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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Education / Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20 Welcome Guest
    Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20
          Have you always had questions about different passages and books of the bible? Me too. Let's explore everything together and find out what God's Word actually says. Are you ready for a life-changing experience? Are you? Then come on!
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    Fri, Aug 31st - 12:37PM

    STUDY IN MARK



    "Then His brothers came and His mother, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. And the multitude sat around Him, and they said to Him, Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking for You. And he answered them, saying, Who is My mother, or My brothers? And He looked around at them which sat around Him, and said, Behold My mother and My brothers! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same person is My brother, and My sister, and mother (3:31-35)."

       Any person who is in Christ Jesus is closer to Him than His physical mother and brethren were. The most important thing today is to be rightly related to God through Jesus Christ by having received Him as my Savior, that giving me the right of being the child of God.  That relationship brings me wondrously close to God.

      This finishes chapter three of Mark for us and brings us to chapter four.  This chapter presents to us some parables and another miracle performed by Jesus. All of these are to be found in Matthew, except for one parable. 

       As I mentioned previously, Mark's gospel is one of action. These parables in this chapter are about action, and this first parable about the sower begins by being declared and is followed by the exposition of the parable spoken.

    "And He began again to teach by the sea aide: and there was gathered to Him a great multitude, so that He entered a ship, and sat in it out on the sea; and the entire multitude was by the sea along the shore. And He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His doctrine (4:1-2)."

       We find here some symbolism.  Generally speaking, the house represents nation Israel while the sea represents the nations of Gentiles across the world.  Matthew gave us those details in his account of this event.  We see in Jesus Christ's actions here a foretelling of what He will ultimately do in the future: He will go out from Israel and offer salvation to the Gentiles of the world.  This is the background of these parables, that God's Word/Gospel will go out from nation Israel into the entire world. 

       Jesus was also very busy at this time for it was the height of His public ministry. It could be argued that pressure was mounting day by day upon His shoulders, physical weariness over took Him upon occassion. So weary, in fact, that we shall find Him falling soundly asleep on board a boat out at sea.  We still find great multitudes of people flocking to wherever He happens to go.  He was forced to purposefully seek out private times of prayer for they would not naturally happen due to the circumstances of His life.  The same applies to our lives today, beloved.  Is the pace of your daily life suddenly becoming slower and less hectic?  Without you having made the decision to force it to slow down?  Probably not.  I know that mine hasn't.

       Parables were used by Jesus to teach people many things that normally they would not have understood about God, heaven, and the kingdom of God. At this particular time Jesus is about halfway through His three years of public ministry. Jesus had used symbolism with the Samaritan woman at the well, He had done so with His disciples concerning them becoming "fishers of men."  He also had stated that the fields were white unto harvest.  Jesus also had spoken about salt and light and foundations of rock and sand in His sermon up on the Mount. But they were not parables. 

    "Listen; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to be, as he sowed, some seed fell by the way side, and the fowls of the sir came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had very little soil; and immediately it germinated, because it had no depth of soil: but when the sun had come up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered and died. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell upon good soil, and yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some a hundred. And He said to them, He that has ears to hear, let him hear (4:3-9)."

       Four areas are depicted here of where the seeds fell when they were being sowed.  The first three areas represent unsaved/unredeemed people that do not accept the gospel. They do not accept God's Word.  Some may initially listen to the Word but then Satan comes and removes their thought that it might be true.  This is the wayside and the birds. Others are represented by the stony soil for they hear the Word, begin to believe parts of the Word, but then do not continue to feed themselves with the rest of God's Word.  Due to lack of sinking deep roots down into God's Word, they can't withstand the stress of being challenged by unbelievers and daily suffering. Their faith withers and dies. Some people are represented by the thorny soil.  Here people hear the Word of God but because of the stiff competition of sinful living going on all around them they are unable to remain focused upon Christ and they fall back into the background, unable to yield any good works for God. 

       Then we find that there is good ground. If we utilize fractions, we can say that one fourth of the "seed" fell upon good ground. This seed represents those people who heard the Gospel, accepted the Gospel, received redemption, and began to produce good works.  But not everyone produces the same amount of good works, do they? Keep this in mind for when you read about Jesus' Upper Room Discourse before He headed out to the Garden of Gethsamane. "I am the genuine vine." It woud then appear that there are three levels of fruit-bearing in Christians, just as we find here in this parable.

       Jesus then places the definitive period at the end of His parable.  If you able to listen and grasp what I am saying here, then understanding will come to you. In essence God said: "Stop-Look-Listen!"  Did the disciples do this though? That question will be answered next time.  Until then, mercy, grace, and peace be yours.

    ~Eric



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    Thu, Aug 30th - 12:22PM

    STUDY IN MARK



    "And the multitude came out again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when His friends heard about it, they went out to lay hold of Him: for they said, He is beside Himself (3:20-21)."

       See the gut reaction of His apostles?  They are still afraid for the physical safety of Jesus.  Do they not comprehend that this is God in the flesh?  That this is He who has created the universe all around them?  That here is the One who is eternal and spiritual in nature?  Clearly the apostles continued to struggle with understanding that God is without limitations, that He can do whatever He so chooses to do.  We should also keep in mind that anyone who devotes his/her life to a noble but earthly cause is applauded.  The musician, the athlete, the businessman/woman, the artist, the statesmen, or the writer who gives themselves to their work is recognized for their total devotion.  But the person who gives themselves in total dedication to the cause of God, they are branded as being a fanatic.  Strange don't you think?

    "And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He has Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casts out devils. And He called them to Him, and said to them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but has an end. No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except first he binds the strong man; and then he will spoil his house (3:22-27)."

       Beelzebub was a heathen deity to whom the Hebrews believed had supremacy among the evil spirits of this world.  Their accusation falls short on logic since Jesus simply points out that any house that is divided will end up falling.  This logic has been proven throughout human history. Satan can't cast himself out.  Casting out demons by the power of the demons equates to a house divided and would fall.  Christ then cements His point by pointing out that the only way to successfully raid a strong man's holding is to first go and bind that strong man up, render him useless.  Having done that one can then enter the strong man's holding and take whatever one wants without fear of reprisal.  Thus Christ could not have been doing any of this by the power of Satan because then Satan would be divided and would be acting against himself. Utter nonsense.  Christ is saying here that He had bound Satan and thus He was able to then cast out the demons from these people.

