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BIBLE STUDIES

A couple of years ago I began developing a series of lessons on the gospel of Mark. I have included those study notes here.  I did a Bible study through the mail with Sharon, a friend in Florida. Visit her website to find topical studies and studies of books of the Biible

 https://www.momsbiblejournal.com/ 

Gospel of Mark

Bible Studies

 Lesson 1

When you compare the beginning of the Gospel of Mark to the other gospels of Matthew, Luke,and John, you find that Mark's gospel starts at a different place.  It starts with Jesus being about 30 years old (Luke 3:21-23),and His baptism with the Holy Spirit at the start of His ministry.  It doesn't start at His birth,as Matthew and Luke do.  It doesn't give His history and credentials ,as John's gospel does.  The Holy Spirit, Who directed Mark in what to write, was the One Who determined that Mark's gospel would start with the coming of  John the Baptist, announcing  the advent of the Messiah's ministry.


Principle:  The Holy Spirit will direct your steps every day ( Proverbs 3:5-7), if you ask Him to do so.   There's nothing better than to know that God is with you.  He promises to lead you.  Begin to lean on Him , ask Him for His wisdom, His words, His thoughts on any subject .  He will help you,because He loves you.

Lesson 2-Gospel of Mark


Each of the  gospels of Jesus Christ  picture Him in a different way.  The gospel of Matthew emphasizes His kingship: Christ the King  It gives His official line of ancestry  and tells of the King's birth.  Remember how in chapter 2, the wisemen come to Jerusalem ,asking "Where is He that is born King of  the Jews?"   Even Pilate wrote "This is Jesus The King of the Jews"  over the top of the cross of Jesus (Mt.27:37)  At the very end of Matthew, we see Jesus,after His resurrection,has been given all power in heaven and in earth.  That makes Him King  of all created beings and things.


The gospel of Mark pictures Christ as the Servant. He is shown as the mighty Servant of God.  That's one of the reasons Mark's gospel starts out at the beginning  of Jesus' ministry ,rather than His birth.  He spoke of this servant role when He said in 10:45 "The Son of man  didn't come to be ministered to (served), but to minister (serve.)  Therefore, in Mark's writings,we see more emphasis on  the Lord's deeds, than His  words.  (Matthew and John emphasize  His teachings.)  


Luke's gospel shows Christ the long-awaited Messiah as the Son of Man.  It gives His true lineage through Mary's genealogy (ch.3)  In it we see more of the human side of Christ,  more details of  the events surrounding His birth (ch 1-2), His desire,even as a 12 year old, to do His Father's work.  He knew why He was here on earth, but notice He didn't fall into the trap of running ahead of His Father's timing to start His ministry.  He waited until the Father gave Him the ok to start.  Since that didn't happen until He was nearly 30, He had to wait 18 years.  Luke 2:40 and 51-52 describe His childhood

    "And the child grew and became strong in spirit,filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him...He was subject unto His parents(v 51) and He increased in wisdom (God's principles used to live your daily life)  and stature  (physically)  and He grew in favor with God (spiritual growth) and in favor with man (social development)."             


John's gospel emphasizes Christ the Messiah as the Son of God , His Deity, how we need to receive the eternal life He came to offer us (John 3:16).


So,back to Mark's gospel, since the Holy Spirit had Mark to emphasize Jesus' servanthood, that's what we'll try to look for as we go through this book.


Principle:  If Jesus ,though God in flesh (John 1:14) , was willing to be as a Servant here while He was  on earth,  we should have that same attitude.  When I first learned this,  I started asking for the Lord to show me opportunities to be a servant like Jesus,and He did.





Lesson 3:The Gospel of Mark 

E-mail me if you tried to put the last lesson into practice by being a servant in some way.

I did, by volunteering to help at the church this week.



Mark 1:1 starts out “the beginning  of the gospel of Jesus Christ,the Son of God;”

The word”gospel” means “good tidings “ , used in Luke 2:10 by the angels when they announced the birth of the Messiah.  We'd say “good news”.  The birth of the long-awaited Savior of the world was good news-great news!


This verse then says,”The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;”

Now let's look at the different names and titles in this verse.  First,” Jesus “.   This name was chosen  by God His Father.   “Jesus” means “He shall save His people from their sins.” (Matt.1:21)  This special name  was revealed by an angel to the virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-31) and later, to Joseph, who would be Jesus' guardian.  (Matt.1:20-21)  They was obedient to God and named  God's Son, Jesus, when the Baby was born months later in Bethlehem. So "Jesus" means "Savior".

Jesus had another name:Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” 

This name was foretold in the Old Testament , many hundreds of years before Jesus was born. (Isaiah 7:14)  The gospel of John starts out with that theme, "God with us." God the Word ,as He was known in heaven (John1:1,14) came to Earth and became flesh,that is, became the Man called Jesus..  So, Jesus was God with us.


The word “Christ”  means “anointed One”.    In the Greek language, it is “Messiah”.  So we see that the verse in Mark 1:1 reads,”The beginning of the good news of Jesus,the Savior, the Anointed Messiah, the Son of God.”


          Did you know that there are several references to the Son of God in the Old Testament.  God stated in the OT scriptures that He had a Son.  Look at the following 3 scriptures from the Old Testament.Read  each one several times.

 What does each verse tell you about the Son of God?

Psalm 2:12


12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, 

And you perish in the way, 

When His wrath is kindled but a little. 

Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.


Proverbs 30:4


Who has ascended into heaven, or descended? 

Who has gathered the wind in His fists? 

Who has bound the waters in a garment? 

Who has established all the ends of the earth? 

What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, 

If you know?


Isaiah 9:6-7


6 For unto us a Child is born, 

Unto us a Son is given; 

And the government will be upon His shoulder. 

And His name will be called 

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, 

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the increase of His government and peace 

There will be no end, 

Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, 

To order it and establish it with judgment and justice 

From that time forward, even forever. 

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.


Principle:   Since Jesus Christ is the Son of God,  God's anointed One and our Savior, He is the One we should trust,study and follow.  You trust Jesus by believing what He says and doing what He says.  You are studying Him,by means of this Bible study . To follow Him, every morning ask the Lord to direct your steps to walk His ways.  Ask Him to direct your words, so that your words honor Him. Look up Psalm 25:4.  Memorize it and then pray it to God.





Review

I'm going to review the last question I asked in lesson 3 from last week. I gave you 3 verses to look at and to determine what they told us about the Son of God. They were all verses from the Old Testament and were written hundreds of years before the Lord Jesus was born. Yet they told information about Him. 

Proverbs 30:4 

4  Who has ascended into heaven, or descended? 

Who has gathered the wind in His fists? 

Who has bound the waters in a garment? 

Who has established all the ends of the earth? 

What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, 

If you know?

This verse shows God has a Son. (In John 1:1 and 14 ,and also Rev 19 :13, we learn His heavenly name was The Word.)

Isaiah9:6-7

6  For unto us a Child is born, 

Unto us a Son is given; 

And the government will be upon His shoulder. 

And His name will be called 

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, 

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7  Of the increase of His government and peace 

There will be no end, 

Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, 

To order it and establish it with judgment and justice 

From that time forward, even forever. 

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

These verses reveal God has a Son, Who would come to Earth to be born as a Child. He would have a number of titles, Wonderful Counsellor, mighty God, everlasting Father and Prince of peace. Verse 7 shows that God's Son would be a Ruler one day and that when He becomes King , He will rule forever."The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform it" means God of all the heavenly angels will see that this happens.

Principle: Since Jesus is the wonderful Counsellor, He has the wisdom to help us with any problem we bring to Him. Since He is the mighty God, He has the power to help us. Since He is the our Father, He loves us and wants to help us. Since Jesus is the Prince of peace, He can give us the peace we need, if we will trust Him with our problems.


I left out the 3rd verse :Ps2:12 

2  Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, 

And you perish in the way, 

When His wrath is kindled but a little. 

Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

This verse and the other verses in Psalm 2 show that the Son of God is important, the King. He is to be honored and revered. It implies He is powerful and is in a position to judge people's behavior toward Him. Yet it also says that those who put their trust in Him are very blessed.



Lesson 3.5


Mark 1:2 "As it is written in the prophets..." 

"As it is written" ...How would we ever know very much about God and His wonderful Son, Jesus, if He hadn't had His Words written down for us? He chose over 40 different people to write 66 books, containing just what He told them to write. He even had the printing press invented, so that you and I could have our own copies of the Bible to study. 

"As it is written in the prophets..." 

The Old Testament of the Bible is full of God's statements that revealed what would happen in the future.Those messages were called prophecies. People, like Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel, were God's messengers and were called prophets. Sometimes the messages contained encouragement, sometimes warnings and sometimes information about future things. 

The Old Testament is full of prophetic hints as to the coming of the Messiah,Jesus. I have recently been studying those clues. God wanted the people to be able to recognize the Messiah, when He appeared. Mark 1:2 is a quote from the prophet Isaiah, giving a clue as to a messenger who would announce the Messiah was coming soon. As we read in later verses, this messenger was known as John (verse4) and from Matt 3:1-3, we see that he was called John the Baptist, because of his practice of baptizing those who repented and confessed their sins (Mark 1:4-5). 

I want you to read the following 2 verses and compare what they say. 

Mark 1:2 2As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Who is speaking ? To Whom is He speaking? About whom is He speaking?

 Malachi 3:1Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: Who is speaking? To whom is He speaking? About whom is He speaking?

In the first verse,Mark 1:2, God the Father is speaking to God the Son. He is speaking about John the Baptist.

In the second verse from Malachi 3:1, God the Son is speaking to the prophet Malachi about John the Baptist.

Both God the Father andGod the Son say that They will send a messenger.They always act in harmony and in unity. The Father authorizes the plan of sending the messenger and the Son of God carries out the plan. You can see this same principle,called the chain of authority , operating in the sending of the Holy Spirit to earth . The Father authorizes it and Jesus carries out the plan. Read John 14:26 and John 15:26 In the first one, the Father sends... in the second one, the Son sends... 

Principle: Jesus always did the will of His Father. He said,"I delight to do Your will, O God." (Psalm 40:8) That's what our attitude should be,too.


Lesson 4-Gospel of Mark

Still on Mark 1:2   Who was John the Baptist and what do we know about him?  


   His parents, whose names were Zacharias and Elizabeth, were very old when  their son ,John, was born. ( Luke 1:7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.)  Through a miracle,  God gave them a son and told them to name him John.  You can read the whole story in Luke 1.  John  was raised in the desert wilderness,as he was growing up. ( Luke 1:80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.)  One day ,when John was about 30 years old, The Word of God came to him in the wilderness.  (Luke 3:2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. )


Evidently, God told John that he was the messenger chosen to announce the arrival of the long-awaited Messiah.  God gave John a message to preach and John obeyed.  

Luke 3:3And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; 

Luke 3:4-6 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; 6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. (The salvation of God mentioned in this verse refers to the Messiah.)


  Principle:  If God spoke to John, He can speak to you.  In fact, God speaks to us every day .  Hebrews 3:7 "Wherefore as the Holy Ghost says, Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts..." Ask Him to help you learn to hear Him and to follow Him .  In the gospel of John ,  Jesus said," My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." (John10:27)



Lesson 5

From the last lesson's application,did you ask God to help you hear His voice?  What God tells you will never contradict His Word, so that's why it's important for you to know the Word of God.  

The summary so far:  The good news, the gospel, was  that the Messiah was coming .  God told John the Baptist to start announcing it to everyone.  John did.  The people wanted the Messiah to come. Look at the repeated word in verses 2 and 3: "prepare". 

 2As it is written in the Prophets: 

“Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, 

Who will prepare Your way before You.”

3 “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 

‘Prepare the way of the Lord; 

Make His paths straight.’ ”  

In verse 2 , John is to prepare the way  of the Lord . In verse 3, the people are to prepare the way of the Lord .  John is the preacher crying in the wilderness,that is, proclaiming the message that God has given him. Yet the people have a responsibility ,too. How are they to get ready for the coming of the Lord?  Verse 4 tells what John preached.  Verse 5 tells  what the people had to do.

4John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.

Principle:  There seem to be  2 parts to bringing about good changes in our lives: God's part and our part.  God always does His part perfectly and without fail.  You can depend on Him to do all that is needed to help you, but you and I also have a part to do...a part that only we can do...and that is to prepare our hearts to respond to what God says and to obey Him.

In thinking about each of you , I'm reminded that ,although you each have different things to contend with in your lives,you are all being given the same  opportunity ... from what happens every day ...to learn the lessons and principles of God...trusting God, believing Him, developing a deeper relationship with Him, letting Him become the Lord of your thinking, your talking, your actions.  He knows you and loves you, and wants you to feel the same about Him. He's with you every day.

All for now, I pray blessings on you in every area of your life, Dixie

Lesson 6

John preached repentance for the remission of sins, some big words with some important meanings.  

     Repentance means "a turn about, a deliberate change of mind resulting in a change of direction in thought and behavior."  This" turn about" comes from a person realiizing and admitting that he or she has been wrong to try to live apart from God and in rebellion to God's principles and revealed Word.  

Repentance is required by God. It is an absolute "must".  No one can ever be a child of God, if he /she has not repented of their sins. Acts 26:20 Paul ,an apostle of the church , said that God had told him in a vision what to proclaim : I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20“but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. 


There are several ways that we are brought to repentance.  First, God wants us to repent of wrong doing and wrong thinking, just because He has been so good to us and because we are grateful for His goodness.   Romans 2:4 states:

 4Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? Hasn't the Lord been very good to you, in all that He has provided for you?  Think back over all the good things in your life.  God sent you those.   Have you thanked Him?  A famous song called The Doxology states "Praise God from Whom all blessings flow."

Principle:God wants us to open our spiritual eyes to see His goodness to us every day.  He gives us evidence of His grace all around us.  Just think of the beauty of the sky,flowers,trees and scenery.  He could have made it all gray and boring,but He didn't .  He wanted to bless us with beauty, 'cause He loves us.  

Let's ask God to open our spiritual eyes so that we may see His goodness all around us and in the good things that happen to us every day.  Then remember to thank Him for each blessing.  Repent of any thing that God shows you that shouldn't be in your life,speech or actions.

Next time, we'll look at the other ways a person might come to repentance.


Lesson 7

Last time,we said that there were several ways a person could be brought to repentance. Repentance of sins is a requirement to be in family and fellowship of God ,because sin separates us from God.


.  God would prefer that we come to Him and repent of our sinful ways, because we are grateful to Him for His wonderful goodness to us.  However,  some people ignore God's goodness or do not acknowledge God  as the Giver of all good things. They aren't thankful to God for the blessings He has given them. So, God tries another way to bring them to repentance.

The Word of God  can be used to bring us to repent. Sometimes God uses the method of preaching for this. Mt 12:41 41The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. John the Baptist preached the Word that God gave him and people repented as is seen in Mark 1:5.  Jesus preached and called for the people who heard Him to repent.  Matthew 4:17 " From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

One of the reasons we need to learn the Word of God is that it acts like a mirror, in that it  helps us see who we are and in what spiritual condition we are.  If we recognize that we have sinned, then we are to follow God's steps in I John 1:9 to remove that sin, once we repent (come into agreement with God that it is sin and turn from it completely--180 degree turn).   1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (Remember this verse because we'll come back to it in later lesson.  

 Principle: God has provided everything we need to be in right relationship with Him.  The Lord  doesn't want anything to be between Him and you.  He has done everything possible to show how He loves you and  He wants you to know that.  Ask Him to reveal to you what things in your daily life need repenting of, what attitudes and actions don't glorify Him or give a good testimony to others, what things need to be stopped in  your life.  Then start looking and listening for His answers.  He will reveal them to you.  

 Next time, we'll look at a 3rd way  that God uses to get us to repent of our sins , to repent of going away from Him,to repent of not honoring the One Who made us, and to repent of living our lives without consulting Him.

For now, my blessing :  May the God of hope fill you with His joy and peace, which comes from believing Him (Rom 15:13)  Love,Dixie


Lesson 8

This lesson is about the third way God leads a person to repentance. Sin separates a person from God.  God doesn't want us separated from Him.  He loves us  and wants us to be in His family.  In order to be adopted into His family, we must  first repent  of our sins. We've already seen in previous lessons that  the many blessings in our lives and the Word of God's instruction are reasons  for us to repent of sin  When a person won't repent of his sin ,even though he's experienced the goodness of God in his life and he has heard what the Word of God says  about the need for repenting, then God has no choice but to allow judgment and  correction  into a person's life,in order to bring them to sorrow about their sin, and to repent.

 2 Cor 7:10  I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner... 10For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted...  This sorrow is not meant to hurt the person, but to help him  humble himself, so that he will repent of his wrong doing, and of his independence from God .

Deut.8:2,3,11-16

 you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3“So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.

