Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January 17 - Mark 12

Today's reading in our daily plan is Mark 12. 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 chapter opens with Jesus sharing another parable.  The land owner represents God, and the vineyard is his kingdom. The tenants were the religious leaders, and the servants that came to collect payment represent all of God's prophets that came before Jesus, including John the Baptist (whom we just saw beheaded a few chapters ago). Throughout the Old Testament, God repeatedly sent prophets to tell people truth and point people back to God, but they were usually ignored and mistreated.
  • In today's passage, Jesus predicts his own death. Furthermore, Jesus speaks of God's coming wrath on those who kill his son. This angered the religious leaders because they realized he was referring to them. They were still determined to reject this truth and, ironically, plotted to kill him as he had just predicted.
  • Throughout this chapter we see the religious leaders trying to catch Jesus "in his words." An example of this is his discussion with the Sadducees.  The Sadducees, another religious sect, didn't believe heaven existed.  They thought they could prove this through a discussion on marriage.  However, Jesus surprises them by explaining that marriage is an earthly event that doesn't exist in heaven. 
  • Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is. He states that it is to Love God with your whole life -- heart, soul, and mind. And the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.
  • Once again, in verses 38-40, we see Jesus warning his followers against the trappings of the religious leaders. He makes it clear that they love the fame of being noticed, not God.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Over the centuries, humanity has continually treated God's prophets and God's Son poorly. But God, in his love and grace,  has never given up on his creation.
  • If we say that we believe in Jesus, then we must follow his greatest commandments- love God and love people.
  • Jesus is looking for people who love God enough to sacrifice for him. The rich people gave exorbitantly, but it came out of their excess.  The poor widow gave only a few coins, but it was all she had. This was true sacrifice and Jesus commended her.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • How are you doing at loving God and loving people? What is a practical step you could take to be better? Maybe it's more private prayer time with God. Maybe it's helping your neighbor bring the groceries in the house. Let God guide you today on how you can honor him.
  • When you give to God, is it out of your excess or a true sacrifice? God is looking for followers who will make financial sacrifices for him. Is that you?