    "Truly I say to you, All sins shall be forgiven to the sons of men, and blasphemies wherever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost never will have forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: Because they said, He has an unclean spirit (3:28-30)."

       Here was the unpardonable sin of their time.  These scribes were rejecting both Christ and the Holy Spirit, two thirds of the Godhead.  They were rejecting the works of God, the testimony of the Son and the testimony of the Holy Spirit. They expressed an attitude of unbelief which was permanent rejection of the Messiah. They consciously resisted the Holy Spirit and that was unpardonable.

       It would appear that it is impossible to commit this "unpardonable sin" today since after Christ's death and resurrection we have the ability to now repent of any and all sins, and to be forgiven by God. Christ died for ALL sin. The attitude and state of the unbeliever is unpardonable, not the act. When a person blasphemes God with their mouth, that is not what condemns them; it is the attitude of their heart, which is a permanent condition.  This is the sin against the Holy Spirit: to resist the convicting work of Him in the heart.

       That is all for today, beloved. I hope that this clears up any confusion about the "unpardonable sin" that circulates about on blogs, forums, chat rooms, and discussion boards these days.  I hope that it clarifies in your mind the fact that Christ does everything through the power of God and not through Satan.  I hope you come to realize that we must not remain divided in our homes, our marriages, or our churches. For to do this means that each of those things must fail. Grace and peace be with you all today!  God be with all who are having to deal with the effects of Isaac in the Gulf Coast states and in its aftermath in the days and weeks to come. 

    ~Eric


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    Wed, Aug 29th - 3:23PM

    STUDY IN MARK



    "And He went up a mountain, and called to Him whom He would: and they came to Him (3:13)."

       Here is the sovereign purpose of God in choosing and calling the twelve apostles.  God does the choosing, not individuals. I do not choose to enter into the pastoral ministry, Christ calls me to it and then ordains me into it.  John 15:16 speaks this point clearly for all of us: You do not choose Me, I choose you, says Almighty God. God has saved you, begun a good work in you, and He's going to most certainly stick around you and see it through to the finished product. God calls out to every single person on this planet, but only some respond by coming to Him.  The vast majority either ignore His call or else utterly reject it out of hand. 

    "And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils (3:14-15)."

       This where the selected twelve disciples became apostles, filled with power to heal and to cast out demons. Their ministry was not just to heal and cast out, but to also go out and preach exactly what they had been taught by Christ. They are also somewhat like believers today in that they were physically set apart from God in that he did not go out with them to preach. Mark does not include any more details here, but Matthew 10:5-42 records the details for us.

    "And Simon He surnamed Peter; and James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and He surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed Him: and they went into a house (3:16-19)."

       Here are the names of the apostles. Bartholomew is also called Nathanael. Thaddaeus is also called Lebbaeus and Jude. These twelve men were the chosen of Christ, the men who were to allow God to work through them in order to change all of mankind. They were ordained by God, not by any means of ritual or tradition thought up by any man.  This is how it ought to still be accomplished today.  Instead, we tend to pigeon-hole people into filling the gaps, the vacancies, we find in our overall ministry in our congregations.  Someone who is being called by the Holy Spirit to work with adolescents should not be forced into working with preschool age children simply because that is where the "need" currently is.  They need to be allowed to work with adolescents, in some form or other.  That is how the fruit of the Spirit will be seen. 

       As can be seen in these verses, the pattern holds true throughout all of time.  God calls people to separate from the world, come to Him for redemption, stay by Him to receive instruction, and then be sent out to preach the gospel to others who have not heard.  I hope that you, beloved, have heard God's call and have gone in pursuit of Him.  I pray that this blog can be of help to learn what He wishes you to become and to do in service to Him. Be assured of this: what He asks you to do for Him He will enable you to do if you accept His call.

       Grace and peace be yours this day, and may you grow closer to Christ with every breath that you take!

    ~Eric



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    Mon, Aug 27th - 12:24PM

    STUDY IN MARK



    "But Jesus withdrew Himself with His disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea, and from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond the Jordan; and they around Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things He did, came to Him (3:7-8)."

       People are coming from all over the area and are following Jesus wherever He goes. He continued to withdraw from the more populated regions in attempts to limit the size of the crowds, but it did not work all of the time. Christ had just been in danger of being seized by the priests and elders of Israel but had not been because those people were afraid of the people gathering around.  But now Christ is in danger of being overwhelmed by the mob of people who have come to see, and hear, Him.  Christ was perilously close to becoming a celebrity. Celebrities today require protection from the mob.  So what does Jesus do?

    "And He spoke to His disciples, that a small ship chould wait on Him because of the multitude, lest they should throng Him. For He had healed many; in somuch that they pressed upon Him just to touch Him, as many of them had plagues (3:9-10)."

       The huge crowds of people weren't just slowing Him down in His movements, they were a threat to His physical safety.  He could have literally been trampled to death by these people who were in such dire need of being close to Him.  We can't come up with specific numbers of people who were healed, simply that "many" were healed of their afflictions.  We get a sense of the desperation that all of these people were operating under day to day.  They sensed their need to experience the touch of God in their lives, and they were responding en masse. This sensed need remains alive in humanity today, beloved.  All of us belong to this needy family.  We all need the touch of God in our lives.

    And unclean spirits, when they saw Him, fell down before Him, and cried, saying, You are the Son of God. And He immediately charged them that they should not make Him known (3:11-12)."

       The unclean spirits that indwelled people that came into contact with Christ clearly recognized exactly who Jesus was.  There was no doubt in their minds that this was the Son of God, the Promised One, the Lamb of God come to redeem lost souls from their sin. Today we have seen an increase of interest and participation in Satanism over the past twenty to thirty years.  We see people who believe in channeling spirits and guides to help them manage life.  They assume that these "spirit guides" are all good.  Why?  Based upon what information?  Simply their own beliefs that everyone is basically good at heart.  Evidence all around us does not support such a belief.  But Jesus here clearly did not desire that the underworld give any verbal testimony of who He was, at least not at this time.  Did Christ require the testimony of demons to convince people of who He was?  I do not think so. Would it have assisted Him in convincing people that He was who He said He was? Possibly.  It might have simply magnified the problem that He had with the Pharisees, those who claimed that Jesus was demon-possessed.  Perhaps this is an object lesson in avoiding all appearance of evil in your life?

       This all for today my friends.  Next time we shall look at Mark's accounts of the calling of the disciples.  Until then, grace and peace be yours.

