Mark 10 (Read Here)
Mark 11 (Read Here)
Mark 12 (Read Here)
Mark 13:1 – 27 (Read Here)
Mark 13:28 – 14:25 (Read Here)
Authority. Power. Kindness. Unwavering truth. Jesus.
After reading this week’s passages, we have journeyed with Jesus as He made His way to Jerusalem. Each parable, conversation, and miracle Jesus shared with the people of His day expressed the wonder, might, and heart of the Father. Jesus was so intentional about where He would spend His last days on the earth and with whom He would make Himself known. He corrected the indignant and patiently taught those who had a desire to listen and understand His words. From arrogant teachers of religious law to small, innocent children, Jesus did not refrain from asserting His authority–His authority that caused earthly rulers to writhe with envy, a blind man to recognize Him as the Messiah, and a woman, perhaps overlooked in society, to come and anoint Him with her praise. Yes, Jesus, the one whose words brought a flourishing tree to demise and brought forth a promise to bring His broken body to abundant life! (Ch. 11:12-14; Ch. 10:34).
It is the wrestle of humanity to assert our own assumed authority, but only the words of the Lord Jesus outlast the test of time. Only He holds the highest place of honor, seated next to the Father. The imagery that Jesus paints with His answer to the Pharisees (as they presented Him with the question of divorce) offers such comfort: “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Ch. 10:9). If we join ourselves with Jesus in humble reverence and devotion, He promises us a life of purpose, fruitfulness, and unending love. However, joining ourselves with Jesus means disjoining ourselves from the things that have no place in our future–for He requires all of our hearts and all of our trust.
The account of Jesus’ encounter with Bartimaeus so vibrantly depicts the kind of relationship Jesus came for us to pursue with Him. Blind Bartimaeus (Ch. 10:46-52) knew who Jesus was, he loved Him with His whole heart, and believed in His power. He recognized Him as the Messiah, calling to Him, “Jesus, Son of David,” and “Rabbi.” Bartimaeus saw Jesus with His spiritual eyes–he was watchful and waiting for the coming of the Savior, and, though he was blind, he did not miss the Messiah as He walked by. The Lord blessed Him richly for His faith. What a tragedy that the teachers of religious law spent their whole lives proclaiming the Messianic prophecies of old, yet their hearts were hardened with self-pride. They not only missed the Savior…but they accused and blasphemed Him. This realization presents us with a moment of self-reflection: What is the posture of my heart? What is the measure of my faith? It is our choice whether we will seek to both know the Scriptures and know the power of God, or rely on our own understanding.
Jesus is so personal. It is one thing to know who Jesus is, but it is another thing altogether to know Him closely. The stories that fill chapters 10-14 are remarkable and eternally significant. They guide us to remembrance of the promise we have of a future with Him. All we must do is stay close to our Rabbi, and seek to discover His heart for us. We must set out to know the Scriptures, recognize His power, and “be on guard” (Ch. 13:23)–for the One who last enjoyed a meal with His beloved friends has since prepared a table for us. Jesus, and only Jesus, made a way for us to know Him intimately. He offers us the keys to the Kingdom, and though it is a place we do not deserve, we would be so foolish to deny ourselves a reception with Him. He is our messiah, just as He was for the woman of Bethany who poured out her finest possession on
Him; just as He was the vision of Bartimaeus; just as He was the gentle, blessing giver to the little children. We are invited and welcome to approach Jesus with extravagant worship and He not only receives us, but He makes us brand new. He who calls you by name is faithful.
So, I challenge you to give up everything that has power to keep you from giving into His wondrous invitation–the invitation to healing, wisdom, freedom, and friendship with the only one who has power great enough and love deep enough to join us with our Maker. “Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God” (Ch. 14:25). Let this be our desire–to not settle for old wine, old ways of living. Let us crave after the rich, sweet, indulgent gift we have in knowing Him. And, one day, we will see our Messiah and bask in the awesome miracle He crafted for all who would love Him in return. Hallelujah (“God be praised”).