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Mark 6

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

MONDAY, JULY 30

SCRIPTURE:  Mark 6

We have a fairly long chapter (56 verses) before us today.  It contains several different stories all of which deserve their own devotion and perhaps many devotions.  But our plan is one chapter a day.

The chapter opens with Jesus returning to His “hometown” of Nazareth.  He is allowed to teach in the synagogue and those who heard Him were overwhelmed with His wisdom and the power that He taught with. 

Instead of believing and following Him, the townspeople rejected Jesus.  Because they thought they knew Him, His family, and His upbringing they convinced themselves that this Jesus could not be an important man.  By the way, when the townspeople referred to Jesus as “the son of Mary” that is not a reference to the possibility that Joseph had already died.  It was a put down.  In those days, men were identified by whom their daddy was not their mom.

Another interesting aspect of this story is in the statement that Jesus couldn’t do any mighty work there because of the unbelief of the people there.  We must never underestimate the power of faith.  It is by faith and only by faith that we can come to God.  It takes faith to believe God and it is only by faith that we can please God. 

In verse 6 the Bible says Jesus “marveled” at their unbelief.  There is only one other place in the Gospels that says Jesus marveled.  That occurred in the episode of the Roman centurion in Luke 7:9.  In that story, however, Jesus marveled at the great faith of that Gentile.  It is remarkable that both accounts of Jesus “marveling” had to do with faith – either the lack of it or the amount of it.  Faith truly is a most important commodity in the Christian life.

From there we move on to a story of Jesus sending out the 12 to preach repentance.  Jesus gave them the authority (ability) to cast out demons and heal the sick.  Both of those miraculous abilities would have been used to authenticate the message they brought. 

These men went into Jewish communities with no visible means of support and relied upon people that lived in those towns.  Jesus told His friends that if the townspeople refused to give them a place to stay or refused to listen to them, they were to shake the dust of that community off their feet as they were leaving.  Jewish people often “shook the dust off of their feet” when they left Gentile territory.  They did that to remove any contamination of the Gentiles.  Now Jesus uses that same symbolism with Jewish people.  But it is used in the context of Jewish people not believing in Him, His message, and His followers.  In other words, this too is a faith issue.  And once again, we see the ultimate importance Jesus puts on faith.

The next section of the chapter is a parenthetical story of the execution of John the Baptist.  Although there is much we could talk about in this story, I want to skip down to verse 30 and quickly finish this devotion with a few words about the feeding of the 5,000.

I have written a lot today about the importance of faith and the consequences of not believing.  In the feeding of the 5,000 we see a faith problem in the disciples.  Their solutions to taking care of the multitude were not exactly full of faith.  Jesus responds to that with a great miracle.  It truly is amazing how much a little can be in the hands of Jesus.  It is humanly impossible to feed that many people with so little food.  Yet with Jesus there was not only enough to feed everybody, there was significantly more left over than what they started with.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Mark 5

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

FRIDAY, JULY 27

SCRIPTURE:  Mark 5

This chapter deals with at least three enemies: the devil (demons), disease, and death.  But more than that this chapter deals with the One who conquers all three of those.  Jesus is the victor over all three in this chapter and forever.  And people are the beneficiaries of His victory.

Satan is a thief that comes to steal everything that we hold dear.  He is a destroyer who comes to ruin everything that is important to us.  We should never underestimate his power.  He is the enemy that would destroy all of us if he were allowed.  He is like a roaring lion who is seeking whom he may devour.  As you read the three distinct but connected stories in this chapter it appears that Satan may have indeed devoured at least three people.

The first one is referred to as a demoniac that has been possessed by a legion (not Ligon but legion) of demons.  That could mean the man was possessed by as many as 6,000 demons.  Don’t you know it was crowded in that guy’s spirit.  This possession robbed the man of everything that was important to him.  He was isolated in every possible way. 

But then Jesus showed up and cast out those demons.  Oddly enough the demons asked permission to go into a herd of pigs.  Never forget that we humans are of no value to Satan and his horde.  In fact, to them a pig is as good as a man.  Indeed, they will make a man into a pig.  After Jesus agreed for the demons to possess the pigs, the pigs engaged in a mass suicide. 

The second story in this chapter has to do with Jairus’ daughter who was deathly ill.  Jairus came to ask Jesus to help.  Jesus headed that direction but was interrupted by another problem.

This third story which is imbedded in the second story was about a poor woman who had been bleeding for 12 years.  The other Gospels tell us she had spent all of her money trying to find a cure to no avail.  Either out of fear or shyness, she simply touched the hem of Jesus’ garment.  But the result was phenomenal.  She was immediately healed.  And interestingly enough Jesus immediately knew that power had flowed out of Him.  Never doubt that the healing power of Jesus is a personal power.  It is personal to Him and it is personal for us.

In the meantime, word came that Jairus’ daughter had “died”.  Jesus continued to Jairus’ home and said that the girl was not dead but asleep.  For those who believe, the body does indeed “sleep” during death until the resurrection.  The spirit of those who believe does not sleep but immediately goes to be with the Father in heaven.  Paul said, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

In other words, what we consider physical death, Jesus sees as sleep because He is also the resurrection.  He knows what is to come. 

It was at His holy word that the girl rose and walked around.

This chapter tells us three great stories.  We read about our great enemies.  But we also encounter our great King who has ultimate power over all of our enemies.  He is King Jesus!

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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