Amazing Unbelief

Text: Mark 6:1–6 (NIV)
 
verse 1) In Jesus’ time, Nazareth was a small, obscure village. It covered around 60 acres, and fewer than five hundred people lived there. Nazareth, of course, was not the place of Jesus’ birth (He was born in Bethlehem), but it was the village where He grew up. Having grown up in this tiny place, Jesus probably knew almost everyone in the town. In a small town, everyone knew everyone’s business.
 
(verse 2a) This was not the first time he had spoken and taught in Nazareth (See Luke 4:14–30). The response at that time was less than positive—in fact, the people had tried to kill him, but Jesus had walked away unharmed.
So, this trip to Nazareth is significant. The people of Nazareth were about to receive a second chance to believe. Which shows us something quite remarkable about Jesus.
 

Because of his love and grace, Jesus is willing to give us second chances.

 
(verse 2b) Amazement seemed to be the common response to Jesus’ ministry and teaching. See Mark 1:22; 1:27; 2:12; 5:20.
The difference between the “amazement” of those accounts and the amazement of the people he grew up with in Nazareth is that the people of Nazareth were more amazed (perplexed) about how Jesus could even possibly teach with such authority and wisdom. They questioned his credentials and the source of His authority and power.
 

Amazement in Jesus doesn’t mean you truly believe in Jesus.

 
(verse 2c) Their amazement focused on this man they knew and watched grow up and where he, in particular, had gotten these things (referring to the wisdom of his teaching and the miracles he performed). They were amazed that it was coming from Jesus, of all people.
 
(verse 3a) The people had grown up with Jesus and know him only as the village carpenter, who has worked on their homes, furniture, and farm implements. “He’s no better than we are—he’s just a common laborer,” they said.
 
(verse 3b) Some translations say “Son of Mary.” This wasn’t a term that was intended to honor Mary or Jesus. This was more than likely meant to be a derogatory statement about Jesus’ conception out of wedlock.

(verse 3c) They list his very ordinary siblings. We do not know much about Jesus’ siblings, but one of the things we do know is shocking—during His public ministry, they were not believers.
 
(verse 3d) The Greek word used for “offense” is the word from which we get our English word scandal. It was also the word used of a building stone that was rejected. Jesus, of course, is seen as the rejected stone in Scripture (See Psalm 118:22). The prophet Isaiah foretold that Jesus would be “despised and rejected by men” (Isaiah 53:3).
 

There are only two true responses to the Lordship of Jesus: rejection or subjection. There is no middle ground.

 
(verse 4) Jesus said that a prophet is never honored in his hometown. But that doesn’t make his or her work any less important. If friends, neighbors, or family don’t respect your Christian belief, don’t let their rejection keep you from serving God.
 
(verse 5) That Jesus could not do any miracles in Nazareth does not mean a restriction on his power. Rather, Jesus could have done greater miracles in Nazareth, but he chose not to because of the people’s unbelief.
 

As a general principle, God’s power follows faith!

 
In the Bible, unbelief is regarded as a mind-set, a stubborn refusal to believe, a moral rebellion, not merely a logical conclusion of evaluating the evidence. Jesus did few miracles in his hometown because of the people’s unbelief.
Unbelief blinds us to the truth and robs us of hope.
 
(verse 6a) There are only a couple of times in Scripture that Jesus is amazed by others. This account and Matthew 8:10.
Christ is still amazed by the quality of our faith. Which side of the amazement coin is the quality of your faith? How do you want to amaze Jesus? What do you want him to see in you that makes him say “Wow! I can’t believe that!”?
 
(verse 6b) Being rejected in His hometown, He took His ministry elsewhere — where it would be received.
 
This passage highlights the saying “Familiarity breed contempt.” We all have a tendency to lose our appreciation, wonder, amazement of those things that become familiar, routine, in-close-proximity to us on a daily basis.
 
Does your familiarity with Jesus breed contempt or commitment?
 

Treating Jesus as a familiar friend will leave your faith empty in the end.

 

Read more...

For The One

Read: Mark 5:1-5. This man had such unusual strength that he could not be restrained by chains. No one could subdue him any longer. Chains couldn’t hold him. This show us something about evil. You cannot restrain evil by some external force. Evil behaviors come from within. People tried to restrain this man to control his evil behaviors and actions. It was not effective. He needed a different approach. He needed to be changed from the inside out.
 