11“Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12“lest-when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13“and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14“when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15“who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; 16“who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end-

There's another  example of this in the account of a king named Mannasseh in 2Chronicles 33:11-13 ,  who heard the warning and word of God (verse 10) but who wouldn't repent.  Mannasseh had ignored and forgotten the goodness of God, and he had also ignored the message of God. Therefore, God brought His judgment  upon Mannasseh, not to harm him,but to humble him and to bring him back to a place where God could bless him.  

10And the Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not listen. 11Therefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze fetters, and carried him off to Babylon. 12Now when he was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, 13and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.

Principle: It's a whole lot easier to just get straight with God now by repenting of any sin and keep it that way every day,rather than to have to go through tough times unnecessarily.(By the way, people do go through some tough times in their lives as just a part of living on this planet and not necessarily because they personally have sinned. Sometimes the innocent are hurt by association with other people who are the ones in sin.)

 Lesson 9


Mark 1:4  As we saw from the last 3  lessons, John the Baptist preached about repentance and, as the people responded to God's message  by confessing their sins, John baptized them.

Principle:True repentance results in  obedience to God.


Why did John baptize people?     God had told him to do it.   

John 1:31,33  And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.  Verse 31 shows that John was told that the Messiah was going to be revealed to him and subsequently through him to Israel.  Verse 33 shows how God was going to reveal  the Messiah to John. 

Principle: Obedience to God is shown in what we do.

Mark 1:5 5Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins .  Notice that the people were baptized in the river.  The word "baptize"  means to dip or immerse.  Look at verse 10,which describes Jesus' baptism.  It states that He came up out of the water.

 In Acts 8:35-39, in another account of a man being baptized, we read that he went down into the water,and was baptized .  35Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” 37Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” 38So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.

 

 Baptism is now done in the church, not in the name of John the Baptist, but in the name of Jesus Christ,as was commanded in Matthew 28:19

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  It is still immersion,but it pictures what ,at the time of John, was still to come: the death, burial and resurrection of the Son of God.

Lesson 10

 What is the significance of the description of John's clothing and diet?

Mark 1:6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 

John the Baptist didn't have an easy life,yet what he did was very important work.  His clothing identified him as a prophet to the people who saw him, just like a police uniform  identifies a man or woman  as an officer of the law to us. 2 Kings 1:5-8 tells about the dress of a prophet:5And when the messengers returned to him, he said to them, “Why have you come back?” 6So they said to him, “A man came up to meet us, and said to us, ‘Go, return to the king who sent you, and say to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.’ " 7Then he said to them, “What kind of man was it who came up to meet you and told you these words?” 8So they answered him, “A hairy man wearing a leather belt around his waist.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.” (Elijah was a prophet, who told the king what God had said.)

Another passage in Zechariah 13:4 implies that prophets usually wore rough garments,rather than those of silk or linen,which rich people generally wore.4“And it shall be in that day that every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies; they will not wear a robe of coarse hair ... It may seem strange to you that John wore camel's hair for a garment, but today we wear cowhide in our leather jackets, belts and shoes and think nothing of it.  Frontier scouts of the old West wore buckskin shirts and pants made from deer leather. No one thought they were strange.

The camel's hair robe or coat  represented the prophet as a burden-bearer ,like the camel.  The prophet talked to God in behalf of the people. In return, God would give the prophet messages for the people.  John had the burden of turning the people toward God, and of getting them to see their need for repentance.  Sometimes that wasn't easy to do.  The wise ones listened to him and responded, the foolish ones turned away from God.

Principle 1: A person's appearance may be different from yours, yet he or she may be on a mission for God as  John was.  1 Samuel 16:7 reminds us that man looks on the outward appearance,but the LORD looks on the heart. We also need to look at character, not clothing.

  Principle 2: God probably will not call you to dress in camel's hair, but He does call you to dress modestly and appropriately for the activity.  That means: don't wear gym shorts to a formal dinner and don't wear an evening dress to a hayride.    

John's diet was different from most people's, although it was a common poor man's diet among those who lived in the desert.  If locusts refers to the grasshopper-like insects we know, they were a good source of protein.  They were usually salted and dried, and at times dipped in wild honey for a sweet treat. Locust was also the name of an evergreen  tree 6-9 meters tall.  It had long pods that contained carob beans , which could be eaten. However, most references to the word "locust" in the Bible refer to the insect. In Luke 7:33, it also says that John didn't eat bread or drink wine.  Do you remember the passage in Luke 1:15 where the angel Gabriel told John's father that the son born to him in his old age was never to drink wine or strong drink (anything intoxicating)? John followed those instructions,even after he became a man and could decide for himself.

Principle 3:  Following what God says is smart, no matter how old you are.

 Principle 4:God will probably not ask you to eat an unusual diet, but He is calling you to eat healthily and to take good care of the body that He gave you.  If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, (see Romans 10:8-13), you gave all of yourself to God.  That includes your body.  It's no longer yours alone, it belongs to Him ( 1 Corinthians 6:19-20  do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.) You and I are guardians now of what is God's, so we must take good care of it

Lesson 11

Mark 1:7 (John preached)... There comes one mightier than I after me,the latchet (shoestring) of Whose shoes  I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.

"There comes One..."

At this point in time, when John the Baptist was making this statement, he knew the Messiah was coming soon , but he did not know Who the Messiah would be.  That's why at first,  he didn't use a name for the Messiah. God did ,however, give JB a big clue as to how to identify  Who was  His Son, the Christ ( John 1:35 John the Baptist said,... And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the Same said unto me, Upon Whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, the Same is He Who baptizes with the Holy Ghost.) By this clue, JB knew that he would be able to recognize and know,without a doubt, Who the true Messiah, God's Son, was...by a manifestation (appearance) of the Holy Spirit in some form.

There comes one mightier than I after me,the latchet (shoestring) of Whose shoes  I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.

John's message to the people told them several details about the coming Messiah.  First, the Christ would be more powerful and be able to do mightier things than John.  As far as we know, John never did any miracles.  Jesus did many.  In fact, the apostle John , a different man from JB, wrote in his book, the Gospel of John,  that Jesus did so much teaching and so many miracles that he didn't think the world could hold all the books it would take to record them!  ( John 21:25  And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.) 

 John the Baptist was a humble man, who was grateful for the privilege of being the one chosen to bring the good news of the coming of the Messiah.  He understood that the spotlight needed to be on the Son of God.  In the gospel of the apostle John ,  John the Baptist is recorded as saying of the Messiah, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30)

"I am not worthy..."  Secondly, John knew the Messiah was the Son of God, which made the Messiah of higher rank and greater holiness than John.  John didn't feel worthy  to act as the Messiah's lowliest servant, unloosing His sandals.

 Thirdly, John recognized the difference in their work.  John baptized the people with water;Jesus would baptize His people with the Holy Spirit.  (We'll discuss what that means in a later lesson.)  John understood that his preaching and baptizing was a preparatory and temporary work.  What the Messiah would do would be eternal, lasting forever.

Principle: It is a great privilege to serve the Lord in whatever capacity He directs.  Like John the Baptist, you and I have a specific purpose for being on this earth, and for being here now,in this day and time. If you don't yet know what that purpose is, start asking God to reveal it to you.  Ask Him also to show you how to fulfill that purpose.  He will.  He wants you to know and do His will for your life.

Lesson 12

Mark 1:8 (JB)  I indeed have baptized you with water:  but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

In this verse, John the Baptist was informing the people that the Messiah would give them a greater opportunity, a chance to experience a greater baptism than JB could give them.  He was saying that water baptism is good, but the baptism that the Messiah would offer would be much better.

Now let's discuss  baptisms.  Did you know there are at least 5 different kinds of baptisms,four of which are still in effect? Every believer should know about them.  Baptisms, along with repentance from dead works,faith towards God,laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment are listed as the principles of the doctrine of Christ  (Hebrews 6:1-2)  These topics are the basics or fundamentals of the teachings of Christ.  They are called the "milk of the Word", because every new "born again" believer,sometimes called spiritual babies in Christ,  could drink (understand) them and grow spiritually from the study of them.  (1 Peter 2:2 Desire the sincere milk of the Word that you may grow thereby.)

Now,back to baptisms...  we've already studied the first kind, that is ,water baptism. It was referred to as John's baptism  (Acts 19:3-4)  It signified the person was repenting of his sins.(Mark 1:4-5)  It was a outward sign of an inward change in the person. The method used was immersion.  This baptism is no longer done. 

The second kind of baptism is invisible to the eye.It happens inside you, in your spirit.  It is done by the Holy Spirit at the time you confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.It brings forgiveness  and cleanses you from all your sins. ( This baptism also makes you a member of the body of Christ. (1Corinthians 12:13  For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.)   The Holy Spirit baptizes you into the family of God. This immersion into Christ  makes you a child of God. Romans 8:16 says,  The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit,that we are the children of God.

  This baptism is the most important one of all.  Galatians 3:26-27 ( 26For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.)    It establishes God's  presence in you at all times through His Holy Spirit.,...2 Timothy 1:14 reminds us that the Holy Spirit dwells in believers .  Other verses establishing the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer are found in Romans 8:9,11 and Acts 5:32..

 Romans 5:5 states ..".the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, Who is given unto us."  ( Ephesians 1:13-14    13In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed( you belong to Him) with the Holy Spirit of promise. 

The disciples received the Holy Spirit in them, when Jesus met them after His resurrection.  John 20:19-22  Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

So,to review, when you repent of your sins and make a sincere confession of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit baptizes you into the body of Christ.  He comes to live in you, giving you eternal life. The Holy Spirit also makes you a brand  new creation in your spirit.  That's why it is called "being born again." John3:3-7 and 1Peter 1:22-23  This baptism  makes you a citizen of heaven and a member of the family of God by adoption. 

The third kind of baptism is a water baptism and superseded (took the place of) John's baptism. When a person believed  and confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, he was baptized in water,signifying his repentance of his sins, his allegiance and identification with Jesus as the true Messiah. This was an act which people could see. It was also an outward sign to others. Immersion was again the method used for this baptism.  This water baptism is usually  associated with becoming a member of a church. Usually the person will be water baptized in a local church to announce to everyone that he has trusted Jesus as Lord, to show his first step of obedience to Christ (Matt.28:19-20) and to become a member of the family of the church.(That's why in some churches they refer to each other as brothers or sisters in Christ.)

Note:you may need to read these lessons slowly and several times to understand all this ,if it is new to you.  There is a lot of information in these lessons..  If you have any questions,let me know.  

 In the next lessons  we'll discuss the other 2 baptisms.  

















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Lesson 13  Doctrine of Baptisms-continued  Mark 1:8

In the previous lesson, I mentioned there are at least 5 different kinds of baptisms.  I explained 3 of them.  They were: (1) JB's water baptism,which is no longer done (2) the most important one of all, the  baptism into Christ, which gives you eternal life and makes  you part of the family of God, and (3)  water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, as an identification of a new believer to other believers.

 Today we will start to discuss the last two kinds of baptisms.  They were both identified by John the Baptist,when he was telling the people about the coming Messiah.  He said in Mark 1:8"...He (the Messiah ) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." That's the fourth baptism.  In Matthew 3:11, JB said that the Messiah would baptize you with  the Holy Ghost and with fire.The baptism with fire is the fifth and last one.These are the two baptisms that we need  to study. First,we'll look at what God says in His Word about the baptism with the Holy Spirit.

Some churches believe and teach about this baptism and some ignore it.  I will show you what God says in His Word about it.

John the Baptist said  in Mark 1:8, that the Messiah would baptize with the Holy Spirit,not water.. While Jesus was on the Earth, He Himself didn't do any baptizing with water. (John 4:2 Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples {did}).  This then would mean that the baptism that the Messiah Himself would do was different from water baptism. Secondly, Jesus said in John 14:17 that the Holy Spirit would dwell in believers and be with believers. In lesson 12, we studied the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit that happens at the time that a person gets saved and baptized into the body of Christ.  The Holy Spirit comes to dwell  in you.

  Now let's look at the baptism that  Jesus  does and what God says about  it in His Word.  First, the baptism with the Holy Spirit,done by Jesus, is different from the baptism of salvation.Remember the baptism associated with salvation,done by the Holy Spirit, makes  a person become a part of Christ's body.  (That's a metaphor meaning you belong to Him.)  The baptism by Jesus is done to believers.  Jesus only baptizes those who have already become children of God through faith in Him. 

So this means the baptism by Jesus has a different purpose than the other baptisms we have studied previously..  What is that purpose? Acts 1:8 tells us  “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”   The baptism by Jesus brings power to the believer,so that he or she can be an effective witness  for Jesus. This power increases as the believer matures spiritually. .

  There are other benefits to the baptism with the Holy Spirit.  It also helps you to pray more effectively.Jude 1:20 ,Romans 8:26 ,1 Corinthians 14:15  It enables you to have a special prayer language where the Holy Spirit will talk to God through you . 1 Cor. 14:2    The prayer language is given to every Christian who asks and in faith receives the baptism by Jesus.  It is a privilege to be able to talk to God this way.

 (Some think this prayer language is the gift of tongues(languages) ,but it isn't.  The gift of languages or tongues is different in that it is given to specific people to speak God's message to a group or church and ,therefore, must be interpreted into English for the benefit of all present. Not every Christian gets that gift.)  

Peter,Andrew,James,John,the other apostles, even  Jesus' mother ,Mary, and His brothers who became believers after Jesus' resurrection,and many others (120 in all), were the first to receive this new baptism with the Holy Spirit . Acts 1:13-14,2:1-4.

Baptism by Jesus will make you able to sing in the Spirit. Ephesians5 :18-19 ,1 Corinthians 14:15

 It will make your spiritual gifts (some of which are listed in  1 Cor 12:8-10 ) more effective .(1Cor 12:7,11)

 It will make you more sensitive to avoiding anything sinful that would displease the Lord . I can't give you a verse for this, I've just noticed that effect in my own life and in others.

 It will increase your love for God and people.  This is also an effect I've noticed. 1 Cor 13,commonly called the love chapter, is sandwiched between the 2 chapters  on the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives.  So it stands to reason that they go together.

Some people get the baptism for salvation done by the Holy Spirit  mixed up with the baptism that Jesus does,so I've made a list  to show you the differences.


  Baptism of Salvation          

 done when unbeliever wants to be saved,repents from his sins, and  confesses Jesus as Savior and Lord by faith Roman 10:9-10,                                       

 done by the Holy Spirit 1  Cor 12:13,Romans 6:3                                                                                                                                                       brings eternal life John 3:16 , 1 John 5:13                                

received by faith  

necessary for salvation Roman 8:10                                                      

presence of God  in you

   immersed into Christ                                              

   puts Holy Spirit in you 1John 3:24

   for membership in the body of Christ

   child of God  

    Holy Spirit is like a well of water--in you  John 4:14                                                                                                                                                                   

 evidenced by fruits of the Holy Spirit, Gal 5:22-23

confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior                               

matures you, causing you to grow in the Lord

 makes you holy in spirit

gives you the character of Christ in your spirit, a new creation

requirement for eternity with the Lord

water baptism--outward evidence of inward change

Baptism for Service

done by Jesus Mark 1:8

received by faith  

power to be a witness for Jesus Acts1:8 John 15:27

necessary for most effective service, an empowering for ministry

brings developing power of God Acts 1: 8                                                                                                                    

done when a believer asks for it Luke 11:13,   

Holy Spirit upon you Acts 1:8,2:3 and with you  Acts 1:5,2:4,17,18

 poured upon  Acts 2:16-18,33,10:44-46, as with oil Ex 30:25,30,Psalm 133

power of God  upon you Acts 1:8

for ministry to the body of Christ

  servant,witness

sharing that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior

greater power in operating the  gifts of the Holy Spirit -1 Cor. 12,14

 Holy Spirit is like a river of water--flowing from you to othersJohn 7:37-39

equips Christian for life of ministry now and until Jesus returns 1Cor 1:7,Eph 4:11-15, 1Cor 13:8-12

prayer language--outward evidence of this baptism


   Similarities between the baptism into Christ and the baptism by Christ  

Both are asked for  Romans 10:13, Luke 11:13.

 Both are gifts Eph 2:8-9, Acts 2:38-39. 

 Both must be received by faith.

Both are essential if you are to reach your full potential in Christ, accomplishing and fulfilling God's purposes for which He created you .  

 They are two distinct and separate experiences. Jn 20:21-22 with Acts 2:1-4, and in Acts 8:1-8,14-17.   Sometimes  time lapsed  between the salvation experience and their baptism with the Holy Spirit  by Jesus (Acts 9:1-20) and  sometimes it didn't .(Acts 10:44-48,19:1-7)

This was a very long lesson  You may need to go back over this again  and read the scriptures carefully to be sure you have understood the differences in these baptisms. If you have any questions, e-mail me.  Next time,we'll look at what the Bible teaches about the baptism of fire.

