Wednesday, January 27, 2016

P     Possible from the Impossible    Mark 9:17-24
The good news is all about making the impossible possible.  In Mark 10:17-27 a man came to Jesus and asked Him what he need to do to earn/inherit eternal life.  Jesus told the man about the commandments, which the man replied that he had fully obeyed them all since he was young.   Though Jesus doesn’t comment on the man’s claim, Jesus knew it was impossible for any one of us to fully keep the commandments all of our lives and that the commandments were to show us we couldn’t please God by the “goodness” of our lives.  Jesus knew in His heart that this sincere man had a problem with idolatry and that his wealth was very important to him.  “Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him; ‘There is one thing you haven’t done,’ He told him.  Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow Me.”

Mark goes on to tell us, “At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus looked at His disciples and said, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!’  This amazed them.  But Jesus said again, ‘Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God.  In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!.’

Jesus used an extreme example that everyone can understand.  It doesn’t matter how many humps a camel may have – it will be impossible to thread it through any needle we can use.  The disciples realized this and Mark indicates, “The disciples were astounded. ‘Then who in the world can be saved?’ they asked.  Jesus looked at them intently and said, ‘Humanly speaking, it is impossible.  But not with God.  Everything is possible with God.’” 

The Good News is not only does God make our impossible to earn salvation possible (because He provides for it completely through Jesus), but He is able to work in the seemingly impossible situations of our lives as well.  The Apostle Paul ends a prayer in Ephesians 3 with these words, “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.  Amen”  (Eph. 3:19-20)

The Good News is with God all things are possible.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


S        Servant            “So Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.   But among you it will be different.  Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be the slave of everyone else.  For even the Son of Man came not be served, but to serve others and give His life as a ransom for many.’”   Mark 10:43-45   

If someone told you to the path to success in this world is through putting the needs of others before yours’ and becoming a servant, you probably would consider them grossly misinformed and wrong.  It runs contrary to everything that makes sense, especially by the standards of the world.  Yet the One that came into this world was laid in a feeding trough, and raised the step-son of an ordinary carpenter, not only set the standard, but lived the example as well.   Later his letter to the Philippians the Apostle Paul writes:  “Don’t be selfish; don’t try and impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others too.  You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.”  (Phil 2:3-5).  He then describes what Jesus did and tells us the result:  “Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name that is above all other names.  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth.  And every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  (Phil 2:9-11)

The only way truly to go UP is DOWN.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


One God  In chapter 12 a teacher of the Law given by God to the Jewish people asked Jesus, “Of all of the commandments, which is the most important?” (12:28)    In verses 29-31 Jesus responds, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel!  The Lord our God is the one and only Lord.  And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.  The second is equally important: ‘’Love your neighbor as yourself.’  No other commandment is greater than these.”

Great words and direction – not just revealed by Jesus during His earthly ministry, but revealed by the Word in the Old Testament as well:  “Listen, O Israel!  The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.  And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength.  And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.”  (Deuteronomy 6:4-6)

Did you notice the addition made by Jesus as He spoke in the New Testament?   The Good News concerns "One God" who wants us to love Him with all that we are and to love others as well. To do this is more important than anything else we could offer God.  And what does God offer in turn for our obedience through faith in Jesus?  To be adopted as one of His children.

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.  So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves.  Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as His own children.  Now we call him, “Daddy, Father.”  For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.  And since we are His children, we are heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.”    Romans 8:14-17a

What do(es) the god(s) you worship offer?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Good News  Mark begins his account with the following words, “This is the Good News about Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God. (1:1a) and few verses later, “Jesus went into Galilee, where He preached God’s Good News.  The time promised by God has come at last!, He announced.  The Kingdom of Heaven is near!  Repent of your sins and believe the Good News”!  (14b-15)

The word Gospel means "good news," and like we would with any other good news that has affected us, we need to be telling others.  Consider how much  good news is described in the verses just mentioned:

Jesus – His Name means, “God is Salvation.”   As Ron Hutchcraft puts it, “When we speak His name we speak His mission – “God Rescues.”  The cradle of Bethlehem is where heaven’s rescue mission began.   The cross of Calvary is where the rescue mission was accomplished.”

Messiah – “God’s Anointed One” meaning the One chosen by God to reign and rule justly on this earth and bring peace and paradise.  The Greek word translated Christ has the same meaning as the Hebrew Messiah.

Son of God – As mentioned in the previous posting – as a result of His unique birth Jesus came into this broken world of ours, but having been conceived by God through the young virgin girl Mary, He became the only God-Man – both fully God and fully a human man.  As such He was born sinless and is the only One uniquely qualified to mediate (represent) both God and mankind.

Kingdom of Heaven – there is something beyond this present life and creation over which Jesus the Messiah / Christ will reign as King.

Repent of your sins – the word “repent” means a change of direction.  We are to invite Jesus to become the most important part of our life – Our Savior.  Our Rescuer.  Our King.  Our Lord.   And making that decision involves receiving complete forgiveness of our sins and by His help, completely changing the direction of our life.  Now Jesus through His Word provides the direction.

Have you responded to this Good News?