Exodus 39:1-40:38 ~ Mark 1:1-28 ~ Psalm 35:1-16 ~ Proverbs 9:11-12
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Big reading day today! We wrap up the book of Exodus and begin the Gospel of Mark! Below is an amazing piece of art by Pat Marvenko Smith for the very last verse of the book of Exodus, chapter 40 verse 38: "So the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels."
To order prints visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site.
Old Testament - Today is the final day of readings from Exodus. I hope that your reading this past month about the Israelites Exodus from Egypt and their emergence as a nation under Moses' leadership has been a good learning experience for you? It has been for me - thanks in large measure to the wonderful Comments everyone is posting up each day! Thanks everyone. More than anything - I hope that reading about God's interactions with His covenant people in Egypt, the plagues, the Red Sea, the manna from heaven, the Ten Commandments, and the plans for the Tabernacle has expanded your understanding of who God is and God's story? If anyone wants to reflect back on what may have been an interesting learning for you in Exodus this year, please do post up in the Comments section below.
Personally, a couple of learnings for me this year from Exodus that I will share are these - 1. Moses' leadership really stood out to me this year as I read through Exodus. And it was interesting to me that his leadership grew over time. Early on in Exodus Moses was saying to God to "please don't choose me to free the Israelites from Egypt - pick someone else" and then by the end of the book Moses has gained enough faith to fast for 40 days on Mt. Sinai and enough confidence to ask God to "show me your glory." I think we can see in Moses how God can transform a person's life completely - and how God can transform our lives completely - if that person enters into a responsive, faithful, loving and obedient relationship with God. Point #2 of my learnings this year - my interest and knowledge in some of the intricacies of the tabernacle has grown, which has been wonderful. Bible.org's commentary on Exodus chapter 40 titled "The Consecration of the Tabernacle and the Presence of God" is at this link.
New Testament - Yesterday I didn't really get a chance to post up my closing reflections on the Gospel of Matthew this year. I think the main thing that really stood out to me in the Gospel of Matthew readings this year was how powerfully truthful and insightful Jesus' teachings are in the parables. Some of the parables really took on new life & meaning for me this year as I read through Matthew. It is such an amazing thing - every time I read the Bible - or re-read portions of the Bible I should say - I gain some new insight that I never saw before. I hope that has been the case for you as you read through Matthew this year? Please feel free to post up any closing reflections on your reading of the book of Matthew in the Comments below if you'd like. And today we begin the Gospel of Mark!
Date: A.D. 60-65
Content: John Mark was a companion of the apostle Paul. He finally settled in Rome where he wrote down the remembrances of the apostle Peter. Thus Mark’s Gospel reflects the words of an eyewitness of the events he describes. Mark’s purpose was to put together an expanded Gospel message. Hence it centers upon the acts of Jesus rather than his words and devotes a disproportionately large amount of material to the last week of Jesus’ life. Mark’s Gospel begins with Jesus’ public ministry and preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Several explicit predictions of his coming death are made (Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34, 45) and then Jesus goes to the cross to die for the sins of the world.
Theme: Mark depicts Jesus as the Servant of God who came to do God’s will. The miracles, healings, victory over demons, and personal power show the world that Jesus was no ordinary servant, but was truly the Son of God (Mark 15:39). Jesus’ resurrection authenticated all that he did, and now we await his return in glory from heaven. Mark also wrote to encourage the Roman Christians in a time of persecution. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” pages 21-22) Excellent commentary on the Gospel of Mark is at this link.
You'll notice in Mark chapter 1 today that there is no nativity narrative - Mark and John's Gospels do not have the nativity narrative. Verse 1 starts off powerfully with: "Here begins the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God." (Good News = Gospel. Gospel comes from the Old English word godspel, which means "good story" or "good tidings" or "good news" and accurately translates the original Greek word: evangelion.) And what is the Good News? It is that God has provided salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is very Good News indeed!
I know I mentioned this when we read through the Baptism narrative in Matthew, but I think this is so powerful, that I want to mention it again. All three persons of the Trinity are involved in Jesus' Baptism - 1. the Father speaks 2. the Son is Baptized 3. the Holy Spirit descends on the Son. Verses 10 & 11: "And when Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens split open and the Holy Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven saying, "You are my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with you."" Per Tyndale's commentary today, Jesus was baptized 1. to begin his mission to bring the message of salvation to all people; 2. to show support for John's ministry; 3. to identify with our humanness and sin; 4. to give us an example to follow.
Psalms - Per the NIV Study Bible, Psalm 35 today is an appeal to the heavenly King, as divine Warrior and Judge, to come to the defense of his servant David who is being maliciously slandered by those toward whom he had shown only the most tender friendship. I like verse 10 a lot: "I will praise him from the bottom of my heart: "LORD, who can compare with you? Who else rescues the weak and helpless from the strong? Who else protects the poor and needy from those who want to rob them?"" Have you recently praised God from the bottom of your heart? Do you think that anyone/anything compares with God? Do you believe that God has rescued you and protected you? Perhaps many times when you have not even realized it? I think about this on occasion. It is my hunch that God literally rescues us and protects us dozens if not hundreds if not thousands of times each and every day. And I think we typically miss it.... If we knew it, I am sure we would be praising Him from the bottom of our heart very frequently!
Proverbs - Today we read in Proverbs chapter 9 verse 12: "If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer." This is one of the simplest and yet wisest verses that has jumped out at me in a long time! Do you believe this Proverb to be true? How about if we go one step beyond this Proverb – If we become wise, will it also benefit others around us? Maybe based on how we will live our lives? And conversely, if we don't acquire wisdom would it be fair to say that others around us may suffer? Could it be that gaining wisdom is both a self-giving and self-less pursuit all at the same time?
Worship God: As we are beginning the Gospel of Mark today, it seems like a great time to share with you this video called "Just Give Me Jesus" by Anne Graham Lotz. Powerful!
Do you just want Jesus? Click here to "just give me Jesus"!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture this week: "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10 NIV
Comments from you & Question of the Day: What are some things about the book of Exodus, which we are wrapping up today, or the Gospel of Matthew that we wrapped up yesterday, that stood out to you this year? What new thing did you learn about God and his people in Exodus this year? What new thing did you learn about Jesus and his teachings in Matthew this year? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
Love, Trust, and Obey Jesus,