Lesson 14  Doctrine of Baptisms -continued

 He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire

As we have seen in the last few lessons,there at least 5 baptisms that  the Bible teaches and that we are studying. The last one that we will look at is the baptism with fire.  The baptism with fire  is done by Jesus. We know that from what John the Baptist said about the Messiah in 

  Matt 3:11   I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:“, and in Luke 3:16   John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (By the way, I'm using the KJV at times and the New KJV at other times.) 

 I'm going to give you 3 different interpretations of the baptism with fire.(The reason there are several interpretations  of this phrase is because people disagree as to its meaning.)

The first interpretation is that the baptism with fire and the baptism with the Holy Spirit are the same thing.The people who think this, do so , because there was a fire-like manifestation (visible appearance)  seen at the first baptism with the Holy Spirit to 120 disciples and apostles at the feast of Pentecost in 

Acts 2:1-4. 1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,(  Dixie: they just got baptized by Jesus Acts 1:4-5) and began to speak with other tongues (D: there's the evidence of the baptism by Jesus-sometimes it happens right away and sometimes it's delayed by the person's lack of understanding or education in spiritual things)   , as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6Now when this was noised abroad (D: evidently,some hours had passed), the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. (This shows some of those who spoke got the gift of unknown tongues-that is, unknown to the speaker,not the hearer.They could speak in the native language of the listener, even though they hadn't studied the language  at all.)


The second  interpretation is that the baptism of fire means Jesus will purify you by allowing difficult circumstances in your life.  Those who believe this are thinking of the qualities of fire,particularly as it pertains to gold and silver.  Those metals have to be heated to very high temperatures to get the impurities(dross) out.  So accordingly, the baptism of fire might mean that it brings circumstances or suffering into your life to purify you from the sins that are hidden, ones that you may not be aware of. It would also reveal any weak areas or idols in your life.

   There are verses that refer to "the fiery trial" of persecution  in  1 Peter 4:12-19 and to faith being tested by fire in 1 Peter 1:7.  There is also a passage in 1 Cor 3:12-15 that refers to believers' works being tried by fire,where those good deeds that remain will be rewarded.  The problem with calling any of these a baptism of fire is that they are never mentioned as that or referred to that way.  Although suffering from persecution for the sake of Christ is called fiery, it is never referred to as a baptism.


The third interpretation of what  the baptism with fire means is taken directly from the passages containing that phrase, Matt 3:4-12 and Luke 3:7-17  (I will include the Matt passage and you can look up the other one on your own.) 

  Matt 3:4-12   4And John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. 7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “O generation of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8“Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9“and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10“And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12“His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Did you notice, as you read this passage, that there were two distinctly different groups at the Jordan River, listening to John the Baptist? One group heard John's message and responded by repenting and confessing their sins. They got baptized, and then wanted to know what to do to change from their old ways to the ways of God . (Their questions and John's answers are in the Luke 3:7-17 account.Basically, he told them to give to the needy, be honest , be content, and don't be deceitful.) 

 The other group was made up of Pharisees and Sadducees, (2 religious orders, sort of like  what today are called denominations). They also heard God's message given by John, but they rejected it, refusing to repent of their sins and to be baptized. (Luke 7:30  ... the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. 30But the Pharisees and lawyers(students of the law of Moses) rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.) 

John calls them "vipers" (snakes) in verse 7 of Matt 3. (Do you remember who else is represented by a serpent?  Genesis 3:1-15, Revelation12:9 ) He says in the next question that wrath is coming after them. In verse 8, he informs them that they can avoid the judgment of the wrath of God on sinners, if they will do as he has said and repent, acknowledge their spiritual condition, confess their sins, and be baptized to receive  remission (forgiveness) of their sins.  He warns them in verse 9 not to trust in how godly their parents and ancestors were, because it wouldn't do them any good .They have to have a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus.

 In verse 10, he states that judgment has already begun (by God sending His message to them) and those who don't  produce the fruits (works) that signify hearing and obeying God  would be like trees that are judged of bad quality and that are deserving of destruction. John warns them that those who reject God's message will be "thrown into the fire..." In verse 11, he states there are  choices: 2 baptisms, one with the Holy Spirit and one with fire.  In verse 12, John gives an illustration  of threshing grain to show the difference between them. 

 To explain the meaning of this, let me give you some background. In Bible times, when the wheat was harvested , the  wheat still had straw and chaff (husks) mixed in with it.  Farmers didn't have modern machinery to separate the chaff from the wheat. They had to beat it by hand or pull a heavy weight over the grain to separate the undesirable parts.  After it had been beaten to loosen the husks,   the farmer would pile it all on a cloth or large shallow basket.  To  separate the good from the bad, he then would take a rake or winnowing fork, usually in a fan shape, and toss the grain into the air,  so that  the wind would separate the heavier wheat grains  from the lighterweight straw and chaff. The  wheat would fall back down to the cloth.  The lighter chaff and straw would be  blown away from the wheat. That was done over and over until all the chaff had been removed.  Then the wheat was stored  and the chaff was gathered up and  burned. 

In this illustration,those that repent of their sins are represented by the wheat and those that don't repent,who reject God's Word, are pictured by the chaff.  The Pharisees and Sadducees  are being warned that they will experience a baptism of fire,meaning judgment and the wrath of God, if they don't respond properly to God.  A picture of this judgment is given in Rev 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. (This happens at the end of the 7 year tribulation.) 

Then a thousand years later,Rev 20:11-15   11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works... And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.   This is the judgment for sinners, not believers.  Believers in Jesus do not go through this judgment.  They are "saved" from this wrath of God, because they believed God's Word to them, repented of their sins, trusted Christ as their Savior, and made Him Lord of their lives.

So  now that I've explained the 3 interpretations of the "baptism with fire", which do you think it is?  Or could it be more than one?


Lesson 15- Mark 1:9

9And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.  


"In those days..."    --in the days that John was preaching in the Jordan valley (v 5,7-8) .


Jesus came from Nazareth...  Although Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He didn't grow up there.  His parents moved to Egypt and then later to Nazareth in the region called Galilee .Matt 2:23 And he (Joesph, Jesus' guardian ,and Mary and the Child Jesus) came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets,  He shall be called a Nazarene. 


Why did Jesus come to be baptized?  The Holy Spirit told Him to do so.  Jesus always listened to what God told Him and He obeyed.


Why didn't Jesus insist that John the Baptist come to Him, since He was  the greater?   Jesus was a humble Person.  He did not let  pride control Him. Secondly, it wasn't God's plan. Jesus had already been told what He was supposed to do.


Why did God want Jesus to be baptized?  Jesus wasn't a sinner.  He had no sins to repent of or confess. 

 In other scriptures,we see that Jesus is described as sinless :

             Hebrews 7:26  For such an high priest (Jesus) became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, ...


             1 John3:5... in Him (Jesus) is no sin...


             1 Peter 1:19  18Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, ... 19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:


              2 Cor 5:21   For he (God) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might become  the righteousness of God in him. 


              Heb 4:15   14Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Being tempted is not a sin.  Giving in to the temptation by doing wrong is a sin. Jesus was confronted with temptations just as you and I are,but He didn't give in to them. Neither should we.)


               1 Peter 2:22 1For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:  22Who did no sin, neither was guile (deceit) found in his mouth: 23Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not;

 

Principle:  Notice this last verse says that we are to follow Jesus' example, even  in how we speak to others.  This  is a major way we can show that Jesus is truly Lord in us and Lord of us.

Principle: When confronted with temptation, Jesus chose to honor His Father by doing right. His heart's desire was to please God. When you're faced with the temptation to do wrong, choose to follow Jesus instead. Show your love by your obedience to the Lord.



We'll stop here .  In the next lesson,we'll look at why God had Jesus participate in this baptism.



Lesson 16: Why Jesus had to be baptized by John

From the information in lesson 15, we saw that Jesus wasn't commanded to be baptized of John  for repentance, since Jesus was sinless. Therefore, there must have been another reason for God to want His Son to be baptized. 


According to the law that God gave Moses, only those who were descendants of Aaron,the first high priest of the Israelites, could be priests. ( Aaron was Moses' older brother.)  John the Baptist's parents, Zecharias and Elizabeth, were both descendants of Aaron .(Luke 1:5)   That fact made JB's parents in the line of the priesthood, (Luke 1:8-9)  which, in turn, made their son, John the Baptist,  a priest.


Now  read Luke 3:1-2   1Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,  2Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. The unusual way  Luke 3:1-2 is stated leads me to believe that,even though the Romans had appointed two men,  Annas,and later Caiaphas, to hold  the office of high priest, God recognized only John the Baptist as the true high priest of Israel at that time.  


 If this was so,  then John had to be the one that Jesus came to for baptism, because Jesus was going to become  High Priest for all believers.

 Heb5:4-6   4And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. 5So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he(God the Father) that said unto him(Jesus), Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee...(also said)   Thou art a priest for ever ...


 In order to become our High Priest, Jesus had to be baptized by the retiring high priest, according to Exodus 40:12-13  12And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water. 13And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. 

 In this case ,then Jesus had to be baptized by John, to fulfill the requirements of His new office of High Priest.In fact,Jesus said  something similar to that in Matt 3:13-15 13Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” 15But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Jesus fulfilled one of the requirements necessary for becoming our High Priest by His act of obedience in being baptized.


In the next lesson, we'll look at the actual details of the baptism of Jesus.

Lesson 17 : The actual baptism of Jesus


I'm going to print all the gospel accounts of Jesus' baptism , so that we can get the details they give.  


Matt 3:16-1716And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 


Mark 1:9-11  9And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. Luke 3:21-22  21Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased


John 1:32-34 ( This is John the Baptist's personal account of the baptism of Jesus.) 32And John bare record, saying,  I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.


Now let's look at these 4 accounts and see what we notice.  Matthew and Mark's accounts mention Jesus came up out of the water.  That's how we know He was immersed.


  What happened  next?  Jesus prayed. Luke 3:21  What do you think He prayed for? We aren't told specifically, but  I think we have a clue in Luke 11:13, which says,  1If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?  13If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? 

 

 I think that Jesus was asking to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit.  He already had the Holy Spirit in Him from His birth.(.Luke 1:35  35And the angel answered and said unto (Mary), The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.) (John the Baptist was also described as one who would be filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb.  Luke 1:15)


 Jesus didn't need the Holy Spirit in Him.  He already had that.  He was asking for the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon Him,because He knew this was the beginning of His public ministry.(Review the  chart in Lesson 13 for the different aspects of the baptism for service.)  This anointing would release greater power to Him and through Him to minister to the people.  (Some people don't realize that,even though Jesus was God in the flesh (1Timothy 3:16), He could not use any of His heavenly powers here on earth,  except that which  was available from God to any human being. Phillipians 2:5-7  5Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 

  Jesus showed us what a person could be and could do ,if he was totally surrendered and obedient to God.)If Jesus did ask to be anointed by the baptism with the Holy Spirit , God His Father answered that prayer. Jesus later tells people about it when He goes back to His hometown of Nazareth. ( Luke 4:16-19 16So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me 

To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives 

             And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

By the way, this description of what Jesus' work was going to be  is part of the  definition of a prophet's ministry.  Jesus was anointed as High Priest and Prophet at His baptism.



The next event is the "heavens were opened unto Him".  

Jesus wasn't the only One to have the heavens opened to Him.  Others were Peter in Acts 10:11, and Stephen  Acts 7:55-56.


According to the law of Moses (Exodus 40:13), the new high priest not only had to be immersed,but he also had to be anointed.Some scholars say that  one and a half quarts of holy oil was poured on the new priest at his anointing ceremony.  (Ps 133:2 confirms that it was enough holy oil to run down his clothes."Ps 133:2  It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments.")  


In Mark 1:10-11, do you see when the anointing occurs?(Mark1:10-1110And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:  11And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.


Did you notice that there are the 3 Persons of the Trinity represented in this verse:the Father,Son and Holy Spirit?


 Jesus and John see the Holy Spirit descending from heaven.  Normally the Holy Spirit can't be seen, but His Presence can be felt and the results of His work can be seen  (John3:5-8)  However, this time the Holy Spirit comes down in a shape similar to a dove, probably with outspread wings. I wonder if, at that moment, Jesus was reminded of Psalm 91:4 "He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings shall you trust,"which is a promise of the Father's protection.


Next time we look at the rest of the baptism, but here's a question for you to ponder:why do you think the Holy Spirit came from heaven in the form of a dove?  Why not a butterfly ?  Or an eagle?




Lesson 18-The Baptism of Jesus-continued (Mark 1:10-11)


 Last time I asked you to think about this question:at Jesus' baptism, why do you suppose the Holy Spirit came down in the form of a dove?  Why not a butterfly?  Why not an eagle? 

 

We know the dove is a symbol of peace and the end of judgment  from Genesis 8:8-11. 

 Do you remember what the angels said at Jesus' birth about peace?  Luke 2:14 "Peace on earth to men of good will."  The Messiah was  the Prince of peace ( Isaiah 9:6).  Jesus' coming to Earth brought the opportunity for mankind to experience peace with God through redemption.  (If you have extra time,read Romans 4:16-25,5:1-11, Notice Rom 5:1 mentions "peace with God.")  When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are no longer under the condemnation and judgment of God for our sins.  Hence, the Holy Spirit appearing like a dove symbolized the peace that would come through Jesus.  


Secondly,this visible  manifestation of the Holy Spirit was a sign to John the Baptist that Jesus was the Messiah. Look at John 1:32-34 ( This is John the Baptist's personal account of the baptism of Jesus.) 32And John bare record, saying,  I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

  JB said that he didn't know beforehand who the Messiah was going to be,but he had been told by God that the Holy Spirit would reveal who He was.  So, when he saw  the Holy Spirit like a dove,descending and remaining upon Jesus, JB knew without a doubt that Jesus was the Christ,the Son of God,the Messiah.


Lesson 19- Baptism of Jesus -continued some more


The next thing that happens at the baptism of Jesus  is that there is a voice heard from heaven.  Jesus heard it first, I think.  His Father spoke personally to Him , when He said ,You are My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.   Then the Father spoke to John saying," This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased."

It was a Jewish custom for a father to take a son who had reached manhood to the city center and announce "This is my much loved son, in whom I am well pleased".  This announcement meant that all were to treat the son the same as if they were dealing with the father.  The son could carry out the father's business for him.  At Jesus' baptism, His Father did the same,affirming His Son's authority to conduct God's business here on earth.


Beloved Son

This message of love from His Father must have made Jesus feel very good. He was beloved of His Father.  What is He to you? Do you love Jesus? If the answer is yes, how do you show that you love Him? Ask the Holy Spirit to teach  you new ways to love Jesus.  If your honest answer to "Do you love Jesus?" is "no"  ,or "not as I should" ,then ask the Holy Spirit to give you a love for Jesus that is genuine and increasing.  He will.  1 John 5:14 ...says" if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us..." Obviously, loving Jesus is something the Father wants us to do.  It's according to His will. So He will help us learn to love Jesus as He does.

  

"My beloved Son" 

How many people at this point in time knew that Jesus was the Son of God? Of course, His mother Mary did.( Luke 1: 35) Mary's husband, Joseph, knew. (Matt 1:23)  Zecharias and Elizabeth, JB's parents knew. (Luke 1:16-17,43) The shepherds knew (Luke 2:8-11).  God also told 2 people in Jerusalem, Simeon and Anna  (Luke 2:25-38),that the Messiah had come. Anna told eveyone she saw (Luke 2:38).  They all knew that Jesus was God's Son at the time of His birth.  Now,in this first chapter of the gospel of Mark,  it is 30 years later and God is going to reveal His Son to Israel and eventually to the whole world.


"In Whom I am well pleased"

        a.    Could God say that about you?  Tell the Lord you want to become well-pleasing to Him.  Ask Him to show you how. Then stay alert for His directions in your daily life.

        b.    God praised Jesus, by calling Him beloved and pleasing.  Do you praise Jesus?  Here's an assignment:Write a letter to Him or tell Jesus how wonderful He is in as many ways and words as you can. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in this.  Then listen for His prompting.

          

        c.    What was God well pleased  about? As far as we know, Jesus really hadn't done any miracles or special ministry yet.  What had Jesus done that pleased His Father so much?  Here are some possible answers.  Let me know, if you think of some others.

                       1.God was very pleased that Jesus had waited  for Him to tell Jesus when to begin His public ministry.  Jesus didn't rush ahead of God's perfect timing, even though Jesus said at the age of 12 that He must be about His Father's business.  (If you're not familiar with that story, you can read about it in Luke 2:41-52.) 

                

                         2.  God  was pleased that Jesus had been obedient to the earthly parents He had provided for Him. (Luke 2:51  51Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them..).


                         3.   God was pleased that Jesus had been faithful in the little things: His studies, the carpentry work He learned from Joseph, His prayer life, how He treated people, etc.


             

                         4.   God was well pleased with Jesus' attitude.  Jesus wasn't arrogant; He was humble.  

                         5.   God was pleased with Jesus' obedience to His commandments.  He didn't tell lies.  He wasn't immoral.  He wasn't deceitful. He made choices that honored His Father.