The man was trying to release the pain and torment of these demons by crying out and cutting himself. But this also shows us something else about evil. Evil is destructive. Sin is always self-destructive. There is no such thing as constructive evil or constructive sin. We must be cautious of the subtle destructive power of evil and sin. It may not seem destructive at first glance. The first experiment may not have been destructive. But don’t kid yourself. Evil and sin are always self-destructive.
 
Read: Mark 5:6–8. The evil within this man quickly discerned a greater power was present in the form of Jesus. Calling Jesus by his name was an attempt of the demon to control Jesus.
 
Then the demon mocks Jesus “What have you to do with me?” (ESV) Evil is always against God. Its goal is to destroy God and anything to do with Him. This has been his strategy from the very beginning.
 
Read: Mark 5:9-10. A legion of soldiers usually numbered 6,000. The man probably didn’t have 6,000 demons in him but a great number (perhaps around 2000). No wonder no one could subdue him. He was like a Legion of Roman Soldiers all wrapped up in one man.
 
But don’t glamorize this. He wasn’t a superhuman. He was a tormented man who had slowly lost his humanity under the harsh dictatorship of these demons. Which is another effect of evil: Evil diminishes the value of humanity.
 
In Luke’s account, the demons beg Jesus to not send them to the abyss. The time for banishing demons has not yet come. But that time will come through the death and resurrection of Christ. See Colossians 2:15. A time is coming, as Revelation shows, that all evil will be vanquished and cast into the eternal lake of fire. Why wait? Evil shows us our need of a Savior.

Read: Mark 5:11–13. They had to ask the Lord of all Creation permission to enter the pigs. Evil does not have authority over Christ, the Lord.
 
Why pigs? Don’t let this part overshadow the key truth behind this passage — Jesus has absolute authority over evil. However, Evil always leads to death.
 
Read: Mark 5:14–17.
 

Jesus’ power and grace to save is available for the one you fear is too far gone.

 
When you feel that someone is too far gone, remember that Jesus’ power and authority is limitless. Do you pray for your loved ones as though Jesus really is the ultimate authority over evil?
 
Read: Mark 5:18–20. In this account we see the power of God’s mercy and love that captures and transforms those who do not even know that it exists and may initially resist it when it invades their lives. Freedom can also come to you when Jesus lands on the shores of your life.
 
Why would Jesus not allow this man to join him? Jesus’ grace for the one needs to be proclaimed freely for the next one to be saved.
 
So this story comes to a close with only one person being saved. Some might have considered this evangelistic outreach a failure. But let’s not forget that Jesus is always interested in the one. There is no such thing as crowd salvation. Jesus still saves one person at a time.
 
Jesus’ power and grace to save is still available for the one you fear is too far gone. Who is the one you know that needs to experience the saving power of Christ today?
 

Read more...

Peace, Be Still

Read: Mark 4:35–37. What brought these disciples into this storm? There are plenty of times that I create my own storms/problems through bad decisions, stubborn pride, selfish interests, etc. Those storms are the result of disobedience (Example: Jonah).
 
But this storm wasn’t due to the disobedience of the disciples. They were precisely where they were when the storm came because they obeyed Jesus. They are doing everything right and yet everything wrong is happening.
 
Isn’t it true that storms are a good illustration of the fear and panic that often overtake us when situations beyond our control surround us and overwhelm us?
 
Fear, in general, isn’t a wrong response. It’s what we do with that fear that makes all the difference.
 
Read: Mark 4:38. Chances are pretty high that you have felt something like what these disciples must have felt. “We’re freaking and Jesus is sleeping. We are losing and Jesus is snoozing. The storm’s pouring and Jesus is snoring.”
 
Read: Mark 4:38. How long did they struggle before they went to Jesus? For these seasoned fishermen, their “know how” wasn’t getting them out of this storm. That’s when they shifted from “know how” to “know who”. They know who can help them. When your “know how” is insufficient, you “know who” is sufficient.
 
Their words were more of a criticism than a call for help. How easy it is for us to complain and criticize Christ for not coming to our aid, rather than making our request and then trusting him to answer.
 
