HE IS RISEN!

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Radical Effects of the Resurrection

Published by John Piper for reading on February 27th.

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. ( 1 Corinthians 15:19 19 If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable. )

Paul concludes from his hourly danger, and his daily dying, and his fighting with wild beasts, that the life he has chosen in following Jesus is foolish and pitiable if he will not be raised from the dead.

If death were the end of the matter, he says, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” ( 1 Corinthians 15:32 32 If after the manner of men I fought with beasts at Ephesus, what doth it profit me? If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die. ). This doesn’t mean: Let’s all become gluttons and drunkards if there is no resurrection. Drunkards are pitiable too — with or without the resurrection. He means: If there is no resurrection, what makes sense is middle-class moderation to maximize earthly pleasures.

But that is not what Paul chooses. He chooses suffering, because he chooses obedience. Ananias came to Paul after his encounter with Christ on the Damascus road, with the words from the Lord Jesus, “I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name” ( Acts 9:16 16 for I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name's sake. ). Paul accepted this suffering as part of his calling.

How could Paul do it? What was the source of this radical and painful obedience? The answer is given in 1 Corinthians 15:20: 20 But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of them that are asleep. “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” In other words, Christ was raised, and I will be raised with him. Therefore, nothing suffered for Jesus is in vain ( 1 Corinthians 15:58 58 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord. ).

The hope of the resurrection radically changed the way Paul lived. It freed him from materialism and consumerism. It gave him the power to go without comforts and pleasures that many people feel they must have in this life. For example, though he had the right to marry ( 1 Corinthians 9:5 5 Have we no right to lead about a wife that is a believer, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? ), he renounced that pleasure because he was called to bear so much suffering.

This is the way Jesus said the hope of the resurrection is supposed to change our behavior. For example, he told us to invite to our homes people who cannot pay us back in this life. How are we to be motivated to do this? “You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just” ( Luke 14:14 14 and thou shalt be blessed; because they have not `wherewith' to recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed in the resurrection of the just. ).

This is a radical call for us to look hard at our present lives to see if they are shaped by the hope of the resurrection. Do we make decisions on the basis of gain in this world, or gain in the next? Do we take risks for love’s sake that can only be explained as wise if there is a resurrection?

May God help us to rededicate ourselves for a lifetime of letting the resurrection have its radical effects.



The Foundation of Wisdom

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on February 27th.

Proverbs 9:7-12 7 He that correcteth a scoffer getteth to himself reviling; And he that reproveth a wicked man `getteth' himself a blot. 8 Reprove not a scoffer, lest he hate thee: Reprove a wise man, and he will love thee. 9 Give `instruction' to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: Teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. 10 The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom; And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For by me thy days shall be multiplied, And the years of thy life shall be increased. 12 If thou art wise, thou art wise for thyself; And if thou scoffest, thou alone shalt bear it.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). Initially, the connection between these two concepts may be difficult to grasp. How can fearing God make us wise?

First, we need to understand what it means to fear the Lord. This term is used to describe an awesome reverence for God that moves us to acknowledge Him as the sovereign ruler of heaven and earth, submit to His will, and walk in obedience. The result of such a response will be the acquisition of wisdom.

If we commit ourselves to living for God’s purposes rather than our own, we will gain greater understanding of Him. The Holy Spirit will enable us to see circumstances and people from His divine perspective. This kind of wisdom reaches beyond human perception and gives us discernment to make decisions that fit into the Lord’s plans for our life. Knowing that He always works for our best interests, we are empowered to walk confidently through both good and bad times.

But if we reject God’s instructions, we dishonor Him with our refusal to acknowledge His right to rule our life. It’s foolish to rebel against His authority and think we can ever win. Those who won’t fear God will never know real wisdom.

