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Showing posts from November, 2020

True Tabernacle

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Jesus is the True and Greater Tabernacle in whom the presence and glory of God reside  –  John 1:14 .  The gospel of  John  presents Jesus as the place where God dwells, where His glory is manifested for all to see. He is the  Greater Tabernacle  where true worship of the Father takes place “ in the spirit .” Access to the glory of God is no longer confined by the physical walls of a temple building or the geographic boundaries of Ancient Israel - [ Tent - Photo by  Pars Sahin  on Unsplash ].

Interpreting the Father

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John’s Gospel contrasts Jesus with the Mosaic legislation. Ture light, life and truth are found in Jesus who now interprets the Father  –  John 1:18 .  The prologue to John’s gospel introduces its key themes - life, light, witness, truth, and grace. Jesus is the light of the world, the source of grace and truth, the true Tabernacle, and the only one who has seen the Unseen God who now “ tabernacles ” in the “ word made flesh .” The prologue ends by declaring that Jesus alone is qualified to interpret the Father - [ Photo by  Amy Tran  on Unsplash ].

Full of Grace and Truth

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The fullness and grace of God are found only in the “Word made Flesh,” Jesus of Nazareth  –  John 1:14-18 .  John’s prologue to his gospel introduces its key themes -  Life ,  Light ,  Witness ,  Truth , and  Grace .  Jesus is the  Light of the world , the source of  Grace and Truth , the  True Tabernacle , the  only-born Son of God , and the only one who has  seen the Father .  The prologue concludes by declaring that he is the only one who is qualified to  interpret  the unseen God - [ Photo by  Timothy Eberly  on Unsplash ]. The prologue concludes with a significant contrast -  Jesus interprets the Father,  NOT Moses . The purpose is to present Jesus, the “ word made flesh ,” as the one who reveals God and makes Him known (“ He is in the bosom of the Father, he declared him ”). ( John 1:14-18 ) – “ And the Word became flesh and pitched his tent among us, and we gazed upon his glory, glory as an only-born from his Father,  full of grace and truth … Because from his fullness we all re

Meaning of Discipleship

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To be his disciple means to pursue self-sacrificial service for others, and especially so to the weak and insignificant .  On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus explained to the disciples what it meant to be the Messiah, and not for the first time, for in the city of David, he would face his final confrontation with the Temple authorities and death at the hands of the Romans. Was not that city the appointed place where the prophets were killed, and the Messiah himself must suffer rejection and death? - [ Photo by Aleksandr Kozlovskii on Unsplash ].

Stumped by Unbelief

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Unbelief hindered the ability of Jesus to heal some afflicted persons, not the lack of fasting or other ritualistic practices  -  Mark 9:14-29 .  When Peter, James, and John saw the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mount, the rest of the disciples were ministering nearby. But whenever they ministered when Jesus was absent, they quickly found themselves in trouble. And this time, as soon as the crowd saw him returning from the mountain, they flocked to him for healing and deliverance - [ Photo by Zach Lezniewicz on Unsplash ].

Transfiguration

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The Transfiguration was the confirmation of his status as the Messiah, and of the necessity for Jesus to suffer before receiving glory  -  Mark 9:2-13 .  In  Mark , the event known as the “Transfiguration” begins with the clause, “ after six days .” This is not just a temporal reference, but also a link to the preceding story in which Peter acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah. In response, he explained the true meaning of discipleship. To follow him, a man must “ deny himself and take up his cross ” just as the “ Son of Man ” did - [ Photo by Captureson Photography Unsplash ].

Blind Man Saved

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A blind man’s eyes were opened, and he was “saved” as Jesus continued “on the way" to Jerusalem  -  Mark 8:22-26 .  The preceding three stories highlighted the  spiritual blindness  caused by unbelief, especially the inability to perceive what God was doing in Jesus, as well as recognize who he was. Next, he restored sight to another Israelite so he could begin to see clearly. And his blindness was removed by the savior’s touch, the “ Son of David ” and the Messiah of Israel - [ Bright Light - Photo by  Thomas Kinto  on  Unsplash ].