    ~Eric



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    Fri, Aug 24th - 12:36PM

    STUDY IN MARK



    "And He again entered the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched Him, whether He would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might then accuse Him (3:1-2)."

       We find here a continuation of the Sabbath day discussion which ultimately led to the Pharisees finally breaking with Christ.  They simply could not stomach what He proposed was the truth from Jehovah.

       It is blatantly obvious that multitudes of people were physically healed by Jesus and that their public testimonies could not be silenced by the Sanhedrin.  All of those stories could be recorded individually, like that of the man lowered down through the roof. But God wishes us to view the multitudes of healed people from the distance, only showing us certain individuals and how they were healed. There is absolutely no way to calculate how many people Jesus personally healed, we can only speculate.  But we certainly can conclude that there were hundreds and hundreds of people, at a minimum, who became healed at the touch of Him. 

       Here we find a man with a withered hand, a cripple.  Was he planted there by the Pharisees, who stoood to the side and watched Him?  Did they do it in order to tempt Him? I would say most certainly.  The other encounter had been out in the fields, a secular spot.  Here we find them on the Sabbath in the synagogue which is a sacred spot. These Pharisees clearly knew that if they planted this man in the path of Christ that Christ would heal the man.  Without realizing it, they were complimenting Jesus and tacitly acknowledging the fact that Christ could physically heal people. These men simply wanted to get Him to do something on the Sabbath Day that their traditions prohibited.  As we study these passages we should come to understand that Christ's enemies were running out of valid excuses to accuse Him of violating anything. 

    "And He said to the man who had the crippled hand, Stand before Me. And He said to them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when He had angrily looked at all of them, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, Stretch out your hand. And the man stretched out his hand: and his hand was restored whole just like the other hand (3:3-5)."

       Jesus stopped and requested that this crippled man come and step out into full view of everyone. Then He confronted the Pharisees who were present.  They refused to answer His question put to them for they knew that to answer it would remove them from being able to accuse Him.  Jesus cut through all of the junk that the Pharisees and scribes had used to camoflage the true intent of the Sabbath Day. The religious rulers could not respond for they would incriminate themselves.

       Does God ever get angry?  Obviously the answer is yes!  Jesus looked around at them angrily for they had hard hearts.  They did not have compassion for the people to whom they were supposed to be servants to.  They desired to be rulers over the people, to have the people acquiese to their whims. The Greek word for "grieve" is used here in the present tense in the sense of a continuing grief. So as He looked around at them He felt a flash of anger, not malice or a grudge.  But this sense of being grieved over the hardness of their hearts was something that Jesus carried with Him, it caused Him suffering for these were people who ought to know Him and to recognize Him.  But they refused to see, to hear, to feel. 

       So Jesus heals this man on the Sabbath.  He chose to do good and not evil on the Sabbath.  Evil would have been to not heal the crippled man. But the Pharisees do not view it this way at all.

    "And the Pharisees went out, and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him (3:6)."

       These two Sabbath incidents caused the Pharisees to finally decide to choose to plan to murder Him.  They were not coerced into doing this, they freely chose to do so. From here on out they would hound His trail seeking any means to destory Him and get Him out of their lives permanently.  So here is where the plot to kill Jesus Christ began.

    That is all for today my friends.  Next time I shall continue on with verses 7-13.  We will observe many people being healed, unclean spirits clearly recognizing Him, and His departure up a mountain.  Grace and peace be yours on this day and this weekend!

    ~Eric



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    Wed, Aug 22nd - 12:58PM

    STUDY IN MARK



    "And it came to pass, that He went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and His disciples as they went through the fields began to pluck the ears of corn to eat them. And the Pharisees said to Him, Look, why do they do that which is not lawful of the sabbath day? And He said to them, Have you never read what David did, when he had need, and was hungry, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the showbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And He said to them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath (2:23-28)."

       "Corn" is the Greek sporima, meaning sown fields of grain.  It may have been barley or wheat. But they were all walking through the fields and eating the grain. The Pharisees saw this and just could not believe what was going on, it was the sabbath!  The Pharisees had altered what the law stated clearly in Deuteronomy 23:24-25.  As long as one did not take a sickle out into the fields to harvest grain, there was no violation of sabbath restrictions.  The same thing applied to eating grapes from off of the vine.  The Pharisees therefore were the ones who were misapplying God's laws.

       If you notice, Jesus did not even argue their point of contention. He simply directed them to remember the life of King David and the incident where he had definitely broken the Mosaic Law and yet was justified in doing so. The letter of the Law was not to be imposed when it created hardship upon one of God's servants who was attempting to serve Him. That is what David had been attempting to do, thus no violation of Mosaic Law could be claimed.

       The final three verses here give us the great principle in respect to the Sabbath Day and its meaning. Law was really made for man and not man for the Sabbath. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Sabbath. These verses also bring us to a very sticky question that has plagued believers over at least the last 50-60 years: The Sabbath Day or the Lord's Day? Can man change which day of the week is the Sabbath?  I would say "NO." Saturday remains the Sabbath Day, which orthodox Jews will continue to observe obediently.  Sunday has never been, nor is it now, the Sabbath Day.  It can be the Lord's Day, but not the Sabbath Day.  We must remember that Christians are not under the Mosaic system of law and ordinances for it was part of the Old Covenant between Israel and God (Exodus 31:12-17).

       Since Christ came and instituted a New Covenant based upon better promises, and that this new covenant took full force over the old covenant, we are no longer laboring under that covenant's system of laws and ordinances.  We conduct ourselves under the covenant of grace.

       That is all for today, my friends.  Next time I shall begin chapter three, which continues this dialogue about the Sabbath Day and what can be done on that day.  Grace and peace be with you today!

    ~Eric



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    Mon, Aug 20th - 12:40PM

    STUDY IN MARK



    "And Jesus said to them, Can the children of the bridechanber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they can't fast. But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days (2:19-20)."

       Christ is saying that it is far more important to be rightly related to Him and to have fellowship with Him than it is to fast.  The disciples had Him with them day and night, they had no need to fast for God was with them.  But the time was coming when Christ would return bodily to heaven and then fasting would again be appropriate. Fasting does not replace having an intimate relationship with Christ Jesus.  Fasting does not replace repentance of sins.

    "No man also sews a peice of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up takes away from the old, and the tear is made worse. And no man puts new wine into old bottles: otherwise the new wine does burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be broken: but new wine must be put into new bottles (2:21-22)."