What is your attitude toward the Lord? If you truly revere Him, you will listen for His directions and heed His warnings. A desire to honor and please Him will motivate you to turn from evil and seek to live in obedience. The result will be wisdom beyond human understanding.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 18-20 Chapter 18 1 The priests the Levites, `even' all the tribe of Levi, shall have no portion nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of Jehovah made by fire, and his inheritance. 2 And they shall have no inheritance among their brethren: Jehovah is their inheritance, as he hath spoken unto them. 3 And this shall be the priests' due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep, that they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw. 4 The first-fruits of thy grain, of thy new wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him. 5 For Jehovah thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of Jehovah, him and his sons for ever. 6 And if a Levite come from any of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourneth, and come with all the desire of his soul unto the place which Jehovah shall choose; 7 then he shall minister in the name of Jehovah his God, as all his brethren the Levites do, who stand there before Jehovah. 8 They shall have like portions to eat, besides that which cometh of the sale of his patrimony. 9 When thou art come into the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found with thee any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one that useth divination, one that practiseth augury, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, 11 or a charmer, or a consulter with a familiar spirit, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto Jehovah: and because of these abominations Jehovah thy God doth drive them out from before thee. 13 Thou shalt be perfect with Jehovah thy God. 14 For these nations, that thou shalt dispossess, hearken unto them that practise augury, and unto diviners; but as for thee, Jehovah thy God hath not suffered thee so to do. 15 Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; 16 according to all that thou desiredst of Jehovah thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of Jehovah my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. 17 And Jehovah said unto me, They have well said that which they have spoken. 18 I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. 20 But the prophet, that shall speak a word presumptuously in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. 21 And if thou say in thy heart, How shall we know the word which Jehovah hath not spoken? 22 when a prophet speaketh in the name of Jehovah, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Jehovah hath not spoken: the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shalt not be afraid of him. Chapter 19 1 When Jehovah thy God shall cut off the nations, whose land Jehovah thy God giveth thee, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their cities, and in their houses; 2 thou shalt set apart three cities for thee in the midst of thy land, which Jehovah thy God giveth thee to possess it. 3 Thou shalt prepare thee the way, and divide the borders of thy land, which Jehovah thy God causeth thee to inherit, into three parts, that every manslayer may flee thither. 4 And this is the case of the manslayer, that shall flee thither and live: whoso killeth his neighbor unawares, and hated him not in time past; 5 as when a man goeth into the forest with his neighbor to hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, and the head slippeth from the helve, and lighteth upon his neighbor, so that he dieth; he shall flee unto one of these cities and live: 6 lest the avenger of blood pursue the manslayer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and smite him mortally; whereas he was not worthy of death, inasmuch as he hated him not in time past. 7 Wherefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt set apart three cities for thee. 8 And if Jehovah thy God enlarge thy border, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers; 9 if thou shalt keep all this commandment to do it, which I command thee this day, to love Jehovah thy God, and to walk ever in his ways; then shalt thou add three cities more for thee, besides these three: 10 that innocent blood be not shed in the midst of thy land, which Jehovah thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be upon thee. 11 But if any man hate his neighbor, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally so that he dieth, and he flee into one of these cities; 12 then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. 13 Thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shalt put away the innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee. 14 Thou shalt not remove thy neighbor's landmark, which they of old time have set, in thine inheritance which thou shalt inherit, in the land that Jehovah thy God giveth thee to possess it. 15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall a matter be established. 16 If an unrighteous witness rise up against any man to testify against him of wrong-doing, 17 then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before Jehovah, before the priests and the judges that shall be in those days; 18 and the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and have testified falsely against his brother; 19 then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to do unto his brother: so shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee. 20 And those that remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil in the midst of thee. 21 And thine eyes shall not pity; life `shall go' for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. Chapter 20 1 When thou goest forth to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, `and' a people more than thou, thou shalt not be afraid of them; for Jehovah thy God is with thee, who brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 2 And it shall be, when ye draw nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people, 3 and shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye draw nigh this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint; fear not, nor tremble, neither be ye affrighted at them; 4 for Jehovah your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. 5 And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it. 6 And what man is there that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not used the fruit thereof? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man use the fruit thereof. 7 And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her. 8 And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and faint-hearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart melt as his heart. 9 And it shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking unto the people, that they shall appoint captains of hosts at the head of the people. 10 When thou drawest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. 11 And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that are found therein shall become tributary unto thee, and shall serve thee. 12 And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it: 13 and when Jehovah thy God delivereth it into thy hand, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: 14 but the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take for a prey unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which Jehovah thy God hath given thee. 15 Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations. 16 But of the cities of these peoples, that Jehovah thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth; 17 but thou shalt utterly destroy them: the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; as Jehovah thy God hath commanded thee; 18 that they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so would ye sin against Jehovah your God. 19 When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by wielding an axe against them; for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down; for is the tree of the field man, that it should be besieged of thee? 20 Only the trees of which thou knowest that they are not trees for food, thou shalt destroy and cut them down; and thou shalt build bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee, until it fall.