                         6.   God was well pleased with  the trust  that Jesus exhibited . 

                         7.   God  was very pleased that Jesus obeyed, when the Holy Spirit directed Jesus to make the long trip to the Jordan River valley to be baptized of John.


Would  God be well pleased with you in these same areas-trusting Him?  faithfulness?  obedience?  attitude?  Here's a second assignment:this week, make this  your motive --to please God-- in everything you do. 

Lesson 20  Mark 1:11 "I am well-pleased" ... . . What pleases God?


Hebrews 11:6. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.


Heb 13:15  Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. 


1 Chronicles 29:17  17“I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. 


Psalm 147:11 The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, 

In those who hope in His mercy.


Singing  praise to the Lord pleases Him.  Ps 69:30-31I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. 31This also shall please the LORD...


Psalm 149:1-6

1 Praise the Lord! 

Sing to the Lord a new song, 

And His praise in the assembly of saints.

2 Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; 

Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.

3 Let them praise His name with the dance; 

Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.

4 For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; 

He will beautify the humble with salvation.

5 Let the saints be joyful in glory; 

Let them sing aloud on their beds.

6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, 


1Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. In Colossians 3 :20 it adds, "...for this is well-pleasing unto the Lord."1 John 3:222And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.


Jesus made  choices that pleased His Father.   John8:29 28Then said Jesus unto them, ... I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. 29And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

Are you following the example that the Lord Jesus set by pleasing the heavenly Father? Are faith, thanks, praise, doing good, reverencing the Lord, obeying Him,etc., a part of your life as His child?  If not, get on your knees before the Lord and confess your failure.  Ask His forgivenenss. Tell Him you truly desire to be pleasing to Him.  Ask for His Holy Spirit to diect you into a life that would please Him.  Then walk in obedience.

Principle:True repentance always shows in our behavior and actions.

















 



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Gospel of Mark

Lesson 21-Jesus overcomes temptations


 Matthew 4:1-111Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 

5Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written,  He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.  8Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.


  Luke 4:1-13 

 1And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. 3And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. 4And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. 5And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.  8And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 9And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: 10For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: 11And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 12And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 13And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.                                                                                                                                                         

Mark 1:13 And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. 13And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.


Compare the number of verses in each of these 3 passages: Matthew wrote 11 verses on the temptations Jesus experienced immediately after His baptism; Luke wrote 13 verses on it; and Mark wrote only 2.   In the apostle John's gospel it isn't mentioned at all.  The Holy Spirit directed each writer to include what He wanted written. This was true about the Old Testament,too.   2Peter 1:20-21   no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.  It was also true about the New Testament.  2 Timothy 3:16   16All Scripture is given by inspiration of God...


Let's look carefully at these accounts of Jesus' time in the desert after His baptism  and see what the Holy Spirit,Who is our Teacher, shows us.


First, in the gospel of  Luke, the text states that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit. This meant that He was being directed by the Holy Spirit in every area of His life.(That's what we want for our lives,too.)

 Both Matthew and Luke say that Jesus was "led" into the desert by the Spirit of the LORD ; however, Mark  says the Spirit" drives" Him into the wilderness (another word for desert).So Jesus moved from the lush Jordan River valley to a dry,barren area at the instruction of the Holy Spirit. ( If you've seen pictures of that wilderness area in  Israel, you know what this would  have looked  like. )


If you are" led" by the Holy Spirit, where is He in reference to you ?   The Holy Spirit is in front of you, going before you, and you are following Him.  Jesus always followed the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

If the Holy Spirit is "driving" you , what position is He in ?   He is in back of you, directing you to go a certain way.  Have you ever seen a parent holding the hand of a child, leading him along the way?  Haven't you also seen a parent with his hand on his child from behind,pushing him gently  to direct him ?  That's what the Holy Spirit was doing to Jesus, so that the direction in which He was to go was absolutely clear to Jesus.    Jesus may have expected to be directed back to His hometown of Nazareth following His baptism, but the Holy Spirit was showing Him instead, that He first wanted Him to  go into the wilderness for a short time.


The Holy Spirit knew what was going to happen, that the devil was going to try to lure Jesus into sin.   Why didn't the Holy Spirit shield Jesus from this?   Jesus had to be presented with choices: godliness or impurity, obedience to His Father or rebellion against God. Hebrews 4:14-15  Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 


 Jesus wasn't forced to obey His Father, He chose to be obedient.  He honored His Father by His choices every single time and,therefore, He is the best example of what to do when we are confronted with temptations.  In a later lesson, we'll look at how Jesus dealt with temptations.

Principle:  We face  choices every day , many times a day.   When we choose God's way, we  are choosing the way of life and blessing for ourselves and, at the same time, we are choosing that which pleases our heavenly Father and  honors Him in the same way  our Lord Jesus did.

Lesson 22 -  Mark 1:13  - Fasting


Matthew 4:2 states that Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness.  He ate no food.  Since afterward it says " He hungered", not mentioning anything about thirsting,most think that He did drink liquids during this time.  Another reason they think this  is that  the devil tempted Jesus with the thought of bread,but  not something to drink. In any event, Jesus fasted from food for 40 days.


( I had to do a lot of research about the subject of fasting, because I knew very little about it. I can't ever remember any teaching about it in the churches that I attended in the past and I never knew anyone ((until the past few years)) who  fasted.)


What is fasting?  Fasting is denying the soul and body of something that you enjoy,usually food,but could also be TV, music,etc., for the express purpose of spending more time with God.    Fasting is also a way  to show God that we are serious in seeking  His help in whatever situation we find ourselves. 

Biblical fasting was public as well as private, regular as well as occasional, corporate (involving a group) as well as individual, and usually voluntary.


The following are some examples of  fasting:  

A. In the books of Ezra 8:21,23,31,  Jeremiah 36:9 and Esther 4:3 ,the people fasted before they asked for protection from impending danger and destruction.  21Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. 22For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.” 23So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.(Ezra8:21)

 

B. In 2 Chronicles 20:1-30 and Acts 13:2, church leaders  fasted as they prayed for  direction.  2As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.(Acts 13:2)


C . A schedule of regular fasting can be a way that increases the power to help yourself or others to be delivered from Satan's  oppression. Matthew 17: 14-16,18-19,21  14And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, 15“Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16“So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.”  18And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. 19Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 21 “... this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (By this statement, we know that Jesus  fasted regularly, although He did not require His disciples to do so, as long as He was with them.  They did fast  after His ascension.   Mark 2:18-20  18The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were fasting. Then they came and said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” 19And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. 20“But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.)



D.  Fasting  can also be a sign of mourning for  sin .  Deuteronomy 9:16  Moses fasted as he mourned for the  idolatry of his people, when he had been away on Mount Sinai, receiving the 10 commandments from the Lord.  6“And I looked, and behold, you had sinned against the Lord your God-had made for yourselves a molded calf! You had turned aside quickly from the way which the Lord had commanded you. 17“Then I took the two tablets and threw them out of my two hands and broke them before your eyes. 18“And I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you committed in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger. 19“For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure with which the Lord was angry with you, to destroy you. But the Lord listened to me at that time also.  

Daniel 9:3-19 is another example of someone fasting as a sign of mourning  for the sins of their nation. 3And I prayed earnestly to the Lord God, pleading with him, fasting, wearing sackcloth, and sitting in ashes. 4I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed the sins of my people. I said, “Lord God, you are great, and we honour you. You are faithful to your covenant and show constant love to those who love you and do what you command.

5 “We have sinned, we have been evil, we have done wrong. We have rejected what you commanded us to do and have turned away from what you showed us was right. 6We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our rulers, our ancestors, and our whole nation. 7You, Lord, always do what is right, but we have always brought disgrace on ourselves... 8Our kings, our rulers, and our ancestors have acted shamefully and sinned against you, Lord. 9You are merciful and forgiving, although we have rebelled against you. 10We did not listen to you, O Lord our God, when you told us to live according to the laws which you gave us through your servants the prophets. 11All Israel broke your laws and refused to listen to what you said. We sinned against you, ... even now, O Lord our God, we have not tried to please you by turning from our sins or by following your truth. 14You, O Lord our God, were prepared to punish us, and you did, because you always do what is right, and we did not listen to you.

 We are praying to you because you are merciful, not because we have done right. 19Lord, hear us. Lord, forgive us. ”


E.  Fasting can be done as part of intercessory prayer  for the sick.  Psalm 35:13 But as for me, when they were sick, My clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting;...


F. Fasting can be part of seeking or receiving special revelation from the Lord.  Daniel 10:2-3,12,14  In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. 3I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.12Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.   14“Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”

When fasting to seek an answer from the Lord, remember that Hebrews 11:6 states that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him  and Matt 6:18 (above) says God rewards those who fast  with the right motives. The answer may not always come immediately, but it will come.


G. Fasting can be a part of worship and of  serving God.  Luke 2:37  there was one Anna, a prophetess, ...And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.


H. Fasting is a way to train your spirit to rule over your soul and body.   The spirit of a born again person is sanctified and holy. The soul (made up of the mind-what you think, the will-what you want, and the emotions-what you feel)  and the natural body are not sanctified as yet.  Part of the work of this life is to feed the soul with the Word of God and to use the body in  the work of God, so that they will learn to be subject to your godly spirit, which is led by the Holy Spirit.  Fasting is a way to bring your soul and body into subjection to your spirit.

In the next lesson ,we'll finish this summary on fasting.


   


Lesson23 Fasting (continued)


In Matthew 6:1-18 , Jesus taught that there were 3 activities that people of God were to do: giving, praying, and fasting. Note that He didn't say, “If you give,..., if you pray,... if you fast,..., but He said ,”when you give...,when you pray...,when you fast... He expected His disciples to do these 3 things. Most Christians do 2 of them.  Jesus said that we were to do all three.

 On fasting, He said in verses 16-18  16 “And when you fast, do not put on a sad face as the hypocrites do. They neglect their appearance so that everyone will see that they are fasting. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. 17When you go without food, wash your face and comb your hair, 18so that others cannot know that you are fasting-only your Father, who is unseen, will know. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.(The Good News Bible)  Jesus didn't command how often to fast, how long the fast should be, or what kind of fast to do.  That's left up to you and the Holy Spirit.   Jesus simply said,"Fast." 


Activities during a fast:reading Bible passages, praying the scriptures back to God, specific prayer requests, reading spiritual books, listening to worshipful music, in addition to your normal routines and duties,( if you are working or going to school during a time of fasting).  Attention should be focused on the Lord and listening to Him. During the fast,  you are to ask and look for ways to help the needy, as is written in Isaiah 58:6-7. 

 It would be a good idea to keep a journal of what type of fast, how long, what the Holy Spirit is teaching you, your prayer requests and answers, etc.  It will be a blessing to re-read it later.

The blessings of the fast, besides being obedient to the Lord,  are described in Isaiah 58:8-12.


Warnings: 

A. If you have a medical condition that makes it dangerous to do without food for a length of time , then fast a non-food item, like TV.  Instead of watching TV , spend that time with the Lord.

B. The regular practice and discipline of  fasting should not become legalistic.  Feel free to change the length of time, the frequency or the type of  fast as circumstances require or as the Holy Spirit directs you.

C. Fasting isn't to be used as a way to lose weight.  That's an incorrect motive.

D. The practice of fasting isn't just about doing without food.  It's about spending the time with God that would usually be spent shopping for food, preparing it, cooking, eating and cleaning up the dishes.

E. Your body is the temple of God. It belongs to Him. (1 Cor 6:19-20) You are never to harm yourself in order to try to be spiritual.  Jesus made no commandments on what kind of fast, or the length and frequency of a fast.He just stated that we were to fast.

 So we could choose to fast one  meal per week, or one day a month. We could fast meat on Fridays as the Catholic denomination used to do.  We might choose to eat only vegetables, fruits and nuts, in what is called a "Daniel" fast.  

F. Through the study of this subject, I came to the conclusion that for me, fasting  needed to become a part of my Christian life, so I asked the Lord to tell me how often I should do it. I got the answer and started incorporating it into my life several weeks ago.I've tried different kinds: one meal ,two meals, only water and juice, only vegetables and fruits. I'm changing it around, so I won't get stuck in a rut or become legalistic about fasting. I'm learning from the experience, as we would anytime we are obedient. I don't feel that I've quite got the spiritual part worked out (I'm praying the psalms back to God, personalizing it as I pray), but I have noticed that I always seem to get an opportunity to help someone during or soon after my fast. 

I bless you in the name of the Lord that you may become more in love with the Lord Jesus that you have been in the past, that you will walk in obedience as a way of showing that love. 

Lesson 24-Mark 1:13 Temptations 


Although Jesus experienced many temptations over the 33 1/2 years He was here on earth, we'll study the specific ones  recorded in Matthew 4 and Luke 4.   

Matt 4:1-4 1Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 


The tempter said, "If You are the Son of God..."Notice that the first thing that the devil said was an attempt to cast doubt on what God  had said just  forty days before that.     At the baptism of Jesus,God the Father had said"This is My beloved Son..." 


Principle: It is very important to know and remember what God has said  to you and not to depart from it for any reason.  It's also important to know Whose you are and who you are in Christ.  Read or print the following passage in Ephesians 1:3-2:22 and list all the blessings of being a child of God.  Look for the key phrases: "in Christ" or "in Him". (I'll get you started by underlining the first few.  As you do this, stop and thank the Lord for each blessing you find.)


 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,(Dixie:: now He's going to start listing and describing those blessings) 4just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. 7In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth-in Him. 11In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

15Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.


Chapter 2 

1And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

11Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh-who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands- 12that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

14For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

19Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.


LESSON 25 Temptations- Matthew 4:3

  How many blessings did you find in the passage in Ephesians 1 and 2  in last  week's lesson?  There were a bunch, all of them showing how much God loves you and what He wants you to know about yourself "in Christ."   These are some of the ones I found:


As a child of God and because of what Jesus did for me,

 I am blessed with all spiritual blessings v3

 I was chosen in Christ long before I was actually born v4

 I can be holy and without blame before Him v4

I've been adopted into the family of God v5

I'm accepted in the Beloved (Son) v6

I've been redeemed by His blood v7

I have forgiveness for my sins v7

I 've experienced His grace vs 6,7

I am lavished in His wisdom and understanding v8

I am taught the secrets of God v9

I am a part of a bigger picture v9

I am in Christ, safe  v10

I have an inheritance v11 (In 1Peter 1:3-4 tells us it will be waiting in heaven for us)

I will bring God glory v12 

I've been sealed with the Holy Spirit  (God's stamp of approval)v13

I'm going to be resurrected and live forever v14

I can receive wonderful gifts through prayer v17

 

Back to the lesson on the temptations Jesus experienced in the wilderness: 

Matt 4:1-4 1Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 


  Sometimes the word"if" can be translated "since".  If that were true in this verse, "Since You are the Son of God,command these stones to be made bread," then the devil would be trying to boss Jesus as if he were His superior.  Jesus didn't fall for that.  Maybe the devil was trying to see if Jesus would respond in pride and show off His power.  Jesus didn't.


The tempter said to Jesus,(remember Jesus has been doing without food during  this time), "...command these stones to be made bread." In sounding as if he cared about Jesus' health,  the devil tried to disguise this temptation to sin.  

  

Principle:    The devil hates you,because as a child of God, you are created in the image of God.  He can't hurt God,so he wants to hurt you, one of God's children.  He wants to destroy you, and steal every good thing from you.  You are the one who controls whether that happens.  The devil doesn't care about anyone except himself. God cares about you , loves you and wants the best for you. Which one will you honor and obey?


"...Make Yourself some bread..."

Doesn't that seem like a reasonable thing to say, since Jesus had been without anything to eat for so long?  The devil may have known that after a long fast, hunger pangs come back.  So he was hoping that Jesus was so hungry that Jesus would obey his command rather than trusting the Holy Spirit to provide for Him. The devil was trying to trick Jesus into  doing something that was not directed by the Holy Spirit.  Satan was also trying to make Jesus think that the he cared more for Jesus' well-being than His Father God did. Jesus wasn't deceived by such ploys.  Jesus knew He was supposed to fast until He was told otherwise.  Jesus chose to  be obedient to what had already been revealed.  


Principle: The devil may sound reasonable, but he is always wrong.  He is a liar, a thief and a destroyer. John 8:44 Jesus said about the devil,  "... He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. In John 10:10 Jesus described the devil as the thief who "comes to steal, and to kill, and to destroy." The devil's work is always against God and you.


Jesus refused to fall for the devil's trickery.  He quoted  Deuteronomy 8:3, which said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that is proceeding out of the mouth of God."  The use of this verse shows us several things.  First, Jesus had memorized scripture, probably on a regular basis, so that when He needed it, He could quote it.  Knowing the Word of God can keep us from sin, as Psalm 119:10,11  With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You! 


 Secondly, Jesus saying that"...Man does not live by bread alone...but by the Word...of God" shows that Jesus understood we need spiritual food for our souls as much as we need physical food for our bodies.


