Forgiveness, Fulfillment, and Freedom

December 1, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Posted in Mark | 4 Comments
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In demonstrating His role as the greatest servant, Jesus, during His earthly ministry, brought the gifts of healing and miracles, but He also brought the gift of forgiveness.

Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

Mark 2:9-12

Jesus healed the man, but first He forgave all his sins. Forgiving sins is the divine Servant’s greatest act of ministry. The forgiveness of sins meets the greatest need, costs the greatest price, and brings the greatest blessing. It also results in the greatest assurance. The religious leaders came to see what Jesus could do, but they came with a critical spirit, and they did not seek the forgiveness of their sins.

In addition to forgiveness, the Servant also brought fulfillment.

And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Mark 2:16-17

Sick people are patients who need the fulfillment of healing. Lonely people are guests who have not been invited to the party. Single people are people who haven’t committed to someone else. Broken people are not people who need to be patched up; they need to be made new.

The divine Servant brought forgiveness, fulfillment, and freedom.

And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.

Mark 3:12

There was a prohibition against “work” on the Jewish Sabbath, but only about six or seven specific instructions in the Old Testament Scriptures concerning what it meant not to work, so Jewish tradition had come up with 39 acts that were strictly forbidden. This was a form of bondage not intended by the Law.

And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.

Jesus withdrew from the crowds in order to teach His Disciples.

And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.

Mark 3:13

He called together the leaders of a new “nation:” 12 Apostles representing the 12 tribes of Israel. The people who had known Jesus from His childhood – from the days before He began His outspoken public ministry – began to worry about Him, possibly questioning His sanity. As a Christian, once your unconverted family members start to think you are crazy for living in accordance with your faith in Christ, it may be a sign that you are on the right track doing God’s will.

There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.

Mark 3:31

Immediate Service

October 11, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Posted in Mark | 12 Comments
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When we compare the different viewpoints of the four “Gospels” we see that Matthew shows Jesus as King, and that the Holy Spirit had him write with a Jewish audience primarily in mind. Luke highlights the humanity of Jesus, and is addressed mainly to a Greek audience. John has a broader, more universal audience in mind, and emphasizes Jesus as the Son of God. The Book of Mark (second book of the New Testament) places an emphasis on Jesus’s role as a servant, and seems to be addressed primarily to gentiles in general, and Romans in particular. When we read Mark, Jesus seems to be almost always in motion – on the move. Unlike Matthew and Luke, Mark does not contain the Lord’s earthly genealogy. Nor does it rehearse the Sermon on the Mount.

Mark, the human instrument which the Holy Spirit used to write the Book of Mark, is the “John Mark” who went went with Paul on his first missionary journey. However, he subsequently abandoned the mission, incurring Paul’s disfavor. He then went with Barnabus, and was reconciled to Paul later.

Words like “straightway” are used with great frequency throughout the Book of Mark. “Straightway” means “immediately” – almost “suddenly” – but there is a spiritual connotation to it, too. Jesus was always on the “straight” way even when it looked to men like He was meandering. Servants “do” more than they “talk.” Their genealogies are irrelevant. They are busy serving someone else.

And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

Mark 1:12-13

Jesus was both led and “driven” by the Spirit into the wilderness. He was an obedient Servant, though He went willingly. Jesus did not delay His trip into the wilderness, although this wilderness would have been especially daunting, given the terrain, the lack of light at night, the wild beasts, the threat of lawless and desperate men hiding out. The terrors of the Judean wilderness were certainly formidable, but, on top of that, the Devil was coming to get Him! This is one of many instances in the earthly life of Jesus where He fulfilled all righteousness by performing ever-increasing acts of obedience, though He had no unrighteousness within Himself from which to turn.


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