       Here are two illustrations given to us about our new life of love and fellowship with Him. Jesus says that He did not come here to clean up the Law.  He didn't come here to refine or redevelop it, nor did He come to add to the Mosaic system.  He came here to do something brand new.  Old garments weren't going to be "patched up."

       Under the Mosaic system of Law men worked and those works were like old moth-eaten clothing. Christ came to provide man with a brand new robe of righteousness when he/she will trust in Christ.  This enables us to stand before the Living God.  He didn't come to put something new inside of our old, corrupted, sin-filled bodies.  He came to provide us with the bridge to gaining brand new glorified bodies.    Jesus didn't come to to extend the Law of the Old Testament and/or to create some form of religion. He came to introduce something new.  That new thing was the fact that He came to die for the sins of the entire world. New wine goes into new wine bottles. A new garment goes onto a new man.  I can't patch myself up to be acceptable in the eyes of God, nor can I fill myself with good things to make myself act better either.  i need to accept Jesus Christ in my heart and allow Him to work His will within me. 

       Now we come to the part of this chapter where Christ and His disciples are walking through the fields upon the Sabbath day.  This is the same incident we can read about in Matthew and in Luke. Again I will remind you, this is the time when Jesus broke away from the religious leaders of His day and they sought to kill Him from here on out.

       Jesus claims in this account  that He is the Lord of the Sabbath day. Inside the synagogue He does good on the Sabbath day. The $64,000 question then becomes, Did He actually break the Sabbath? I would say that He definitely did not.  Christ came to to fulfill the Law. The Sabbath was never intended to prevent anyone from doing what was good on that day.  It was meant to provide mankind with one day each week whereby there would be no physical labor which prevented man from worshipping God.  God wished mankind to have at least one day each week for revitalization from work.  This day was not meant to stop people from helping one another or to allow people to continue in pain or suffering.  But the rabbinical decisions that had been made over the years had come to be more important than anything else.  One must not do any sort of work at all. 

       That is all for today my friends. Next time I will write about the conflict that arose over this Sabbath day event.  Until then, may God richly bless you and yours.

    ~Eric



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    Fri, Aug 17th - 12:28PM

    STUDY IN MARK



    "And immediately when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned this way within themselves, He said to them, Why do you reason things this way in your hearts? Which is easier to say to the sic of the palsy, Your sins be forgiven you; or to say, Get up, and take your bed, and walk (2:8-9)?"

       How startled must they have been!  They had not been speaking out loud, just thinking these things to themselves as they sat nearby.  How could this man know what they all had been thinking?   Jesus tries to engage them in a dialogue, but having already had a run in with Him previously and losing that one badly, they chose to keep their mouths shut.

       These men aren't about to venture to answer Jesus' question either.  God does not need any of us to verbally testify what we think in order for Him to know what we are thinking.  These men refused to answer the question, but I bet they were all thinking that it was equally impossible to do either one.  The only "person" who could do these things was God, and they most certainly were not going to go there.

    "But that you may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins, (He said to the man sick with palsy,) I say to you, Arise, and take up your bed, and go your way to your house (2:10-11)."

       First, Christ forgave the palsied man his sins.  Then He healed him physically.  These two verses weren't meant for the scribes sitting around outside, these words were directed towards the palsied man.  Divine healing came immediately, fully, and permanently.  Go, pick up your bed, take it back home with you.  When God heals, He heals completely and forever more.

    "And immediaely he arose, took up the bed, and went out before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it done in this fashion. And He went out again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted to Him, and He taught them. And as He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said to him, Follow Me. And Levi arose and followed Him (2:12-14)."

       The sick man was healed fully and immediately.  He got up, picked up his bed, and took off with it for home.  If I had been there I would have been as amazed as any of those reportedly present. When Christ heals people He does not command them to sit around and do nothing.  They have things that they have been told to do immediately.  Believers today must not forget this concept and basic truth.  Our God is a God of action, not inaction. 

       Jesus then travels over to the seaside and everyone gathered around Peter's home apparantly went with Him to hear and see more of what He would do.  Somewhere along that path of travel Jesus passed by Levi, a tax man.  This is the call of Levi, or Matthew.  He was a publican, someone who collected taxes for the Romans.  He was not liked by anyone.  He was considered a traitor by his fellow Jews, while the Romans probably snickered at his faithlessness.  But Jesus called him out, to separate himself from what he had been doing to come and follow God.  So Levi/Matthew was a publican and only had other publicans and sinners as associates.  Notice that Jesus does not tell him anything beyond "Follow Me."  And he obeyed the call.

    "And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in Levi's house, many publicans and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples: for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eat with publicans and sinners, they said to His disciples, How is it that He eats and drinks with these people (2:15-16)."

       Three times we are told that there were publicans and sinners sitting and eating with Jesus and His disciples. There were no town "pillars" at this meal. No academics were present, no noblemen, no moral leaders, no politicians. For some strange reason scribes and Pharisees continued to trail along with the crowds of people.  Was it out of curiousity?  Was it out of a compulsion to hear and see what this Jesus would do or say next?  But whatever the reason for them to be around, they just had to ask His disciples why their Master was sitting with, and sharing food and drink with these sorts of people? Why??

    "When Jesus heard this, He said to them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (2:17)."

       When I am healthy I do not think about calling my doctor for help.  When I am sick/ill then I think about the need of a doctor to make me get better, to become well.  So Jesus pointed out that He had not come to heal those people who already were free from sickness.  He had come to heal those who were filled with disease and illness.  Jesus specifically mentioned He had not come to call the "righteous" but to call sinners.  The Pharisees thought that they most certainly were the righteous, blind to the fact that no one is righteous and all are sinners. 

    "And the discples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they came and said to Him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast (2:18)?"

       This fasting of theirs was not something commanded of them by God.  God had given the people of Israel seven feasts, but not a single fast day.  Even the Sabbath Day was not expected to be a fast day, they were to prepare on Friday enough food to serve their needs on Saturday as well so that they need not do any work.  They were under the Law and under the Law there was nothing instructing mandatory fasting.

       Next time I wil look at Jesus' response to this question about fasting.  It is applicable to Christians today.  Hope you come back on Monday!  Grace and peace be with you!