What was their expectation of Jesus? “Jesus, do something to help us. Grab a bucket and start bailing!” How many times do we just want Jesus to bail us out of our troubles on our terms? Shouldn’t we instead invite Him to do whatever He sees fit to not only help us but to also teach us something about who He is?
 
We should not be alarmed by surprises in our lives. Surprises are divinely ordained moments where God is working in the everyday circumstances of our lives to reveal who He is, who we are, and who we need!
 
Are you overwhelmed by the troubling storms around you or are you overwhelmed by the peace of Christ within you? The reality of the storm came between them and their assurance of Jesus’ care. But Jesus still cares even when we misunderstand him and accuse him of not caring for us.
 
Read: Mark 4:39. He did something that his disciples never expected. He spoke to the storm. Quiet! Be still! Is also translated “Quiet! Be muzzled!”
 
I find it interesting that Jesus brought peace right where the storm raged. Rather than removing his disciples from the storm, he spoke peace right in the midst of that storm. Do you need Jesus to speak that over the storm in your life? Jesus brought peace to the storm on the lake, He can bring peace to the storm in your life.
 

Jesus still speaks peace over storm-tossed lives and calms anxious hearts.

 
Read: Mark 4:40. When storms come it reveals the integrity of your faith. And apparently, the disciples’ faith was found wanting. Of all people, Jesus’ own disciples should have had faith. Would Jesus put the same question to us? “After all I have done in you and for you, how is it that you have no faith?“
 
Read: Mark 4:41. Storms reveal what we believe about the identity and authority of Jesus. In every storm there is an opportunity for us to wonder and to discover more about Christ and who He is in our life. See Philippians 4:6-7.
 

Read more...

Cultivate the Soil of Your Soul

Read: Mark 4:1-12
 
See Isaiah 6:8–10.
 
As in Isaiah’s day, the crowds and leaders are continually seeing and hearing the truths in Jesus, but because of their hardened hearts they can never perceive the reality of the kingdom in him.
 
But the disciples came as open-hearted individuals wanting to hear, see and obey. So they press for clarity.
 
Read: Mark 4:13
 
Parables, in their spiritual function, are more like riddles or puzzles than easy illustrations. They can be understood by those who have the right “key.”
 
If you miss the key, you miss the whole parable. You can only understand it by understanding the key: The sower sows the word.
 
Read: Mark 4:14-20. The seed is the gospel truth, the message about the Word. The soils then describe the ways people respond to these gospel truths. The four soils refer to the groups that Jesus has challenged: the leaders (the hard-packed road), the crowds (the rocky and the thorny soils), and the disciples (the fruitful soil).
 
In both the parable and its interpretation the four kinds of soil are central.
 
Jesus is asking, “Which kind of soil are you?
 

Cultivate the soil of your soul so that the Word of God bears fruit in your life.

 
1) Break up the hardened ground.
 
2) Break through the obstacles.
 
3) Weed out the competition.
 
4) Let the Word take root AND bear fruit.
 

Read more...

Opposition Rising

Read: Mark 3:7–12. By the end his first year of public ministry, the influence of his ministry has spread throughout all Palestine. The primary cause of its explosive growth was his ministry of physical healing and demonic deliverance.

People often come to Jesus for what they can get from him, rather than what they should give to him.

 
This is still a problem today. What brought you to Jesus? What do you bring to him?
 

Read: Mark 3:13–19. Jesus did not choose these twelve to be his disciples because of their faith—it often faltered. He didn’t choose them because of their talent and ability—no one stood out with unusual ability. The one characteristic they all shared was their willingness to obey Jesus.

Jesus still qualifies the unqualified to serve His mission.

 
Within the call of Christ is the ability to live up to that call.
 
Their companionship with him is to lead to service that benefits others. They are not merely on the receiving end of this outbreak of power but are to become channels by which it touches others. A byproduct of being with Jesus is ministering to others as Jesus did.
 
Read: Mark 3:20–21. Thinking he had gone “over the edge” as a religious fanatic, his family came to him. They decided he had truly gone out of his mind with this “Messiah stuff” and that they needed to take charge of him. Do you have family misunderstandings? Jesus knows what that feels like! Read:
 
Mark 3:22–27. In an attempt to destroy Jesus’ popularity among the people, the scribes accused him of having power from Satan. In fact, they say that he is possessed by none other than Satan himself.
 
