~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Leviticus 25:47-27:13 ~ Mark 10:32-52
Psalm 45:1-17 ~ Proverbs 10:22
Old Testament - Today in Leviticus chapter 25 we finish up reading about the Year of Jubilee. I don't know what it is about the Year of Jubilee, but for some reason I really like the concept of it! I actually read a commentary that said there is no evidence that the Year of Jubilee was actually ever carried out, which made me a bit sad. However, that same commentary suggested that the Year of Jubilee was ultimately fulfilled through the life of Jesus, as Jesus himself quotes this very Year-of-Jubilee-ic :) sounding verse from Isaiah in Luke chapter 4 verse 18 - 21. "“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.” Then Jesus rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”" Whaddya think? Think the concept of the Year of Jubilee was indeed fulfilled in the life of Jesus? I do. And we don't need to count down 50 years from now until the next Year of Jubilee. The Year of Jubilee is available to each of one of us today. I came across this beautiful piece of artwork below called "Year of Jubilee" - see anything in this artwork that might be pointing toward Jesus?
Leviticus chapter 26 is a great look at the blessings of obedience and punishments for disobedience. As I read through the punishments for disobedience my mind instantly went to where, later in the Bible, Israel would indeed walk down the path of disobedience - and ultimately be punished with the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile into Babylon. For those going through the One Year Bible for more than the first time, I am sure you probably recognized this as well. What is interesting to keep in mind that these words of God were written by Moses nearly 1,000 years before the Babylonian exile. This reminded me again of how powerful God's Word truly is - and how true it really is. And it reminded me that even in our modern times, the Bible is still truth, and the teachings of Jesus are still relevant now 2,000 years later... Truth is truth. We may be inconsistent, but God is not.
Verses 44 & 45 in this chapter stood out to me as a reminder that even though God punishes disobedience, he leaves room for repentance and he allows for a remnant to carry on the covenant - ""But despite all this, I will not utterly reject or despise them while they are in exile in the land of their enemies. I will not cancel my covenant with them by wiping them out. I, the LORD, am their God. I will remember my ancient covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of Egypt while all the nations watched. I, the LORD, am their God."
And verses 12 & 13 in this chapter are awesome - "I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people. I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you from the land of Egypt so you would no longer be slaves. I have lifted the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk free with your heads held high." Do you believe that God walks among us today? Is God your God? And are you His? Has the yoke of slavery from sin been lifted from your neck? Are you walking free today with your head held high?
New Testament - In Mark chapter 10 verse 33 today we read Jesus' third and last prediction of his death to the disciples in Mark's Gospel. You'll note the two previous predictions are at Mark 8:31 & 9:31. Crucifixion is not explicitly stated by Jesus in this verse, but it is implied in that he states he will be handed over to the Romans. The Romans in this era killed non-Romans via crucifixion.
Verse 45 I think is such an important verse in the Bible for us to really meditate upon and understand, as this verse summarizes Jesus' ministry and purpose so succinctly and powerfully - "For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many." Jesus was not your typical "King - who lords it over the people beneath him". He did not come to be served. But to serve. And he gave his life as a ransom for our sins. Via crucifixion. For some reason in this Lenten / pre-Easter season I am thinking more and more about Jesus' Passion and what he did for each of us on the cross. It's really really humbling to think about. But so good I think for each of us to reflect upon the ransom that was paid for us by Jesus. The Suffering Servant. The King. The Savior of the World.
In today's readings we read about Jesus healing Bartimaeus, who was blind. You'll notice that Bartimaeus seems to have a very "expectant faith." He expects that Jesus will heal him. But, it's not expectation alone that demonstrates his faith in Jesus - Bartimaeus verbalizes that Jesus is the Messiah, when he calls him "Son of David!" in verse 48. It was known that the Messiah would be a descendant of King David, and Bartimaeus clearly believed. Is there anything today you can learn from Bartimaeus and his expectant faith?
Psalms - Psalm 45 is very likely a song of praise to King David on his wedding day. Interestingly, after the Babylonian exile, this Psalm was applied to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the promised Son of David. I can see how some verses in this Psalm could apply to both the current king of the day and the true king yet to come. Verse 7 is a good example - "You love what is right and hate what is wrong. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else." Below is Mary's (Martha's sister) anointing of Jesus from the Gospel of John chapter 12 verses 1-8.
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 10 verse 22 is short but powerful! "The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it." I love that thought - we should have no sorrow over the blessings God gives! God does not add the sorrow. We might... but, with God's blessings should come joy and thanksgiving and praise! What are 3 things in your life today that God has blessed you with? Will you be joyful in these blessings, and thank and praise God for them?
Comments from You & Question of the Day - I know that many folks participate in the season of Lent, which began yesterday - and I know that many folks don't. :) If you are participating in Lent, what are you giving up or taking up? (if you're comfortable sharing) If you don't participate in Lent, what do you do prior to Easter to meditate upon Jesus' passion, death and resurrection? Do you attend Passion Plays, do Passover meals, etc.? I'm just curious to hear about any spiritual practices or traditions folks participate in prior to Easter? (as we get close to Easter on April 16 I'll ask how you celebrate that day - I'd love to hear about that as well.) Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!