    ~Eric  



    Comment (0)

    Thu, Aug 16th - 3:11PM

    STUDY IN MARK



    "And they came to Him, bringing one who was sick with the palsy, who was carried by four others. And when they could not come near to Him because of the crowds, they uncovered the roof where Jesus was: and when they had broken it up, they lowered down the bed upon which the palsied man lay (2:3-4)."

       Little did the disciples know that five men were coming down the dusty road to Capernaum, one of the five restricted to laying upon a bed carried by the other four. They arrive at Simon Peter's home but can't approach very close due to the immense crowds of people gathered all around it.  Somehow these four men managed to make it up onto the roof of the house. They tore it open enough so that they could lift the palsied man up to the roof, and then lower him down inside to where Jesus was. That was quite the project!  It took effort on their part.  It took determination as well.  Can you imagine the reaction of the people gathered inside of Peter's home?  My roof!  They have dismantled my roof!  I imagine that Jesus looked up, and smiled broadly. 

    "When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the man sick with the palsy, Son, your sins be forgiven you (2:5)."

       Whose faith did Jesus see?  The faith of the four men who accomplished this feat for their fellowman.  Was it their faith that saved the sick man?  No, it was not.  Their faith was a testimony to their compassion towards their friend.  Their faith delivered this man into the presence of Jesus Christ so that he could come face to face with the Living God.  Jesus then dealt personally with him. 

       What the church really needs today is bed bearers.  People who are determined to faithfully bear people into the presence of Christ so that they can hear the gospel, so that they can become redeemed. Palsy is never just about physical illness.  People can be suffering from the palsy of sin, of indifference, of prejudice.  An awful lot of people are simply not going to come to church where the gospel is preached unless we determine in our hearts to pick up a corner of their "bed" and help bring them. 

    "But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why does this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone (2:6-7)?"

       Here are the unbelieving scribes sitting around outside of Peter's home muttering to themselves about the outrageousness of Jesus' actions inside.  In reality they were wrong on their first question, but correct in their second question.  No legal judge has the right to allow a criminal to get off.  His business, his job, his responsibility, is to enforce the law.  God is the moral ruler of this universe, and He must defend His own laws. God can't be lawless.  Due to His righteousness He can't be. Having made the laws, He obeys those laws, and those laws are inexorable.  They do not change over the course of time.  You and I are condemned by them. We need therefore forgiveness of our sins and God does forgive. God does not forgive because He is just a great big softie at heart. He forgives us because Christ paid the price for our sins. Jesus was not speaking blasphemies because He is God. He could forgive sins because He is God. These scribes should have also been exploring the possibility that Jesus actually was who He said He was.  They might just have surprised themselves to discover that Christ was the long anticipated Messiah.  But they refused to even consider such a possibility, they relied too heavily upon their own understandings of Jewish tradition.  Hopefully, we do not get caught in such a trap of our own making today.

       Next time I will look at Jesus reaction to the scribes' thoughts and His final words to the palsied man.  I pray that you trust in God's Word alone, do not alter it through acceptance of the commentaries produced by men.  If their commentary is consistent with what is read in the Scriptures, then fine.  But if it contradicts portions of explained scripture then please be very, very, cautious about accepting it as truth.  Grace and peace be yours.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Wed, Aug 15th - 12:41PM

    STUDY IN MARK



    "And again He entered Capernaum after some days; and it was rumored that He was in the house (2:1)."

       In this second chapter of the Book of Mark we will find the calling of disciples, a palsied man will be healed, the teaching of old things and new things, and something about the Sabbath.  But it is another chapter filled with action.  Things are happening all of the time.  Mark uses the connective term "And" to indicate that we are experiencing a continuation of that activity that was happening at the end of chapter one. 

       Jesus chose to enter Capernaum after a few days had passed. He had been teaching the people out in the wilderness places, they continually came out to where He was.  Now He chose to enter town. This community became His "headquarters" so to speak of His public ministry. 

       The reason that Christ did not come to earth as a wonder worker was because such huge crowds of people would gather that He would not have been able to do the work that He had come to perform.  Christ's ministry wasn't about doing miracles, it was about preaching upon spiritual matters.  He had come to die upon a hard wooden cross for all of the sins of this world.  Wonder working draws focus away from the gospel. 

       We must not become entrapped by emotional experiences, we must remain focused upon the preaching of the gospel.  If we draw people to us by engaging them emotionally, then we are not being honest with them.  People ought not to come to church simply because they want to see someone get healed, or to speak in tongues, or to hear someone sing a beautiful song.  Those things can all be good things, but the reason to go to church is to hear the gospel preached and to worship the Living God, Jesus Christ.

       We see in verse one that Christ was rumored to be in "the house."  Which house?  Whose house?  It is a definite place in the rumors, so it must be, at the very least, somewhat important to know.  Going back to chapter one we were informed that Jesus went immediately from the synagogue to Peter's house.   So it would seem that Christ returned to Simon Peter's house to stay for awhile.  People soon discovered that He had come back into town, and they began to gossip about it.

    "And immediately many people were gathered together, so many that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and He preached the word to them (2:2)."  

       Jesus Christ spent His time preaching the gospel message to whomever He met.  That is what we ought to be doing today, not spending our time in political activitism or social reform.  Society, of necessity, will change when individuals are changed internally by repenting of their sins. So Christians, we must place emphasis upon the Word of God, upon the integrity and inerrancy of the Word of God.  We must have utter confidence in the Word. The Word of God, when accepted, changes hearts and lives, for I personally know what it has done for me. Sometimes I wonder if the Word of God will have any influence in any heart or life during this current social atmospher that we live in. At those times I simply do not have the faith that I ought to have. We must therefore remember that in Isaiah 55:11 it says that God's Word will never return to Him void.  Never! If we remain faithful and get His Word out into the ears of people, then it will not return to God empty. Some lives will become changed forever.

       I pray that you determine in your heart to preach the Word of God at every opportunity.  Provide others with a chance at salvation, the same salvation that you have already experienced and now own. Grace and peace be yours.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Tue, Aug 14th - 3:00PM

    STUDY IN MARK



    "And in the morning, rising up a great while before daylight, He went out to a solitary place, and there He prayed. And Simon and those that were with Him followed after Him. And when they had found Him, they said to Him, All men seek for You. And He said to them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came from heaven. And He preached in their synagogues throughout all of Galilee, and cast out devils (1:35-39)."