Thirdly,Jesus put pleasing and honoring His Father,  and being obedient to the direction of the Holy Spirit, above His personal comfort  and needs. Jesus knew that His Father would supply all His needs in due time.  Jesus was confident that His Father would take care of Him.  Later Jesus had opportunity to teach this very principle to His disciples, recorded in Matthew 6:25-33.  He concluded by saying,"  Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all the things you need will be provided." (Dixie's paraphrase)  


Principle:  The devil will lie to you and try to get you to do things that are not honoring to God and that draw you away from God. Don't fall for it.  Don't be deceived.  Keep listening to what God has said, "every word that is proceeding out of the mouth of God,"  and that which He has written down in the scriptures. Follow the Lord Jesus' example.  It is much better to trust a loving heavenly Father and to obey the Word of God than to satisfy fleshly desires that are in opposition to what God has already revealed to you in His Word.

LESSON 26- Mark 1:13 and Matt. 4:5-7 


 5Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written,  He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.


Here we go again with the insinuation by the devil..."if You be the Son of God..."  The devil knew Jesus was the Son of God, but he's trying to get Jesus to doubt His Father's Word and to question His relationship to the Father.  Has the devil ever tried to get you to doubt the things God has said?   God is the only Person Who always tells the truth.  He is the truth; He cannot lie.(Hebrews 6:18...it was impossible for God to lie,...1 John 1:5...God is light, and in him is no darkness at all...Deut 32:4   4He is the Rock, his work is perfect:... a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.   John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: 



"Cast Yourself down " 

The pinnacle mentioned in verse 5 is thought to have been about 700 feet high above a ravine.

The devil  tried to get Jesus to kill Himself,  implying there would be no danger in such an act, by selectively quoting a scripture from Psalm 91:11-13 .( I guess the devil thought that he would show that he could use scripture too, to tempt Jesus to sin.)  Satan invited Jesus to be foolhardy and reckless with His life, to risk death to prove that God would protect Him.  Jesus didn't fall for that one.

Jesus knew that God's promise of protection is to those who walk in all His ways.(This would be a good time for you to read all of Psalm 91, so you can see that the protection of God is given to those who love Him, who abide with Him, and who obey Him.)

PSALM 91 

Whoever goes to the Lord for safety,

whoever remains under the protection of the Almighty,

2 can say to him,

“You are my defender and protector.

You are my God; in you I trust.”

3 He will keep you safe from all hidden dangers

and from all deadly diseases.

4 He will cover you with his wings;

you will be safe in his care;

his faithfulness will protect and defend you.

5 You need not fear any dangers at night

or sudden attacks during the day

6 or the plagues that strike in the dark

or the evils that kill in daylight.

7 A thousand may fall dead beside you,

ten thousand all round you,

but you will not be harmed.

8 You will look and see

how the wicked are punished.

9 You have made the Lord your defender,

the Most High your protector,

10 and so no disaster will strike you,

no violence will come near your home.

God will put his angels in charge of you

to protect you wherever you go.

They will hold you up with their hands

to keep you from hurting your feet on the stones.

You will trample down lions and snakes,

fierce lions and poisonous snakes.

14 God says, “I will save those who love me

and will protect those who acknowledge me as Lord.

15 When they call to me, I will answer them;

when they are in trouble, I will be with them.

I will rescue them and honour them.

16 I will reward them with long life;I will save them.”


Jesus responded to the enemy's taunts by quoting scripture from Deuteronomy 6:16,"you shall not tempt the Lord your God."  Jesus would not do anything that would show disrespect to His Father.  He didn't put Himself in a position of doing things the Holy Spirit had not directed Him to do.  He listened to the Holy Spirit, not an unholy one like the devil. 

Whom are you listening to?  


PRINCIPLE: God never lies.  What He has said in His Word is  true and you can depend on it.

LESSON 27  Mark 1:13 and Matt. 4:8-10 


The third temptation involved power, riches and timing. Matt. 4:8-10 states :  8Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 


The devil wanted Jesus to worship him, not God.  Satan(the liar) promised that Jesus could have all the kingdoms of the world, if He would bow down to him.  (The devil is always trying to get us to bow down to him, to worship  and to be obedient to him.  He wants to be God in our lives. Why would anyone  choose a liar, a thief, a murderer and a destroyer to follow? Let's be smart like Jesus and not fall for the devil's temptations.)  


  Psalm 115:16   16The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men..When Adam and Eve sinned by obeying the deceiver in the garden of Eden, they automatically gave their authority to rule  to the devil. 

 Therefore, the devil could legitimately claim that the kingdoms of the earth were his to offer.(In John 12:31 the devil is called "the prince of this world.")


    The devil was trying to get Jesus to lust after the power and the riches those kingdoms represented, and to want them right then.  Now Jesus knew that one day in the future, when He defeated the devil at the cross, that  His Father woulld give Him the rulership of this world with all its glory and riches.(Psalm 2:6,8    6Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.     8Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.)  Jesus so trusted His Father that He was willing to wait  for God's perfect timing.  He didn't get impatient or rush ahead of God 's will for Him.

PRINCIPLE: Wait on God for direction.  Ask Him for help and then wait for the answer.


So Jesus wasn't interested in the devil's  temptations.  Jesus was determined to do what pleased His Father.  He would only worship God and serve Him.  Psalm 95 :6   6O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.


Principle: In the decisions we make, we are choosing whom we serve and obey, either God or the devil.  If you say "yes" to God,you are saying "no" to the devil.   If you say "no" to God, you are saying "yes" to the devil.


In the garden of Eden, Adam had wonderful things to eat, beautiful surroundings  to enjoy,yet he gave in to temptation and sinned.  In the desert wilderness, Jesus had no food,no green lush garden surroundings, yet He did not fall into sin.

Principle: It is not environment that makes you an overcomer .  It is your love of God and your commitment to Him, no matter what .

LESSON 28-Mark 1:13


13And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him. 

Did you notice this verse says that there were wild beasts present with Jesus,while He was in the desert?  Do you think the devil brought them near Jesus to try and scare Him?  If so, that would have been another temptation Jesus was confronted with- to be fearful of the animals.  However, we know that Jesus was  confident of His Father's will for Him.  Jesus knew that He was going to die on the cross, not in the wilderness.  So Jesus wasn't scared of the wild animals around Him.  He wasn't fearful of them.  In fact, He probably had such authority over them that they acted as they will in the kingdom age,when the Lord Jesus returns  to rule as King over all the earth.  This is described in Isaiah 11:6-9 : Wolves and sheep will live together in peace,and leopards will lie down with young goats.Calves and lion cubs will feed together,and little children will take care of them.Cows and bears will eat together,and their calves and cubs will lie down in peace.Lions will eat straw as cattle do.Even a baby will not be harmed if it plays near a poisonous snake.On Zion, God’s sacred hill,there will be nothing harmful or evil. The land will be as full of knowledge of the Lord as the seas are full of water. (The Good News Bible)  This is probably the way the animals were in the garden of Eden,too.

 "The angels ministered unto Him "

What do you think they did?   I think they brought Him some food...maybe manna,because that is described as angels' food in Psalm 78:24-25:23Though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, 24And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven. 25Man did eat angels’ food:  

Maybe the angels fixed Him some power-packed food as they did the prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 19:5-8  5And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. 6And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baked on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.  7And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. 8And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. 


This was the end of the temptations that Jesus endured in the wilderness.  In Luke 4:13, it says,  13And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. James 4:7 states,... God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." This gives a 2 step plan for getting the devil to leave you.  First, submit yourself to God, which Jesus did.  That means that you  humble yourself before God, surrender to His will, choose God's way. 

 Then resist the devil, as Jeus did during the wilderness temptations. 1 Peter 5-9  8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9Whom resist stedfast in the faith,... Resist  the devil. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.( 2 Corinthians 10:4-5)  4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)  5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;...

  What does that mean? Judge every thought and idea that comes into your mind.  Is it something that leads to fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life? Does it lead to love,,joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness,meekness, self-control?   Is it in the list that the Holy Spirit gave us in Philippians 4:8 about what  to think on?8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  9Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

 If your thought or idea doesn't measure up to God's list, throw it out by replacing it with a godly thought . You will have train yourself to this.  You will have to "get in the habit of right thinking-Christ thinking."Give yourself completely to honoring God in every way,even in your thoughts, and the devil will flee.
















image16

Gospel of Mark


LESSON 29


(The devil) departed from Him(Jesus) for a season.

 It sounds as if the devil came back from time to time later on.   The Bible doesn't record that Jesus again was tempted by the devil in person.  However, we can tell from the things that Jesus  later encountered , that the devil used people to try to get Him to sin, to be afraid, to quit.


  Sometimes  the devil does use people to do his tempting .  Look at the following verses and notice what the people are doing.    Matthew 22:15-18  Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle (Jesus) in his talk. 16And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth,  neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. 17Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? 18But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?  Matt. 22:25  34But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35Then one of them, which was a lawyer( one who studied the law of Moses), asked him a question, tempting him,...  

So you should not be surprised that the devil uses people to tempt you, but you should be alert, so you won't fall for such a trap.  God through King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 1:10 :My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.


Principle: Even though temptations come, we don't have to choose the devil's way and give in to what will ultimately and always be harmful to us. We can be smart.  We can follow the example of the Lord Jesus and refuse to dishonor ourselves and our heavenly Father. Ask the Lord to show you how to walk in His ways each day. He will.  Read and meditate on what God has said in His Word.  That  will also help you to know the ways of God.  Here's an example:


 Psalm 119:selected verses : v2 Happy are those who follow his commands,

who obey him with all their heart. vs 9-12  9 How can young people keep their lives pure?

By obeying your commands.10 With all my heart I try to serve you;

keep me from disobeying your commandments.

11I keep your law in my heart,so that I will not sin against you.

               12I praise you, O Lord;teach me your ways.  vs35-37  Keep me obedient to your commandments,

because in them I find happiness.36Give me the desire to obey your laws rather than to get rich.

          37Keep me from paying attention to what is worthless;  v98Your commandment is with me all the time and makes me wiser than my enemies.v101  I have avoided all evil conduct,

            because I want to obey your word. vs110-112  The wicked lay a trap for me,but I have not disobeyed your commands.

111Your commandments are my eternal possession;they are the joy of my heart.

               112I have decided to obey your laws until the day I die...

          .vs 127-128  127 I love your commands more than gold, more than the finest gold.And so I follow all your instructions;

              128I hate all wrong ways.vs 162-164  162How happy I am because of your promises-

as happy as someone who finds rich treasure.

       163I hate and detest all lies,but I love your law.164Seven times each day I thank you...


LESSON 30 The Interval Between Mk 1:13 and Mk 1:14


               More than 40 days after His baptism in the Jordan River, Jesus, having recovered His strength from His time of fasting, left the wilderness and returned to the area of Bethany/Bethabara, where John the Baptist was ministering to the people.During the time Jesus was in the wilderness,  John the Baptist had been telling the people and religious leaders that the Messiah had come. He had been answering their questions .(John 1:19-25)  John hadn't seen Jesus in over 40 days.

 Jesus came and stood in the crowd. John saw Him there. I'm sure John was glad to see Him again.John probably had been wondering where Jesus had been in the last month or so.

John 1:26-28 (Good News Bible)  26 John answered, “I baptize with water, but among you stands the one you do not know. 27He is coming after me, but I am not good enough even to untie his sandals.”

28 All this happened in Bethany on the east side of the River Jordan, where John was baptizing.

 

Jesus came back the next day to where John was .

John 1 :29-33  The next day John saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “There is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me, but he is greater than I am, because he existed before I was born.’ 31I did not know who he would be, but I came baptizing with water in order to make him known to the people of Israel.”

32 And John gave this testimony (to the people): “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven and stay on him. 33I still did not know that he was the one, but God, who sent me to baptize with water, had said to me, ‘You will see the Spirit come down and stay on a man; he is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34I have seen it,” said John, “and I tell you that he is the Son of God.”


Did you notice that John keeps bringing the conversation back to his testimony of the Messiah?  John doesn't get caught up in declaring his own greatness, but he only seeks to bring attention and recognition to the Son of God.

Principle:  Keep bringing people's attention back to Jesus.




LESSON 31 The interval between Mk 1:13 and 1:14


John 1 :29-33  The next day John saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “There is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Reading this same scripture again,which was also in last week's lesson, did you notice that when John the Baptist saw Jesus, he called Him the Lamb of God.  You would have thought John would have referred to Jesus as the King or at least the Prophet of God, but he didn't . He called Him the Lamb of God.  Why? 

In the Jewish religion, a lamb was one of the innocent animals that could be used as a sacrifice for sin. Its blood would atone for (wipe out,purge,forgive) the sin of the person who brought it to the altar. 

It was called a substitutionary sacrifice, meaning the lamb took the place of the sinner on the altar and gave its life for that person. God established that principle and practice when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden.  God decreed that something must give its life to provide the covering of the sin from His sight.Genesis 3:21   21Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.He declared that this was the only way a person could be forgiven for his sins. Heb9:22... according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.  The sacrifice that was offered had to be the best lamb, unblemished and spotless.1Peter 1:18-19   you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot

 Jesus willingly came to Earth to be our Lamb, our Sacrifice, the One Who would give His life so that we could receive the forgiveness of our sins.  His blood provided the payment for our sins. Jesus was innocent.  He had no sin of His own.    

 Do you remember the verses in lesson 15 that  described Jesus as sinless :

             Hebrews 7:26  For such an high priest (Jesus) became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, ...

             1 John3:5... in Him (Jesus) is no sin...

             1 Peter 1:19  18Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, ... 19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

             2 Cor 5:21   For he (God) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might become  the righteousness of God in him. 

             Heb 4:15   14Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 

              1 Peter 2:22 1For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:  22Who did no sin, neither was guile (deceit) found in his mouth: 23Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not;


 Jesus  was the sinless Son of God.  He had no personal sins that had to be payed for. Yet He chose to come to Earth and become our Sacrifice,to pay for our sins, so that we wouldn't have to die and go to hell, so that we could be forgiven and reconciled to God.  


Let's stop and give thanks for Jesus, the Lamb of God,Who became the Way for us to be forgiven and cleansed of all our sins.  He deserves all our praise.



LESSON 32


John 1 :29-33  The next day John saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “There is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!


How many people did Jesus die for?   John 3:16 answers that.    16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  God has not put any limits on how many can be saved.  Jesus died for the whole world. There's room in heaven for everyone, if they want to enter by the Door, Jesus Christ.  John 10:9  I am the door; by Me if anyone will enter in, he shall be saved...


Now back to the story...Jesus met Andrew and another disciple (of John's) the next day.(John 1:35-42)  These two  had also been present when Jesus got baptized.  Then Andrew introduced Simon Peter, his brother, to Jesus. Jesus did not call them to follow Him at that time, for they were John the Baptist's disciples. Jesus would not steal John's followers from him.35Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; 36And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! 

37And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?  39He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.  40One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.  42And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. 


 Who then  was Jesus' first  disciple?    

The day after, Jesus left the area to go north to Galilee,where He sought out a man named Philip.(John 1:43-44)  Philip was Jesus' first disciple. Philip had attended the baptisms of John, so he was present (and so were all those who eventually were named apostles, including Judas Iscariot.) when Jesus was baptized. (Acts1:21-22)  

Then Philip told a man named Nathaniel,probably a close  friend, that Jesus of Nazareth was the Prophet-Messiah, the One  that  Moses had prophesied of 1200 years earlier.   Another unusual thing is that, although Nathaniel obviously believed Jesus was the Messiah, for he calls Him the Son of God (John 1:49), Nathaniel's name is not listed in the names of the 12 apostles (Matthew 10:1-4,Mark 3:14-19,Luke 6:13-16).  However, there is a man called Bartholomew in the list and it is thought that this might be Nathaniel's other name.

43The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. 44Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. 46And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. 47Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! 48Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.(Jesus had been given a vision of Nathaniel before He ever actually saw him.) 49Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. 50Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. 51And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. 


Jesus returned to His hometown of Nazareth in Galilee, and He did His first public miracle at a wedding three days later in a nearby town called Cana.(John 2:1-12)  His mother,Mary, made a very powerful statement in this passage, a  seven word sermon:  "whatsoever He saith unto you, do it." Today that's still a very good principle to live by.


 John 2:1-12.QUESTIONS


1. On the third day, after Jesus got back to Galilee, He was invited to a ______.Jesus was probably either a close relative or friend of the engaged couple.

b.What other time is the "third day" important in the Bible? (See Matthew 16:21).

c. Who else was invited?(v 2)         ( We don't know how many were with Jesus at this time.)   

d. What town was it in?       (This town was about 7 miles north of Nazareth.)

2. We know the Lord Jesus healed multitudes of people, and  the Holy Spirit had John write at the end of his gospel that  30... many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.(John 20:30-31)  and in John 21:25  And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. This first miracle of turning water into wine  is one of more than 35 that Jesus did that is  written in specific detail. This miracle was only recorded by John, not Mark,Luke or Matthew.  Why would John write about it and not the others?

