Posts Tagged ‘Mark’

What They Didn’t Know

And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band.  And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews!  And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him.  And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.

Mark 15:16-20

As I was reading about the crucifixion in this passage, I started thinking about these men who mocked Jesus.  They clothed Him in purple (the color or royalty), they gave Him a crown of thorns and mockingly saluted Him by saying “Hail, King of the Jews.”  They mockingly bowed and worshipped Him, all the while spitting upon Him and hitting Him.  It must have been an awful scene.

The thing that struck me was this: these men were mocking Him, but what they did not know was that they were right.  They were right to clothe Him in purple, as He is royalty.  They were right to crown Him (but not with a crown of thorns).  They were right to salute Him as King of the Jews (His is and was King of the Jews).  They were right to bow their knees and worship Him.  The only problem was their hearts were the exact opposite of where they should have been.

I have often thought about people who hate the Lord Jesus and use His holy name as a swear word.  That same tongue that used the name “Jesus Christ” in the wrong way will one day bow and worship Him.  Those men who mocked Him at the crucifixion will one day truly bow their knees and worship Him.  They will truly hail Him as “King.”  The sad part is that those men are all dead and gone.  They won’t get another chance to get right with the Lord they mocked.  Those who mock the Lord today still have an opportunity to come to Him and truly bow their knee now.  Let us pray for them and encourage them to come to Jesus while there is still time.

Are We Sleeping?

But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.  Take heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.  For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.  Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.  And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

Mark 13:32-37

Sleeping is a good thing.  But there are certain times that we should not be asleep.  The Bible tells us here that no man knows exactly when the Lord is going to return.  But He has given us some instructions.  In these verses, He tell us to “Watch.”  We are supposed to be paying attention and working.  We need to be watching.

“Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.”  Too often (at least at my house), we think about doing something and we want to do something, but then we just get a little too comfortable and relaxed, and soon we find ourselves asleep.  That not only happens to us physically, but spiritually.  We can spiritually fall asleep.  And, in our modern society, it is becoming increasingly easy to spiritually fall asleep.

But we don’t want to be asleep at the Lord’s return.  We don’t want Him to find us sleeping and not paying attention and working.  So, we should heed the advice that the Lord gives “unto all:”  Watch.  Stay awake, pay attention and be ready for the Lord’s return.  If He returned right now, would he find us sleeping?

The Importance of Forgiving

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.  But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

Mark 11:25-26

This passage gives us an important lesson in forgiveness.  When we are praying, we are not often thinking of forgiving others.  We are usually concentrating on our own needs and the needs of those we are praying for.  That jerk that wronged us is usually the farthest person from our minds.  But that jerk who wronged us just might be standing between us and the answer to our prayers.

We need to forgive others.  And, looking at the verse, we need to forgive them automatically.  The passage doesn’t say anything about us forgiving people if (and only if) they ask for our forgiveness, kiss our toes and do three weeks of penance.  It simply tells us that if we “have ought against any…”  we are to “forgive.”  Period.  It sounds simple, but living it is a little more difficult.

None of us are naturally forgiving people.  We have been wronged, we don’t want to forgive.  We want revenge.  We want the person who wronged us to pay for it, or at the very least, feel bad about it.  But we are told to forgive.

This is a scary verse: “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”  I think that, many times, our prayers go unanswered because there is bitterness and secret hatred in our hearts.  Our unforgiving spirit can hinder our prayers.  That’s something for us to think about the next time we pray while harbouring unforgiveness in our hearts.

Forgive those that have wronged us; then ask for our own forgiveness – that is the way the Lord would have it done.

The Prayer of Faith

And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.  For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

Mark 11:22-23

Imagine having this kind of faith.  Imagine having the faith to tell a mountain be uproot and be thrown in the sea.  I wouldn’t even have the faith to say that to a mountain, let alone truly believe in my heart.  What an amazing faith!  Well, that faith is available to all of us.

“Have faith in God.”

The object of our faith is God.  Any other object of faith is going to disappoint us.  Faith is man is going to be a failure every time.  Faith in some other “god” is not going to help us.  The one true God is the object of our faith and source of our answered prayer.

There is also another key to answered prayer: “…and shall not doubt in his heart.”  That is a tough one.  How many times have we prayed for something, but with a little doubt in our hearts?  How many times have we just vainly gone through the motions of prayer without really expecting an answer.  We “have faith” that God can answer our prayers, but how often, deep down in our hearts, do we have doubts?  Those doubts are going to hinder our prayer lives and hinder our answers to prayer.

We need to have faith in God and we need to have absolute, unbending, unwavering faith in God.  That is the kind of faith that can move mountains.  That is the kind of faith that is rewarded.  “…he shall have whatsoever he saith.”  Do we have that kind of faith?

The Chief Servant

But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.  But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.  For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Mark 10:42-45

There are many passages in the Bible that give us examples of how to live our lives.  In this passage, we get some insight into both the worldly way of looking at things and the Christ-like way of looking at things.  Jesus tells His disciples that the Gentiles argue over who is going to be “the big chief.”  But they are not supposed to live like that.  Christians are servants.

Very simply, a Christ-like life is a servant life.  Jesus Himself said that “even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life…”

All too often, our main concern is ourselves.  We want to be in charge of things.  We want to be the recipient of goodness and blessings.  We want to take, take, and take some more.  But that is not what the Christian life is all about.  It is all about being a servant.  It is all about being a help and blessing to others.  It is about ministering to people.

Jesus was (and is) the ultimate servant and the ultimate minister.  He is the ultimate helper to people.  How is our serving and minstering?  Are we living this Christ-life of service to others, or are we trying to be the boss?

