C2C Oct. 23-29

October 23 — Touching and Teaching — Mark 4-6.  In yesterday’s reading, so many people “pressed around him to touch him” for healing (3:10) that he asked for a boat to separate Him from the pressing crowd.  Today we read that because of the “very large crowd … he got into a boat … and was teaching them many things in parables” (4:1-2).  This separation suggests that Jesus felt that teaching them was more important than healing them.  Often the press of our physical needs clouds our need for spiritual teaching.  As the parable of the soils tells us, our great need is to be people of good soil that “hear the word and accept it and bear fruit” (4:20).  As we develop “ears to hear” (4:23), “still more will be added” to us (4:24).  Later, another crowd pressed upon Jesus, but “perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him … said, ‘Who touched my garments?’”  The disciples’ response was basically, “In this crowd, everyone was touching You!”  But of all those touching Him, only the bleeding woman had the touch of faith.  She had “ears to hear.”  She heard, believed, and reached out to Jesus in faith.

October 24 — Resisting Suffering — Mark 7-8.  It is believed that Mark wrote his Gospel from the eye-witness account of Peter.  One would expect, therefore, that only good things would be written about Peter in this Gospel.  Not so.  The boisterous, blundering Peter who walked with Jesus had become a humble leader when he told his story to Mark.  The positive account of Peter’s statement, “You are the Christ” (8:29), is much briefer than in Matthew, but his rebuke of, and reprimand by Jesus was not abbreviated in Mark.  Peter was rebuked (8:33) because he reflected the Jewish expectation that the Messiah would be a military rescuer from Roman rule.  Jesus impressed upon them that the Messiah must rather suffer and die.  His Messianic rule is still in the future for us.  We also resist the idea of a suffering Christian but Jesus challenged a believer to “take up his cross and follow me” (8:34), “losing” his life in order to “save” it (8:35).

October 25 — Slow Learners — Mark 9-10.  Were the apostles dense?  At times, they seemed to be.  Peter had to be ordered by God at the Transfiguration, “Listen to him” (9:7).  Like us, all the disciples needed to be taught by Jesus.  When He predicted His death, they looked at it figuratively, “questioning what this rising from the dead might mean” (9:10).  When He mentioned it again later, “they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask” (9:31).  They were apparently afraid to take it literally, although they had no problem expecting that Jesus would literally become the deliverer of the Jews from Roman rule.  In anticipation, they argued with each other about which of them was to be the greatest when Jesus became ruler.  When Jesus confronted them about it, they were embarrassed (9:34), and Jesus used a small child to teach them about humility.  Did they learn it?  No, later two of them asked, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left in your glory” (10:37).  Let us not be slow learners but rather, “Listen to Him”!

October 26 — Approaching Jesus — Mark 11-12.  Jesus had three encounters with Jewish religious leaders in this passage.  The first group involved fearing.  They would not tell Jesus their real answer about John the Baptist’s ministry because “they were afraid of the people” (11:32).  Their insincere response was: “We do not know” (11:33), which if true, would also make them unable to determine whether Jesus’ ministry was from God or men.  The second group involved flattering.  Their purpose was “to trap him in his talk” (12:13) but their words were also insincere: “We know that you are true and … truly teach the way of God” (12:14).  Jesus’ response to them was that they knew “neither the Scriptures nor the power of God” (12:24).  That is a question we should ask ourselves: How well do I know the Bible and experience God’s power?  The third encounter involved finding.  This scribe was genuinely seeking to know what God wanted from him.  Jesus’ response to him was, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (12:34).  May we also be sincerely seeking God today.

October 27 — Willing, But Weak — Mark 13-14.  When Jesus predicted that Peter would deny Him, his response was, “I will not deny you,” the other disciples joining in his reply (14:31).  They were confident of their ability to remain faithful.  Later in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus challenged Peter, James, and John to “watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” (14:38) but Jesus conceded that “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Often our weakness hampers our performance.  If you are behind in your daily Bible reading, you are painfully aware of that.  Jesus’ solution for gaining victory over our gnawing weakness is to be watchful and prayerful.

October 28 — Agony — Mark 15-16.  Of the seven recorded statements of Jesus on the cross, only Matthew and Mark mention His quote from David’s Ps. 22:1: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46, Mark 15:34).  This is the only statement from the cross of the seven that was recorded by both Matthew and Mark.  It was not a confused cry of despair but an agonizing expression of the emptiness He felt as God’s presence was lifted because of the sin of the world that He bore.  Be reminded often today of the agonizing experience Jesus went through that we might have eternal life!  Ps. 22 has many other statements that connect directly to Jesus’ death on the cross: being “scorned … despised … mocked” (vv. 6-8) and “… they have pierced my hands and feet … they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots” (vv. 16, 18).

October 29 — Luke — Luke 1-2.  Luke was an educated man, a doctor (Col. 4:14), with an organized mind that paid attention to details.  He did careful research for his Gospel and the early chapters of Acts by interviewing people who experienced these events before he became a Christian and joined Paul on his second missionary journey.  We learn something very special about a historical change in how the Holy Spirit dealt with people.  Throughout the OT, the Spirit “came upon” certain individuals for a particular task or prophecy, but in the story of John the Baptist’s birth, the Holy Spirit begins to “fill” people.  Zechariah was told that John would “be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb” (1:15).  Elizabeth “was filled with the Holy Spirit” (1:41) and Zechariah “was filled with the Holy Spirit” (1:67).  This was a big change in history but there was more to come.  John was not filled with the Spirit in the same way as we are as born-again Christians, because Jesus said of him, “I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Lk. 7:28).  At Pentecost, God completed the change by fulfilling His promise in Joel 2:28 that “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh” (Acts 2:17). 

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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