Getting to Know Jesus: Mark 11

IMG_20140728_104148208

As the shortest of the four gospels found in the New Testament, Mark is a simple yet action-packed gospel. Mark writes with a sense of urgency. A sense of imminence. A sense of time running out. This sense of urgency might have been linked to his friendship with the apostle Paul, who is recognized for urging the churches to follow God now and be ready for the return of Christ now. Paul was constantly in a state of urgency during his ministry, saying that the return of Christ was near as he wrote in Romans 13:11-12 and 1 Thessalonians 5:1-28, among other places. Since Mark and Paul became close friends, it makes sense that they both had this contagious sense of urgency for the cause of Christ, which is displayed in their writings. Thus, Mark’s gospel portrays Jesus as constantly on the move, going from place to place working miracle after miracle. Because of this rapid flow and progression of events, Mark focuses on Jesus’ works and deeds in his gospel more than His parables and teachings. Mark initially wrote his gospel for a Roman audience, or gentiles, who had little to no familiarity with Jewish tradition. Mark wanted those unfamiliar with Judaism to know the story of Jesus in terms that were more understandable to them. Mark takes time to explain some of the Jewish customs, while leaving out certain Jewish prophecies that are included, for example, in the gospel of Matthew. Yet Mark illuminates the humanity of Christ in his gospel more so than the others. In the gospel of Mark we get to know Jesus in the midst of his sufferings, while recognizing his divine destiny to die for the sins of man. As we read about Jesus in Mark’s gospel, we see Jesus in action loving others, healing others, and teaching others about God, the coming age and the return of the Son of Man.

Summary of Mark 11

Jesus and his disciples are near to Jerusalem, at Bethpage and Bethany; when they are at the Mount of Olives, Jesus tells His disciples to find a colt for Him to ride on into Jerusalem; a few people ask the disciples what they are doing, but when they say that “The Lord needs it,” they let them go; the disciples spread their cloaks on the colt for Jesus to sit on; the people spread their cloaks and palm branches out on the road, exclaiming, “Hosanna!” (which means: “Save now”) as Jesus rides in; Jesus goes out to Bethany with the 12 disciples; the next day, Jesus walks up to a fig tree, notices it is has healthy leaves but no figs, and so he curses it that no one may ever eat from it again; Jesus enters the temple complex and drives out all the sellers and money-changers because they defile Gods’ temple; the chief priests and scribes see what is going on and plot to kill him; at evening, Jesus and his disciples leave the city; the next morning, they pass the fig tree and see that it is withered to its roots; the disciples are astonished that it is withered already; Jesus begins to tell them that if they have faith, they can do anything, and that if they ask anything in prayer to believe they have received it; Jesus tells them to forgive others before they ask God for forgiveness; then they go back to Jerusalem; the chief priests and scribes challenge Jesus’ authority for teaching; Jesus asks them, “by what authority did John the Baptists teach, from earth or heaven?” and they chief priests and scribes say, “I don’t know”; Jesus says that he also will not tell them by what authority he does things.

Jesus in Mark 11

Jesus sends his disciples to do a task (v. 1)

Jesus instructs them on their task (v. 2)

Jesus reassures them they will succeed (v. 3)

Jesus’ words are trustworthy (v. 6)

Jesus’ words have power (v. 6)

Jesus didn’t need a fancy horse, just a colt (v. 7)

Jesus was welcomed as King by the people who “spread out their cloaks” on the ground for him (v. 7)

Jesus receives respect and honor from His people (v. 8)

Jesus was acknowledged as a King as the people shouted to Him “Hosanna” or “save now” (v. 9)

Jesus is blessed (v. 9)

Jesus comes in the name of the Lord God (v. 9)

Jesus comes to restore the kingdom of David (v. 10)

Jesus is worshipped by the people (v. 9-10)

Jesus enters the holy temple of Jerusalem (v. 11)

Jesus withdraws to Bethany with His disciples (v. 11)

Jesus prioritizes spending alone time with His followers (v. 11)

Jesus gets hungry, reinforcing His humanity (v. 12)

Jesus curses a barren fig tree (v. 13-14)

Jesus drives out sellers and money-changers (v. 15)

Jesus is angered at the misuse of the temple (v. 15-16)

Jesus teaches that God’s temple is to be a place of prayer not a den of thieves (v. 17)

Jesus is hated by the chief priests and scribes (v. 18)

Jesus is feared by the chief priests and scribes (v. 18)

Jesus’ teachings astonish the crowds (v. 18)

Jesus words of either cursing or blessing always transpire (v. 21)

Jesus encourages His disciples to have faith (v. 22)

Jesus inspires His disciples to believe that what they say will come to pass (v. 23)

Jesus reassures His disciples that any request from God is received if one believes (v. 24)

Jesus teaches His disciples to forgive others if they want God to forgive them (v. 25)

Jesus’ polarizing nature causes enemies to challenge Him (v. 28)

Jesus faces challengers when necessary (v. 28)

Jesus is never intimidated (v. 29)

Jesus is in control of the situation (v. 29)

Jesus always outsmarts the enemy (v. 29-33)

Jesus is silent to the hard-hearted (v. 33)

 

“And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” – Mark 11:9-10

 

Questions for Today:

  • What attributes of Jesus stood out to me in Mark 11?
  • Why do you think Jesus was angered by the sellers and money changers in the temple?
  • Am I misusing the temple of God (my heart) in my own life by the things that I do?
  • What is it that God needs to drive out in my life?
  • What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my relationship with Him?

