While Mark 11-16 details the last week of Jesus’ life, Mark 11-13 is a string of episodes that occur around the Temple. Starting in 11:27 there are a series of different conflicts between Jesus and the religious leaders. Mark 11:27-12:12, which is the first of these conflicts between Jesus and the religious leaders, is one episode with two parts. The first part (11:27-33) reports Jesus being interrogated about His authority. The second part (12:1-12) records a parable concerning tenant farmers.
A group of chief priests, scribes, and elders (the very ones Jesus predicted in 8:31 would kill Him) approached Jesus. These men, probably a group from the Sanhedrin—who were a Jewish religious counsel—wanted to know the authority behind Jesus’ preceding actions and teachings at the Temple. On the one hand, the religious council was recognizing that Jesus had displayed a unique empowerment. But on the other hand, their question was asked in order to find an opportunity to entrap Him.
In the last post we took a look at what I mean by the term Christian Fellowship. Christian fellowship goes beyond mere socializing; it is followers of Christ coming together face to face to talk with each other from their knowledge of and experience with God and His Word. In this post I want to explore why it is important.
Our Lord has commissioned his church to make disciples. Our Lord has not only commissioned what he wants us to do, but he has commissioned how he wants us to do it. He has given us a purpose, and he has given us a plan to carry out that purpose. So the question is this: What is our mission as a church? What is it that we exist as a church to do?
Mark 11:12-25 Mark Study #26 Mark 11-16 reports the last week of Jesus’ life detailing what occurred in Jerusalem during those seven days. Mark 11:12-25 records the events of Jesus’ second day in Jerusalem. Mark sandwiches two episodes together. The cursing of the Temple (11:15-19) is sandwiched between the cursing of a fig tree (11:12-14; [...]
What is Christian fellowship and why is it an important Spiritual Discipline? That’s two questions. I will take one in this post and the other in the next post.
What is Christian fellowship? In a chapter entitled, Cultivate Koinonia, from his book, Simplify Your Spiritual Life, Dr. Donald Whitney writes:
The word fellowship in the New Testament (as in Acts 2:42) is a translation of the Greek word koinonia. At its root koinonia describes two or more people in close association and often speaks of these people as sharing in something, such as a marriage or business. Christian koinonia exists between everyone who knows God through Jesus Christ (see 1 John 1:3). Everyone united with Christ by faith is also united with everyone else united with Christ. The same Holy Spirit indwells all believers and gives each a common share in the body of Christ, the church. As the apostle Paul put it, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body . . . and all have been made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).
This passage is commonly known as “the Great Commission.” Each of the four gospel accounts, as well as the opening chapter of the book of Acts, recount for us particular instructions from our Lord Jesus Christ, which he gave in between his resurrection and his ascension. I want us to focus primarily on these words from Matthew’s account. They are a succinct directive as to what Christ has ordered his church to do until he returns. I want to ask the question, “What?” What has our Lord commanded his church to do? In latter posts we will ask the question, “How?” How has our Lord instructed his commission to be carried out? But for now, our focus is the purpose of the church. Later, the focus will be the plan for the church—the plan we have been given through which Jesus’ commission purpose should be carried out.
Mark 11:1-11 is the opening segment to the last section of Mark’s Gospel. Chapters 11-16, which comprise a third of the book, record the key events surrounding the last seven days of Jesus’ life. The weighted emphasis put upon Jesus’ last week highlights how important those events have on for grasping the meaning of Jesus’ life and mission.
Mark 11:1-11, which narrates the first day of Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem, is one episode with three scenes. Ever since 8:27, Jesus and His disciples had been “on the way” to Jerusalem. They have now arrived. The first scene (11:1-7) records the preparations that lead up to Jesus’ arrival. The second scene (11:8-10) reports the Passover festivities that were occurring at the time of Jesus’ arrival. The third scene (11:11) is the brief account of Jesus appearing at the Temple upon His arrival.
God gifts followers of Christ with much grace; God calls followers of Christ to reflect much grace. Grace teaches us and changes us. One of the areas of life that we should be ever increasingly evidencing the difference that the grace of Christ makes in our lives is in our marriages. We can be tempted to think about our challenges in marriage in terms of what changes our spouse needs to make; however, Christ always first calls us to consider the changes we need to make. The grace of Christ calls and enables us to face our own selfishness, self-service, and self-righteousness.
In recent blogs I have referenced how parents are called to disciple their children. God uses parents in the training and nurturing processes to introduce children to Christ and then to help them grow in Christ. But are children the only ones who can experience growth as a result of parenting? How does God use the work of parenting to grow parents? Just as God uses our marriages to shape His children into the image of Christ, God also uses our parenting for shaping us into the image of Christ.
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