Daily Bible - February 27

Published by Grace To You for reading on February 27th.

Reading for Today:

  • Leviticus 23:1 Chapter 23 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, –24:23
  • Psalms 28:1-5 Chapter 28 1 Unto thee, O Jehovah, will I call: My rock, be not thou deaf unto me; Lest, if thou be silent unto me, I become like them that go down into the pit. 2 Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, When I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle. 3 Draw me not away with the wicked, And with the workers of iniquity; That speak peace with their neighbors, But mischief is in their hearts. 4 Give them according to their work, and according to the wickedness of their doings: Give them after the operation of their hands; Render to them their desert. 5 Because they regard not the works of Jehovah, Nor the operation of his hands, He will break them down and not build them up.
  • Proverbs 10:17-18 17 He is in the way of life that heedeth correction; But he that forsaketh reproof erreth. 18 He that hideth hatred is of lying lips; And he that uttereth a slander is a fool.
  • Mark 6:1-29 Chapter 6 1 And he went out from thence; and he cometh into his own country; and his disciples follow him. 2 And when the sabbath was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, Whence hath this man these things? and, What is the wisdom that is given unto this man, and `what mean' such mighty works wrought by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended in him. 4 And Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages teaching. 7 And he calleth unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and he gave them authority over the unclean spirits; 8 and he charged them that they should take nothing for `their' journey, save a staff only; no bread, no wallet, now money in their purse; 9 but `to go' shod with sandals: and, `said he', put not on two coats. 10 And he said unto them, Wheresoever ye enter into a house, there abide till ye depart thence. 11 And whatsoever place shall not receive you, and they hear you not, as ye go forth thence, shake off the dust that is under your feet for a testimony unto them. 12 And they went out, and preached that `men' should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. 14 And king Herod heard `thereof'; for his name had become known: and he said, John the Baptizer is risen from the dead, and therefore do these powers work in him. 15 But others said, It is Elijah. And others said, `It is' a prophet, `even' as one of the prophets. 16 But Herod, when he heard `thereof', said, John, whom I beheaded, he is risen. 17 For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; for he had married her. 18 For John said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife. 19 And Herodias set herself against him, and desired to kill him; and she could not; 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was much perplexed; and he heard him gladly. 21 And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, and the high captains, and the chief men of Galilee; 22 and when the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she pleased Herod and them that sat at meat with him; and the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. 23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. 24 And she went out, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptizer. 25 And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou forthwith give me on a platter the head of John the Baptist. 26 And the king was exceeding sorry; but for the sake of his oaths, and of them that sat at meat, he would not reject her. 27 And straightway the king sent forth a soldier of his guard, and commanded to bring his head: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the damsel; and the damsel gave it to her mother. 29 And when his disciples heard `thereof', they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.

Notes:

Leviticus 23:2 proclaim to be holy convocations. These festivals did not involve gatherings of all Israel in every case. Only the feasts of 1) Unleavened Bread; 2) Weeks; and 3) Tabernacles required that all males gather in Jerusalem (see Ex. 23:14–17; Deut. 16:16, 17).

Mark 6:11 shake off the dust. A symbolic act that signified complete renunciation of further fellowship with those who rejected them. When the disciples made this gesture, it would show that the people had rejected Jesus and the gospel and were hence rejected by the disciples and by the Lord. more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah. People who reject Christ’s gracious, saving gospel will face a fate worse than those pagans killed by divine judgment on the two Old Testament cities.

Mark 6:13 anointed with oil…sick. In Jesus’ day olive oil was often used medicinally (see Luke 10:34 34 and came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on `them' oil and wine; and he set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. ). But here it represented the power and presence of the Holy Spirit and was used symbolically in relation to supernatural healing (see Is. 11:2; Zech. 4:1–6; Matt. 25:2–4; Rev. 1:4, 12). As a well-known healing agent, the oil was an appropriate, tangible medium the people could identify with as the disciples ministered to the sick among them.