A Cold Drink of Water

For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.

Mark 9:41

I love this verse of Scripture.  Some people think that you have to be a pastor or a missionary or even a Sunday School teacher to “do something for the Lord.”  Nothing could be further from the truth.  This verse tells us that “whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ… shall not lose his reward.”

I heard a preacher once tell a story about a lady in a church who read this verse and made it her responsibility to make sure that the pastor or guest speaker always had a glass of cold water to drink while he was speaking.  I have often thought of that story whenever I am doing something that doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.  From the person who holds the door at the church to the person who picks up the trash in the parking lot; the smallest things can bring a great and eternal reward that will not be lost.

Anything done for the Lord will not be wasted or forgotten.  Think of how much help we could be to others if we could simply remember that.  Sometimes it might be easy to forget that simple fact.  Sometimes we might feel that we are wasting our time with “the little things.”  But we need to remember that God sees those little things and, to Him, they are not little things.  Whatever is done in faith for Him or in His name will bring a reward, even something as seemingly insignificant as giving someone a drink of water.

They Are “On Our Part”

And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.  But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man, which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.  For he that is not against us is on our part.

Mark 9:38-40

When the disciples came across a person casting out devils in Jesus’ name.  The told him to stop it because he didn’t follow them.  Jesus told them to not forbid him and that “he that is not against us is on our part.”

There are some things that we should separate from other groups over.  There are some doctrinal issues that cannot be glossed over.  But, I also think that, sometimes we want to snub others just because they are not exactly like we are.  There are issues that are very important, and there are issues that more on the line of opinions.  We have to be careful to keep the two separate.

This man was doing a good work (casting out devils) and he was doing it in the name of Jesus.  There was no reason for the disciples to stop him or condemn him other than the simple fact that he wasn’t following “them.”  (when they say “them,” I would suspect that it was more a case of the fact that he wasn’t following the disciples, not that he wasn’t following Jesus)

We need to be careful not to get so locked in to our opinions and ways of doing things that we shut others out simply because they don’t do things exactly like we do.  Jesus told his disciples that if this man was not against them, he was “on our part.”  Just because someone is not exactly like us does not always mean that they are not on our part.

Afraid to Ask

And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it.  For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.  But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.

Mark 9:30-32

As the disciples went with Jesus, He started to teach them and tell them what would happen to Him in the near future.  He would be delivered into the hands of men, he would be killed, and then he would rise on the third day.  This was, of course, a hard thing for them to hear and an even harder thing for them to understand.

Jesus was the Messiah.  They believed in Him.  They had left everything to follow Him and now He was saying that He would be killed.  I’m sure that was a tough pill to swallow.  Then He told them that He would rise again the third day.  I’m sure that was an even tougher pill to swallow.  They had seen Him perform some wonderful miracles, but rising from the dead and conquering death is something that nobody had done before.  That would require some serious faith.  They didn’t understand what He was telling them.  But I want to focus for a minute on what they did with their lack of understanding.

“…and they were afraid to ask him.”  I can understand that Jesus might have been an intimidating figure.  But why would they be afraid to ask him about something they did not understand?  We should never be afraid to ask Him to help us understand His Word.  Many people say that they don’t read the Bible because they “can’t understand it.”  If you don’t understand  the Bible, go to the One Who wrote it.  We should never be afraid to ask Him for understanding because He is ready and willing to give it.

Help Thou Mine Unbelief

…but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.  Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.  And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

Mark 9:22b-24

In this passage, a father has brought his demon possessed son to Jesus.  He is desperate to find help for his son and knows that Jesus is his only hope.  He came to Jesus and told Him “if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.”  He came to the right One.  He can do everything and He does have compassion on those who come to Him.  Their exchange is a good one for us to study and has been the prayer of many, many people through the ages.

Jesus told the man that “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”  The father hear this and responded in tears: “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.”  How many people have said that very same thing in tears?  How many people have cried out to the Lord that they believe and have cried out to Him to help their unbelief?

What a perfect prayer for every one of us.  None of us are perfect.  None of us have perfect faith.  As Christians, we all believe.  But sometimes our faith gets weak.  Sometimes our faith is imperfect.  Sometimes we need help believing and Jesus is the One Who can give us that help.

So what happened to this man who believed but was desperate for help with his unbelief?  Jesus answered his heartfelt cry: “…Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.”  (verse 27)

That is a prayer that we need to remember when our faith start to waver: “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

Ashamed of Him

Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Mark 8:38

This whole passage deals with the question of how we choose to live our lives.  We can live our lives for the things of the world or we can live our lives for, as Jesus put it, “may sake and the gospel’s.”  The choice is ours every day how we live, but we should be aware that there is coming a day of judgment in which all of our works will come into question.  There is a day of judgment in which the way we lived our lives as Christians will be examined.  There will be rewards passed out to some, while others will see their entire life’s work burned to ashes.

This verse gives us a sobering thought.  “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words… of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed.”  If we are ashamed of Him and His words, He will be ashamed of us at His coming.  Imagine the sadness that we will feel if the Lord Jesus Himself is actually ashamed at us when He returns.  Imagine the pain and humiliation we will feel at having made Him ashamed of us.

What can we do to avoid this terrible fate?  We can, in the words of verse 35, “lose our life for my sake and the gospel’s.”  We can not be ashamed of Him and His Words.  We can love Him and tell others about Him, boldly proclaiming His name to a lost and dying world.  If we do those things, staying close beside Him, then will hear that wonderful phrase: “well done, thou good and faithful servant.”  Let us never be ashamed of Him and His Word.