Today’s reading is Psalm 22 Today’s Psalm one that plays a great deal of importance in Matthew. Jesus cries out, “My God, My God, why have forsaken me?” We read that and we think goodness. The Father abandoned the Son. Man, … Continue reading
The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 1 Corinthians 15:26 April 16, 2017 is Easter. This is the great day in the life of the church. This is the great day in the history of the cosmos. On this … Continue reading
Today’s passage is one of my favorites, from one of my favorite places in all the Holy Land. It’s Matthew 16: 15-18: 15 He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ 16 Simon Peter answered, ‘You are … Continue reading
As Christians, we are told in scripture that we are supposed to live lives of victory. We are told that we are more than conquerors. We are told that we have faith that can move mountains. But in this world … Continue reading
Yesterday we looked at the reason behind the way the way that the Gospel of Mark ends. Today we look at Mark 16:1-8:
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4 When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
The Shorter Ending of Mark
[[And all that had been commanded them they told briefly to those around Peter. And afterward Jesus himself sent out through them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.]]
One of the things that we see when the women encounter the resurrection is fear. They are afraid. We see it illustrated in other Gospels, they think the body has been stolen or something awful has happened.
Jesus had told them that He would be raised, by they really didn’t get it. They really didn’t understand it. They (may) have known intellectually, but they really didn’t get it emotionally. They struggled to understand it.
For the Jewish mind, death was THE result of the fall. It is what happened because of the fall. The entire Levitical purity system was in many ways about removing the curse of death. If you touched anything dead, you were unclean. Think about the parable of the Good Samaritan. The reason the priest and Levite passed by is because the man looked death. The law would not have allowed them to touch him; they would not have been able to do their religious duties.
The high priest must have been born on a house or place that was made of bedrock. Bedrock is pure rock, there is no dirt or soil beneath it, meaning that there was no way there could have been any bones beneath it, meaning that there was no way they could have been born on top of impurity.
(By the way, thinking along those lines, think about where Jesus was born. Most likely in a cave. Pure bedrock.)
This is why they really couldn’t grasp it. You didn’t overcome death. Death was the result of this life. Death is the curse. Death is the result of the fall, death is the result of sin. We all die. All of us. Death wins.
Until this moment. Death has been overcome. Death has been defeated. Death has been destroyed. Sin, death, and the grave are no more. They are vanquished. They are gone. They are no more.
Jesus defeated death. Forever.
We sort of get that and understand it. Sort of. Even we struggle to understand that. Even we are afraid of death like they are. But we know that Jesus has overcome.
The didn’t really get it until they saw Him and understood.
Today, sin, death, and the grave are defeated. They hold no power over you. They are no more. Do not be afraid. Do not worry. Do not fear. They are forever gone and destroyed.
Jesus has defeated them.
Do not fear.
Tomorrow we’ll finish up Mark by looking at Mark 16:9-20.
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We understand our shortcomings, our failures, our defeats.
Sometimes we can feel like we are defeated and we need encouragement and strength, we need hope and forgiveness.
But, sometimes we have done amazing things. I mean, just awesome things. Sometimes, sometimes, sometimes, we have amazing, earth shattering, awesome victories.
I mean sometimes we accomplish something that we just have to stand back and say – wow! Can you believe that happened? Can you believe that we did that? You can you believe that we accomplished this task?
Wow. That’s awesome.
And in those times, at these moments of awesome and amazing victory, we need to remember the words of Psalm 44: 1-3:
O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old: you with your own hand drove out the nations, but them you planted; you afflicted the peoples, but them you set free; for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them.
The people of God had done amazing things. They had conquered a new land. They had been victorious. They had won amazing astounding victories.
They wanted to just stand back and say wow! Look what we’ve done.
And so they wrote Psalm 44. And they were reminded. It wasn’t them. It was God, through them. The victory was because of the Lord. He was the force. He was the strength. He was the power.
It was Him. It was because of Him and through Him.
And so is it for each of us today. Our victories are His. Through Him and for Him and His glory.
Today, let’s thank Him for the victories in our lives. Let’s be thankful. Let’s live boldly. Let’s try big things. Let’s do big things. Let’s live out loud.
Let’s, as a I like to say – charge hell with a water pistol.
And when we put out the fire, let’s give God the glory.
Today, He is the author, the perfector, and the giver of all our victories. Let’s do our part, put let’s know that the battle is His!
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I can’t get the newest Chris Tomlin song from Passion out of my mind. At first, I didn’t care for it. I don’t know, it just didn’t do anything for me. But the more I listened to it, the more I liked it.
And now I can’t get it out of my mind. It’s the chorus – “We raise our white flag, we surrender all to you, all to you” that stays with me. In history, the white flag equals defeat. It is cowardice. It is quitting. It is giving up. It is surrendering. Bravery compels that you keep fighting, even to the last. The brave ones are the ones that fight to the end. Not surrender. Not wave the white flag. Not give up.
But I began to think about the notion of sin in my life. The areas I struggle with. The areas that I can’t gain victory and I fight and I fight and I fight. The areas where I am totally defeated.
And I raise my white flag. I surrender. All to you. All to you.
This song has hit me, the only way to victory is to wave that white flag. Admit our defeat. Admit our weakness and frailty. Wave it. Give up to God. Surrender.
And when I wave that white flag. When I admit my defeat, I find something that I never find on my own. Victory.
In raising our white flag to God, we find victory. The areas of my life where I’m living in defeat are the areas where I have not surrendered and waved the white flag to God. It’s the areas where I think I can do it, where I think I’m sufficient. Where I’m strong enough.
And in those areas, that’s where I’m defeated.
To win, I must admit defeat. I can’t do it. I wave my white flag to God. I surrender. I need Him. In the areas I am weak, the only path to victory is to wave that white flag and find His grace, victory, and strength.
The only path to victory is surrender. Total and complete surrender to Him.
We raise our white flag, we surrender all to you, all to you.
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1 Kings 19 is a great chapter of the Bible. We could spend a to time talking about so many things here.
I mean, in this chapter, you have Elijah, the brave prophet of God, running from Jezebel when she threatens his life. So, even after a great victory, he doesn’t trust God like he should.
Then we have the Lord providing food and drink from him when he is at his lowest and most tire. The Lord took care of him.
And then we have the Lord speaking to him not in the loud and in the powerful, but in the still small whisper. There are so many amazing things here.
But today, I wanted to talk about verses 19-21. Listen to what happens:
So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.
In this passage, Elijah is returning home from all this. He had every right to be defeated. When he was faced with a challenge, he ran. He doubted God. He doubted God’s protect and provision. He didn’t trust God as he should have trusted. He literally had given into fear and doubt.
That’s something that we all know that we shouldn’t do. But, it’s something that we all do, and have done. So, at this point he was defeated. He had messed up. And that was that.
Yet, on the way home from this failure, the Lord directs him to meet a young man by the name of Elisha. And this young man would become his follower and become a great prophet just like Elijah.
From the moment of his failure, a moment of victory. Elijah had this great and embarrassing defeat, as he ran like a scared dog from Jezabel. And God used that. God used that defeat to bring out something good.
God literally brought victory from the jaws of defeat.
That’s what He did for Elijah, and that’s what He will do for us today. Today, God will use and failure, our defeats, our mistakes, for good. He will bring good out of everything. Everything that happens, God will bring good out of.
God doesn’t always stop bad things from happening. But God bring good out of everything.
Today, God will use your defeat. He will use your failures. He will use all of you for something great. Let Him guide and direct your path. He will do it.