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Human jealousy can be damaging and sinful, but the jealousy of God is a holy, passionate zeal to guard the exclusiveness of our relationship to Him.
Jesus, the Lamb of God, stands in heaven triumphant. What rewards has Jesus purchased for Himself by His sacrificial death? His reward is a holy people being sanctified more and more through the Word and the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:25-27). These people are also to be zealous for good works, not in order to achieve salvation, but as an outgrowth of salvation by grace. Finally, Jesus receives the glad, reverent adoration of eternal worshippers (Revelation 5:9-10). When the dust of history settles, the Lamb wins!
So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified…
Jesus heals a deaf and mute man in Mark 7:31-37. Jesus moves the man out of the crowd and interacts with him, demonstrating His compassion and healing power and affirming the man’s worth and individuality. In a similar way, Christ entered into the world of humanity to reveal Himself to us and save us from our sin so that we might have a personal relationship with Him.
In Mark 7:24-30 Jesus speaks with a Gentile woman who sought healing for her daughter. At first glance, the response of Jesus may be surprising and confusing, but in reality Jesus is not rejecting or deriding her. Jesus affirms her faith and promises healing for her child. God’s blessings promised to Abraham were given first to the Jews but included all people on Earth. We, too, are the recipients of God’s generous grace, mercy, and blessing.
The Cross Benediction (Revelation 1:5b-6) reminds us that Christ’s love for us has been demonstrated by His death on the cross. Christ’s redemption saves us from the penalty and power of sin now and from the presence of sin in eternity. We are now part of His kingdom, the sovereign rule of Christ in our hearts and lives. We are to gratefully serve as priests, making Him known to others.
In 2 Thessalonians 3:16, the apostle Paul pronounces a benediction of peace. The Lord Jesus is our source of peace, reconciling us to God (Isaiah 53:5). His peace is sufficient because He is sovereign, and His peace is certain because He is always with us (Philippians 4:17 and 2 Timothy 4:17). Our messiah is Emmanuel, God with us, the prince of peace.
Biblical hope is not wishful thinking. It is a confident expectation based on the promises of God. Paul’s benediction of hope in Romans 15:13 reminds us that God is our source and continuing supplier of hope. He is able to fill us with joy and peace, even in difficult times, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Our role is to place our belief and trust in God.
In Romans 15:5-6, Paul pronounces a benediction of unity upon his readers. The benediction encourages them to live in harmony and to welcome each other. Unity among believers matters because it brings glory to God, it follows the example of Christ, and it is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Our Unity should be a witness to a watching world (John 17:20-23). We are to be a unified body, a family, a fellowship.
A benediction is a sincere, earnest wish for all who hear it to receive by faith. Paul’s New Testament letters are filled with benedictions of grace because he understood the reality, necessity, and wonder of God’s grace. Grace is the undeserved favor of God, lavished upon us and available because of Christs’s sacrificial death on the cross. “Grace to you” refers to our salvation apart from our own works. “Grace with you” refers to our ability to access God’s grace in our lives each day.
To worship God better we must know God and take up His character. Know that the Lord is God, know that He is good, gracious, steadfast in His love. He is truly worthy of thankful praise and devoted worship.
The last command of the Bible is “Worship God” (Revelation 22:9). Jesus warned the people against hypocritical worship (Mark 7:7) So how can we worship in spirit and truth? True worship is a mark of saving faith. It is both a corporate activity and a daily lifestyle. Our worship of all three members of the Trinity will continue throughout eternity.
In Mark 7:1-13 Jesus rebukes the scribes and Pharisees for replacing the truth of God’s Word with the traditions of men. Their rules and rituals reflected a desire to put forth a show of outward purity rather than the cultivation of a heart which inwardly follows the truth of scripture. Let us never neglect the Word of God and always worship God in Spirit and in truth.
The Beatitudes are a portrait of what a Christian should look like. Each quality listed should apply to every believer, and each leads to the approval of God. Although righteousness leads to persecution it also allow us to be blessed in persecution.
The world counts as folly what we count most precious: the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. Galatians 6:14 exhorts us to make the cross our exclusive boast – what we joyfully exalt in, what shapes and molds our lives. The cross is worthy of our boast because it satisfies the wrath of God (Isaiah 53:6), it secures us in the love of God (1 John 4:10), and it separates us from the grip and influence of the world’s priorities (1 John 2:15-17).
In Mark 6:45-52, Jesus knows the need of the disciples during the stormy, night sea. He walks on the water demonstrating that He is God. He reassures the disciples, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid” using the term for the holy name of God, I AM. In the Bible, the sea represents chaos and evil. Jesus saves us not only from the storms of life but from our sin. (Psalm 130:1 Out of the depths I cry to…
The healing ministry of Jesus in Gennesaret demonstrates His authority, power, and compassion. The people run to all the surrounding areas to find those who need Jesus. Let us also expend our time and efforts so that others may see the Savior. Our compassion and prayers should help the world recognize Christ in and through us.
The miracle of the feeding of the five thousand in Mark 6:30-44 demonstrates that Jesus is compassionate, powerful, and sufficient like no others. Just like the early disciples, let us receive our strength and supply from Jesus and pass it on to others through the Word of God.
God doesn’t always intervene in difficult situations, but God’s always sovereign over our days. Suffering is not a sign that God is against us. Whether we are delivered from trials like Joseph or endure martyrdom like John the Baptist, His faithfulness and steadfast love remain.
How can we overcome fear that tries to take root in our hearts and lives? We are reminded in Hebrews 13:5-8 of the promise of Jesus to never leave or forsake us. No one can do anything of consequence to us in light of eternity, and Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. So fear not! Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you…