Tuesday, February 20, 2018
There are a lot of little habits that we all develop over time. If you stop and actually think about some of the things that you do on a daily basis you might wonder why. Religion can become one of those habits. The Pharisees were angry because Jesus' followers didn't wash their hands. It was a habit or ritual they'd developed. I think sometimes prayers and especially grace before meals becomes simply a habit. The second part of verse 6; This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Quite frankly I believe that God would rather you be honest than simply performing rituals. If you're angry at life and angry at God, don't mouth a ritual prayer before a meal or some false praise as a greeting. Maybe say something like, God I'm really angry right now and I'm not feeling very thankful. I know that I should be and I'm probably being foolish but right now I just can't pray. The honesty and the true desire to worship is much better that a ritual or habit.
Monday, February 19, 2018
I saw this on several levels when I was in the Air Force, it was especially true during survival school. I was partnered up with a captain, myself a sergeant. Over the course of several days we got to know each other real well and I was astonished at his lack of some simple skills which I learned as a scout. Towards the end of the experience we were almost calling each other by first names. When you know someone's secrets and weaknesses it can be hard to respect them or believe that they are more than what you think. And I'm sure that went both ways, he developed certain opinions of me too. We can be familiar with someone only to a certain level, no-one ever exposes everything to anyone. The people in Jesus old hometown would have been some of the adults that taught him but for the most part it would have been the kids that he grew up with. He did no great miracles in his home town because no-one came to Him. He wasn't limited by their unbelief, they limited themselves.
Friday, February 16, 2018
I really don't understand the whole thing with the pigs. I've heard sermons and read commentaries and I'm fairly sure no-one else knows either. I do get the locals being superstitious and afraid of Jesus and wanting Him to go. Also the man who was delivered. He wanted to go but God wanted a witness in his home town. Sometimes we may want to go someplace different but maybe God wants us to witness where we are. No matter where people may live, in all places and all social levels, God will provide a personal witness to preach the gospel.
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Jesus compares faith to planting a mustard seed and we usually look at this as a size thing but I don't think that's what was intended. Planting a seed takes a certain amount of faith. If I plant any seed, I have the faith that it will sprout and grow into whatever plant it came from. It's about having faith that the seeds we plant, on a spiritual level, will also grow. And in some cases a small seed, perhaps sown in the life of someone who seems unimportant, could grow to something huge. Have faith that God can provide a harvest and plant some seeds.
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
In this chapter the typical topics are the healing on the Sabbath, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit or the call of Jesus disciples. But what about the crowd? It says a great crowd followed Him. How big is a great crowd? The crowd was so big that Jesus got into a boat so the people couldn't crush Him. But what did they want? The text tells us that He healed many so those who had diseases came to Him. The crowd is coming to Him not because He's God in the flesh but because He can give them something. It's what attracts people to politicians, who can give me the most? It makes me think about things today, so many churches want to bring people to Jesus with a promise of something. Jesus can heal you or bring prosperity, the real message is lost. There is no promise of healing or wealth. Here's the real message, God Himself came to pay the price for your sin.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Something that really set off the religious crowd of the day and still does the Pharisees of today. Christians hanging out with sinners. Billy Joel said I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, the sinners are much more fun. Problem with this is that on so many levels it's true. I know far too many 'saints' who are so uptight that all they do is hang out with church people or go to church functions. If you're at church or involved is some religious activity more than twice a week and you're not employed there, then you need to get a life. How do you reach the lost if you never spend time with them? There's an old saying that's true, people won't care what you know until they know that you care. Jesus hung out with people, He let them know that He cared. Make some pagan frineds and hang out with them. It's not a sin, let them know that you really care and let them see a difference. You don't need to beat anyone with the bible, just be real and let the Holy Spirit move. In essence go love your neighbor.
Monday, February 12, 2018
We start Mark's gospel today and we'll see a difference from Matthew. Matthew wrote primarily to the Jew of the day and his focus was on how Jesus is the Messiah. Mark's gospel is more to the Roman and the focus there is on how Jesus interacted with people. In this chapter he begins with just a bit of history as a foundation, then it's right into people. The call of the first disciples, the healing and teaching of many, and the chapter ends with touching a leper. Jesus crosses social and political bounds. Throughout time, as long a the world is ruled by men and not God, there will be class distinctions. The wealthy and attractive will receive the best. But not in Jesus' world. This is Mark's message, that Jesus will come and touch you no matter who or where you are or what you've done.