Mark 6:15 “It is Elijah.” This identification of Jesus, which probably had been discussed repeatedly among the Jews, was based on the Jewish expectation that the prophet Elijah would return prior to Messiah’s coming. the Prophet…one of the prophets. Some saw Jesus as the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18:15 15 Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; , the messianic prophecy that looked to the One who, like Moses, would lead His people. Others were willing to identify Jesus only as a great prophet, or one who was resuming the suspended line of Old Testament prophets. These and the other opinions, although misplaced, show that the people still thought Jesus was special or somehow supernatural.

DAY 27: What is the relationship of unbelief and Jesus’ working in people’s lives?

Although the people in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth were “astonished” by Jesus’ wisdom and mighty works ( Mark 6:2 2 And when the sabbath was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, Whence hath this man these things? and, What is the wisdom that is given unto this man, and `what mean' such mighty works wrought by his hands? ), their initial reaction gave way to skepticism and a critical attitude toward Jesus. They still thought of Jesus as a carpenter and the son of Mary with brothers and sisters (v. 3). The residents of Nazareth were deeply offended at Jesus’ posturing Himself as some great teacher because of His ordinary background, His limited formal education, and His lack of an officially sanctioned religious position.

In the face of this, Jesus “could do no mighty work there” (v. 5). This is not to suggest that His power was somehow diminished by their unbelief. It may suggest that because of their unbelief people were not coming to Him for healing or miracles the way they did in Capernaum and Jerusalem. Or, more importantly it may signify that Christ limited His ministry both as an act of mercy, so that the exposure to greater light would not result in a worse hardening that would only subject them to greater condemnation, and a judgment on their unbelief. He had the power to do more miracles, but not the will, because they rejected Him. Miracles belonged among those who were ready to believe.

“He marveled because of their unbelief” (v. 6).“Marveled” means Jesus was completely astonished and amazed at Nazareth’s reaction to Him, His teaching, and His miracles. He was not surprised at the fact of the people’s unbelief, but at how they could reject Him while claiming to know all about Him.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources        

February 27

Published by Grace To You for reading on February 27th.

Reading for Today:

  • Leviticus 23:1 Chapter 23 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, –24:23
  • Psalms 28:1-5 Chapter 28 1 Unto thee, O Jehovah, will I call: My rock, be not thou deaf unto me; Lest, if thou be silent unto me, I become like them that go down into the pit. 2 Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, When I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle. 3 Draw me not away with the wicked, And with the workers of iniquity; That speak peace with their neighbors, But mischief is in their hearts. 4 Give them according to their work, and according to the wickedness of their doings: Give them after the operation of their hands; Render to them their desert. 5 Because they regard not the works of Jehovah, Nor the operation of his hands, He will break them down and not build them up.
  • Proverbs 10:17-18 17 He is in the way of life that heedeth correction; But he that forsaketh reproof erreth. 18 He that hideth hatred is of lying lips; And he that uttereth a slander is a fool.
  • Mark 6:1-29 Chapter 6 1 And he went out from thence; and he cometh into his own country; and his disciples follow him. 2 And when the sabbath was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, Whence hath this man these things? and, What is the wisdom that is given unto this man, and `what mean' such mighty works wrought by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended in him. 4 And Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages teaching. 7 And he calleth unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and he gave them authority over the unclean spirits; 8 and he charged them that they should take nothing for `their' journey, save a staff only; no bread, no wallet, now money in their purse; 9 but `to go' shod with sandals: and, `said he', put not on two coats. 10 And he said unto them, Wheresoever ye enter into a house, there abide till ye depart thence. 11 And whatsoever place shall not receive you, and they hear you not, as ye go forth thence, shake off the dust that is under your feet for a testimony unto them. 12 And they went out, and preached that `men' should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. 14 And king Herod heard `thereof'; for his name had become known: and he said, John the Baptizer is risen from the dead, and therefore do these powers work in him. 15 But others said, It is Elijah. And others said, `It is' a prophet, `even' as one of the prophets. 16 But Herod, when he heard `thereof', said, John, whom I beheaded, he is risen. 17 For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; for he had married her. 18 For John said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife. 19 And Herodias set herself against him, and desired to kill him; and she could not; 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was much perplexed; and he heard him gladly. 21 And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, and the high captains, and the chief men of Galilee; 22 and when the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she pleased Herod and them that sat at meat with him; and the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. 23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. 24 And she went out, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptizer. 25 And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou forthwith give me on a platter the head of John the Baptist. 26 And the king was exceeding sorry; but for the sake of his oaths, and of them that sat at meat, he would not reject her. 27 And straightway the king sent forth a soldier of his guard, and commanded to bring his head: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the damsel; and the damsel gave it to her mother. 29 And when his disciples heard `thereof', they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.