He would debunk their nonsense in parables. Jesus called Satan a strong man in this parable. The only way those possessions could be carried off would be for someone to first tie up the strong man—the only way for the demons to be cast out is for someone to first limit Satan’s power. Jesus’ coming into the world did just that. See 1 John 3:8.
 

The Holy Spirit within us is stronger that the power of Satan around us.

 
Read: Mark 3:28–30. Jesus introduces the concept of the unpardonable sin in this passage. Before we get to the unpardonable sin, the good news that Jesus shares first is that people can be forgiven all their sins. Too often people miss this promise and worry about the warning in the next verse. But the fact is, those who believe in Jesus will be forgiven of all sins and of all blasphemies.

When there is confession and repentance, no sin is beyond God’s forgiveness.

 
So what is the unpardonable sin? Generally speaking, it is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit refers not so much to a single action or word as to an attitude. Sometimes believers worry that they have accidentally committed this unforgivable sin. But only those who have turned their back on God and rejected all faith have any need to worry. Jesus said they can’t be forgiven—not because their sin is worse than any other, but because they will never ask for forgiveness.

Worry about committing the unpardonable sin is evidence you haven’t committed it.

 
Read: Mark 3:31–35. Jesus opened this relationship to all people.The types of people who can have a relationship with him are those who listen, learn, believe, and follow. We are not saved into facts or rules or a system of worship or a cult of followers, we are saved into a family.

Jesus’ true family are those who hear and obey his words.


Read more...

Lord of the Sabbath

Read Mark 2:18-22.
 
Jesus is the new cloth and the new wine. He is not an attachment, addition, or appendage to the status quo. He cannot be integrated into or contained by preexisting systems of religion.
 

Jesus isn’t offering you a religious patch but a whole new spiritual paradigm.

 
He came to introduce the new, not to patch up the old.
 
Question: What ways have you made Jesus a patch?
 
Read Mark 2:23-27.
 
The Sabbath proclaimed that God is Lord of creation and time. It was instituted upon the completion of the creation of the world. God created over six days and rested on the seventh. It was designed to be a day of rest and worship.
 
Years later, Moses would receive the Ten Commandments from God on Mt. Sinai. The fourth commandment had to do with the Sabbath day. See Exodus 20:8-11.
 
As Lord of the Sabbath, He determines what is lawful and unlawful on the Sabbath day. When Jesus says, “I am the Lord of the Sabbath,” Jesus means that he is the Sabbath. See Matthew 11:28-30.
 
On the cross at the end of his great act of redemption Jesus said, “It is finished”—and we can rest. If you rely on Jesus’s finished work, you know that God is satisfied with you.
 

A relationship with the Lord of the Sabbath gives us rest from religion forever.

 
As Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus releases us from legalistic pressure and frees us to joyful obedience. The joyful obedience of Jesus to his Father’s plan sets up the context for the next conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees.
 
Read Mark 3:1-6.

The Pharisees were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus — he was a threat that needed to be shutdown. Healing, they argued, was practicing medicine, and a person could not practice his or her profession on the Sabbath.
 
So they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. There is a danger in watching Jesus closely without knowing him personally. Knowing about Jesus is not the same as knowing Jesus.
 
What did these religious leaders have to lose if Jesus healed this man? Jesus’ ministry of compassion and power, grace and truth, exposed the powerlessness of their legalistic system of religion. It also challenged the power play these religious men held over the people.
 

You can believe that you are all about God and yet miss what God is all about.

 
God is a God of people, not of rules. The best time to reach out to someone is when he or she needs help. God’s law for the Sabbath was never meant to keep people in bondage. The Sabbath, while an important day given to God’s people as a day of rest and worship, was also a day to be merciful and kind to those in need.
 

Jesus shows that human need is more important than ritual observance.

 
See Matthew 12:7–8.
 
The gospel of Christ must maintain the central place of your life and faith, otherwise you will substitute it with a shallow, self righteousness.
 

Read more...

Radical Forgiveness

Jesus offers radical forgiveness in impossible situations to improbable people.
 
Read: Mark 1:40-45 (Jesus Heals a Leper)
 
Read: Mark 2:1-12 (Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man)
 
Jesus’ radical forgiveness only offends those who haven’t truly experienced it themselves.
 