3. At the wedding reception or party, they ran out of ______.


4. Does Mary actually ask Jesus for anything?(v3)


5. Why does Jesus call His mother "woman"?  He did it again in John 19:26.(Hint:Gen 2:23) It seems  strange to us today, but in that time it was a polite way of addressing a female.


6.What did Jesus mean when He said to Mary," My hour has not yet come?"(Read John 12:27)


7. What does Mary do? (v 5)                   

b. What does this reveal about Mary?                                

These were the last recorded words of Mary in the Bible, even though we see her from time to time in later passages. (Acts 1:12-14)

c.Do you see  a powerful message in the seven words that  Mary speaks?             

d.How can you apply them to your life?


8. If one firkin equals about 7-9 gallons,  how much did each container hold, if it was filled to the brim?  Approximately  how many gallons of water in all did the servants bring (v 6) ?


9. It must have taken some time to fill all six pots with water.  

    What attitude do the servants display toward Jesus?


10. What are the servants asked to do next? (v 8)


11. In verse 10, the master of ceremonies makes a comment to the bridegroom about the quality of the wine.  What does he say?


b.How does his comment about the wine contrast with God's way of doing things?

.c.In the Bible, water and wine can represent several things.  Look at Ephesians 5:25-26. Water can represent ________________. 

d.See John 7:37-39         Water  can also represent ________________.

e. Read Matthew 9:17.  What might the "new wine" represent?                          ( See Acts 2:1-18,Ephesians 5: 17-20)


12 The host  didn't know where the good wine came from.  Who did?    

 The world accepts good things from God,  but does not know or acknowledge Who sends them.   Read Matthew 5:45.


13.This was the first miracle that Jesus did, after beginning His public ministry.(v 11)  Why do you think

     that Jesus did it in Cana, a small town in Galilee?  Why didn't He wait and perform it in a big city, like Jerusalem?


14. On this third day,this miracle manifested His glory.  What does this mean? (v11)

b.What resulted from this ? (v 11)


15.  What are some of the principles that this passage teaches you?



16.  The common substance of water is changed by the word of Jesus into a new substance, much better than before.

 a. Can you see an analogy to your salvation?  

 b. What has God changed in you? (2Cor 5:17,  Ezekiel 36:26-27,  Ephesians 4:24, Luke 5 :37-39)


c.What happens to everything that we give to Jesus ?

Next Jesus returned to Jerusalem,about 80 miles of walking , for the feast of passover, which commemorated the protection of God over the children of Israel on the night He brought them out of the bondage of Egypt 1280 years earlier. While Jesus was there, He removed from  the temple those who were wrongfully making it a house of merchandise(John 2:13-23)  And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, 14And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 15And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; 16And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. 17And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. 

Jesus honored the place where worship was made to the heavenly Father.

 

John 2:13-22 QUESTIONS


1. What time of the year was the passover feast held?  (Hint: Jesus celebrated the passover feast with His disciples the day before He was crucified.)


2. In what city was Jesus at this time?


3. What building did He visit?


4.Why did He go there?


5.What problem did He find there?


6.As a concession and as a convenience for the people who came long distances to worship at the temple, the priests  kept animals there to be bought and used as sacrifices.  The priests  made extra income  from this buying and selling.  The moneychangers were what we'd call bankers.  Since the money for the temple tax of each male who attended had to be silver coin, the moneychangers would,   for an exhorbitant  price, exchange whatever foreign money  the visiting worshipers brought ,so that they would have the proper silver coin for the tax. Both priest and moneychanger took advantage of the poor, who were required to pay ,but couldn't easily afford the expensive temple prices.  

Jesus said two different things at the two times, once at the beginning and once toward the end of His 3 1/2 years of ministry, that He cleansed the temple court of  these profiteers.  Read  John 2:16  and Matthew  21:13.   What is the difference in what He said?                                                


b.Can you see the change that has occurred in  3 1/2 years?


7.Back to John 2:15,  What was a scourge?

b.How long  do you think it took Him to make it?

c.What did He do with it?

8. Note how careful and controlled He was.   He instructs the owners to remove the doves' cages from the area. Why didn't He throw the cages out?

9.  Was Jesus angry?  ( v 17 , Ps 69:9  "eaten up" means passionate about, consumed by)

b.If you answered yes, then do you believe He was doing His Father's will to cleanse His Father's house of the merchandisers?    Look at John 6:38, 8:29, 14:10   

 If you answered no, what tells you He wasn't angry?

. What are the restrictions to being angry?  (Psalm 37:8, Ephesians 4:26,Proverbs 14:29,16:32, James 1:19-20)


10.  Why did Jesus call the temple His Father's house? A building cannot contain the bigness of God.


11.Referring to verse 16, some churches believe that there should be nothing sold within the church building. Do you think that is what this passage teaches? 

b. Why?


12. Jesus wanted His Father's house to be a place of purity and proper worship.  

.Read Matthew 21:13 again.  What is the house of worship suppose to be known for?   

b.Is your church a place of prayer?    

c.Since your body is also  the temple of the Holy Spirit  (1 Corinthians 6:19,20), are you a house of prayer?             

d. Why? 

e.How does someone  become a house of prayer?

 . He also did some miracles among the people (John 2:23).23Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. 

  While Jesus was in Jerusalem, He also had a visit by a very important dignitary, a ruler of the Jews,named Nicodemus (John 3:1-21),out of which meeting came the instruction "you must be born again," and a  very well-known verse,John 3:16,( which I'm sure you can say from memory) that we started the lesson with.


John 3:1-12

  You may want to divide this lesson into several parts.  There are a number of scriptures to review. If you aren't sure about an answer, you can e-mail me to discuss it.


1. (Vs 1-2)  Who came to Jesus?                              What was his position with the Jews?  (vs 1,10, master = teacher)  

  At what time of the day did he visit Jesus? (v 2)

 b. Why do you suppose Nicodemus came at night to see Jesus? 

 Most people would answer "fear of the other Jews,"because of a statement in John 19: 38 about  Joseph of Arimathaea,  but what might be other explanations as to why he came by night?


If you want to read about the group called the Pharisees, look at the following:  Mark 7:1-13, Matthew 23:1-23, Acts 23:6-8 , Luke 18:9-14 and list the good and bad principles they lived by.



2. What did Nicodemus already know about Jesus?(v 2)


3. Nicodemus didn't ask Jesus anything, yet Jesus starts talking about being born again. Why?

    Jesus says being born again gives a new kind of sight.  

4.Nicodemus thinks Jesus is talking about physical birth (v 4), but Jesus is talking about being born  ____?


5. In verse 5, Jesus says that being born from above requires water and the Spirit.  Since He is discussing spiritual birth, 

    the water must also be of a spiritual nature.  Let's look at some verses that might help us figure out what "water" in this 

    context means.  According to John 7:37-39, water could represent _______________?


    In Ephesians 5:26, water represents the ____________?


   a. If the water represents the Holy Spirit, then Jesus was emphasizing the need for the Holy Spirit to conceive the new birth in Nicodemus.  Only God can create a new man.  2 Corinthians 5:17

    The passage could read,"Except a man be born of water,even ( in other words) the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."


   b. If the water represented the Word of God, then Jesus was expressing the two parts needed for the new birth, the Word and the Holy Spirit.   Romans 10:8, 17,  1 Peter 1:23, Romans 8:9, Ephesians 1:13-14


   c. Some think that water refers to natural birth and Spirit refers to spiritual birth. In other words, a man must be born  as a baby into the human family and   be born again spiritually into the family of God.  This view would exclude any who weren't human beings.


   d. A few  think that "water" refers to water baptism, that it is absolutely essential for salvation.  However, the Bible teaches that salvation is not by anything that we do as part of salvation.  We simply receive what was done for us in full by Jesus on the cross .  We receive by faith , not works of any kind. Remember the hymn, "Jesus Paid It All?"   Look up Ephesians 2:8-9, John 3:36,  Titus 3:5

Also remember that Jesus Himself never baptized anyone in water  (John 4:2).  If water baptism was necessary for salvation,  Jesus Himself would have been baptizing as many as He could.


   e.Some think the "water" of verse 5 represents John the Baptist's ministry of repentance.  We've studied that in earlier lessons.  John stirred the people's awareness of the need to repent of their sins, in order to be prepared for the coming of the Messiah.  Look for the word "repent" or " repentance" in the  following verses:  Matthew 3:1-3,8,Mark 1:1-4,


Which view(s) do you think is correct?


In verse 5,Jesus says that being born again brings new privileges...List  some :Ephesians 2:18___________________,John 14:16__________________, 2Peter 1:3-4 _______________________Can you think of or find some others?                    You might want to read the short book of Ephesians and ,as you read, look again for the blessings and privileges of the child of God.


6.  In verse 6, Jesus makes a statement about flesh and spirit.  Let's see what God says about each.


Romans 8:1-17 contrasts the flesh and the spirit. Read this passage and list the things it says about the one who has not been born from above and who does not obey God. Then go back through the passage again and list all the characteristics of the person who is born from above and is a child of God.I'll help you get started:


Rom 8:1  The one who isn't in Christ is condemned to judgment.  See John 3:15-21          

                 The person who is in Christ,a believer, will not be condemned to perish -- no condemnation.


          The one who walks after (obeys) the flesh does the works of the flesh.  See Galatians 5:19-21

           The person who obeys the Holy Spirit will exhibit the fruit  and works of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26, Ephesians 2:10)


8:2 The sinner is under the law of sin and death.  The believer is free from the law of sin ( Romans 6:3,18,22) and its power.(Romans6:11-14)     He is also free from the sentence of death in hell.  (Romans 8:22,23,John 3:16)


Now continue to go through the rest of the verses (through v 17).You may prefer to do a 2 column list:  flesh  ........ . .spirit  ...   rather than the  sentence form that I used.


7. In verses 7-8 Jesus repeats His statement of verse 3, but what is different this time?


8.  Jesus compares the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation to the wind.  (v 8)   What qualities of the wind is like the work of the Spirit?

Who controls the wind?       Can you see it?    What do you see, when it is windy?     Are you ever surprised by wind gusts you didn't expect?   How is this like the Holy Spirit?


9.Nicodemus is confused.(v 9)  He is not questioning because of unbelief, but of a lack of understanding.He is ignorant of what Jesus is saying.  He is still thinking in the "natural", when Jesus is talking about the "spiritual".  Can you remember a time in your life, when God was telling you about spiritual things, but you didn't get what He meant?            Are you understanding more about spiritual things now than then?            My Sunday School teacher says that he prays Ephesians 1:17-19  every morning.  He asks God to give him the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, and to open the eyes of his understanding. Joe  makes sure he spends time in the Word of God,too, because there is much wisdom in it.


10.Jesus answers Nicodemus' question with a question. In the Greek, it says, Are you" THE teacher" of Israel and don't know this?  What point is He trying to make?


11.  Who does the "we" refer to?  Read John 1:6-8, 5:33-40

Do you see the contrast between these two teachers ?


12.(V 11)   Why didn't the leadership of Israel, whom Nicodemus represents, receive Jesus as their Messiah?          John 1:9-11 

Later on in the book of John, Jesus will say that the world hated Him    (John 15:23-25)     What were they trying to hold on to ?

(John  3:19-20,12:17-19,11:45-53)


13.  (V 12) What "earthly things" is He referring to?


        Jesus also shows us here a principle of learning.  The basics must be understood before one can go on to learn of greater things. This is true in our regular education and it's true in our spiritual education.  Read what the writer of Hebrews penned in Hebrews 5:8-14,6:1-2 )  These had not graduated to a higher level of spiritual learning, even though they should have.   In  fact they had regressed to a" milk " stage of spiritual learning in the principles of the things they should have understood. What do the following verses tell us :2 Timothy 2:15, Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:1-3, and Psalm 119   ?


 14. It is thought that the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus may have ended at verse 12, because of the way the last part of verse 13 reads, "...the Son of man Who is in heaven."  When the Holy Spirit through the apostle John had this gospel written, the Lord Jesus had already ascended to His throne in heaven. After telling of  the encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus, John takes up in verse 13  the teaching on how to be born from above and continues it through verse 21.

15. Other verses that refer to Nicodemus are John 7:50-51, 19:39-42    Do you think he became a believer?

16. What principles do you see in this story?

      Why do you think the Holy Spirit included this particular story in the written account of the life and words of Jesus?  John said at the end of his gospel that there were lots of things that Jesus had done that he hadn't been directed to include in this gospel.  (John 21:24-25)  Why this one?

LESSON 34 Continued Mark 1:15

Jesus said, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."

The last lesson on Mark discussed the first two phrases, now let's look at the last statement.  "Repent and believe the gospel." " Repent " was discussed more thoroughly in Lessons 6,7,and 8, so review those if you need to.   "Repent" is coupled with several other elements in the scriptures.


Acts 2:28  Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

Acts 3:19 9Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, 

Acts 26:20  19Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: 20But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance

Luke 24:47  Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47And that repentance and remission (forgiveness) of sins should be preached in his name among all nations,

Luke 13:3  except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Repent and believe or be judged...Acts 17:30  God... now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. 


Now let's look at the phrase "believe the gospel".  "Believe" includes the idea of receiving facts in your mind, accepting them as truth in your spirit, and living daily in accordance with them thereafter .  One writer compacted that into, "Yield,trust and obey." "Yield (your will) , trust (Jesus), and obey."  Surrender to the Lord as revealed in the gospel, trust Him as to His character, words and deeds, and obey Him as Lord and King.  Do you remember hearing or singing the songs, "I Surrender All" and "Trust and Obey?" 

 

All to Jesus, I surrender, All to Him I freely give

I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live.

All to Jesus I surrender, Humbly at His feet I bow

Worldly pleasures all forsaken, Take me Jesus,take me now.

Chorus: I surrender all, I surrender all

All to Thee, my blessed Savior,

I surrender all.


Trust and Obey

But we can never prove the delights of His love, until all on the altar we lay

For the favor He shows and the joy He bestows are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet, or we'll walk by His side in the way

What He says we will do,where He sends we will go-- never fear, only trust and obey.

Chorus:Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

LESSON 35-Mark 1:16-20

Since John the Baptist's ministry was finished upon his death by Herod, his disciples had gone back to their homes and jobs.  Peter and Andrew returned to Galilee and went back to their fishing business. So did James and John. Generally they fished at night and mended and cleaned  their nets during the day. 

The following passage in Luke 5 gives more information than Mark's gospel about how these men were called to become disciples of the Lord Jesus.

Luke 5:1-11  1So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, 2and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. 3Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.

 4When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”(Dixie:I think the Lord wanted to repay Simon Peter for the use of his boat.) 5But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” 6And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 7So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 

Principle:  The Lord always gives back more than we offer to Him.

 

8When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” 9For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken10and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon,"Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” 

Jesus walked a little farther and spoke to  the other pair of brothers,James and John.  They were business partners with Peter  (Luke 5:10), and they also had been with John the Baptist at the time  he baptized Jesus in the Jordan River (Acts 1:22).  They had been in a boat with their father, Zebedee, and his hired servants, mending some broken cords in their fishing nets before Jesus came.  He also called them to be His disciples. So they. remembering John the Baptist's pronouncement that Jesus was the Messiah and having just seen this miracle of the fish,  went after Jesus.

11So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him. 

No doubt, they recognized the honor that He was conferring on them.  They left their business and became His disciples, which means learners.

We also are called to be His followers and learn of Him. 1 Corinthians 1:9   9God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.  Matthew 11:28-30   28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  John 10:27  . 27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:...Ephesians 5:1-2  1Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us ...

Principle: Nothing is more important than being with Jesus and doing what He calls you to do.  Never let business, family or inconvenience keep you from following Jesus. Peter and Andrew and their friends considered following Jesus the most important thing in their lives.


LESSON 36  Mark 1:21


. 21And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. 22And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. 


Capernaum is a city on the northern shore of the Sea of  Galilee.  Although Jesus' boyhood was lived in Nazareth, as an adult He moved to Capernaum to live, fulfilling a prophecy that had been written in the book of Isaiah about the Messiah.  (Matt. 4:13-16  And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 14That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias(Isaiah) the prophet, saying, 15The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 16The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.(Do you remember that Jesus is called the Light of the world (John 1:5-10, 8:12)?


Unfortunately the people of Capernaum never honored Jesus and His ministry as they should have.  Jesus did many mighty works in that city , but the people did not repent. (Matthew 11:20,23 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:...And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. ) 

 Here are some of the miracles that Jesus did in the city of Capernaum:

⦁  Matt 8:5-13 Jesus healed a centurion's servant  

⦁ Matt 8:14-17 Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law

⦁ Matt 8:18 On the same evening,Jesus healed many that were demon possessed and healed all that were sick

⦁ Mark 1:23-26  Jesus cast out an evil spirit from a man in the local synagogue

⦁ Mark 2:1-12 Jesus healed a man with palsy who couldn't walk

            .     John 4:   46-54 Jesus, while at Cana, healed a nobleman's son who was in Capernaum

             In spite of all these miracles and more, the people of Capernaum did not repent and believe that Jesus was the Messiah sent from God.  They had so much evidence of Who Jesus was, not only His works but also His words, but they hardened their hearts and refused to believe in Him.


