevate ourselves and point out the wrong in others.

What it boils down to is what is in our hearts. "It is not what goes into a man that makes him unclean, it's what comes out of him." Being in the world is not sin. The manifested evil within our heart is sin. Jesus gives a list of 13 things that come out of man's heart that makes him "unclean" in verses 21 and 22.

What are your thoughts on this passage?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jesus is Near

From Mark 6:45-56

After Jesus fed the 5,000 people, he sent his disciples to the other side of the lake and he went off to pray. At about 3am, he saw them struggling at the oars with the wind against them. So, he went out to them.

This was pretty interesting to me because it says "he went out to them," but once he was close to the boat it says that "he was about to walk by them." Why? Why would Jesus walk all the way out there, then walk by the disciples who were struggling? I'm not sure I have the answer to that, but one thing did occur to me that when we are struggling with an issue whether it be death, divorce, career change, weighing big decisions, or finances, Jesus is Near! At times it may seem that everything is against us (just like the wind against the disciples)...Jesus is Near! Why would he just "walk by"? Maybe that is to show us that we need to call out to him, he is available to help us and once we invite him in our "boat," he will give us peace.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Believe me...really!

The guys saw a number of things in this passage; Jesus giving thanks for the meal, meeting with his disciples after ministering, the disciples' obedience to Jesus, Jesus' compassion towards the multitude, and Jesus' Leadership.

The one that spoke to me the most was Jesus' Leadership and how he led his disciples by
  1. Keeping them accountable: After the disciples returned from Jesus sending them out two by two to preach and evangelize, he met with them so they could "share with him all they had done and taught."
  2. Being sensitive to their needs: Jesus recognized that it's important to take a rest...we see this not only since the beginning of his ministry, but the beginning of time also.
  3. Showing compassion towards the crowd: When they arrived at the other side of the lake, there was a crowd waiting for him. Even though they were tired, the compassion Jesus had for the lost (sheep w/o a shepherd) called his attention more than what his desire to rest.
  4. Encouraging them to BELIEVE: This probably had the most impact on me because I've never seen this passage this way. The disciples said, "send them away so they can go and get something to eat." They saw their need...that's good. Then Jesus says, "YOU feed them." Sometimes, we like to see the need and expect someone else to meet it. The disciples couldn't fathom how they could feed so many people, they doubted their ability. Really, they couldn't do anything about it, but Jesus could. He told his disciples to give him what they had and he took it...and performed a miracle! You might think you don't have much to offer, but God will use what you have for His glory...if you give it to Him.
  5. Organizing them: I thought this was interesting how Jesus was able to accomplish this task and organize the huge crowd. He told the disciples to divide them into small groups of 50-100 and hand the food out.
After everyone had eaten and were satisfied the disciples gathered 12 basketfulls of left-over bread. God not only provided for the needs of the people, but there was more than enough. This looks like God saying "Believe me...really!"

Friday, January 8, 2010

"Los Errores de Herodes"

Los Errores de Herodes means "Herod's Errors" and in this passage we see them (6:14-29).

The first few verses connect to the last passage. After Jesus sent his disciples out two by two, Jesus' name became very popular. When Harod found out he said, "John, the man I beheaded, has been raised from the dead." Up until now, apparently Herod had not heard of Jesus and he still had the guilty conscience of killing John the Baptist.

The next 13 verses are a parenthesis in the passage. They do not flow with how the thought of the 12 disciples continues in verse 30. They tell of why Herod had killed John the Baptist and it's here that we see his errors.

1-The woman he married, Herodias, was already married to his brother Phillip and had a daughter. This is what John had confronted Herod on and Herodias held a grudge. But she was unable to kill him because Herod protected John.
2-Herod was greatly puzzled by John's messages, but he enjoyed listening to him. Herod grew up with an evil father...Herod the Great who killed all the little boys when Jesus was born and also killed three of his sons (Herod's brothers--one of which was the father of Herodias). Even with this background, it's evident he didn't change too much.
3-Herod had his step-daughter dance before him and his friends at his party. What kind of morals would allow a man in that time to have his daughter dance like that? Even her mother apparently approved.
4-Finally, when it came time to keep his word in front of his friends, he did. However, he didn't want to because it required killing a man whom he knew to be "righteous and holy." But, instead of letting what was right prevail, he didn't want his friends to make fun of him or lose respect for him, so he ordered John to be beheaded.

How many times do we choose friends over what's right?