Gospel Wednesday | Mark 3

GWWelcome back as we continue working through the Gospel According to Mark. Last week we covered Mark 2, where we saw Jesus declare Himself Lord of the Sabbath and demonstrated His authority to forgive sin.

Today, we’ll resume reading, beginning in Chapter 3 of the Gospel According to Mark.

Mark 3:1-6 (ESV) | A Man with a Withered Hand

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand.And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

The Pharisees had a false understanding of the Sabbath. We saw Jesus confront them last week in Mark chapter 2. Here, knowing that the Pharisees will object to healing on the Sabbath, Jesus challenges their false doctrine with a question of the Law. Notice that Jesus leaves no middle ground in His question… Healing the man would be to do good while not doing so would be to do harm. Let’s think about the false teaching of the Pharisees for a moment. They enjoyed the places of honor, best seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the market place (Luke 11:37-54)… yet they did nothing for the sick, the hurting, or the poor that didn’t reflect well on them. Their limitations on the Sabbath weren’t to Honor God, they were to make much of themselves and excuse their unwillingness to shepherd the flock of Israel. They were waiting for Jesus to miraculously heal a man, so that they might accuse Him of breaking the Sabbath. Given Mark’s brevity in most of his writing, it is refreshing to see him record that Jesus was angry and grieved at the hardness of hearts of the Pharisees. Angry. Our Lord Jesus Christ was angry at the false teachers and grieved by the hardness of their hearts. He is still angry and grieved by false teachers.

Mark 3:7-12 (ESV) | A Great Crowd Follows Jesus

Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, 10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.

The crowds pressed in on Him, seeking temporal healing and release from evil spirits. It has always made me curious that the unclean spirits would react in such a way and that Jesus would order them to be silent. Jesus didn’t come to eradicate temporal disease and sickness from a cursed and dying world, He came to make a way of Salvation for man, to heal them of their eternal separation from the Living God.

Mark 3:13-21 (ESV) | The Twelve Apostles

13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”

The appointment of the twelve Apostles was so that they might be with Him and He might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. Notice the focus of what He would send the Apostles to do was to Preach. Yes, they’d have authority to cast out demons. They were being sent out to Preach.

Mark 3:22-30 (ESV) | Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.

28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

It is the Holy Spirit that convicts us of our sin and grants repentance to sinners. Blaspheming the very Spirit that grants repentance and faith leaves the blasphemer condemned in his unbelief, cut off from the only Way of forgiveness, of reconciliation with God the Father, through the finished work of God the Son.

Mark 3 (ESV) | Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

Jesus is not breaking the fourth commandment, He is not dishonoring His mother here. His mother and brothers are in the wrong for they were staging an intervention of sorts. Look back up to verse 21.

Conclusion

Next week, we’ll continue working through the Gospel According to Mark, starting in chapter 4. Until then, we will continue our expanded Discernment in Music work. It is our sincere prayer that you will devote some time to reading and studying God’s word, and researching your church’s confessions and doctrine. Know what you believe and why you believe it… where it is taught in Scripture. The Pharisees were completely wrong about the Sabbath… and they were the ones charged to serve Israel as stewards of the Law.

Romans 16:25-27 (ESV) | Doxology

Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Amen, Indeed.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Gospel Wednesday | Mark 2

Last week we began working through the Gospel According to Mark. This week, we’ll continue by working through Mark 2.

Mark’s Gospel Account begins rather quickly and is off to the races, so to speak, recording the great things Jesus did. Chapter 1 ended with the account of Jesus taking pity on a leper, touching him, and healing him. Jesus is still telling those He ministers to to keep His identity quiet, though they rarely obey. While it is unmistakable, even at this early point in His ministry, that Jesus is the Christ, the children of Israel were not clear on what the Christ had come to accomplish. That largely due to the false doctrine of the chief priests and elders… but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let us continue reading in the second Chapter of the Gospel According to Mark.

Mark 2 (ESV)

Jesus’ fame preceded Him, such that He could not longer openly enter into a town with a mob forming. Fame is largely a thing unto itself, it doesn’t necessarily indicate that the famous one is godly (though in this case there can be no doubt of the Godliness of God the Son) nor does it indicate that the throngs of fans are gathering for the right reasons. Mark tells us that shortly after His healing ministry began, He had to spend much of His time in desolate places and entered cities discretely.

