Learning from Mark 10-13
10:1-31 - The Pharisees came to Jesus - ‘to test Him’ (2). They asked Him about divorce (2). He spoke to them about marriage (6-9). We need to be positive, well grounded in the basic principles of God’s Word. When the thorny problems come - as they surely will - we will face them with maturity, and not as ‘children, tossed to fro and and carried about with every wind of doctrine’ (Ephesians 4:14). Jesus loved the little children (13-16). Do we? Some say ‘No’ to the love of Jesus (21-22). Say ‘Yes’ to Him. We cannot save ourselves. Salvation is God’s doing, not ours (26-27). Don’t let ‘self’ take the place of Christ: ‘we have left everything...’ (28). Don’t say, ‘I have given so much to God, done so much for Him, given up so much for Him’. God has given you more! God has done more for you! God has given up more for you! John 3:16.
10:32-52 - Jesus was ‘going up to Jerusalem’ - to the Cross (32). He came to die, ‘to give His life as a ransom for many’ (45). The death of Christ lies at the very heart of the Gospel (1 Peter 1:10-12; 1 Corinthians 1:23 & 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; 1 John 1:7, 2:2; Hebrews 2:9). Don’t think, ‘Glory for me’ (37). Think, ‘Glory to God’ (43-44): ‘God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Galatians 6:14). Bartimaeus cried out to the Lord for mercy (47). ‘How embarrassing’, some people thought - ‘how undignified’ (48). When God is at work, some people don't like it! They like everything to be dignified - dull and dead! When God is at work, people get converted. This may not please the 'critics', but it pleases God - and that’s what matters. Cry to God for mercy. Your prayer will be heard - and answered.
11:1-33 - Here we learn of the authority of Christ. Calling the ‘colt’ into His service, He says, with authority, ‘The Lord has need of it’ (3). With authority, He speaks to the fig tree (14) - a ‘visual aid’ of His teaching: ‘Every branch of Mine that bears no fruit, He takes away’ (John 15:2). In the temple, He speaks with authority, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer...’ (17). He speaks of authority in prayer: ‘whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours’ (24). The religious leaders did not understand Jesus (27-33). Why? - They didn’t love Him. We can experience His authority: His Word spoken to us ‘in power...’ (1 Thessalonians 1:5). We can exercise His authority: Through prayer, setting His Word free to do His mighty work (Ephesians 6: 18-20) - if we are learning to love Him!
12:1-44 - Jesus - God’s ‘beloved Son’ (6): Rejected by men, raised by God (10-11). Jesus’ enemies tried ‘to trap Him in His talk’ (13). He spoke with wisdom - and so can we. Anointed by the Holy One, we have the mind of Christ (1 John 2:19-20; 1 Corinthians 2:14-16). Christ’s enemies knew ‘neither the Scripture nor the power of God’ (24). We are to speak as those who know the living God (27). Our ‘first’ priority is love for God (29-30). Jesus says, ‘Love your neighbour’ (31). This is not, however, ‘the be-all and end-all’ of our life. There is more. We must not forget God. Jesus is ‘Lord’ (35-37). Let it be: Jesus is my Lord. The scribes had all the external trappings of religion - and nothing else (38-40)! The ‘poor widow’ had very little, yet she had everything that really matters: she loved the Lord (41-44)!
13:1-37 - We are not to be a people whose ‘faith’ is locked in the past! We are to be a people of hope. We look to the future. We ‘see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory’ (26). There may be ‘wars and rumours of wars’ (7). When Christ returns, only one thing will matter: ‘he who endures to the end will be saved’ (13). ‘This day - the noise of battle’: Look beyond all that to ‘the victor’s song’ (Church Hymnary, 481). In human conflict, there is so much of self - ‘We are the people’. When Christ returns, nothing will matter but this: ‘When the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there’ (Mission Praise, 759). We hear of ‘wars and rumours of wars’. Do we say, ‘This is part of our history. It’s always been this way’?. We must remember: Preaching Christ's Gospel is far more important than ‘defending’ our ways (10)!