Notes:

Leviticus 23:2 proclaim to be holy convocations. These festivals did not involve gatherings of all Israel in every case. Only the feasts of 1) Unleavened Bread; 2) Weeks; and 3) Tabernacles required that all males gather in Jerusalem (see Ex. 23:14–17; Deut. 16:16, 17).

Mark 6:11 shake off the dust. A symbolic act that signified complete renunciation of further fellowship with those who rejected them. When the disciples made this gesture, it would show that the people had rejected Jesus and the gospel and were hence rejected by the disciples and by the Lord. more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah. People who reject Christ’s gracious, saving gospel will face a fate worse than those pagans killed by divine judgment on the two Old Testament cities.

Mark 6:13 anointed with oil…sick. In Jesus’ day olive oil was often used medicinally (see Luke 10:34 34 and came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on `them' oil and wine; and he set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. ). But here it represented the power and presence of the Holy Spirit and was used symbolically in relation to supernatural healing (see Is. 11:2; Zech. 4:1–6; Matt. 25:2–4; Rev. 1:4, 12). As a well-known healing agent, the oil was an appropriate, tangible medium the people could identify with as the disciples ministered to the sick among them.

Mark 6:15 “It is Elijah.” This identification of Jesus, which probably had been discussed repeatedly among the Jews, was based on the Jewish expectation that the prophet Elijah would return prior to Messiah’s coming. the Prophet…one of the prophets. Some saw Jesus as the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18:15 15 Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; , the messianic prophecy that looked to the One who, like Moses, would lead His people. Others were willing to identify Jesus only as a great prophet, or one who was resuming the suspended line of Old Testament prophets. These and the other opinions, although misplaced, show that the people still thought Jesus was special or somehow supernatural.

DAY 27: What is the relationship of unbelief and Jesus’ working in people’s lives?

Although the people in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth were “astonished” by Jesus’ wisdom and mighty works ( Mark 6:2 2 And when the sabbath was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, Whence hath this man these things? and, What is the wisdom that is given unto this man, and `what mean' such mighty works wrought by his hands? ), their initial reaction gave way to skepticism and a critical attitude toward Jesus. They still thought of Jesus as a carpenter and the son of Mary with brothers and sisters (v. 3). The residents of Nazareth were deeply offended at Jesus’ posturing Himself as some great teacher because of His ordinary background, His limited formal education, and His lack of an officially sanctioned religious position.

In the face of this, Jesus “could do no mighty work there” (v. 5). This is not to suggest that His power was somehow diminished by their unbelief. It may suggest that because of their unbelief people were not coming to Him for healing or miracles the way they did in Capernaum and Jerusalem. Or, more importantly it may signify that Christ limited His ministry both as an act of mercy, so that the exposure to greater light would not result in a worse hardening that would only subject them to greater condemnation, and a judgment on their unbelief. He had the power to do more miracles, but not the will, because they rejected Him. Miracles belonged among those who were ready to believe.

“He marveled because of their unbelief” (v. 6).“Marveled” means Jesus was completely astonished and amazed at Nazareth’s reaction to Him, His teaching, and His miracles. He was not surprised at the fact of the people’s unbelief, but at how they could reject Him while claiming to know all about Him.

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.

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God's Glory

Published by Grace To You for reading on February 27th.

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God, and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” ( Psalms 19:1 Chapter 19 1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament showeth his handiwork. ).

God’s glory is the radiance of all He is.

