Tag Archives: the book of Mark

“Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.'”  (Mark 2:27, NIV)

We need to challenge the thought that God’s laws and commandments are designed to spoil the joy of living, in the same manner that Jesus challenged the thought that God created humanity to obey a predetermined set of rules that are independent of our benefit.

All of God’s laws and commandments have two distinct purposes: To provide for us; and to protect us.

From the day that Adam and Eve were in the garden, humanity has resented limits or boundaries without seeking to appreciate the benefits.  It is akin to resenting traffic laws without considering the benefit to order and safety that such laws provide to both motorists and pedestrians.

As our heavenly Father, God wants only protect us from unnecessary trouble and grief so that we might have life, and have it in all of its abundance.

We were not created to keep “the rules.”  The “rules” were created to keep us.  Therefore, obey the Lord with faithfulness, joy, and thanksgiving!  – Luther

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“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’”  (Mark 9:35, NLT)

Jesus doesn’t ignore humanity’s competitive spirit, but He directs it to the channel of service — and few of us want servitude to be our destination.  Even in our “service” organizations, leadership comes with benefits: Recognition; greater autonomy; and strategic activities.  Conversely, true servitude (e. g. the condition of the servant) is marked by obscurity, slavish obedience, and seemingly menial activities (e. g. “foot-washing” and door-tending).

However, no where else is leadership — as Jesus defines leadership — to be found.

Seldom will you find a line at the doorway to true service, but inside that door you will always find the company of the risen Christ.  Is this Person sufficient, or must we have perquisites (“perks”) as well?  – Luther

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“If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”  (Mark 8:38, NLT)

In today’s reading, Jesus illustrates for us the following principle: The relationships and values that we esteem in this life are the relationships and values that we shall inherit in eternity.  In other words: If we are ashamed of Jesus and all that He stands for here in “time”; we shall forfeit Him for all of eternity because He will be ashamed of us in heaven’s eternity for us having been ashamed of Him during our time on earth.

The Christian disciple’s challenge in these “adulterous and sinful days” is to be faithful to Jesus and to His message in all that we say, and in all that we do.

This means that with joy, we love our enemies — all of them — as He did.  This means that with boldness, we seek reconciliation — always — as He did.  This means that with confidence, we pray for those who abuse us — as He did.

May we be as Paul declared to the Christians in Rome: “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God to bring salvation to everyone that believes.”  (Romans 1:16a)  – Luther

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