Spiritual Dullness

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Mark highlights the unbelief behind the inability of both his opponents and the disciples to perceive exactly who Jesus was  -  Mark 8:1-21 .  Despite all they had seen, the disciples remained dull of hearing and ran the risk of submitting to the same unbelief that characterized the opponents of Jesus, and especially the unbelief and hostility of the Pharisees. Regardless of his many miracles, they still could not comprehend who he was, the Messiah of Israel and the savior of the world - [ Cornicorpia - Photo by  Brad West  on  Unsplash ].

Jesus and Added Traditions

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Jesus undermined the religious rationale for dietary restrictions. With the Messiah's arrival, old rituals lost their relevance  –  Mark 7:1-23 .  Jerusalem was the center of the religious and political opposition to Jesus, and especially the Temple and priestly authorities. From this point forward in  Mark , he experienced increasing conflict with the religious authorities, the Pharisees, scribes, and the representatives of the high priest. Not long after this next incident, certain opponents began to plot his demise - [ Washing Hands - Photo by Mélissa Jeanty on Unsplash ].

Miraculous Testimony to Israel

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The feeding of 5,000 men was a spectacular witness to Israel, yet most Jews continued to reject Jesus as Israel’s Messiah  -  Mark 6:31-56 .  The  feeding of the five thousand  is the only miracle story recorded in all four gospel accounts, which demonstrates its importance to the early church. In John’s gospel, it occurred near the Passover season. In  Luke , only the twelve disciples participated in the distribution of bread and fish.  Mark  places the story after the account of the execution of John the Baptist - ( Mark 6:31-44 ) - [ Bread - Photo by Wesual Click on Unsplash ].

Christian Response to Persecution

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When Christians react in kind to hostility, whether from government, society, or individuals, Satan triumphs  –  Matthew 5:12 .  The reality of persecution in the Christian life raises numerous questions. For example, how should we react to our persecutors, especially when we are persecuted by governing authorities? Should we respond with indignation, civil disobedience, and public protests? Or should the disciples of Jesus follow his example and that of the early church? - [ Photo by Stephanie LeBlanc on Unsplash ].

Cost of Discipleship

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To be a disciple means taking up the cross daily and following in Christ’s footsteps, even if doing so means death  -  Mark 6:7-30 .  Jesus commissioned the twelve disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God throughout the region. And in  Mark , their commissioning is followed by the execution of John the Baptist to prepare the reader for the rejection that will result from following Jesus. To walk in his footsteps, one must first count the cost to have any hope of seeing that journey through to the end - [ Rough Path - Photo by Jan Huber on Unsplash ].

Rejected In Nazareth

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Despite his miraculous deeds, his own hometown rejected his ministry and took offense at the humble origins of Jesus  –  Mark 6:1-6 .  Jesus experienced growing conflict as he began to journey towards Jerusalem. In Galilee and Gentile territory, he had displayed his lordship over nature, demons, disease, and even death, and was met with enthusiastic crowds. But among his own people in Nazareth, he was met with unbelief, dishonor, and rejection, which became the prelude to John’s execution - [ Ghost Town - Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash ].

Two Woman Restored

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Jesus healed two women, restoring both to a state of ritual purity  –  Mark 5:21-43 . Mark  presents two stories about women in need of healing. The theme that links the two accounts is that of a woman in need of physical healing and restoration to a state of ritual purity. Both were “unclean” due to their physical condition; the first because of a flow of blood, and the second due to her recent death - [ Bluebonnets - Photo by Delaney Van on Unsplash ].

Demonized Man Delivered

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Jesus delivered a demonized Gentile while traveling through hostile territory, demonstrating his vast authority over Satan  –  Mark 5:1-20 .  The declaration that Jesus had come to the “ other side of the sea ” links this next story to the preceding incident when he calmed the storm. His plan to crossover the Sea of Galilee set in motion the series of events that followed. Having calmed the storm, he next encountered the demonized man who had a violent “storm” raging within – ( Mark 5:1-20 ) - [ Old Tombstones - Photo by Maksim ŠiŠlo on Unsplash ].