       Jesus is up and at it before sunrise.  Off He goes to be by Himself to pray to God in heaven.  The lesson for us, as readers, is very clear.  What Jesus began doing in these other towns in Galilee was the beginning of the gospel.  He was preparing them all for personal salvation: His death and resurrection.  Christ's teachings will not save any of us, but they most surely will point us towards our need for what He did for us upon that cross and in that tomb.

       People continually argue that Jesus taught that we all are supposed to be gathering in synagogues to hear His word.  That is false since He only went to the synagogues because that was where all of the religious folk gathered together to worship God.  The rest of the time He spent out in the towns and fields where the common folk worked and played. 

       Once more we are taught here that demons were prevalent in the region, possessing many people and forcing them to do and say things that they would not normally do or say.  These people were not in their right minds.  Know any people like that today?  The Bible seemingly records three periods of history when demons were very prevalent/abundant here on earth: During Moses' time, during Elijah's time, and during Christ's time.

    "And there came a leper to Him, beseeching Him, and kneeling down to Him, and saying to Him, If You will, You can make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put out His hand, touched him, and said to him, I will; be you clean (1:40-41)."

       Here is the last miracle of this chapter.  It is a leper.  Leprosy was not incurable, as can be seen by reading Leviticus, but it was a disease that often was fatal. Most certainly it was a tragic disease that mutilated and deformed the appearance of its victims and barred them from human contact and thus from society.  But we must notice that God was moved with compassion for this man.  God cares for our afflictions.

    "And as soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from the man, and he was cleansed. And Jesus strictly charged him, and immediately sent him away; And said to him, See that you say nothing to anybody: but go your about your business, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony to them. But the man went out and began to publish his cleansing very much, and to speak about this miracle so much that Jesus could not openly enter this city anymore, but was outside in the desert: and they came to Him from every part of the area (1:42-45)."

       Can  any of us blame the poor man for shouting it from the rooftops that Christ had cured him of his leprosy?  He had gone from being a social outcast, an untouchable, to being restored to the world of the living.  He could hug people again, shake their hand, embrace his children and wife once more perhaps.  The man was overjoyed at being healed.  He couldn't keep quiet. Jesus had come and had touched him!  Has He come and touched you yet? 

       The cleansing of a leper was supposed to follow a Mosaic ritual, Christ did not break that part of the Law.  While going to fulfill Christ's command to him, this man spreads the word about his miracle, causing the news to spread like a wildfire, out of control.  Because of the actions of this man in response to being healed, Jesus was forced to leave the area due to crowd size.  This man was told to not tell anyone, and he told everyone.  We have been told to tell everyone, and ...???

    Grace and peace be with you today, beloved. 

    ~Eric 



    Comment (0)

    Mon, Aug 13th - 12:53PM

    study in mark



    "And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold your peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, so much so that they questioned among themselves, asking, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him. And immediately His fame spread abroad throughout all of the region around Galilee (1:25-28)."

      Now recall that last time we saw Jesus confront a man who had an unclean spirit within him.  This unclean spirit clearly knew who Jesus Christ was.  The demons all know who the Holy One of God is, and that He is fully able to destroy them. 

       But Jesus did not answer the unclean spirit's question, He simply commanded it to be silent and to come out of the man.  The demon did not leave cleanly, for we read that after it had torn him it then did leave.  The possessed man did not escape unscathed, he received some damage.  Demons are not to be fooled around with and to be invited into our lives for they will cause damage to us, even when Christ commands them to leave us.  God will help us deal with the results, but deal with the consequences we shall. 

       We also see here that the witnesses to this "exorcism" are simply astounded by what they witness.  They do not know what to make of it.  The man was out of his mind one instant, and became sane the next.  They understood enough to know that this man was under the influence of an unclean spirit, but did not know how to force the thing from out of him. Was this completely new doctrine?  Jesus clearly had immense authority for He commanded the spirit to leave the man, and it left!  Word of mouth spread this account all over the region and He became famous.  People are not understanding His teachings, they are attracted by His miracles and come to see more of the same. 

    "Immediately, when they came out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and soon they told Him of her fever. And He came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered to all of them (1:29-31)."

       First of all, I want to point out that this shows that Peter was married.  This is his mother-in-law who was healed.  Think that his wife did not come to have complete faith in Christ after this?  Think that she did not end up clearly understanding the call placed upon her husband?  I think that she did.  But this is another miracle performed.  Jesus is just performing them one right after another.  Please also note that Christ never said a word to her, He simply grabbed her hand, lifted her up to here feet, and she was healed completely. Not partially, not slowly over a period of a few hours or days, she was healed completely immediately.  It says that she went and began to serve them!  Jesus can heal us immediately, if He so chooses to do so.  He has that kind of power. 

    "And at evening, when the sun did set, they brought to Him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And He healed many that were sick of diverse diseases, and cast out many devils(demons); and did not suffer them to speak, because they knew Him (1:32-34)."

       "Devils" in the KJV is the same as "demons."  Properly, Satan is the only Devil while there are very many demons. Mark does the exact same thing here as did Matthew.  He is only telling us about a very few incidents of Jesus' healing.  Christ is healing hundreds of people here, if not thousands.  They are diseased, or possessed by demons.  But they all are healed, none are turned away. 

       Interestingly the demons all recognize who Jesus Christ really is.  Humans fail to figure it out, but the demons clearly see Him for who He truly is.  And Christ forbids any of them to speak out loud and thereby alert the people to who He is.  That is not how God wants us to come to know Him.  But this also gives us a very clear picture about our situation.  The demons not only believe that Jesus is real, they know that He is real, and still they are unable to be saved.  Because they refuse to accept Him as their Lord and Savior.  You and I will fall under that same category if we refuse to accept Christ.  We can talk the talk, but if we are unwilling to walk the walk there will be no salvation for us.  We are either walking in the Light with Christ, or else we are hiding in the Darkness with Satan.  It is one or the other.  It is insufficient to say that I believe in God, that I know God is real.  It is not enough to study the Bible day and night.  It is not enough to sing in the choir every Sunday. It is not enough to tithe 10, 20, 50 percent of my wages to God.  I must accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, acknowledging that He came and died in my place in order to pay for my sins.  He did this out of love for me, and so that I could be reconciled to Him and enter into the kingdom of heaven.  He did this so that I could become a part of the body of Christ, the Bride of Christ; and cleave unto Him as a man and a woman cleave to one another in holy marriage, and become one flesh.  I am to become that close with God.  There is to be no other who is closer to me than Him.  Amen.

