Bible Reading Update #6
I hope you all had a great week! I enjoyed reading in Mark this week and finding new details that weren’t in Matthew. One of the verses that stood out to me was Mark 8:35 which says, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” We must deny ourselves and devote our entire beings to Christ. If we are more concerned about ourselves and our own lives, Jesus says we will lose our life. Losing sight of our own desires and plans, we must devote ourselves to Christ in order to have spiritual life.
One of the readers sent an encouraging email to me this week that included some things that she does to study out the text as she reads. She records the events and the responses of the people. In doing so, she noticed a lot of events showing the authority of Jesus, and that Mark portrays Jesus as a servant (chapter 10:43-45), and Matthew mostly describes Him as a King. She also expressed how recording the theme of the chapter and the main points of Jesus’ teaching, is very helpful.
I love to hear how each of you is studying the Bible in very unique ways, and taking the initiative to search out the truth and understand God’s Word.
Below are some more insights that stood out to several of us:
~Mark 8:38 says, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Have I ever been ashamed of Christ? Am I embarrassed to talk about God in front of non-Christians? Do I pray in public? If I am ashamed of Jesus, He will be ashamed of me when I stand before God, and He will say, “I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from Me, all you evildoers.” (Luke 13:27)
~ The parable about the vine-growers in the beginning of Mark 12 stood out to me. God represents the master of the vineyard. He sent slaves (prophets) to collect the harvest from the vine-growers (people of the world), but the vine-growers did not accept the slaves. They beat them and killed some of them. Finally the master sent his own son (who represents Jesus) to collect the harvest. The vine-growers killed their master’s own son hoping that they might receive his inheritance. This parable shows how God sent prophets to teach the world, but the people did not accept them. God finally sent his own Son to the world, and they selfishly killed Him too. At the end of the parable, it says that the master destroyed the vine-growers and gave the vineyard to someone else. This represents God destroying those who reject His Son Jesus.
~ When Jesus is talking about signs of the end times in Mark 13, he says that before any of those things can happen, “The gospel must first be preached to all the nations” (verse 10). This proves that everyone will have a chance to hear about Jesus. If they choose to accept Him, they will enjoy eternal life. If they reject the gospel message, they will suffer eternal condemnation in Hell.
Two people shared with me insights from their reading of Mark 11, when Jesus drove out the money changers from the temple. I’ll share both of their thoughts with you:
~ “…and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; and would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Mk 11:15-17). How often does your house of prayer become a den of thieves because you let the “goods” of the world in? Let Jesus come in and cast out the moneychangers of your heart. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor 6:19-20).
~ In Mark 11:15-19, we read how Jesus drove out the money-changers from the temple in order to restore it, at least temporarily, to its intended purpose, to serve as a house of prayer to all nations. However, when the scribes and the chief priests heard what Jesus had done, they “sought how they might destroy Him…” (vs. 18). They looked for a way to kill Jesus, the Purifier, rather than to be purified themselves. Although we do not have the temple building today, as believers, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. This verse made me ponder how we are to purify our temples of all uncleanness and impurity. In what areas of our lives have we allowed impure things to defile our temples and, in turn, rejected the Purifier? 1 John 3:3 exhorts, “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” We can be assured of this, our purification is worth it: “To the pure, You show yourself pure” (Ps. 18:26), and “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Mt. 5:8). So let us take this admonition seriously, and “purify (cleanse) ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reference for (in the fear of) God” (2 Cor. 7:1), so that we can be sanctified houses of prayer.
I was informed by a friend today that the father of a family she knows passed away. Not only did he leave a wife behind, but also 11 children. They didn’t have insurance, and now it seems they don’t have a good job to support 11 kids. Please pray for the Beccerra family as they are clearly struggling with the death of their father/husband.
Thank you all for the sweet emails you sent me this week. I hope you continue to learn from God’s Word as we begin the book of Luke.