Jesus offers radical forgiveness in impossible situations to improbable people.

 
Read: Mark 2:13-14 (Jesus Calls Matthew to Follow Him)
 
Jesus invites unlikely people to follow him into unlimited potential.
 
Read: Mark 2:15-17 (Jesus Eats with Sinners)
 
Jesus puts Good News within reach of those broken by sin to offer them spiritual healing.
 

Read more...

The Authority of Jesus

Jesus deserves absolute authority over all of my life.
 

Mark 1:21-22 — Jesus’ Authority in Teaching.

 
The people were amazed at his teaching. They immediately saw a contrast between the teachings of Jesus and those of “the scribes.” Jesus taught with passion and power. Mark doesn’t tell us what Jesus taught but it was more than likely a message of Good News.
 
Jesus’ authority derives from the Spirit of God, who came on him at the baptism. The crowds detect that one is in their midst who speaks for God and not simply about God, as the scribes do.
 
Your faith is not based on powerless moral teaching. It is based on the very person and power of Jesus, the Son of God. The Holy Spirit continues to be that powerful teacher within us as we read the Bible and listen for His leading. See John 14:25-26; John 16:12-13. Do you regularly submit to the authority of Christ’s teaching? Do you yield to the authority of the Holy Spirit?
 

Mark 1:23-28 — Jesus’ Authority Over Demons.

 
How often had that man gone to synagogue and the teaching was powerless to set him free? Could it be that the Law was powerless to release this man from the demonic power? But this day, Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit and Power, taught the Gospel message — a message about the kingdom of God and the power of God to set men free.
 
Jesus didn’t come destroy demons. He came to destroy the power of sin and evil through his death and resurrection. Through this act of sacrifice, redemption, and salvation he would completely triumph over the power of hell. See Revelation 1:18; Hebrews 2:14-15. When Jesus commanded, the demon obeyed. Demons are expelled, and broken people are made whole. This is God’s kingdom. This is what the great King can do. This is why He should have absolute authority in your life, my life, and every life.
 

Mark 1:29-34 — Jesus’ Authority Over Sickness.

 
Peter’s mother-in-law proves that she has fully recovered by waiting on them, a sign of her physical wholeness and her spiritual responsiveness to Jesus. This miracle reveals that God heals so that one may better serve. Serving is also a characteristic of discipleship, which Jesus tries to get across with some difficulty to his disciples.

Jesus was going to show himself to be the suffering Servant before he became the great King. It is a recurring theme in Mark’s Gospel for Jesus to conceal his true identity. To reveal himself as the Messiah and King too soon would stir up the crowds with the wrong expectations of what he had come to do. To serve the needs of others was never beneath Jesus, the One who had ultimate authority over others. See Mark 10:43-45.
 

Mark 1:35 — The Key to Jesus’ Authority.

 
During his ministry on earth, Jesus was in constant prayer with the Father. This shows us the key to Jesus’ authority. Even though He was the Son of God, He still wanted and needed those times of intimate fellowship with the Father that only comes through prayer.
 
We must follow Christ’s example by carving out time for worship and prayer. We, too, should pray for strength to fulfill Christ’s mission. See John 14:10-12.
 

Mark 1:36-39 — Jesus Refuses to Misuse His Authority.

 
Like so many today, they wanted a Jesus of their liking, a Jesus who would perform miracles and fit into their agenda. He knew the multitudes were pressing to the door looking for healing, not for truth. His primary mission was to bring people to a place of decision to have faith in God, not merely to remove their pain. Yes, Jesus was a healer of men’s bodies. But that was only temporal part of his work. He was the Savior of men’s souls — an eternal work. He was not going to misuse his authority for a lesser mission. We, too, have authority for Christ’s mission. Do we misuse it for our own selfish purposes? See Matthew 28:18-20.
 

Read more...

Let’s Go Fishing

 
Mark 1:14-15 “ After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!””
 
Time to Higher a Staff: What Things would you look for if you were assembling a team to change the world?
 
Mark 1:16-20 “As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,”Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.”

Luke 5: 2-11 Gives us a little more detail into this story.

This concept of fishing for people was not a new concept to the disciples.. It is actually in the old testament 4 times (Jeremiah 16:16; Ezekiel 29:4–5; 38:4; Amos 4:2; Habakkuk 1:14–17)

Four Principles of fishing that can be applied to Evangelism


Fishing is a skill that is taught, learned, and Practiced


What can you be doing to get better at witnessing to people?