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Wed, Aug 8th - 12:35PM

    STUDY IN MARK



    "And they went to Capernaum; and immediately on the sabbath day He entered the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes taught (1:21-22)."

       The Pharisees and scribes would ask Him about what He was doing on the sabbath days, and Jesus would respond, "...My Father worked hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17).  Jesus didn't work 8 hour days either.  This sabbath day begins at dusk one day and lasts until sunset of the next.  Jesus awoke and went straight to the synagogue to begin teaching there.  What we see is the effect of the potency of truth.  Today criticisms are leveled against the church, and ministries, that we do not speak with any authority. The reason that those in ministry do not speak with authority is that we have lost our faith in Christ, and in His Word.  Too many ministers do not preach and teach the Word of God and thus the Holy Spirit is not involved in what they utter from the pulpit. Large segments of the universal church of Christ have departed from the truth and there now exists a tremendous chasm between the Word of God and the pulpit.  Likewise, the synagogue did not offer anything vital in Jesus' day, and as a result of this the people there were astonished at the authority shown in the speech of Christ, in His doctrine.

    "And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with You, You Jesus of Nazareth? Are You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God (1:23-24)."

       In Mark this is the first miracle recorded. It appears in the spiritual realm. What we discover here is that God is in control of the spiritual realm; He is in control of the demons and they are well aware of this fact. There is historical evidence to show us that demonism was rampant throughout the Roman Empire at this time. Mark provides us with this miracle first because if Jesus has power and authority in this realm then two things are also implied. First, Christ has power in all realms. Second, only God could do such a thing. This was part of Christ's credentials: He had authority and He had power. He taught as One who had authority, and then He demonstates that He also has the power.

       If you are at all aware of what has been happening in our society today, you have been able to discern some troubling trends becoming established.  The occult is being practiced by greater numbers of people than fifty years ago.  No one can explain why young people today will leave loving homes, join a ragtag band, and then go out and murder entire families in their private homes. It is satanic.  It is demon-influenced. If this continues to occur we will eventually begin to see demon possession. 

      The only way to effectively deal with this is in the the name of Jesus Christ.  He alone can control the demons and command that they leave.This is another reason why we vitally need to have Christ present with us each and every day.  Next time I will continue with this account and we shall see how Jesus deals with this unclean spirit.  Grace and peace be yours today!

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Fri, Aug 3rd - 1:49PM

    STUDY IN MARK



    "Now after John was placed in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe the gospel (1:14-15)."

       Things move very quickly in Mark's account.  After the wilderness temptations, we find Jesus beginning His public ministry.  Again, we see Mark's headline item: JESUS CAME. John the Baptist gets imprisoned and Jesus comes to Galilee. Jesus doesn't preach just any old thing from out of the Old Testament, no, He preaches of the imminent coming of the kingdom of God.  He declares that the time has been fulfilled, the appointed time has arrived, and that now it is time to repent and to believe.  In Matthew we saw that it was the kingdom of heaven.  Is there any distinction between the two?  The kingdom of heaven is God's rule over the earth; the kingdom of God includes His entire universe, even eyond the bounds of this earth.  So the kingdom of heaven is within the kingdom of God. For us who live here on earth, there ends up being no difference between the two terms, but if we go out into the universe then the one applies while the other does not.

       Please notice that the message of Jesus is the same as that of John the Baptist: Repent and believe the gospel. When we turn to Christ Jesus in faith, we are actually turning away from something else, and that turning away from  something is repentance. If there is not that turning away from something, then there is no real turning towards Christ, is there? If there is a real turning towards Christ, there will be a manifestation of a change in the life showing that the person is now turning from something else in his/her life. What is of utmost importance is that people believe in the gospel.

       We are having to cope with fast action here, but, remember, this gospel was directed towards the Romans who were men of action. They were men of power who ruled the known world. Whereas Matthew was aimed at the religious person, Mark is written for the strong person. Luke is addressed to the thinking person and the gospel of John is for the wretched person, the one who needs salvation.

    "Now as He walked by the sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, Come after Me, and I will make you become fishers of men. And immediately they left their nets, and followed Him. And when He had gone a little farther along there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending theiri nets. And immediately He called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after Him (1:16-20)."

       There are three separate and distinct calls made to the apostles.  In John 1:35-51 we are informed that when Jesus went up to Jerusalem He met these men and gave them a very general call. They wanted to know where He lived. It says that they followed Him but not that they remained with Him.  They went back to their fishing. Then here in Mark He is walking along the beach of the sea and calls them to come and be fishers of men, that is discipleship.  Still, they did not completely leave their professions as is seen in Luke 5:1-11. The third and final call was to apostleship.  It is recorded in Mark 3; Matthew 10; and Luke 6.   This time they forsaked all that they had in order to become His apostles. Perhaps Christ continues to call people to Himself in this exact same progression?  He calls to people to come to Him and see.  Then after a while He calls to them again to come and learn more about Him and to grow in faith.  Finally, He calls to them to step out in faith and truly serve Him wholeheartedly, holding nothing of themselves back, willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary to do whatever is necessary.

       That is all for this day, and week, beloved!  May you come back and discover more action in Mark, and see that Jesus Christ teaches with the power of Holy Spirit, not as a scholar who may or may not believe in what he is reading. Grace and peace be with you today!

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Thu, Aug 2nd - 12:58PM

    STUDY IN MARK



    "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance to the remission of sins. And there went out to him all the land of Judaea, and they who lived in Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey (1:4-6)."

       What John did here was in preparation of the coming of Jesus Christ's ministry.  The baptizer was rather remarkable, not only in the content of his message, but in his manner of dress and diet.  He had been set aside by God for this ministry from the time when he was in his mother's womb.  He was of the order of the priests, a Levite, and was expected to minister in side the temple in Jerusalem.  But God had called him as a prophet, and God had sent him out into the wilderness to preach. And people left the cities to go out and listen to him preach! 
       Today we tend to locate churches where there are lots of people and it is convenient for them to come.  In other words, we like to make the church accessible.  God did not have such ideas back then.  If you preach through the power of the Holy Spirit, then they will come.  And come they did, drawn like moths to a flame. 

    "And preached, saying, There comes one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am unworthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost (1:7-8)."

