Friday, January 3, 2014

January 3 - Mark 3

Today's reading in our daily plan is Mark 3. 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?)
  • The Sabbath was a day of rest and focus on God, given as a gift by God to humanity. However, the religious leaders took this gift and made it a prison, adding all kinds of manmade rules to define what they thought people should and should not do on this particular day of the week. Jesus violates their rules by healing the man, in order to point out that the Sabbath was intended to help people, not harm them.
  • Jesus had so many people always following him that even he had to withdraw from time to time. 
  • It's in this chapter that we see him choose 12 men to be his closest followers or disciples (ministry apprentices). These 12 would go everywhere with him, learning how to preach and teach, and given God's authority to also heal people. These 12 are sometimes referred to as the apostles.
  • In verse 29, Jesus speaks of the unforgivable sin - blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. What exactly this is referring to has been debated for years.  The most commonly held belief is that it probably refers to a complete rejection of God by someone who had a relationship with Him. It's been said that if you're worried that you have committed the unpardonable sin, you probably haven't.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • The Pharisees' encounter with Jesus in verses 1-6 brings their true hearts into the light. If Jesus won't follow the rules they've created, they will kill him. When we come before Jesus, our hearts are laid bare and who we truly are is revealed. 
  • The 12 men that Jesus chose to call his apostles were everyday people just like us.  They didn't have college degrees or special skills in public speaking and marketing (verses 14-15). So it may seem incredible that they were sent out to preach and have authority to drive out demons. But what Jesus was really asking his followers to do was as simple as (1) spend time with him, (2) share him with others, and (3) help the hurting. If you consider yourself a follower of Jesus, are those three key elements in your life?
  • Jesus provoked strong reactions in everyone he encountered. As a result, he was persecuted repeatedly. If we really follow Jesus, we can expect some persecution as well. 

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Have you laid your heart bare before Jesus, allowing him to transform your life from the inside out? Let him help you get rid of those things that shouldn't be there.
  • Let's focus on those three elements of being a follower of Jesus:
    1. Spending time with him: can you make more time to pray or read the Bible this week?
    2. Sharing him with others:  can you look for opportunities to share what he's done for you or talk about your faith?
    3. Helping the hurting: can you by share resources with people in need, or give encouragement to someone who really needs it?