Mark 2:1-12 (ESV) | Jesus Heals a Paralytic

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them.And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

Mark gives us specific details here of an account that must have covered hours of Jesus’ preaching. Firstly, He was preaching the Word to those gathered. The false teachers in our day, those holding healing-crusades (not in hospitals or hospices… go figure) will spend a great deal of time talking… but not preaching the Word. They’ll be preaching themselves, their experiences, their escapades, and they’ll be priming the emotional pump of the gathered people so that they can get lots of money from them. Here, Jesus is Preaching the Word… and upon seeing the faith of the men who went to great lengths to get the paralytic to Jesus… Jesus forgives the man of his sins. That is the Greatest gift we sinful, fallen creatures can receive… the forgiveness of our sin. The people there understood the gravity of His claim, though they weren’t ready to accept the claim as anything but blasphemous at the time. Jesus then heals the paralytic as a demonstration of His authority to forgive the paralytic’s sin. The Greater gift, was that of forgiveness. Notice that no one accused Jesus of blasphemy for healing… but they were worried by the Absolution pronounced by Christ. The greater gift, is that of the forgiveness of sin… for that paralytic, though healed, would still die a mortal man, and afterward face the Judgement. But having been forgiven of his sin… Praise the Lord for His Mercy and Grace.

Mark 2:13-17 (ESV) | Jesus Calls Levi

13 He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The scribes weren’t merely questioning Jesus’ choice of dining establishment… they were questioning Jesus’ willingness to make himself ceremonially unclean, according to the tradition of the Elders. The Pharisees added much to the Law, and demanded ceremonial washing in their home just from having been in the market, for fear of having been made unclean by the sinners in the market. Now, this Jesus is eating in the home of a sinner at the table surrounded by sinners… how is He so comfortable making with risking becoming ceremonially unclean?? Jesus makes His point abundantly clear… He didn’t come to the Earth to avoid sin… He came to heal sinners, for He is the Great Physician. Again, in Mark’s brevity there is no detailed account of what conversation took place at this meal, but I’m confident that the LORD Jesus Christ was again preaching the Word to them.

Mark 2:18-22 (ESV) | A Question About Fasting

18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”

John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting according to tradition. Jesus’ disciples were not fasting, and the accusation here is that they were guilty of sin for disregarding the fast. Notice how Jesus responds by declaring Himself greater than the fast. His presence is likened to that of the Bridegroom… wedding guests don’t fast while with the Bridegroom! What we learn from the other Gospel Accounts and the Epistles (Hebrews in particular) is that the Mosaic Law was a shadow of the Perfect that was to come, that being Jesus, God the Son. Jesus assured them that once He would be taken away from them, His disciples would indeed fast. The reference to the patch and the wineskins is often taken out of context and used to justify a “god is doing something new” theology where people are encouraged to let go of tradition and orthodoxy in order to embrace whatever wind of doctrine begins to blow. That’s reckless and abominable teaching. Jesus is indicating to them that His Advent, His very Presence on this Earth as the Messiah, the Son of Man, will bring an end to the Mosaic Covenant and He will be establishing a New Covenant, one established by His Blood shed and His Body broken for us. New Wine (Christ’s Blood) in a New Wineskin (New Covenant for peoples of all Nations, Tribes, and Tongues).

Mark 2:23-28 (ESV) | Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath

23 One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

Praise the Lord. In a short chapter, Mark has demonstrated Christ’s Authority to Forgive Sin, His identity as the Messiah, the Bridegroom, and His Lordship even over the Sabbath.

Until Next Week

Next week we’ll be working through chapter 3. This will not be an exhaustive study, we’ll only be scratching the surface of the text, but we will work through the text each week. I pray it serves you even if only by prompting you to read the text and skip my comments.

Jude 1:24-25 (ESV) | Doxology

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Amen, indeed.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Gospel Wednesday | Mark 1

Welcome to our first Gospel Wednesday of 2016.

We’ll be starting the year off by working through the Gospel according to Mark. With only 16 Chapters, the Gospel according to Mark is the shortest of the Gospels and we’ll probably work through it in roughly as many weeks. As we work through the text, please remember that I’m merely a lay person with no formal seminary training. I’m open to Biblical discussion and even disagreement on interpretation, particularly in the application of the text. I will avoid making arguments based on extra biblical materials and ask that you do the same. If what we discuss here conflicts with your church’s doctrine in any way, I encourage you to take the discussion to your pastors and elders, that is the purpose of their office and calling.

