Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January 14 - Mark 10

Today's reading in our daily plan is Mark 10. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Mark 10 begins with Jesus sharing God's original plan for marriage. He quotes Genesis 2:24 when he states that marriage is a gift between one man and one woman committed to each other for a lifetime. This idea was counter-cultural then, as evident by the disciples' reaction, and still is today. There are all kinds of reasons why it's easier to settle for something less than God's ideal, but we need to trust that God knows best and stay true to his Word. 
  • Back then it was believed that wealthy people were blessed with their riches by God. Some still believe that today. So the disciples were shocked when Jesus said it was hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of God. They asked, "Who then can be saved?" and Jesus explains that it is impossible for man to save himself. Only God can do the impossible and save us. This happens not through our effort, but through God reaching down to us.
  • The disciples argue over who is the greatest of them all.  Jesus reminds them again that the goal is not power and authority, but service to others.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Marriage is a gift from God not to be taken lightly. Just as God is committed to a relationship with us and will never give up on us, we should never give up on the partner that God has given us for life on earth.
  • It may be hard to believe, but, in Jesus' time children were considered trash, literally! If a child was born and you didn't want it, you could take the newborn to the garbage dump and leave it there to die. But Jesus says no to these travesties.  Instead he welcomed children with open arms, which would have been shocking to everyone. (If you want to learn more about God's attitude towards children, watch this message from a Verve series called God For The Rest of Us).
  • The rich man in verses 17-31 shows that he thinks following rules is enough to gain eternal life. But Jesus wanted more. He wanted the rich man's heart. And Jesus could see the young man loved money more than he loved God. This is why Jesus tested him to give it all away and follow Him.  Sadly, the man couldn't do it and simply walked away sad.
  • Jesus gives us a clear promise in verses 29-30 that whatever we give up for him will be given back 100 times over in this life and in the life to come. 
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Are you married and struggling? Pray today that God gives you the strength to love  unconditionally just as Jesus loves you.
  • Are you unmarried and looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right?  Pray for wisdom to find someone who can partner with you in faith and commitment to Jesus and one another.
  • Is there something that is more important to you than God? Is there something you don't feel like you could ever give up? Perhaps, like the man in this story, it's money. The Bible calls loving something above God idolatry, and it keeps us from him. How can you put God above all else this week? What practical steps could you take to make God the most valuable thing in your life?