In Isaiah’s vision of Heaven, angels called out, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isa. 6:3). What exactly is the glory of God? It encompasses all that He is, the radiance of His attributes and divine nature.

Moses said to God, “I pray Thee, show me Thy glory!” (Ex. 33:18), and the Lord answered, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion” (v. 19). Moses was not allowed to see God’s face, which is the essence of His being: “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” (v. 20). But Moses was allowed to see God’s back, which represents the afterglow of His glory.

Perhaps God’s afterglow is like the radiance of the sun. We only see the light that comes off the sun. If we got too close to it, we would be consumed. If the sun is so brilliant, what must God be like? His glory seen in creation is only a dim reflection of His character.

God displayed His glory many times in Scripture. He represented Himself as a great white cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night as He led Israel through the wilderness (Ex. 13:21). After the Tabernacle was built, “the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Ex. 40:34). Years later, He filled the temple in a similar way ( 1 Kings 8:10-11 10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of Jehovah, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; for the glory of Jehovah filled the house of Jehovah. ). This manifestation of God’s glory served as the focal point of worship for Israel.

God takes His glory very seriously. He said, “I will not give My glory to another” (Isa. 42:8). We must not steal God’s glory by becoming proud and taking credit for the good things He has done. Instead of taking God’s glory, say with David, “I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and will glorify Thy name forever” (Ps. 86:12).

Suggestions for Prayer

Praise God for His glory and majesty.

For Further Study

Read Daniel 4 Chapter 4 1 Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all the peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied unto you. 2 It hath seemed good unto me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God hath wrought toward me. 3 How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation. 4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace. 5 I saw a dream which made me afraid; and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. 6 Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream. 7 Then came in the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers; and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof. 8 But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and I told the dream before him, `saying', 9 O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof. 10 Thus were the visions of my head upon my bed: I saw, and, behold, a tree in the midst of the earth; and the height thereof was great. 11 The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth. 12 The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was food for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the birds of the heavens dwelt in the branches thereof, and all flesh was fed from it. 13 I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and a holy one came down from heaven. 14 He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off its branches, shake off its leaves, and scatter its fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from its branches. 15 Nevertheless leave the stump of its roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven: and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth: 16 let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. 17 The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones; to the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the lowest of men. 18 This dream I, king Nebuchadnezzar, have seen; and thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation; but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee. 19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was stricken dumb for a while, and his thoughts troubled him. The king answered and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine adversaries. 20 The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth; 21 whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was food for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the birds of the heavens had their habitation: 22 it is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong; for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth. 23 And whereas the king saw a watcher and a holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew down the tree, and destroy it; nevertheless leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field, and let it be wet with the dew of heaven: and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him; 24 this is the interpretation, O king, and it is the decree of the Most High, which is come upon my lord the king: 25 that thou shalt be driven from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and thou shalt be made to eat grass as oxen, and shalt be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee; till thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. 26 And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule. 27 Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if there may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity. 28 All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of twelve months he was walking in the royal palace of Babylon. 30 The king spake and said, Is not this great Babylon, which I have built for the royal dwelling-place, by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty? 31 While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, `saying', O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken: The kingdom is departed from thee: 32 and thou shalt be driven from men; and they dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field; thou shalt be made to eat grass as oxen; and seven times shall pass over thee; until thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. 33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hair was grown like eagles' `feathers', and his nails like birds' `claws'. 34 And at the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth for ever; for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom from generation to generation. 35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? 36 At the same time mine understanding returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent greatness was added unto me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven; for all his works are truth, and his ways justice; and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. , the story of a powerful man who did not give God the glory. What characterized Nebuchadnezzar in verses 30 and 37?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

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Attaining Spiritual Stability

Published by Grace To You for reading on February 27th.
"Strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience" (Col. 1:11).

God always empowers you to do what He commands you to do.

An alarming number of Christians seem to lack spiritual stability. Many are "carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming" (Eph. 4:14). Others lack moral purity. Many are driven by their emotions rather than sound thinking. Increasingly, therapists and psychologists are replacing pastors and biblical teachers as the heroes of the faith. While we still proclaim a sovereign, all- powerful God, our conduct often belies our creed.