Summary of the Gospel According to Mark

Before we begin in the first chapter of the Gospel According to Mark, I recommend reading through the summary of the book put together by the folks at BibleStudyTools.com. I’d like to quote some of the sections from their page here:

Author

Although there is no direct internal evidence of authorship, it was the unanimous testimony of the early church that this Gospel was written by John Mark (“John, also called Mark,” Ac 12:12,25; 15:37). The most important evidence comes from Papias (c. a.d. 140), who quotes an even earlier source as saying: (1) Mark was a close associate of Peter, from whom he received the tradition of the things said and done by the Lord; (2) this tradition did not come to Mark as a finished, sequential account of the life of our Lord, but as the preaching of Peter — preaching directed to the needs of the early Christian communities; (3) Mark accurately preserved this material. The conclusion drawn from this tradition is that the Gospel of Mark largely consists of the preaching of Peter arranged and shaped by Mark (see note on Ac 10:37).

Occasion and Purpose

Since Mark’s Gospel is traditionally associated with Rome, it may have been occasioned by the persecutions of the Roman church in the period c. a.d. 64-67. The famous fire of Rome in 64 — probably set by Nero himself but blamed on Christians — resulted in widespread persecution. Even martyrdom was not unknown among Roman believers. Mark may be writing to prepare his readers for such suffering by placing before them the life of our Lord. There are many references, both explicit and veiled, to suffering and discipleship throughout his Gospel (see 1:12-13; 3:22,30; 8:34-38; 10:30,33-34,45; 13:8-13).

Special Characteristics

Mark’s Gospel is a simple, succinct, unadorned, yet vivid account of Jesus’ ministry, emphasizing more what Jesus did than what he said. Mark moves quickly from one episode in Jesus’ life and ministry to another, often using the adverb “immediately” (see note on1:12). The book as a whole is characterized as “The beginning of the gospel” (1:1). The life, death and resurrection of Christ comprise the “beginning,” of which the apostolic preaching in Acts is the continuation.

(Read More)

Mark 1 (ESV)

The Gospel According to Mark does not recount the birth of Jesus Christ. Matthew and Luke cover His birth and John summarizes the significance of the incarnation of the Christ, the Son of God in human flesh. Mark’s account begins by introducing us to John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah.

Mark 1:1-8 (ESV) | John the Baptist Prepares the Way

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,

“Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
    who will prepare your way,
the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
    ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
    make his paths straight,’”

John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

The baptism of John was the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. It is important to recognize that this was indeed a real baptism for what it was… repentance for the forgiveness of sins. But this baptism is lesser than the Baptism we know in Christ, for even John said that the Christ will baptize with the Holy Spirit. We see this play out later in Acts.

Acts 18:24-26 (ESV) | Apollos Speaks Boldly in Ephesus
Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

Acts 19:1-5 (ESV) | Paul in Ephesus
And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

I point this out to demonstrate that what John was doing was proper and necessary, but it was superseded by baptism in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Let’s continue in Mark.

Mark 1:9-11 (ESV) | The Baptism of Jesus

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Here we have the Trinity displayed in the text. Jesus fresh out of the water, the Spirit descending on Jesus like a dove and the Voice of God the Father. Modalism refuted. Jesus had nothing to repent of. No sin. No need to repent. So why the baptism? For our sake. We need repentance and the forgiveness of sin, and we are joined with Him in baptism. Not just His baptism, but into His death and resurrection, too. The beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that by faith we are joined with Christ, in His baptism, sealed by the Holy Spirit and declared righteous before God the Father because of the Righteousness of His Son, Jesus.

Matthew 3:13-17 (ESV) | The Baptism of Jesus
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

1 Peter 3:18-22 (ESV) For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

Praise the LORD for His Grace and Forgiveness. As we continue in Mark, let us remember that the Life and Ministry of Jesus is to be taken as a whole, for He IS the Messiah, not just someone who did Messianic things or taught Messianic principles. That is not to say that we cannot look at the smaller events in light of the whole, but we dare not rip a singular event out of the greater context and build a theology around it… As John wrote in his gospel account, Jesus is the Word made flesh.

Mark 1:12-13 (ESV) | The Temptation of Jesus

12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.

It is so encouraging to me to know that while He committed no sin in any way, He is familiar with temptation and weakness. We serve a God who knows and understands.

Mark 1:14-15 (ESV) | Jesus Begins His Ministry

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Even in Mark’s brevity, we see clearly both Law and Gospel in Christ’s preaching. Repent and believe in the Gospel.

Mark 1:16-20 (ESV) | Jesus Calls the First Disciples

16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men. 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.

