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Mark 2

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

TUESDAY, JULY 24

SCRIPTURE:  Mark 2

This chapter finds Jesus back in Capernaum.  This seemed to be one of His favorite communities to hang out in.  It was in a beautiful location on a hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee.  This is where Peter lived.  He was probably in Peter’s house when this first event occurred.

A crowd had gathered to see Jesus.  There were so many people that there was not room for one more.  That’s when four friends devised a most ingenious way of getting their paralyzed friend to Jesus.  They knocked a hole in the roof and let their friend down by ropes. 

I want us to take a look at this particular scene through the eyes of Jesus.  The first thing we should consider is that Jesus looked up.  As he was teaching, particles from the roof would have undoubtedly fallen around him.  As anyone normally would, he looked up.  There he saw the four friends.

But he saw more than the four friends.  He saw their faith.  We typically don’t think of faith as something we can see but as James teaches us in his epistle, we should most certainly be able to see the result of faith or the actions of faith.  These four friends went to great lengths to get their paralyzed friend to Jesus. 

So, he looked up to see the friends.  Next, he would have looked down to see the paralytic.  Notice that the first thing Jesus did was offer forgiveness for the man’s sins.  Undoubtedly everyone around that house that day would have said this man’s greatest need was to be healed from his paralysis.  But Jesus knew differently.  He knows our greatest need is forgiveness of our sin. 

In fact, Jesus’ forgiveness of our sin is the unparalleled greatest miracle that He performs.  It is the greatest miracle because it addresses the greatest need.  It has the greatest price.  It brings about the greatest change.  It produces the greatest blessings.  And it has the most lasting benefits. 

Jesus looked to see the friends.  He looked down to see the man.  Next, he looked around to see the crowd that had gathered.  He would have seen people of all stripes, sorts, and categories.  The rich and the poor.  The irreligious and the religious.  The somebodies and the nobodies.  The well known and the unknown.  All of them had a variety of needs.  All of them had the same need.  But he would have not just looked at them.  Jesus has the remarkable ability to look within them.

And that’s the next thing we find in this story.  He looks within the religious leaders and saw the questions they had in their hearts.  Actually those weren’t questions.  They were accusations.  Instead of rejoicing in the healing of this man, they wanted to attack Jesus for what they perceived to be blasphemy.  They missed the whole point. 

Sadly, it is a pretty easy thing to miss the whole point.  We can do it and not even know we did it.  The point is that Jesus came with the glorious Gospel and pointed men to the only way that anyone can get to heaven.  And for the most part people came to Jesus for two reasons.  One, to watch Him perform miracles.  Two, to condemn Him for performing miracles. 

The thing we need the most is not to see the miracle but to experience personally the miracle worker.  There is none like Him!  He can do what no other can!  He is our only hope for this life and the next.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Mark 1

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

MONDAY, JULY 23

SCRIPTURE:  Mark 1

Today we are going to start a journey through The Gospel According to Mark.  As is the case with every book of the Bible, Mark’s Gospel is unique in many ways.  For example, Mark just sort of jumps into the story of Jesus almost in mid-stream.  After a brief introduction of three verses, we find Jesus being baptized.

If you compare this Gospel with the other Gospels, you will find some interesting things.  For example, The Gospel According to Matthew was written primarily with a Jewish audience in mind.  As a result, Matthew opens with a genealogy that proves Jesus Christ is the rightful heir to David’s throne.  Luke, on the other hand, had more of a Greek audience in mind.  It is in The Gospel According to Luke that we find the most in depth look at the birth narrative of our Savior.  The Greek readers would have been most interested in this perfect babe who grew up to be a perfect man.  The Gospel of John, on the other hand, goes all the way back to eternity past and beyond.  John is writing to the whole world to prove the identity of Jesus and to encourage his readers to be saved.

So what about Mark?  In many ways, Mark was writing to a Roman audience.  Because of that, this Gospel is focused on activity.  Mark describes Jesus as busily moving from place to place to meet the needs of all kinds of people. In fact, one of Mark’s favorite words is immediately (Straightway in the King James Version).  That word is used over 40 times in this Gospel.  Mark’s Gospel focuses on Jesus as a Servant sent to minister to the needs of many.  As a result, the key verse of this Gospel may very well be Mark 10:45.

It is also important to remember that Mark was not an apostle.  He had not seen the resurrected Christ which was a prerequisite for being an apostle.  The big deal about that is every book in the New Testament had to be written by someone who was an apostle or someone who wrote under the authority of an apostle.  Again, since Mark was not an apostle, he had to work in conjunction with someone who was to produce this Gospel account.  That person was Peter. 

As the chapter opens, Mark gives us multiple witnesses to the identity of Jesus.  He was one of those witnesses as proven in the first verse: Mark testified that Jesus was the Son of God.  The second witness was Isaiah, the prophet.  The third witness was John the Baptizer.  And the final witnesses were God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. 

It is at that point that Mark is off on a very busy journey.  In the remaining verses of this chapter, we read about Jesus’ temptation, His calling of the disciples, the healing of a man with a demon, the healing of others including Peter’s mother-in-law, preaching in Galilee, and the cleansing of a leper.  And that is just one chapter.

We are in for a great journey for the next several days.  I hope you are ready for it.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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