Learn from children

Rising Joy, Vicki Matheny

Now people were bringing little children to him for him to touch, but the disciples scolded those who brought them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” After he took the children in his arms, he placed his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10.13-16

Jesus was a busy man. He had many lectures to give and many miracles to do. Why did these people think that he had time to spend with their children? Or, so the disciples thought, to the point that they were scolding these parents.

Jesus had a different reaction than they expected. He told them to let the children come to him. They were not to even think about stopping them. The kingdom of God belongs to such people as children. God’s kingdom is made up of people who have certain qualities that we often associate with well-behaved children. Children are loving, quick to forgive, and obedient. These are characteristics that the disciple of Jesus needs to have. They are full of trust for the one that loves them and will follow them anywhere. Is that not the way we should be toward Jesus as our Shepherd?

It is so important that we teach our children to be obedient to us as parents. It sets the stage for their obedience to God as they grow older. In turn, let us learn from our children how to be humble and full of trust for the one who is able to save our souls.


How to enter the Kingdom of God? Richard Mansel shows the way in The Most Important Question.

#risingjoy #Mark #children

What do I lack?

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

As Jesus looked at him, he felt love for him and said, “You lack one thing. Go, sell whatever you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But at this statement, the man looked sad and went away sorrowful, for he was very rich. Mark 10.21-21

When we read about the rich young man do we also react as the apostles? They were astonished at the response Jesus had given to the young man. This young man had run to Jesus and fell to his knees. Certainly the attitude shown here was admirable. He had shown Jesus the respect that many denied him. He had wholeheartedly kept the ten commandments doing what he should. But something was lacking or perhaps a better word is, present. Jesus loved him. That is a profound statement. Jesus goes directly to the problem. You cannot depend on all the good things that you have done during your lifetime and expect that to be the answer for inheriting eternal life. He was still lacking. His wealth had become a stumbling block to his salvation. The young man went away sorrowful because he could not turn loose of his wealth. It was more important to him than Jesus. What is it that I lack to inherit eternal life? I need to ask myself this question. Because Jesus will not accept second place in our lives. He will not come after family, wealth, or any other thing that we want to put first. We must put him first and obey him wholeheartedly. When we do that, we love him as he loves the Father. We can go on our way rejoicing!

#risingjoy #Mark #priorities

Your disciples don’t fast, Mark 2.18

“Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. So they came to Jesus and said, ‘Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples don’t fast?'”

Mark 2.18

Jesus was out of step with the prevailing religion. His followers marched to the orders of a different commander. Their practice called attention to itself.

Jesus had an answer for why his people did what they did. There was always a reason. Can I explain why my faith is conspicuously different from the religions and churches around me?

#votd #Mark #different

He will immerse you in the Holy Spirit: Mark 1.8

“I immerse you in water, but he will immerse you in the Holy Spirit.”

Mark 1.8

John the Immerser fulfilled a great role in God’s plan. But Jesus proved himself a far greater figure in many ways, including the immersion he would bring in the Holy Spirit.

Have I received the immersion of Christ, that the Spirit of God might dwell within me? Or did I receive a rite that does not conform to the Lord’s commandment?

#votd #Mark #immersion

Except in his hometown: Mark 6.4

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, and among his relatives, and in his own house.'”

Mark 6.4

Jesus was rejected by his own people, in the town where he grew up. Their familiarity with him caused them to miss his special nature, to be blind to his divinity. Jesus saw it as a typical human tendency.

We have a saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” How might that be true of me about the things of God?

#votd #Mark #familiarity

They were afraid, Mark 5.15

“They came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man sitting there, clothed and in his right mind – the one who had the ‘Legion’ – and they were afraid.”

Mark 5.15

Jesus did a good deed by restoring a demon-possessed man to wholeness. The people of the region came to see. Jesus’ miracle caused them to be afraid. They had become accustomed to the evil of demon possession.

Does the Good News of great joy frighten us? Are we so accustomed to a warped and twisted existence that the wholeness of purification and forgiveness causes us discomfort?

