Tag Archives: Mark

My Delight is the Lord, August 17

When Evil Wins

August 17, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Mark 6:14-29

It is truly disturbing when evil wins. How disheartening when selfish, prideful, arrogant, and depraved people wield influence over the lives of the godly and righteous. Yet, a man like John the Baptist came under the sway of an exhibitionist young woman, her promiscuous and vindictive mother, and the impulsive and spineless king. As a result John died a violent and sudden death. It’s infuriating, isn’t it? But, it’s far from a victory for wrong. Sure, wickedness got its way, it often does. But evil did not, does not, and cannot win. It’s the timing and present circumstances that give us trouble. The upper hand never belongs to Satan. The fact that he is allowed to wield influence and at times to carry the day is no sign of triumph. Dominion always has and always will belong to God.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Why did some think Jesus was John raised from the dead? (v. 14)
  • For whose sake did Herod imprison John? (v. 17)
  • What did Herod know about John? (v. 20)
  • What did Herod want to honor? (v. 26)

My Delight is the Lord, July 26

Never Be a Cause for Sin

July 26, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Mark 9:42-50

Sin is bad. We really don’t understand how bad it is; it separates us from God, it stains our soul, it ruthlessly destroys, and it requires nothing less that Jesus’ own blood to remedy. Jesus brings to our attention concern for sin’s cause. What prompts it? What serves as an influence that results in sin? Jesus’ warning is chilling. Do not, at any cost, be the cause for “one of these little ones” to sin (v. 42). Further, you would be better off to purposefully maim and disfigure your own body if some part of it were the reason for sin (vv. 43-47). That’s strong language. What in your own life serves as an entry point for sin? Think about it; a person, an activity, a habit, an event, a technology device? It could be anything. No measure would be too extreme to eliminate this avenue for sin, especially if it is something much loved and cherished. The price of failure here, is just far too high.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Who are “these little ones”? (v. 42)
  • How is hell described? (v. 44)
  • To what does “kingdom of God” refer? (v. 47)
  • What does it mean to be “salted with fire”? (v. 49)

My Delight is the Lord, June 22

Can’t Hide Jesus

June 22, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Mark 7:24-37

Even Jesus sought solitude for Himself. He left His homeland (the only time in His adult life He did so), went into a house “and did not want anyone to know” (v. 24). The pressures and expectations on Him had to have been unimaginable. But alas, “he could not be hidden” (v. 24). Do you remember Jesus taught that as His followers we should not be hidden either (see Matt. 5:14-15). Jesus, just acting like Himself, gave away His identity. So too it should be with us. Just living the way Jesus teaches us to live should betray our identity as His disciples as well. The only way such could be hidden is if we quit doing what He said to do–then we have another, quite serious, problem. No, it should be obvious, as obvious as, well, a light shining in darkness.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What is the significance of this miracle? (vv. 24-30)
  • How might Jesus’ statement be construed as rude or harsh? (v. 27)
  • Why would the translation of Ephphatha be provided? (v. 34)
  • What was the reaction to this miracle? (v. 37)

My Delight is the Lord, May 11

What Does Faithfulness Look Like?

May 11, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

 Scripture Reading: Mark 7:1-23

What does religious faithfulness look like? How do you know a follower of God when you see one? Jesus did not fit the bill in His day. He was criticized because His disciples did not participate in ceremonial washing before a meal. This was something the recognized religious leaders did and was a generally accepted practice (v. 3). This made Jesus and His followers “defiled” by the standard of accepted religious practice. Everyone has their ideas of what a “good” Christian is. Here’s the problem; those ideas become standards of behavior and measurements of assessment that very easily–and more often than not–supersede what God has actually said. That’s why in addressing this issue Jesus focused on “the commandment of God” (vv. 8, 9) and “the word of God” (v. 13). Jesus put nothing in “accepted religious practice,” but everything in God’s word. Shouldn’t we?

Questions to Ponder:

  • According to what did the Pharisees and scribes walk? (v. 5)
  • What two “levels” of faith are described in vv. 6-7?
  • What can make worship worthless? (v. 7)
  • What had these people done with God’s word? (vv. 8, 9, 13)

My Delight is the Lord, April 20

Blessings on His Terms

April 20, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son 

Scripture Reading: Mark 5:21-43

Two very different people encounter Jesus in this incident. One is a man, the other a woman (a much bigger deal then, than today). The man was prominent, influential, and no doubt well respected. He approached Jesus very publicly, falling at His feet and imploring Him to heal his mortally ill daughter. The woman was an impoverished nobody. She had nothing and no one. She tried a sneak approach–reaching out from behind in the press of the crowd to just touch Jesus’ garment, unnoticed. She got what she was after, at least in the healing. The “unnoticed” part failed when Jesus singled her out to the onlookers. Jairus got what he was after too. Only, in the delay caused by this woman, his little girl died. So, instead of healing the sick, Jesus raised the dead. Without doubt, Jesus has blessings only He can give. We may have our ideas about what we need and how we’ll get them, but always, they will come on His terms, not ours.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What position did Jairus hold? (v. 22)
  • What do we learn of this woman’s medical history? (v. 26)
  • What did Jesus perceive? (v. 30)
  • What did Jesus tell Jairus? (v. 36)