Jesus calls His people to Him. The Holy Spirit that has been poured out on those who believe and are baptized now draws men unto Jesus through the preached Word. The multitudes that gathered throughout His earthly ministry was fickle… eventually calling for His crucifixion. Jesus preached to the crowds and performed many signs and wonders in fulfillment of prophecy, but He wasn’t playing to them. The Church, the Body of Christ is not called to play to the crowds.

Mark 1:21-28 (ESV) | Jesus Heals a Man with an Unclean Spirit

21 And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit,convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

From the beginning, we see that Jesus is different in every imaginable way. Mark’s Gospel makes it intellectually dishonest to limit Jesus as a merely a “good teacher”. He has Authority… Divine Authority.

Mark 1:29-34 (ESV) | Jesus Heals Many

29 And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

32 That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

There is good reason why Jesus didn’t permit the demons to speak. For they were not speaking to confess Jesus as the Messiah of God; rather, they sought to derail His ministry. Israel was looking for a Messiah who would establish an earthly ministry, they were waiting for the next King David who would establish an earthly kingdom. Jesus came to do much, much more and far greater… He came to heal us from our sin and eternal judgement.

Mark 1:35-39 (ESV) | Jesus Preaches in Galilee

35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, 37 and they found him and said to him,“Everyone is looking for you.” 38 And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out. 39 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.

It is sad that our modern-day evangelicalism down-plays the preaching ministry. Jesus preached. He also performed signs and wonders that served as a testimony to Who He Is… we’ve been called to preach the Word.

Mark 1:40-45 (ESV) | Jesus Cleanses a Leper

40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.

We serve a God who takes pity on our brokenness. He forgives our weakness and heals us by taking upon Himself our sins, our iniquities, our transgressions.

Until Next Week

Next week we’ll be working through chapter 2. This will not be an exhaustive study, we’ll only be scratching the surface of the text, but we will work through the text each week. I pray it serves you even if only by prompting you to read the text and skip my comments.

Jude 1:24-25 (ESV) | Doxology

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Amen, indeed.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Gospel Wednesday | Matthew 12:46-50

bibleLast week, we took a look at the second portion of Matthew 12. I couldn’t quite fit in the last segment of chapter 12, and had intended to simply pick up that section today as we then move on into chapter 13. This transition away from Jesus’ declaration of who He is and His warning against the false teaching of the Pharisees toward His teaching of the masses in Parables is important.

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

Matthew 12:46-50 (ESV) | Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Now, where Matthew shares this account as a transition point in the focus of His preaching (remember, Matthew is making the case of Jesus fulfilling the Messianic Prophecies). He was preaching of Who He is, and now He will be preaching to the people in Parables (in fulfillment of scripture) while also giving clear lessons for His Apostles. Mark’s account follows a different arch, a different focus in the presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are enough clues in Mark Chapter 3 to indicate this is the same event, but Mark skips over some things and includes some others. The Gospel according to Mark focuses less on making the case for Jesus being the Promised Messiah, and more on demonstrating His Authority as the Son of God. The Gospel of Mark is an action-packed Gospel of power and compassion of God the Son. With that in mind, let us look to Mark chapter 3 where we see the cross-reference to our Matthew text.

Mark 3:13-35 (ESV) | The Twelve Apostles

13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat.21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.

28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

I think it would have been easy for us to come to a skewed and dismissive view of Jesus’ comments regarding his mother and brothers if we only had the account in Matthew. Jesus’ mother and brothers had come to Jesus out of concern for Him, sure, but they sought to bring counsel, even possibly a rebuke, for what He was preaching. Jesus was not out of His mind, He was doing exactly what He was supposed to be doing. Jesus was doing the Will of the Father. Though their earthly concern for Jesus was understandable, and arguably well-intentioned, it was misguided and sinful due to a lack of faith. Jesus would not be counselled against doing the Will of God, nor would He permit being interrupted.

Alistair Begg taught on this passage in Mark a while back (2009) at it has been made available for listening on Truthforlife.org.

https://www.truthforlife.org/resources/sermon/jesus-true-family/

He ends this sermon with such a beautiful picture of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that by His death and Resurrection the Way was made for us to become heirs and joint heirs with Christ Jesus, to be His brothers and sisters by God’s Grace through faith.

Until Next Week…

Next week, we will start looking at some of Jesus’ parables in Chapter 13. Until then, spend time in the Word and in prayer. The summer is upon us, so enjoy this time with your family, and find ways of maintaining a routine of seeking the Word of God on a regular basis. I will do my best to provide supplemental material on this blog site.

Jude 1:24-25 (ESV) 24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge