NT March 1-4

March 1 — Mark 14 — Weak Flesh.  In the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples were not able to avoid temptation by staying awake to “watch and pray,” so Jesus concluded, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (v. 38).  There are other examples of weak flesh in this chapter.  Even after Judas heard Jesus warn, “Woe to that man,” and that it would have been better “if he had not been born” (v. 21), his weak flesh carried out his plot anyway.  At Jesus’ arrest, “they all left him and fled” (v. 50)—more weak flesh.  Peter declared that “If I must die with you, I will not deny you” (v. 31), yet he did.  Even after half of Jesus’ prediction was fulfilled with the first rooster crow (v. 68), Peter denied Him twice more.  Our flesh is also weak.  We sometimes fail to keep our promises to do good and not to do wrong.  Although weak flesh is our nature, it is not our excuse.  At that Passion Week, Jesus’ disciples did not have the indwelling Holy Spirit but we do.  On this side of Pentecost, we can draw on His strength to do the good things we want to do and reject the sins that tempt us.

March 2 — Mark 15 — The King.  Six times in this chapter Jesus is referred to as “the King of the Jews” or “… of Israel.”  To suggest that Jesus was a threat to Roman rule, the Jewish leaders brought the charge against Him that He claimed to be a king.  I found no place in the Gospels where Jesus made this claim but other people did.  The magi stated it (Matt. 2:2) as did Nathanael (John 1:49) and the crowd at the Triumphal Entry (Luke 19:38).  In response to Pilate’s question, Jesus indirectly admitted to that title (v. 2).  It is humorously ironic that Pilate asked the accusing Jews what they wanted him to do with the one “you call the King of the Jews” (v. 12).  Jesus was mocked with that title by the Roman soldiers who added the symbolic royal purple robe and crown of thorns (vv. 17-18) and it was the inscription placed above his head on the cross (v. 26).  The title dramatically changed following His death, however, when the centurion declared, “Truly this man was the Son of God” (v. 39).  To us, Jesus is both Son and King.  He is our fully-divine Godsend and the King we willingly serve in obedience.

March 3 — Mark 16 — Large Stones.  Jesus died and was placed in the tomb on Friday before the Sabbath began at sundown.  Mary and the other women saw the stone rolled to close off the entrance (15:46-47) and then they went home to rest on the Sabbath day.  What they did not know was that on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders arranged to have the stone sealed and guarded (Matt. 27:62-66).  So, on their way back to the tomb on Sunday morning, the women were wondering who they could get to roll back the stone so they could anoint Jesus’ body with spices (Mark 16:3).  It was a “very large” (v. 4) stone, so it would have taken several men to do it.  No problem for an angel, however!  The stone had not been removed to let Jesus out but to let the women in!  Do you have a large stone in your life blocking where you want to go or what you want to do?  Are you asking, like those women, “Who will roll away the stone”? (v. 3).  If you are looking for someone stronger than you to open the way, look only to God.  He is the stone-mover par excellence.

March 4 — Luke 1 — Angel Questions.  There are some interesting comparisons in this chapter between the father of John the Baptist and the mother of Jesus.  They were both godly people chosen to participate in important births.  Zechariah was “righteous” (v. 6) and Mary had “found favor” (v. 30) with God.  Both were visited by Gabriel and were “troubled” (vv. 12, 29).   Both asked Gabriel “how” questions (vv. 18, 34) but Zechariah’s question was one of doubt, so he was reprimanded and punished with temporary muteness for his unbelief (v. 20).  He was apparently looking for a proof-sign.  Mary’s question only requested information about the process because she was a virgin (v. 34) and her attitude was one of submissive faith: “Let it be to me according to your word” (v. 38).  Both responded to the Lord with hymns of praise, called the Magnificat, for Mary (vv. 46-57), and Benedictus (vv. 68-79), for Zechariah.  Both begin with praise: “My soul magnifies the Lord” (v. 46) and “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel” (v. 68).  Does this remind you of a favorite hymn of praise?  Sing it to the Lord right now!  I don’t have a hymnal handy while I write this but I googled “Great is Thy Faithfulness lyrics” and sang my praise to God.

March 5 — Luke 2 — Reactions.  I was struck in reading today about the reactions of different people in this story at the beginning of Jesus’ life.  The first was the reaction of fear when the shepherds saw the angel (v. 9).  After the angels left, the shepherds’ next reaction was one of action: “Let us go over to Bethlehem…” (v. 15).  They delivered the angel’s message and Mary and Joseph both reacted with wonder (v. 16) but “Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (v. 19).  Simeon’s reaction was one of blessed relief that God’s promise of seeing the Messiah had been fulfilled, and then he “blessed God” (v. 28).  The reaction of Mary and Joseph to this was that they “marveled at what was said” about Jesus (v. 33).  One can only imagine the reaction Mary had to Simeon’s soul-piercing-sword prophecy (v. 35).  Twelve years later, the temple teachers reacted to the boy Jesus with amazement “at his understanding and his answers” (v. 47), and Mary and Joseph reacted “in great distress” (v. 48) in having temporarily lost their son.  Encountering Jesus always precipitates reactions.  Today, those who respond in faith also react with joy.

Published by abibleread

This website honors the Bible as the inspired Word of God through which God speaks to us as we read and study it.

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