Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January 21 - Mark 15

Today's reading in our daily plan is Mark 15. 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?)
  • Although Roman law allowed the Jews to have their own court system, the Sanhedrin, they could not impose the death penalty on anyone. This is why they chose to bring Jesus before the Roman governor.  He was the only person with the power to permanently get rid of Jesus. 
  • We see Jesus proclaim one final time, before Pilate, that he is the Son of God.
  • Jesus then goes through a trial, is beaten by soldiers, and is ultimately killed by public crucifixion. Through it all, he never complains or defends himself against his accusers. P
  • At the moment of Jesus’ death, the curtain in the Temple was torn in half from top to bottom. This curtain was the barrier between the "Holy Place" and the "Most Holy Place." The Most Holy Place contained sacred articles of the Jewish religion and was off limits to everyone except the High Priest, who only went in once a year on the Day of Atonement. Entering this room was equivalent to meeting God face to face. In fact, before the priest entered the Most Holy Place, he would tie a rope around his ankle so that if he did something wrong and was struck dead by God, the body could be dragged out without anyone else having to enter the Most Holy Place. But when Jesus died, God literally rips the curtain open. This symbolized that, through Jesus' death, God had made a way for everyone to come into the presence of God. 

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • We see in this chapter that, even though Jesus is innocent, he does not jump to defend himself. So, to be like Jesus means to not be easily offended or quick to be defensive. 
  • Even Jesus cried out to God in his darkest moments.  And, just like us, he felt like God had forsaken him. However, we will see tomorrow in Chapter 16 that things are not always how they seem.
  • Because of Jesus' death, we can go to God directly with our thoughts, our hurts, and our prayers.
  • Jesus died a painful and humiliating death. He also took on the sins of the world, which was far worse for him than the physical pain and social humiliation of crucifixion.  He did all of that so you could have a relationship with God. 

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Do you find yourself becoming defensive if someone doesn't agree with you? Do you complain a lot that life isn't fair? Jesus calls us to a higher standard and asks us to let it go; to turn the other cheek, so to speak. Are you able to do that? If not, ask for God's help today.
  • It's okay to cry out to God when we are faced with a dark moment. But we must remember that he is there, even when it doesn't feel like it. 
  • Because of Jesus' sacrifice, we can approach God directly. Take time today to talk to God.
  • Do you really appreciate what the death of Jesus means for you, or is it something you take for granted? Take a few minutes to pray about it, asking God to fill your heart with gratitude for the sacrifice he made for you.