Fishing Requires Patience: When you are waiting be praying.

Fishing is strategic and requires a plan: Different places and people require different ministry strategies.

Fishing changes the fishes life forever.
 
Mark 8:34 “ Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
 
This morning God is calling you and me to fish for men and women. If not us who? If not now when? When fishing for souls this week remember that fishing is a skill you can learn to get better at, it requires patience, it is strategic and requires a plan, and the ultimate goal changes the fish’s life forever.

Read more...

The Beginning of the Good News

Mark 1:1 — Opening verse is basically a summary statement of the entire Gospel. For Mark, the purpose of writing was to convey a crucial message, the life-changing Good News about Jesus Christ. Paul would later write to the same Roman audience about the power of this Gospel. See Romans 1:16.
 
Both Christ and Messiah referred to One divinely appointed and anointed by God for a special mission. See Mark 10:45. But make no mistake. While he came as a servant, he was also the One True Son of God. He alone was fully man (Jesus), God’s anointed One (Christ), and fully divine (Son of God). Right at the opening we are confronted with Jesus Christ the Son of God. The reader/hearer is going to have to respond in some way. He either is who he says He is and deserves all our lives, or he is not. There is no middle ground.
 
Mark 1:2–3 — These verses are a composite quotation borrowing from Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3. Pictures the custom of sending servants ahead of a king to level and clear the roads to make them passable for his journey. John’s preaching helped to prepare the people — to clear away the spiritual debris and straighten any “crooked” moral paths.
 
Mark 1:4 — For 400 years, there has not been a prophet in Israel. It was believed that when the anticipated Messiah came he would be preceded by a prophet. See Luke 1:16-17. Mark pictured John the Baptist as a herald proclaiming news of the coming King, the Messiah. Important Roman officials of this day were always preceded by an announcer or herald. See Matthew 3:1-2. Repentance has two sides: turning away from sins; turning toward God. To be truly repentant, people must do both.
 
Mark 1:5 — Many significant events took place around the Jordan. It was by the Jordan River that the Israelites rented their covenant with God before entering the Promised Land (Joshua 1-2). Here John the Baptists calls them to renew their commitment with God again, this time through baptism.
 
Mark 1:6 — He dressed like the prophet Elijah (2 Kings 1:8).
 
Mark 1:7 — John’s message was all about Christ. John knew his place. See John 3:28–30. In Oriental households, a lowly slave untied the sandals of guests and then washed their feet.

Mark 1:8 — The coming of the Spirit had been prophesied as part of the Messiah’s arrival. See Ezekiel 36:26-27; Joel 2:28-29. This looked ahead to Pentecost (Acts 2), when the Holy Spirit would be sent by Jesus. When Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit, the entire person would be transformed by the Spirit’s power. Jesus would offer both forgiveness of sin and the power to live for him. We need more than repentance to save us; we need the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.
 

The good news is that Jesus, Son of God, came to forgive our sins and fill us with the Holy Spirit.

 
Mark 1:9 — Why was Jesus baptized by John? To confess sin on behalf of the nation (as prophets had done); to fulfill all righteousness in order to accomplish God’s mission and advance God’s work in the world (Matthew 3:15); to launch his public ministry; to identify with sinful people; and to give us an example to follow.
 
Mark 1:10 — The “splitting” of the heavens presents God’s intervention into humanity in the human presence of God in Jesus Christ. The descending of the Spirit signified God’s workings in the world; the arrival of the Messiah would have been marked by the descending of the Spirit, in this case, in the form of a dove. See Luke 4:18-19.
 
Mark 1:11 — Notice this was even before he started his public ministry – no preaching, no miracles, no ministry yet. We are considered children of God. That same pleasure rests on us.
 

The good news is that God the Father loves you and His favor rests on you.

 
Mark 1:12-13 — The episode began with the Spirit’s guidance. This shows that God’s leading does not always guarantee safe circumstances. God’s Spirit will lead us, as he led Jesus, into the places we need to go, even though they may be difficult. See Hebrews 2:17–18.
 

The good news is that Jesus understands our temptation and will help us when tempted.

 

Read more...