Despite our inconsistences, the power for spiritual stability is ours in Christ as we allow the knowledge of His will to control our lives. Paul describes the working of that power in Colossians 1:11 11 strengthened with all power, according to the might of his glory, unto all patience and longsuffering with joy; . There the Greek words translated "strengthened" and "power" speak of inherent power that gives one the ability to do something.

The phrase "according to" indicates that the power for spiritual stability is proportional to God's abundant supply—and it is inexhaustible! The literal Greek says you are being "empowered with all power according to the might of His glory." That thought is akin to Philippians 2:12-13 12 So then, my beloved, even as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure. , where Paul says that the power for working out your salvation comes from God, who is at work in you to will and to work for His good pleasure.

In Colossians 1:11 11 strengthened with all power, according to the might of his glory, unto all patience and longsuffering with joy; the result of God's enabling is "the attaining of all steadfastness and patience." "Steadfastness" speaks of endurance regarding people; "patience" speaks of endurance regarding things or circumstances. When you are steadfast and patient, you are spiritually stable. Your responses are biblical, thoughtful, and calculated; not worldly, emotional, or uncontrolled. You bear up under trials because you understand God's purposes and trust His promises.

Paul said, "Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might" (Eph. 6:10). That is possible when you trust God and rely on the infinite power that is yours in Christ.

Suggestions for Prayer

Perhaps you know someone who is struggling with spiritual instability. Pray for him or her and ask God to use you as a source of encouragement.

For Further Study

Psalms 18 Chapter 18 1 I love thee, O Jehovah, my strength. 2 Jehovah is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; My God, my rock, in whom I will take refuge; My shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower. 3 I will call upon Jehovah, who is worthy to be praised: So shall I be saved from mine enemies. 4 The cords of death compassed me, And the floods of ungodliness made me afraid. 5 The cords of Sheol were round about me; The snares of death came upon me. 6 In my distress I called upon Jehovah, And cried unto my God: He heard my voice out of his temple, And my cry before him came into his ears. 7 Then the earth shook and trembled; The foundations also of the mountains quaked And were shaken, because he was wroth. 8 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, And fire out of his mouth devoured: Coals were kindled by it. 9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down; And thick darkness was under his feet. 10 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly; Yea, he soared upon the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness his hiding-place, his pavilion round about him, Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies. 12 At the brightness before him his thick clouds passed, Hailstones and coals of fire. 13 Jehovah also thundered in the heavens, And the Most High uttered his voice, Hailstones and coals of fire. 14 And he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; Yea, lightnings manifold, and discomfited them. 15 Then the channels of waters appeared, And the foundations of the world were laid bare, At thy rebuke, O Jehovah, At the blast of the breath of thy nostrils. 16 He sent from on high, he took me; He drew me out of many waters. 17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, And from them that hated me; for they were too mighty for me. 18 They came upon me in the day of my calamity; But Jehovah was my stay. 19 He brought me forth also into a large place; He delivered me, because he delighted in me. 20 Jehovah hath rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. 21 For I have kept the ways of Jehovah, And have not wickedly departed from my God. 22 For all his ordinances were before me, And I put not away his statutes from me. 23 I was also perfect with him, And I kept myself from mine iniquity. 24 Therefore hath Jehovah recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight. 25 With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful; With the perfect man thou wilt show thyself perfect; 26 With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; And with the perverse thou wilt show thyself froward. 27 For thou wilt save the afflicted people; But the haughty eyes thou wilt bring down. 28 For thou wilt light my lamp: Jehovah my God will lighten my darkness. 29 For by thee I run upon a troop; And by my God do I leap over a wall. 30 As for God, his way is perfect: The word of Jehovah is tried; He is a shield unto all them that take refuge in him. 31 For who is God, save Jehovah? And who is a rock, besides our God, 32 The God that girdeth me with strength, And maketh my way perfect? 33 He maketh my feet like hinds' `feet': And setteth me upon my high places. 34 He teacheth my hands to war; So that mine arms do bend a bow of brass. 35 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation; And thy right hand hath holden me up, And thy gentleness hath made me great. 36 Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, And my feet have not slipped. 37 I will pursue mine enemies, and overtake them; Neither will I turn again till they are consumed. 38 I will smite them through, so that they shall not be able to rise: They shall fall under my feet. 39 For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: Thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. 40 Thou hast also made mine enemies turn their backs unto me, That I might cut off them that hate me. 41 They cried, but there was none to save; Even unto Jehovah, but he answered them not. 42 Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind; I did cast them out as the mire of the streets. 43 Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; Thou hast made me the head of the nations: A people whom I have not known shall serve me. 44 As soon as they hear of me they shall obey me; The foreigners shall submit themselves unto me. 45 The foreigners shall fade away, And shall come trembling out of their close places. 46 Jehovah liveth; and blessed be my rock; And exalted be the God of my salvation, 47 Even the God that executeth vengeance for me, And subdueth peoples under me. 48 He rescueth me from mine enemies; Yea, thou liftest me up above them that rise up against me; Thou deliverest me from the violent man. 49 Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O Jehovah, among the nations, And will sing praises unto thy name. 50 Great deliverance giveth he to his king, And showeth lovingkindness to his anointed, To David and to his seed, for evermore. Psalm 19 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. is a psalm of victory that David wrote after God delivered him from Saul. Read it, then answer these questions:

