Day #112: Daily Bible Reading Plan - April 19th
Scripture Reading: Mark 11 - 12 …
As Jesus entered Jerusalem to go to the cross He continued to teach His disciples. The Pharisees were unwitting illustrations of the spiritual blindness that affects all of mankind. Thinking they knew the truth about God, they refused to listen to Jesus and would not even entertain the possibility that He WAS Who He said He was. Instead, they tried to trick Him, to trap Him, so they would have an excuse to put Him to death.
For those of us who believe, it is so easy to see the truth because the Holy Spirit has opened our eyes. As Jesus approaches Jerusalem He tells His disciples to go into the village and to find the colt of a donkey. Why the colt of a donkey? Because the prophet Zechariah had written, "Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey" (Zechariah 9:9). Details! Our God is a God of details … details that confirm Who Jesus is and what He came to do.
As He entered Jerusalem Jesus went to the temple … the symbol of God's presence with His people. The purpose of the temple was to point to God, not to provide a place to do the business of the world or to go through a bunch of religious rituals without understanding their meaning. And what was the response of the chief priest and the teachers of the law: they began looking for a way to kill him! THEY were the fig tree that wasn't bearing fruit, and they were the tenants of God's vineyard who killed the Son of God when He came.
The Pharisees were continually challenging Jesus' authority. "Who gave you authority to do this?" (11:28). Authority is a big issue in the church today. Who has authority to speak for God? The Pope, the leader of the Catholic church claims to have such authority. Others may claim the same thing, but the truth is only JESUS and the Holy Spirit have the authority to speak for God. The Father, Son and Spirit are ONE. Therefore, everything Jesus said bore the authority of God and everything the Bible says, having been inspired by the Spirit, bears the authority of God.
Peter writes concerning Scripture that "no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (II Peter 1:20-21). We who preach can speak with authority only if we proclaim the words of God that have been written down for us. The Apostle Paul commended the Bereans because when he spoke they checked the Scriptures to see if these things were true (Acts 17:11). More people need to do that today! The reason false teachers can and do worm their way into the church is because people have not studied God's Word and are not willing to seek the Scriptures to see if these things are true. They are easily led astray.
Jesus would say to His disciples after His resurrection: "All authority has been given to Me, in heaven and on earth!" (Matthew 28:18). Jesus quoted Psalm 118:22-23 when He said, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes" (12:10-11). The question of authority has been asked and answered! There is no one like Jesus. When asked about marriage Jesus answered, "When the dead rise they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven" (12:25).
I think of the words of Paul in I Corinthians 7:32-35. He explains that an unmarried man or woman may devote themselves to pleasing the Lord, while a married man or woman has divided interests. He says that his desire is that they would live in a right way, "in undivided devotion to the Lord" (vs. 35). That's what Jesus is saying in Mark 12. We will be like the angels, living in total devotion to the Lord, focused on Him with perfect love, in adoration and worship as we serve Him forever. Can you fathom that? Can you grasp loving God as you are loved by God?
One of the teachers of the law asked Jesus which was the most important commandment and Jesus repeated the words of Moses from Deuteronomy 6:4-5: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" (12:29-30). In heaven we will DO that!!! Oh, can you hardly wait?!!
And then, one more question … this time from Jesus: "How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the Son of David? David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: 'The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.' David himself calls him 'Lord.' How then can he be his son?" (12:35-37). The large crowd listened to Him with delight, we are told … but they were blissfully ignorant of what He was saying. How could a "son of David" be David's LORD? The Holy Spirit was using David to point to Jesus, one born from David's line who was at the same time David's "son" and David's Lord!! Jesus was claiming to be the ONE David was talking about!
Do YOU know Who He is? "The stone the builders rejected IS Lord!" This is how you know if you are one of Jesus' sheep? Peter writes, "For in Scripture it says: 'See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.' Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, 'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,' and 'A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall'" (I Peter 2:6-7). And he goes on, "They stumble because they disobey the message - which is also what they were destined for."
What are YOU destined for? "The stone the builders rejected IS Lord!" To those who believe, these words of Peter bring peace and joy: "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light" (I Peter 2:9). If you believe that Jesus is Lord, if you confess Him as YOUR Lord and desire to follow Him today, then you have been born again by the Spirit and YOU are one of His! Live now declaring the praises of the One who called you out of the darkness and who brought you into His marvelous light!
"Heavenly Father, I am amazed, thankful, overwhelmed and humbled by Your grace to me in Christ Jesus. As I see others question Jesus' authority, I yield to His Lordship and confess that He alone is Lord and His Word, YOUR Word, is true. Teach me to know the truth and to love the truth, knowing that it leads me always to Jesus, the Christ, my Savior and my Lord, and through Him, to YOU, my Creator and my God! In Jesus' name, Amen"