Why did Jesus keep his ministry a secret? (Mark 1:29-34)

The Gospel of Mark
Mark 1:29-34

There was a peculiarity about Jesus’ ministry that may surprise you in today’s content-driven, media-crazed culture. Throughout most of his earthly ministry, Jesus kept his identity under wraps. If social media had existed in Jesus’ day, he would not have used it. He would have been the person at the party saying, “No photos online, please!” Continue reading

A Commitment Whose Benefits Far Outweigh its Cost (Mark 1:16-20)

fishers of people

Photo by Ari Koess on Pexels.com

Mark 1:16-20

Commitment is waning in our society. Sociologist Peter Berger once said, “The modern mind is distinguished by this: to the modern person, our needs and our own fulfillment is more real to us than any other obligation.” Berger is saying that if it comes to choosing between fulfilling our own desires or fulfilling our commitment to another – say a child, parent, boss, our membership in a group, etc. – we have a greater tendency to choose fulfilling our own desires than we did several decades ago. Many sociologists say this trend has only gotten worse since Berger said this. Continue reading

The Mission of God’s Kingdom (Mark 1:14-15)

1582568834772_verse_image
Mark 1:14-15

The Gospel of Mark, and Jesus’ mission on earth for that matter, can be summarized in one verse: “‘The time has come,’ Jesus said. ‘The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’” (Mark 1:15) Continue reading

The Offering the Satisfies Debt (Leviticus 5:14-6:7)

The Lord Jesus in LeviticusLeviticus 5:14-6:7

I remember forgetting to return a library book when I was fourteen. I checked it out. I knew I needed to return it. Nevertheless, there it laid for weeks or months beyond its due date. I was tempted to not return it. However, the better part of me compelled myself to walk through the Library doors and face the music. The librarian took the book and in an unharmonious voice told me what I already knew, “This book is late.” The fine was twenty or so dollars, a small fortune for a fourteen-year-old, especially in the nineties. Continue reading

The Sacrifice that Cleanses (Leviticus 4:1-5:13)

1579538160565_verse_image

Leviticus 4:1-5:13

God understands sin more broadly than we. We might think of sin as breaking one of the Big Ten. However, for God, sin is insidious. It engenders every action, thought, and attitude that is contrary to God’s flourishing design for this world. Sometimes we sin without even knowing it. Continue reading

The Mission of Jesus Begins (Mark 1:9-13)

1579532829529_verse_image

Submitted by Craig Devenport. 

Mark 1:9-13

The first chapter of Mark has it all. Angels, God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and even Satan are all in the same place at the same time, during the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist and Jesus’ temptation by Satan. Continue reading

The Lion of Judah (Proverbs 28:1)

1577124640558_verse_image

Submitted by Andy McIlvain. 

Proverbs 28:1

“Aslan stood in the center of a crowd of creatures who had grouped themselves round him in the shape of a half-moon… But as for Aslan himself, the Beavers and the children didn’t know what to do or say when they saw him. People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time. Mr. Beaver tells Susan that Aslan (the ruler of Narnia) is a great lion. She then tells Mr. Beaver, ‘I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.’ She asks Mr. Beaver if Aslan is safe, to which Mr. Beaver replies, ‘Safe? Who said anything about safe? Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King.’” This is a scene in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Continue reading

What did Jesus do? (Romans 1:1-6)

1574108695459_verse_image.jpg
Romans 1:1-6

“If we seek strength, it lies in his dominion; if purity, in his conception; if gentleness, it appears in his birth. For by his birth he was made like us in all respects [Heb 2:17] that he might learn to feel our pain [cf. Heb 5:2]. If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion; if acquittal, in his condemnation; if remission of the curse, in his cross [Gal 3:13]; if satisfaction, in his sacrifice; if purification, in his blood; if reconciliation, in his descent to hell; if mortification of the flesh, in his tomb; if newness of life, in his resurrection; if immortality, in the same; if inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom, in his entrance into heaven; if protection, if security, if abundant supply of all blessings, in his Kingdom; if untroubled expectation of judgement, in the power given to him to judge.” These are the words of the sixteenth century reformer John Calvin. Continue reading

The Lord Lovingly Descends to Our Doubt (John 20:25-29)

The Lord Lovingly Descends to Our Doubt.png

John 20:24-29

In C.S. Lewis’ The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe, Peter and Susan are troubled by their youngest sister Lucie’s claim she had entered a magical world through a wardrobe in a large, old house. Lucie claims their brother Edward visited this world too, but Edward denies it. Peter and Susan decide to visit the professor, who owns the house, for advice.

To their surprise, the professor says, “How do you know…your sister’s story is not true?” Continue reading

Open Your Eyes – The Harvest is Ripe (John 4:27-38)

Harvest is Ripe

John 4:27-38

The poster child of evangelism in John’s Gospel is not a Jew nor a man (in that male chauvinist society). Instead, it is a Samaritan woman, and one with a questionable past. With more zeal than any of the disciples – at least in John’s Gospel – she hastily goes out and tells her townspeople of the man she just met. Continue reading