The Joy of God’s Presence, August 31

August 31, Monday: Jesus

Scripture Reading—Mark 6:14-29

What right did John have to tell the ruler his choice of spouse was, not unwise, but unacceptable? Wasn’t his responsibility to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus? Is he just sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong? The fact is, everybody’s business is God’s business. As Creator He made us all. The life we have is the life He has given. For His messenger John to confront the king—oh yes, and wasn’t Herod’s place as king actually given to him by God as well? (See Rom. 13:1). The point here is not that you are another John, telling people what to do and what they’re doing wrong. Rather, God has a right to tell us —and what’s more, you have a responsibility to listen—how to live and call us out when we’re wrong.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How did Herod explain Jesus’ miraculous powers? (v. 14)
  • What law had Herod violated? (v. 18)
  • Why had Herod not previously killed John? (v .20)
  • What incredible irony is found in v. 26?

The Joy of God’s Presence, July 6

July 6, Monday: Jesus

Scripture Reading—Mark 7:24-37

Do ever just want to be alone? You know, turn-off-the-phone, pull-the-shades, lock-the-door alone. Jesus did too. “He entered the house and did not want anyone to know” (v. 24). But what do you do if that attempt at solitude is thwarted? “Immediately” a woman shows up begging that He heal her little daughter of an unclean spirit. Not only was she an imposition, she was a Gentile. But Jesus honored her request. It may be simple, but it is also impressive; Jesus put the needs of this distraught mother ahead of His own personal preference. Yes, He cast out a demon—I can’t do that, but just as importantly He loved and cared and had compassion—I can do that.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What’s the significance of Jesus going to the region of Tyre and Sidon? (v. 24)
  • Was Jesus gruff and unkind in His words? (v. 27)
  • What did He mean by these words? (v. 27)
  • What was impressive about the woman’s statement? (vv. 28-29)

 

The Joy of God’s Presence, May 18

May 18, Monday: Jesus

Scripture Reading—Mark 7:1-23

Religious people are the worst—the ones who are entrenched in their religious system. These are the ones who are most likely to “leave the commandment of God,” are “rejecting the commandment of God,” and are “making void the word of God” (vv. 8, 9, 13). It’s not that they are opposed to God. They’re not wanting to fight against Him. They would never intentionally combat Him. But there it is, leaving, rejecting, and voiding His very word. How? Why? It’s actually through their faithfulness and commitment to their faith when it’s a faith adorned with human tradition. It’s our dear, beloved, coveted traditions that lead us to reject God’s own word. Like it or not, that puts us at odds with God. That’s a position from which no one emerges victorious.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What question did the Scribes and Pharisees ask Jesus? (v. 5)
  • What prophecy of Isaiah’s did Jesus apply to these men? (vv. 6-7)
  • What does “Corban” mean? (v. 11)
  • What defiles a man? (vv. 20-23)

The Joy of God’s Presence, May 13

May 13, Wednesday: Discipleship

Scripture Reading—Mark 10:17-31

It was not unusual for Jesus’ own disciples to fail to understand what He was saying. Sometimes they understood all too well. Like when they were “exceedingly astonished” at His words, or as the KJV says, their astonishment was “out of measure” (v. 26). What Jesus said wasn’t just a little different than what they believed to be true—it was radically so. And these weren’t Jesus’ religious opponents, they were His closest allies. So, it doesn’t require that I be opposed to Jesus to be far from His teaching. I may even consider myself close, and yet be quite far away.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How did Jesus respond to being called “good”? (v. 18)
  • What was Jesus’ disposition toward this man? (v. 21)
  • For whom will it be difficult to enter the kingdom of God? (v. 24)
  • Who will be first? (v. 31)

The Joy of God’s Presence, April 27

April 27, Monday: Jesus

Scripture Reading—Mark 5:21-43

It’s a curious miracle. It happened to Jesus as much as it happened to the woman healed. He didn’t initiate the miraculous cure, she did. He knew in the midst of the press and jostling of the crowd her specific touch. It was different from all others. It wasn’t how hard or where she pressed her hand against Him that He felt—actually, He may have felt nothing of her touch at all since she only touched His garment. Power leaving Himself is what He noticed. Her faith was such that she only needed to touch the clothes He wore to accomplish what 12 years and depleted finances could never achieve through doctors. Her faith made her well. Her faith became the conduit for Christ’s healing power. As her faith healed so our faith saves. Her faith was confident in what Jesus could do and led her to act as she did. Our faith must have confidence in what Jesus can do and lead us to do as He’s said.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What did Jairus believe that Jesus needed to do to heal his daughter? (v. 23)
  • How did this woman know Jesus could heal her? (v. 27)
  • Whom did Jesus allow to accompany Him into Jairus’ house? (v. 37)
  • What were Jesus’ instructions following the miracle? (v. 43)