Leviticus 25:47-27:13 ~ Mark 10:32-52 ~ Psalm 45:1-17 ~ Proverbs 10:22
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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 verses 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. Are you walking in the path of obedience in your relationship with God? Are you walking in Truth?
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 with 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 take a moment to be joyful in these blessings, and thank and praise God for them?
Worship God: Today's readings in Mark reminded me of the fantastic song "Wonderful Cross." Here's that song sung by Michael W. Smith set to some great images:
Do you think the Cross is wonderful? Click here for Wonder!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture this week: "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." John 15:4 NIV
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
Hi, the year of Jubilee in Lev. today reminded me of God's awesome power and glory and Jesus ministry in the song, "out of Zion", Behold he comes riding on a cloud, shining like the sun as the trumpets calls, lift your voice, its the Day of Jubilee, out of Zion's hill, salvation comes! It is here for the taking if any will come humbly to the throne. Praise God for his Mercy and restitution of all souls. God bless you Mike in all you do in your ministry and for this blog, it is reaching souls and changing lives daily!
Posted by: Dee | March 02, 2009 at 04:08 AM
Actually, the song is Days of Elijah. What a happy song it is. Reminds me of this as well.
Posted by: Robert W | March 02, 2009 at 07:13 AM
I love the thought of Jubilee as well--the idea of starting fresh and starting others fresh...recognizing that the land (really everything) is the Lord's...good concepts to dwell upon and certainly fulfilled in Christ.
My husband (Briggs--you'll see him post occasionally) had time for Bob Deffinbaugh's commentary on the year of Jubilee this morning and really enjoyed it. We are both turning into Deffinbaugh groupies! ; )
One general theme impressed me from today's reading: our condition, i.e., our "state of the union" if you will--is entirely dependent upon Him and not upon our outward circumstances. This is how rich people can be miserably poor, how people can be surrounded by strong walls, yet tremble in fear inwardly. Our outward condition is but one piece of a much bigger equation. It is God who makes the difference. Thus we get verses like this (reflecting the negative)
"And as for those of you who are left, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies. The sound of a driven leaf shall put them to flight, and they shall flee as one flees from the sword, and they shall fall when none pursues." Leviticus 26:36
or like this: (reflecting the positive)
"I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid." -Leviticus 26:6
For me this also ties into the idea of Proverbs 10:22
"The blessing of the LORD makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it." Proverbs 10:22
It is His divine hand over our lives that makes the difference...not any efforts to secure riches, safety or peace by our own hands or the hands of others.
Posted by: Elizabeth | March 02, 2009 at 08:23 AM
Reading through the passages the last few days I noticed God's commands regarding slavery. I wonder why he allowed slavery after he freed them from the Egyptians. Surely he knows how they were treated. Why would he allow it?
Posted by: Richard | March 02, 2009 at 10:33 AM
'Prediction' is a good word to use, as it relates to the prophetic aspect of Jesus informing his disciples that He would be betrayed to religious authorities, who would condemn Him to death, and then given to Gentiles to be abused and killed.(Mark 10:33,34)
After considering how much control Christ had over the situation, whereas He had the power to call the crucifixion off at any moment - though not to imply that He ever would have. Just to note that He had that authority; He is the King. Can that relate to His obedience?(Philippians 2:8)
Jesus was walking so straight, and loving us so much - what He faced must have been so clear in His mind. Jesus foretelling His death was an 'announcement'; "He must be killed and after three days rise again."(Mark 8:31)
Just as it was first foretold in the Old Testament, it was necessary that Christ should intervene for the purpose of saving men - the cross being His destination, and salvation being His purpose. Christ was to suffer, die on the cross, rise from the dead and ascend to heaven - which He did!
This was a message more important than the all of the front page headlines combined - that quickly turn yellow. Even more important than John the Baptist shouting "Behold the Lamb of God!" Little did they understand at the time, that announcement by Christ - the son of man was going to Jerusalem, then to suffer, die and rise again - would be one of the greatest announcements ever heard by men.
Posted by: Nik | March 02, 2009 at 09:10 PM
Michael Card has a beautiful song called "Jubilee". Unfortunately an internet search shows a different song connected to the title. If you can get a copy of the Scribbling in the Sand CD by Michael Card, it is worth it just for this song!
Posted by: Nancy DeValve | March 11, 2009 at 10:15 PM