 

 

 

Getting to Know Jesus: Acts 9:1-22

IMG_20140702_193433875

The book of Acts describes the acts of the apostles following Jesus’ ascension into Heaven. It records the history of the church’s first years, as penned by Luke, and the outworking of Christianity in the first century. Acts includes vivid and engaging stories that illustrate the first-century apostles sharing the good news of Jesus, embracing the Holy Spirit, experiencing the rapid growth of the church and new believers, and planning their missionary travels. In particular, the apostle Paul is mentioned many times in Acts recounting his missionary journeys. But this passage in Acts chapter 9 describes the other side of Paul…the former Paul…Saul: the one who knew almost the whole Old Testament by memory but persecuted Christians for their faith in Jesus as the Messiah. But on the road to Damascus… Saul met Jesus. And he went from a devout Jewish scholar to a gospel-believing evangelist all within a matter of 3 days. Saul went from death to life. His experience with Jesus changed everything and his name was later changed to Paul. Paul’s story is powerful, heartfelt and personal because it is a reflection of what happens in in every person’s life when he or she has an encounter with Jesus. Though many don’t hear an audible voice or see a bright light the way that Paul did, every believer can affirm the radical change that occurs within one’s own soul… causing a person to abandon his or her old ways and triumph as a new creation. This passage reinforces God’s heart for the lost and His gracious compassion to use any-and-everyone to achieve His glory on the earth. Jesus is made famous through the life of Paul, as well as every believer who puts his or her faith in His everlasting Lordship. In this passage, we see Jesus meeting Paul when he least expected it…but not with judgment or punishment…but with an overwhelming posture of grace. As we get to know Jesus in Acts chapter 9, may we recognize the merciful heart of our Savior and grow in His likeness.

 

Summary of Acts 9:1-22

Saul is breathing threats against the disciples of Jesus; Saul goes to the high priest to ask him for letters to the synagogue at Damascus so that he could find more Christ followers, arrest them and bring them back to Jerusalem; Saul sees a light from heaven while on the road to Damascus; Saul falls to the ground and a voice from heaven asks Saul why he is persecuting Him; Saul asks, “Who are you, Lord?” and the voice tells him that He is Jesus; Jesus tells Saul to go into the city and that he will be told what to do next; the men traveling with Paul are speechless as they hear the voice but can’t see anything; Saul becomes blind and remains that way for 3 days; a disciple named Ananias has a vision from the Lord – the Lord tells him to go to the street called Straight and look for a man named Saul, who has seen Ananias heal him in a vision; Ananias is hesitant about helping Saul, as he knows that he persecutes Christians; the Lord reassures Ananias that Saul has been chosen by God to carry the gospel message to Jews and Gentiles; Ananias goes and finds Saul and tells him that the Lord has sent him to heal his sight and fill him with the Holy Spirit; scales fall from Saul’s eyes; Saul gets baptized; Saul takes food and is strengthened; Saul spends time with the disciples in Damascus and proclaims in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God; those who heard him are confused because they remembered him as the one who persecuted Christians; Saul continues to exclaim that Jesus was the Christ.

You can also read Acts 9:1-22 here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=acts+9%3A1-22&version=ESV

 

Jesus in Acts 9:1-22

Jesus radiates a bright light (v. 3)

Jesus is the light from Heaven (v. 3)

Jesus’ presence causes Saul to fall to the ground (v. 4)

Jesus confronts Saul about persecuting Him (v. 4)

Jesus is unafraid to call out and confront evil (v. 4)

Jesus confronts Saul so that he can change him (v. 4)

Jesus reveals Himself so that Saul will finally see that Jesus is who He said He was (v. 4-5)

Jesus is persecuted when we are persecuted (v. 5)

Jesus offers a second chance (v. 6)

Jesus is not threatened by those who persecute Him (v. 6)

Jesus tells us our next step (v. 6)

Jesus’ voice leaves the travelers speechless (v. 7)

Jesus’ light is blindingly bright (v. 8-9)

Jesus speaks through a vision (v. 10)

Jesus calls Ananias to partner with Him (v. 11)

Jesus gives others the power to heal (v. 12)

Jesus is forgiving (v. 15)

Jesus can use anybody for His glory (v. 15)

Jesus chooses us (v. 15)

Jesus sends us out to help others (v. 17)

Jesus’ Holy Spirit brings healing (v. 17-18)

Jesus’ Holy Spirit brings strength (v. 19)

Jesus is the Son of God (v. 20)

Jesus radically changes people (v. 21-22)

Jesus is the Christ (v. 22)

 

“But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.” – Acts 9:22 –

 

Questions for Today:

  • Why did Jesus meet Paul on the road to Damascus?
  • What does Jesus need to confront in my life right now?
  • How does knowing these attributes of Jesus help me to be more like Him?
  • What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my walk with Him?