  • What characteristics of God did David mention?
  • How might those characteristics apply to situations you are facing?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

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Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for February 27th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on February 27th.

Psalms 91:9 9 For thou, O Jehovah, art my refuge! Thou hast made the Most High thy habitation;

THE Israelites in the wilderness were continually exposed to change. Whenever the pillar stayed its motion, the tents were pitched; but tomorrow, ere the morning sun had risen, the trumpet sounded, the ark was in motion, and the fiery, cloudy pillar was leading the way through the narrow defiles of the mountain, up the hillside, or along the arid waste of the wilderness. They had scarcely time to rest a little before they heard the sound of "Away! this is not your rest; you must still be onward journeying towards Canaan!" They were never long in one place. Even wells and palm trees could not detain them. Yet they had an abiding home in their God, His cloudy pillar was their roof-tree, and its flame by night their household fire. They must go onward from place to place, continually changing, never having time to settle, and to say, "Now we are secure; in this place we shall dwell." "Yet," says Moses, "though we are always changing, Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place throughout all generations." The Christian knows no change with regard to God. He may be rich to-day and poor to-morrow; he may be sickly to-day and well to-morrow; he may be in happiness to-day, to-morrow he may be distressed—but there is no change with regard to his relationship to God. If He loved me yesterday, He loves me to-day. My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord. Let prospects be blighted; let hopes be blasted; let joy be withered; let mildews destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is "my strong habitation whereunto I can continually resort." I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet habitation.

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for February 27th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on February 27th.

Micah 5:2 2 But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.

THE Lord Jesus had goings forth for His people as their representative before the throne, long before they appeared upon the stage of time. It was "from everlasting" that He signed the compact with His Father, that He would pay blood for blood, suffering for suffering, agony for agony, and death for death, in the behalf of His people; it was "from everlasting" that He gave Himself up without a murmuring word. That from the crown of His head to the sole of His foot He might sweat great drops of blood, that He might be spit upon, pierced, mocked, rent asunder, and crushed beneath the pains of death. His goings forth as our Surety were from everlasting. Pause, my soul, and wonder! Thou hast goings forth in the person of Jesus "from everlasting." Not only when thou wast born into the world did Christ love thee, but His delights were with the sons of men before there were any sons of men. Often did He think of them; from everlasting to everlasting He had set His affection upon them. What! my soul, has He been so long about thy salvation, and will not He accomplish it? Has he from everlasting been going forth to save me, and will He lose me now? What! has He carried me in His hand, as His precious jewel, and will He now let me slip from between His fingers? Did he choose me before the mountains were brought forth, or the channels of the deep were digged, and will He reject me now? Impossible! I am sure He would not have loved me so long if He had not been a changeless Lover. If He could grow weary of me, He would have been tired of me long before now. If He had not loved me with a love as deep as hell, and as strong as death, He would have turned from me long ago. Oh, joy above all joys, to know that I am His everlasting and inalienable inheritance, given to Him by His Father or ever the earth was! Everlasting love shall be the pillow for my head this night.

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