               It was Jesus'custom to go to the synagogue every sabbath (Saturdays), similar to us going to church every Sunday. He also participated in the service.(Luke 4:15-16 15And he (Jesus) taught in their synagogues, ... as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.)

 

Principle: It should be our custom to attend worship services regularly, as is commanded.

 Hebrews 10:25...not forsaking the assembly of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting (encouraging)  one another; and so much the more, as you see the day (of the Lord's return) coming.

The synagogue was primarily a place to get or give instruction in the scriptures, worship, and pray together with other Jews. (Matt. 4:23  23And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues,...

 

 As Jesus taught the scriptures unto them, the members of the synagogue were astonished at His words and manner.  "...for He taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes (who usually served as teachers).Here are some other comments about Jesus' words:

⦁ Matt 7:29  8And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 

⦁ Mark 1:27 27And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. 

⦁ Luke 4:22 22And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.

⦁ Luke 4:36  36And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out. 

⦁ Mark 10:24 23And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24And the disciples were astonished at his words. 

⦁ John 6:68 67Then said Jesus unto the twelve,  Will ye also go away? 68Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.


Principle:The Lord Jesus has the words of eternal life.  That's why we need to study His words and why we need to receive them.  They are life to us, "wonderful words of life."










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Gospel of Mark

LESSON 37 Mark 1:22


"They were astonished at His doctrine"

"Doctrine” means  teachings or instruction.  Jesus said in John 7:16-18 that what He taught was that which His Father had given.  16 Jesus answered, “What I teach is not my own teaching, but it comes from God, who sent me. 17Whoever is willing to do what God wants will know whether what I teach comes from God or whether I speak on my own authority. 18A person who speaks on his own authority is trying to gain glory for himself. But he who wants glory for the one who sent him is honest, and there is nothing false in him.”(Good News Bible)


There are what we call fundamental doctrines, which every new believer should be taught and should understand.  They are called the” milk” of the Word, that which even a baby Christian can digest. In Hebrews 6:1-2  is a list of those doctrines: the first lessons for the Christian ... the foundation of (1) turning away from dead (useless) works and of (2)having faith toward God ; (3)of the teaching about baptisms and(4) the laying on of hands; (5)of the resurrection of the dead and (6)the eternal judgement.These are topics that every Christian should understand  and should be able to explain to others.  Let’s do a quick review of the essentials of each one.


(1) turning away from dead works

There are works of darkness  Rom 13:12, unfruitful works of darkness Eph 5:11, wicked works Col 1:21,

works that deny the Lord Titus 1:16.  Dead works are those that a person tries to do to earn his way into heaven.  People will often say, “i’ve been a good person.  I deserve to go to heaven,”  but God says in His Word that it is not our good works that can save us.God said, “All your righteousnesses are as filthy rags “ (Isaiah 64:6) 

  Titus 3:5 “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us...”  He said in Ephesians 2 :8-9, that salvation is not a result of your works, but God’s grace and goodness to you.  It is  not something you earn or work for, but salvation is a gift to those who believe Jesus is their Savior and receive Him as their Lord.

To be saved one must turn away (repent) from any thought that they can work their way into heaven without Jesus.


(2) Faith towards God

After turning away from dead works, one must turn towards God.  If God will not accept our works to pay for our salvation, then He  must  have another way . This is what trusting God means, that you believe His way of salvation is the only way and He has revealed that way through the Son He sent to earth to be His Messenger. 

(3) Baptisms

Refer to lessons 12-14 for a thorough  review of this topic. In summary, the most important baptism is the one which puts you into the body of Christ, making you a member of the family of God, It is done by the Holy Spirit at the time when you repent of your sins and you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. The second baptism is the one for service and ministry.  It is done by the Lord Jesus.  Please review lessons 12-14, if you have questions or want more explanation.

(4) Laying on of hands

This refers generally to the impartation of blessing, healing, commissioning for service ,etc.  My mother said that ,as a child, she could remember her  father  often putting his hand on her head  and saying “God bless you ,my child.”  The apostles, Barnabas and Paul had hands laid on them as part of  being sent out as missionaries from the church in Antioch,Syria. Jesus often laid His hand on  sick people as He imparted  gifts of healing to them.

(5)Resurrection of the dead

 When a person dies, it is only his body that quits.  His spirit and soul continue to live, but he is  invisible to our eyes, because he has no body of flesh, which would make him visible to us.  He still has form, for the soul acts as the body for the spirit.  He can talk.  He can think. He can remember. He can feel.  He is in the spirit realm, and lives in heaven’s regions of light or in hell’s darkness.

At some point in time, God will signal that it is time for the resurrection of the just, those who have had faith in the Redeemer and who believed and received Him by faith.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, the spirit-souls of those who have died in Christ will be united with  new bodies,  glorified bodies of flesh and bone,not flesh and blood like ours now.  It will be an eternal body which will not be subject to any disease, illness, or injury.  Your resurrection body will never wear out.  You will never die.  You will never get sick or be in pain.

(6) Eternal judgment

One thousand years later,after the resurrection of the just, there will be a resurrection of the unjust,  those who heard the gospel but rejected the light that God offered them . They didn't want God to save them, so He won't.  They will be judged by their works,good and bad, that they did on the earth. Their good won’t outweigh their sins.  They won’t measure up to God’s high standard of holiness,Who is Jesus, so they will be sentenced to the lake of fire. This lake of fire was never intended for man, just for the devil and his angels.  God wanted every person to repent , to receive His salvation,and never  to be judged for their sins, but some thought they had a better plan.  At this judgment, they will realize their mistake too late.


In John 6:45, Jesus said that His Father taught all sinners certain lessons in their lives on earth, so that they would come to belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior.  The first lesson, of course, is that God exists. We can look all around us at the creation of tje plants and animals and the earth itself, and know that there was a Creator of it all.  All of this and the order and design of it could not have happened by accident. 

 The second lesson is to understand that, since God is and He is the Creator of all that is in the universe, then He is powerful, more than anyone else.  

The third lesson is that, since God is the all-powerful Creator of all that is made, He is also the Judge of all that is, including mankind.  It is He Who decides who measures up to His standard of absolute purity and holiness...and no sinner does measure up.  So the Creator has a right to destroy the part of His creation that does not  fit His standard.

 

Nothing the sinner could do  could save him from destruction.  Only God could  come up with a way of salvation, if there was to be one.  God did decide to provide a way of salvation for the sinner, a means of becoming righteous and holy enough to suit God’s standards,a way to become a citizen of heaven and  to be adopted into the actual family of God,,,and this Way is Jesus.  Believe that with His death on the cross in your place, Jesus paid your way out of the prison house of sin, took your sentence of death and hell for you, did everything that was needed to bring you salvation, if you would turn away from your dead works, turn towards God, accept  the salvation Jesus offers, receive it, believe Him by faith,trusting that what He has said and done is the truth 

 In exchange for your sins, He gave you His holiness .  In the place of your death, He gave you eternal life. In the place of your unrighteousness, He gave you His righteousness.  In exchange for being against God, He gave you peace with God.  Jesus endured rejection so that you might have acceptance with the only One Who matters---God.

Jesus was willing to be punished in your place so  that you might be forgiven.  He was wounded for you that you might be healed  in every way.  Jesus died your death so  that you might share His life. He took  the shame of your sin on Himself so that you might share His glory. He became a curse so that you could receive the  blessings of eternal life and its abundance.

Let's stop here and give thanks for our Redeemer.


LESSON 38 Mark 1:23-28


23 Just then a man with an evil spirit in him came into the synagogue and screamed, 24“What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Are you here to destroy us? I know who you are-you are God’s holy messenger (the Holy One of God-KJV)!”

25 Jesus ordered the spirit, “Be quiet, and come out of the man!”

26 The evil spirit shook the man hard, gave a loud scream, and came out of him. 27The people were all so amazed that they started saying to one another, “What is this? Is it some kind of new teaching? This man has authority to give orders to the evil spirits, and they obey him!”

28 And so the news about Jesus spread quickly everywhere in the province of Galilee.(Good News Bible)


What are we to learn from this passage? 

 Sometimes there are people who have evil spirits in them.  Those evil spirits make them say and do strange things.  Notice this man  came into the synagogue, the worship place.  That’s where he needed to be.  Church should be a place where people can get freed from demons.


Notice what the demon through the man’s lips said.   It used the pronoun “us”.  What does that tell you?

Yes, there was more than one demon in him.  It said “I know “, indicating that of the demons in the man, one, probably the strongest, was the spokesman or leader.

Note how the demon referred to Jesus.  The demon calls Him by His earthly name, knows His hometown, and knows His character is holy.  It also knows Jesus’  mission as the Messenger of God.  Since the demons knew Who Jesus really was, why didn’t  the people recognize  Jesus as the Messiah?


The words and presence of Jesus (and of  believers,too) bring fear to demons.  This evil demonic spirit indicates that it knows what its future holds...”are You here to destroy us?”  It also knows that Jesus will be the Judge of their sentence into the lake of fire. Matthew 25:41  41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:   Rev20:10  10And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone,...


Jesus told the evil spirit to stop talking.  He didn’t need any demon’s endorsement as to Who He was.  His life, His words,His works would be more than enough witness  for any person  to believe.

Did you notice how simple Jesus’ command to the demons was?  He didn’t go into a long speech or strange gyrations.  He simply told the demon to leave the man.

The demons left,like a stampede, shaking the man and causing him to holler,but Luke's account of this (Luke 4:35)  tells us the man was not hurt.  Those who work in deliverance ministries  like this one of Jesus’,   see  physical manifestations of the demons leaving the person.  These are  good, being  signs that deliverance has taken place.

 The people who saw this in the synagogue knew that the man had been delivered of those evil spirits and they were amazed at the power of Jesus’ words and the results He got.  People began to spread the word about what Jesus had done and said. (Are you spreading the word of what Jesus has done in your life?)


Principle:  Jesus is more powerful than any force of evil. No one is more powerful than He.  

 Matthew 28:18 8And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 

John 17:2  2As thou(God the Father) hast given him(Jesus) power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 

Ephesians 1:19-22  according to the working of his mighty power,  20Which he (God the Father) wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22And hath put all things under his feet, 

Philippians 2:9-10 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;  


This is the Lord we serve.  This is the Christ to Whom we have pledged our lives and loyalty.  He is the King of all kings, the Lord of all. There is none as powerful as He. 

 Psalm 34:3  O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.  



LESSON 39  Mark 1:29-34



29And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. 31And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them. 32And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. 33And all the city was gathered together at the door. 34And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him. 


Simon Peter, his wife,his mother-in-law and his brother, Andrew, lived in the town of Capernaum in Galilee.  The brothers worked in the fishing business with their partners,two  brothers, James and John.(Luke 5:7) 

After leaving the synagogue, having just seen a man delivered of evil spirits, Peter and Andrew evidently invited  Jesus to their home, probably for a meal.  James and John went along,too.  Upon arriving there, they found that Peter's mother-in-law was in bed,seriously ill with a  fever of high temperature.  They told Jesus of her condition and asked Him to help. (Luke 4:38  And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her.)

Jesus did several things. He took her by the hand.(Mt 8:15)  He spoke to the fever and rebuked it. (Luke 4:39 . 39And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.

She was healed right before their eyes.  In fact, she was so recovered that she was strong enough to serve them a meal.

What do we learn from this?

Peter's mother-in-law didn't ask to be healed.  She probably was so sick that she couldn't help herself.  She may not have known that Jesus could help her. Others acted as intercessors for her.  They asked Jesus to heal her.  We can act as intercessors for those  who need help and who may not know that Jesus is the Answer.  We can do that by praying for them.  We can also teach them the Word of God so that they will seek the Lord for themselves.


It didn't take long for the news to spread.By evening,the sabbath had ended (Mk 1:21) and word had gotten around that the Healer was at Peter's house.  Many people came there, bringing their sick  and those under demonic attack. Perhaps Peter and the others helped by organizing the people into groups of different types of illnesses and diseases.  They might have gotten the people into lines, so that there was an orderly procession to the Healer. 

Jesus laid hands on those who were sick (Lk 4:40)  and spoke a word that freed  those who were oppressed by demons  (Mt 8:16) . Matthew's account says Jesus healed everyone that was sick (Matt.8:16-17),fulfilling the prophecy by Isaiah (Isa.53:4  He took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses, and v5 ...with His stripes we are healed.) 

 It had to have taken hours to heal and deliver all those people.  It must have been tiring, yet the Lord Jesus stayed until the very last one who sought healing, or deliverance from demons, was helped.

The Lord did not accept any association by demonic testimony.  He didn't need or want their endorsement.  He didn't want anyone to get  information about Him  from demons.  Information about the Savior was to come from His Father and those He sent. 

As a quick study practice, read the following passage  in John 5 again , and list the different persons or things that gave witness to Jesus being the Messiah.

  John 5:32-39    32There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. 33Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. 34But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. 35He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. 36But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. 37And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. 38And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. 39Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

  

How many did you find?  I found : John the Baptist, the works (miracles,healings, raising the dead, casting out demons, calming storms, walking on water, the Words He spoke, and many more), His Father, Jesus Himself, and the Old Testament scriptures.  All of these testified clearly that Jesus was the promised Messiah,sent from heaven, the One Who came to be the Redeemer of mankind.

What godly characteristics did Jesus show in this passage in Mark 1:29-34?  Can you find 6 or more?   

      This is the Savior and Lord we serve.  He can heal .  He can deliver from demonic oppression.  We should also note that He didn't  heal for just His friends.  God sent Him to bless all who would come to Him. 


Principle: There is plenty of evidence and testimony that Jesus is the true Messiah, the Redeemer of mankind, sent by God the Father.  Man is required to receive that evidence and believe the truth, in order to be saved.


 Principle:Those who have handicaps, disfiguring diseases or injuries are sometimes avoided or excluded by others . At   times they are ignored , as if they don't have feelings. If you like to receive a smile and a cheerful greeting, don't you think they would,too? Jesus had compassion on those He met and touched them with healing. 1 Corinthians 13, verse 4 reminds us that in God's kingdom,love is kind .  Ask God to open your eyes to the opportunities He gives you to be kind this week.  


LESSON 40 Mark 1:35-


 35And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. 36And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. 37And when they had found him, they said unto him,  All men seek for thee. 38And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. 39And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils. 


What does this first sentence tell you about Jesus' habits?

He got up long before 6AM ,which is when the Jewish day started, and left the house to pray. By doing that, what was He saying about prayer ?  

Why do you think that prayer was the first activity of His day? 

 What  was  He saying about being with His Father?  Talking to Him?  Hearing from Him?

      Why did He want to be alone to pray?  He did this more than once. 

Luke 5:15-16 so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. 16And he withdrew himself into the wilderness(desert), and prayed.

 Luke 6:12 12And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.


What do your prayer habits indicate about you?  Is prayer important to you? Is it a necessity to you as it was to Jesus? Do you understand that you need prayer  to give you the right focus and attitude to meet the day's challenges? Do you view prayer as talking with and listening to  the One Who loves you most? 

Principle:  We must never think that we can do without talking with our heavenly Father.  From Him, we receive encouragement, help, strength, direction, comfort and whatever else we need.  He loves us.  He wants to talk to us every day. (Hebrews 3:7)


Some time passed and the disciples awoke and started looking for Him, because more people had come  for help.  The disciples finally  found Him and told Him that more people were seeking His healing power. Jesus said that He needed to go on and preach the message that He had been sent to give.  He wanted them to understand what was most important,giving the Word of God to a  lost world. (Luke 19:10  10For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. )   Luke 4:42-43  42And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them. 43And he said unto them,  I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent. 

Many people followed Jesus.  He could have had a healing crusade in that town.  Yet He said He must go to other places to tell them of the kingdom of God. He was showing that,although  healing of the body was important,  healing of the spirit was even more important, because it would last forever.  

Jesus kept His focus on the directions that His Father had given Him in His prayer times.  Jesus intended to do the will of His Father, not the will of man.  Jesus put the will of His Father first, above all else.  He wasn't dismissing healing as unimportant ,but He chose the better part, obeying the Holy Spirit's instructions and doing what He had been sent here to do.

What have you been sent here to do? Everyone has a God-given purpose to fulfill here. If you're not sure or don't yet know what that involves, begin to ask the Lord to reveal His purpose in sending you  to this place, at this time.

      Ask Him to help you understand why you are here, and what His plan is for you.  He wants you to know it and to fulfill it.  Jeremiah 29:11  11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.   

      Ask Him to prepare you for what He wants you to do.  You already know that you will need to know the Word of God in whatever He has for you in the future,  so spending time learning the Word of God is part of your preparation for doing the work of God.