       John stirred the hearts and minds of the multitudes. He was both a strange and a strong man, but his was a solo voice. He was not "full of himself" but instead was a humble man. John also clearly, distinctly, spells out the contrasts between himself and the One who is coming after him. John is baptizing with water while the One coming will baptize with the Holy Ghost. Ritual baptism is done with water while real baptism is done with the Holy Spirit/Ghost. Water baptism today is important in that it is a public testimony of one's conversion and repentance. But it can be faked.  People can be willing to get dunked in the water just so that they can gain the inner sanctum of the church and wreak havoc later on.  Spiritual baptism still must have taken place, hopefully before any water baptism does take place. 

    "And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in the Jordan River. And immediately upon coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (1:9-11)."

       "Jesus came."  Jesus Christ came from out of the obscurity of thirty years of quiet growing, training, observing, and gaining favor, out in Nazareth. Now He comes, at the appointed time, and publically identifies Himself with humanity by being baptized by water in the Jordan River.  Notice that Jesus is used here.  Mark uses this name more frequently than Matthew did in his Gospel account.
       In verses 10-11 we get to see the Godhead/Trinity brought together.  We see the Lord Jesus who is the Second Person in the Godhead; the Spirit of God in the likeness of a dove is the Third Person in the Godhead; and the voice from heaven is that of the Father who is the First Person in the Godhead. The Godhead is not trumpeted, there are no fireworks marking the event, there are no marching bands celebrating its appearance by the Jordan River. But here the Trinity is brought to our attention.  But things happen quickly here. Jesus is the Servant. John the Baptist introduces Him, then God the Father identifies Him and places His seal of approval upon Him.  What quickly happens next?

    "And immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him (1:12-13)."

       The Spirit of God forceably moved Christ directly out into the wilderness.  The appointed time of temptation was at hand.  For over one month Christ was exposed to the tempting of Satan. His temptation was not limited to just those three questions put to Him.  It lasted forty days and nights.  Can Jesus do the job of redeeming us from our sin?  Adam failed when faced with temptation. Noah managed to get through the Flood but then failed badly.  Abraham failed to be honest about his wife. Moses failed. King David failed to resist temptation. Jesus' temptation in the wilderness initiates Him into His work as our Redeemer.
       Were the wild beasts part of the temptation?  I don't think it could be otherwise.  Today we fear being attacked by wild animals, and so Jesus must have been tempted to fear these fierce beasts as well.  The beasts are part of creation which was placed under the dominion of mankind, it is why God created them. Jesus was out in the midst of His creation, dealing with things as a human being.

       That is all for today, beloved!  Next time I shall write about the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom.  Until then, may you be richly blessed by Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Wed, Aug 1st - 3:44PM

    STUDY IN MARK



    "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, which shall prepare Your way before You. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make His paths straight (1;1-3)."

       There is much contained within the very first chapter of Mark.  There is an absence of genealogy which was so prominent in Matthew.  Jehovah's Servant is marked out here by His accomplishments, not by His birth certificate.  Gentiles are not concerned with the genealogy of Jesus, only Jewish people.

       There are three beginnings recorded in the Bible. 1) "In the beginning was the Word" from John 1:1.  Here is a dateless beginning, a beginning before there was even time. Here our human minds can only grope for we can't conceive of such a "time." Our thinking patterns are so structured around the concept of time that we struggle to describe anything without placing a time sticker upon it.  We view all events in a linear fashion.  When I see an airplane overhead I automatically know that it took off from an airport somewhere.  It came from somewhere.  Thus, when I look at the universe, I know that it "took off" from someplace and it has taken an amount of time for it to arrive to where it is today.  I may not know anything about that beginning, but I know that the universe is moving even as we watch it from the surface of this planet.  Wherever that beginning was for our universe, there is where God was.  From out of eternity God comes to meet us.  I simply have to pound a peg down at the point where He does meet us, back as far as I can imagine, and then accept the fact that He was there before even that.

       2) "The beginning of the gospel..." is the same as what we can read in I John 1:1. This is dated. It goes back t oJesus Christ at the precise moment He took upon Himself human flesh.  He is the gospel!

       3) "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" from Genesis 1:1.  This is the point at which we move out of eternity into time. Man continues to guess at the age of the universe, but it eludes us.  This movement however does not aide us in finding God.  Jehovah remains hidden in the supernatural realm, only revealing Himself as it suits His purposes.  He now dwells within each believer, but even here He is hidden within His temple, the human body.  He acts through His believers to touch lives each day, causing the unbelieving to repent of their sin and begin to believe in the hope that is in Jesus Christ.  The unbelievers misunderstand what they see, assuming that these experiences are simply the actions of random people who have decided to "turn over a new leaf." They scoff, mock, and ridicule these people as being "weak-minded" and "unintelligent."  All the while God is working behind the scenes, changing lives and guiding the footsteps of those who willingly trust in Him.

       Mark, who has very few quotes from the Old Testament, quotes two prophecies. The Romans knew very little about Hebrew prophecy.  Mark does this to show them that this One whom he is talking about doesn't need a genealogy, but He does need references.  So Mark proceeds to sho that Christ's references go back to Isaiah and to Malachi.  Both John and Mark declare that the coming of John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecies of the one who would come and be the forerunner of Christ, preparing the Way.

       This ends our beginning of studying the Book of Mark.  I will say that Mark was one of the writers of the New Testament who was not actually an apostle of Christ.  Luke was another person who was not an apostle.  John Mark, John was his Jewish name, while Mark was his Latin surname (Acts 12:12).

       Mark went with Paul on the first missionary trip. He was a nephew of Barnabas. Apparantly he was the spiritual son of Peter (I Peter 5:13). Many feel that the Gospel of Mark is Simon Peter's gospel, that Peter narrated it to Mark so that he could write it all down.  It is possible.  All that we do know for sure is that it is a gospel of action, written to the Roman who was also a man of action.

       Grace to you all today, grace and peace.  Go, and walk in the footsteps of Christ your Lord and Savior, go and tell the world that He lives. 

    ~Eric



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    About Me

    Name: Eric Rajaniemi
    ChristiansUnite ID: ejroyal
    Member Since: 2007-09-08
    Location: Bedford, Virginia, United States
    Denomination: Born-again, Church of the Brethren
    About Me: I refrain from any denomination as much as possible since my faith has to do with Jesus Christ and not denominations. My wife and I are charter members of Lake Side Church of the Brethren for they desire to follow the New Testament precepts. We hav... more

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