#votd #Mark #fear

They feared him: Mark 11.18

“The chief priests and the experts in the law heard it and they considered how they could assassinate him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed by his teaching.”

Mark 11.18

Fear of the Lord’s words and actions caused the Jewish authorities to miss the great opportunity before them, to welcome Jesus as the promised Messiah. They wanted power and saw it slipping from their grasp.

Fear is one of the greatest motivators. Fear of the wrong thing can lead to some of our greatest mistakes. What fears have you identified in your life?

#votd #Mark #fear

I will ask you one question: Mark 11.29

“Jesus said to them, ‘I will ask you one question. Answer me and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.'”

Mark 11.29

Jesus was wise. He did not fall into enemy traps. He did not naively answer gotcha questions. Instead, he uncovered people’s duplicity and hidden motives.

Wisdom is knowing that all may not be as it seems. The challenges of man may hide the devil’s wiles.

#votd #Mark #wisdom

What comes out defiles: Mark 7.15

“There is nothing outside of a person that can defile him by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles him.”

Mark 7.15

Not food, but thoughts, words, and acts that come from the heart are what soil a man’s soul and make him unfit for God’s presence.

What are sources of defilement that the mind can be influenced by? What thoughts and attitudes displease the Lord? How can I be purified today?

#votd #Mark #defilement

While they were eating: Mark 14.18

“While they were at the table eating, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, one of you eating with me will betray me.'”

Mark 14.18

Jesus knew. His death was not an accident, but the culmination of God’s redemptive plan. For this Jesus came to earth. His death was by loving design.

We rejoice in salvation from Jesus’ death. We also take up our cross to die to ourselves. Then we can proclaim his death to others. This is our message.

#votd #Mark #cross

More powerful than me: Mark 1.7

“He proclaimed, ‘One more powerful than I am is coming after me; I am not worthy to bend down and untie the strap of his sandals.'”

Mark 1.7

John the immerser knew his place. He came as a forerunner, always calling attention to the Messiah. He gloriously fulfilled his work.

Humility allows us to accept our place in God’s plan. It recognizes the gifts and opportunities he gives us. How do we point to Christ?

#votd #Mark #John-the-Baptist

Jesus went with him: Mark 5.24

“Jesus went with him, and a large crowd followed and pressed around him.”

Mark 5.24

The willingness of Jesus to help others is shown in his going with Jairus, the synagogue ruler, to heal his daughter. The Lord is not unmoved by human needs.

Jesus has come to mankind, in the flesh. He also moves in our direction, to satisfy our need, to forgive our sin. Am I moving in his direction?

#votd #Mark #Jesus-Christ

You have received it: Mark 11.24

“For this reason I tell you, whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Mark 11.24

Often, when the Lord made a promise to Israel, he put it in the past tense (see Deuteronomy 3.2, for example), to indicate how sure was his word. Jesus does the same about prayer requests.

The Lord is able to bless, and he desires to bless. He bristled when the possessed boy’s father said, “If you can” Mark 9.22-23. The issue is not his ability or desire, but our willingness to believe.

#votd #Mark #prayer #faith

Cousin or Nephew?

An interesting situation happened this past Sunday morning during our adult class as we were studying the Bible person of John Mark. The situation arose when I asked how Barnabas and Mark were related to each other, and the answer wasn’t as clear-cut as I originally thought it would be. I was under the impression, per my memorization of scripture, that Mark was Barnabas’ nephew, but most translations say Barnabas and Mark were cousins.

For example:

“Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)” (KJV)

Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him).” (NET)

I’ve checked out the actual Greek word which seems to indicate that the relationship was that of cousins, but, as some commentators point out, it’s possible that the same word could be used for both nephews and cousins…sorta along the lines of father being used for grandfathers and great, great, etc. grandfathers.

So the question is, have you ever you studied out this situation before? What do you think? After all, I figured a few heads are much better than one in this case.

#barnabas, #bible-characters, #bible-questions, #mark

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Outline of the Book of Mark

There’s an outline of the Book of Mark at: http://doverchurchofchrist.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Book-of-Mark1.pdf

#mark, #new-testament-outlines