"let's go to the next towns..."

Jesus didn't say this because He wanted a change of scenery.  He only did those things that He was directed to do by the Holy Spirit.  He kept His focus on the will of the Father.  He had confidence in what the Father's plan for Him was. Ps 37:23 The steps of a good person are ordered by the LORD, and he delights in His way. 

 Ask the Lord to order your steps each day; ask Him to go before you to make the events of your day turn out to glorify Him and then watch how God will work .



LESSON 41  Mark 1:40-45


40And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him,  If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 41And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. 42And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. 43And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; 44And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 45But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter. 


I want you to compare this passage in Mark with the following parallel verses in Matthew and Luke, and then answer some questions.


Matthew 8:2-4

1When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 3And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 

Luke5:12-14

12And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city,  behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 13And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. 14And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 15But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. 16And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed. 


1. Where was Jesus coming from?    Jesus had just finished teaching the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7).

2. What did He then enter ?                         What was its name?   (See Mark 2:1)

3. Who met Him?

4. What was the man's disease?

     Leprosy was a chronic, infectious disease that attacked the skin and extremities of a person and for which there was no known cure at that time.  It was characterized by sores, scabs and shiny white spots beneath the skin.  Because of the contagious nature of the disease, the leper was  isolated from family, friends and all other people.  He was required to wear mourning clothes, and to cry a warning,"Unclean,unclean!", so all could avoid being near him. He was never touched, hugged or kissed.  

There were a few cases of leprosy being cured in the Old Testament: Moses (Exodus 4:7), Miriam, his sister (Numbers 12:10), Naaman  (2Kings 5:1,10)  

5.How bad was this man's leprosy?

6.How does he react when he sees Jesus?

       b.What does this show?

       c. Mark's account says the leper knelt; Luke's account says the leper fell on his face.  Since we know the Bible is the Word of God, Who does not lie, how do you explain this difference?

        d. What did his changing position in front of Jesus indicate?

 7. Why do you think the leper approached Jesus?  What had he probably heard?

8. What words in this account tell you that the leper was very serious about his request for healing?

9.  The leper addresses Jesus as "Lord."  This word means "Master."   What was the leper acknowledging?


The leper didn't wait for Jesus to say anything.  He doesn't cry "unclean"  as he was required to do. He doesn't stand afar off, as he was supposed to do.   He kneels, then falls on his face before Jesus and begs Jesus to heal him. 

10.How does Jesus react to this request?                Is He reluctant to heal?           

11. What words show Jesus' heart towards this man?

       In His compassion, Jesus showed the character of His Father.  Psalm 86:15  thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.  Psalm111:4  the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.  Lamentations 3:22-23  It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Principle:  We should also show the character of our heavenly Father by our compassion for those in need. I read a story about a Christian speaker driving to a conference.  His time to get there was limited.  He didn't want to be late.  He stopped at a red light.  He noticed a homeless man on the corner.  The driver checked the red light.  It still hadn't turned green.  He waited for what seemed like several minutes before the light finally turned green and he went on his way.  He asked the Lord why He didn't make that light change to green for him.  The Lord said, "I wanted you to pray for that homeless man." The man was convicted of his lack of compassion for the man on the corner.He repented and asked forgiveness for it. This incident also taught him that delays may be opportunities for ministry.


12.  In all 3 accounts of this leper's healing, it mentions that Jesus put out His hand and touched the leper.   How do you think the leper  felt when he was touched for the first time in a long time?

13.  Why did Jesus touch the leper rather than staying back from him and just speaking the words "be healed?" 

b. Why wasn't He afraid?

c.  Who showed Jesus what He was to do and say?        (John 5:19-20, 8:28,12:49-50)


 The touch of Jesus' hand on the leper  came from  His compassion for the man. Jesus' heart guided His actions.

 Principle:  What you do indicates the condition of your heart. Your actions reveal what you believe and who you really are.

Proverbs 23:7    ... as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.  

   

  In Luke 4:40, "Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them," Jesus touched every person that He healed.  Yet in Matthew 8:5-13 Jesus didn't even see the sick person, much less touch him, but simply speaks a word of agreement for healing.  

 14.Who  anointed and directed Jesus in what He did, so that He knew when to touch and when to speak for healing?     (See Matthew 3:16,4:1, Luke 2:40, 4:14, John 3:34) 

b. Who should you ask and listen to for your directions for each day?

                      

 Principle:God will direct your steps, if you will ask Him and begin to train yourself to listen for His voice.   

      Proverbs 3:1-10  1My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.  3Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: 4So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.  5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 

7Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 8It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.   9Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. 


15.How do you think the leper felt when he heard Jesus say, "I will, be thou clean" and knew the leprosy was gone?

16. Are  healings always instanteous, as this one?  (John 4:52-53, Mark 16:18).

 17.Then Jesus told the man to say nothing to anyone.  Why didn't Jesus want the man to advertise that a Healer was in the city?

18. Jesus tells the healed man to go show himself to whom?  

        b. Why did the priests of the temple in Jerusalem need a testimony of this healing?

19.  Why was he to do this?  

20.  This was in accordance with whose law?

21.  How was the freedom of Jesus affected by the man's doing the opposite of what Jesus requested  about his not telling?  See Mark 1:45. 

.22. What application can you make to yourself  in this story?

 

23. Many times scripture has more than one level of application.  Suppose you looked at this account as if the leper represented a lost man.  

 a.  What then would the leprosy represent?

 b.  What would the healing represent?

 c. What steps did the man have to take to be delivered?

 d. The man hadn't done anything to earn or deserve his healing.  Yet God healed him.  That is what we call grace.  What has grace to do with salvation?  

Ephesians 2:5-9  (by grace ye are saved;)  6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.  

e. When did the man exhibit faith in Jesus' ability to help him?

(If you'd like my answers to these questions to compare with yours, let me know.)


Answers

1.mountain in Galilee

2. Capernaum

3.leper

4.leprosy

5.He was full of it, a full-blown case of it.

6-7. He recognizes Jesus as the Healer. He shows his humility.  He  humbles himself by kneeling first, then falling on his face in the dust before Jesus,showing his desperation to be healed and his earnestness in seeking Jesus. 

8."beseeching" , falling on his face

9. Jesus' authority over him and his disease

10. Jesus felt compassion toward the leper.  He was not in any way reluctant to heal him.

11.  "I will,"   "moved with compassion"

12.I'm sure the leper was astounded that Jesus wasn't afaid to touch him.  He probably felt wonder at being touched after so long.  He was  glad to get what he believed would be the means of his healing.  

13. a.Jesus knew that the man needed His touch.

 The Father showed Jesus what to say.  The Holy Spirit directed Him as to what to do. Jesus always listened to Them. Jesus knew that He was protected from harm by the angels of God under His Father's direction.  Ps 91:9-14  Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. 11For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 12They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. 13Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.  14Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. 


14. The Holy Spirit

15. He was full of joy.

16.No. Sometimes there is a period of time for recovery. Generally, miracles are considered instaneous and healings can be either instaneous or involve a recovery time.

17.Jesus' work was to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God and to save souls.  Healing was a means of helping the people physically and getting them to pay attention to His words, so that they could be healed spiritually.

18.priest

   b. The leaders of Israel needed to have the testimony so that they would know the Messiah had come and lead the people to faith in Him.

19.  It was a law in the Old Testament in the book of Leviticus, chapter 13.  It also enabled the man to return to his family, to get a job, and to be involved in  community living again.

20. Moses

21.The fame of Jesus became so great that He could no longer move around without great crowds following Him

22.I must recognize that Jesus is the Source of any and all that I need.

 I need to be humble when I request things from the Lord.

I should  be compassionate of those who are in need, and,if the Holy Spirit directs me to help, I should obey.

My heart is shown by my actions.

23. sin

b.salvation

c.humble himself, ask for deliverance, receive what Jesus came to give.

d. The grace  of God is what brought us the chance of salvation. We did nothing to deserve it or earn it, but because God loved us, He provided the Way of salvation in the Person of Jesus Christ,

 e. From the very beginning. 

LESSON 42:  

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

   

     Chapter 1 summary: Jesus is described or seen as:Son of God (v 1), Whose coming was prophesied hundreds of years before He appeared (vs 2-3), announced as the Messiah by John the Baptist (vs 4-8), anointed and approved by God the Father and God the Holy Spirit (vs 9-11), Overcomer of temptations (vs12-13), Leader (vs 16-20), Teacher (vs 21-22),  Deliverer (vs 23-27), Healer of illness(vs 29-34), One Who prayed (v35),  Preacher (vs 38-39), Healer of incurable disease (vs 40-45)


Mark 2:1-12

1And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. 2And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. 3And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. 4And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. 5When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. 6But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, 7Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? 8And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? 9Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? 10But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) 11I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. 12And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying,  We never saw it on this fashion. 


This is a story of a man who is paralyzed.  He has been put on a blanket or stretcher of some sort by 4 men, probably family and/or friends,and brought to Jesus' house in Capernaum.  This fellow is not a baby or a small child, because one man could have carried him,had that been the case.  It took four fellows to carry this man.


Why do I think it was Jesus' house? It could have been Peter's or some other's house, but the owner should have gotten angry when strangers started disassembling the roof and breaking the timber that supported the roof tiles.  No one did.

Therefore, it probably was  Jesus' house,either rented or owned by Him. (Remember  that for many years,until the age of nearly 30(Luke 3:23) , He worked as a carpenter to support His mother and siblings.  His work would have been of the highest quality and very artistic, and so  probably in great demand .  Therefore, Jesus would have been prosperous, able to make a good living in this trade.Jesus would have had all the blessings of obedience that are promised in Deuteronomy 28:1-13.) 


 You may have heard that Jesus was very poor, but that was true only at the time of His death on the cross.  He gave up everything He had had in heaven and on earth to take our place on the cross and to die as our Sacrifice.  2 Cor 8:9   9For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

  Secondly, those who quote what Jesus said in Matthew 8:20 as proof of  His poverty ,  20And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.  as a support for Jesus not having a house, forget that after Joseph,Mary's husband died, Jesus, as the eldest Son, was obligated to provide a home for His mother,brothers and sisters, and  in that particular statement Jesus was  teaching that His kingdom was not here on earth, as Herod's (fox- Luke 13:31-32) and Rome's (ensign was the eagle) were.


1. When the men got there, what did they find?

2. What was Jesus doing?

3. The four men bringing the paralyzed man with them didn't come to hear the teaching.  What had they come for?

4. When the four men get to the house, they want to see the Healer (1:42-45),but they can't get in,because of the crowd. Most people would have given up their quest and gone away defeated. These four don't.  They talked it over and devised another way to get their friend to the Healer.  They got some ropes, lifted the stretcher up the narrow stairs to the flat roof,that acted as an upstairs  deck (see Acts 10:9) for the house, pulled up enough of the roof tiles to get a stretcher down into the house and eased their friend down in the space in front of Jesus.  This was hard work, but they were determined to bring their friend to Jesus for the help he needed. They were sure Jesus could heal him. Their works showed what about them?

                  Their intrusion interrupted the teaching that Jesus was doing.  The men jeopardized their safety to lower this man down into the house. Yet they let nothing stop them from reaching Jesus.

5. When Jesus addresses the sick man, He doesn't immediately say,"be healed."  He says that the man's sins are forgiven (v 5).  What does that have to do with healing?

6.After Jesus speaks to the sin problem of the patient, then He addresses the physical reason for his being brought to Him (vs 11-12). a.  What does He say? 

                          b.  What does the man do?

                          c.   What connection is there between faith and obedience?  Between hearing the Word of God and walking in it?

                                 James 1:22,  be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves...  whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 

                  Romans 16:25-26  25Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:  

1 Peter 1:13-16  13Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;  14As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (conduct); 16Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 

 2 Corinthians 2:9  9For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. 

 

Principle:Faith and obedience are connected.   One who has faith in God and who has made Jesus Lord of his life will want to  walk in obedience to all that the Lord has said. 


(If you want my answers to any of the questions in this lesson or others, let me know.) 

 I bless you to hear His Word and to walk in His ways all the days of your life. There is no better life than the one He gives you, as you follow Him.

 

ANSWERS TO LESSON 42

1. They couldn't get into the house because there was a large crowd.  Word had spread that the Prophet Jesus was in town again.

2. Preaching the Word of God to them.

3. The healing of their friend/family member.

 4. Their faith; they believed God had sent Jesus to do these wonderful miracles  (John 3:2)

5. Some sickness is due to sins that have been committed...cirrhosis of the liver is sometimes a result of alcoholism, lung cancer and emphysema  can be caused by excessive smoking, Aids can be transmitted by dirty drug needles and immorality...see also John 5:14  

Jesus addresses the man's heart condition before He heals his physical condition.

6. "Arise,take up your stretcher, and walk...to your house(v11)

    b. He gets up (v 12) took up his bed, and left the house.  He obeyed the Word of the Lord.

    c. Faith and works must go together.  Faith is always shown by what we do, how we live, what we say, ... Our daily lives demonstrate what is in our hearts .










image18

Gospel of Mark

LESSON 43


Mark 2:5- 12   5When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. 6But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, 7Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? 8And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? 9Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? 10But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) 11I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. 12And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying,  We never saw it on this fashion. 


 Let's look at this same passage from the last lesson again. "When Jesus saw their faith" is an important phrase.  Faith has to be present for healing to occur.  Much of the time Jesus used His own faith to heal, but here these four men's faith was the catalyst for healing. 

These four men not only supplied the much needed faith for the man's healing by Jesus, but they also acted as intercessors for the sick man.  They were determined to bring their friend to Jesus.  They knew if they could get him there, Jesus would heal him.  They did not quit .  They did not give up. They didn't let the crowd conditions deter them.   They didn't let obstacles stand in their way.  They didn't see the situation as impossible. Their knowledge of Jesus, Whom they knew had a mandate from God to heal people...

 Luke 4:18   And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 2 and their  hope (expectations in God--Psalm 62:5  5My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.)  led to their faith,(Heb 11:1 Faith is the substance of things hoped for--healing , the evidence of things not seen--the man walking) led to the man being healed.   Faith always must be seen in some kind of action/work/demonstration of that faith  (James 2:17  17Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  ). 


These four men were a picture of how we should be when we pray for seemingly impossible things.  We should have confidence in Jesus as the Answer to our prayers.  We shouldn't give up.  We shouldn't quit. We shouldn't let the situation become bigger in our eyes than our God and His power to change things.  God specializes in changing impossible situations.  There is nothing too hard for Him... 

 (Jeremiah 32:17  17Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: ) We must not let any doubt come in (James 1:6...let him ask in faith,nothing wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed...for let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord...

Mark 11:22-24  22And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have the faith of God.  23For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 24Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.


Now let's look at the other group of people in this story, the scribes who were already in the house, listening to the teachings of Jesus, when the four men brought their friend to be healed.

 Scribes were scholars of the scriptures.  They studied the Old Testament and made copies of the scriptures, which took a long time. They were considered learned men.  In this passage we see that they  were bothered by what they heard Jesus say to the paralyzed man. They thought that Jesus shouldn't say that the man was forgiven, because "only God can forgive sins."

By the Holy Spirit revealing to Jesus what the scribes were thinking in their minds, Jesus is able to address their thoughts and show them a truth they did not know.  He asks them a question:  is it easier to say to this palsied man your sins are forgiven or to say get up and walk?  The obvious answer is that it is easier to say something that cannot be verified.  No one can see sins removed but all who are present  can verify if the paralyzed man who cannot walk at all, suddenly gets up and walks. To prove to them that He had the power to forgive sins of the spirit of the man , He does what to them seems the harder thing; He heals the paralyzed man's body.

In the Old Testament disease and death were viewed as the consequences of man's sinful condition and healing was a result of God's forgiveness.

 (Ps 41:3-4   The Lord will help them when they are sick  and will restore them to health. I said, “I have sinned against you, Lord;be merciful to me and heal me.”, 

Ps 103:3. 2Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; ...

 Isaiah 19:22 22And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.  ) 

 However, we   know that  sickness is not always a result of the person's sin.  That is evident by this passage in  John 9:1-3 1And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents:.


There were four reactions to the healing of the paralytic man.  Some said they had never seen such things (2:12).  Some were filled with fear and called what they had seen "strange things" (Luke 5:26). Others marvelled and glorified God Who had given such power to men.(Matt 9:8).  What do you think the healed man and his friends' reactions were?

The healed man went home, probably to "show and tell"  what had happened to him.  His four friends probably stayed to repair the roof they had damaged.

 

LESSON 44  The Call of Matthew (Mark 2:13-17)


Mark 2:13-14     13And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them. 14And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him. 

In this account,the man that Jesus calls is named Levi.(Later Mark refers to him as Matthew- --Mark 3:18.)  In a parallel account in the book of Matthew (Mt 9:9-13), the man is called Matthew.  So it is thought that these were two names of the same person.  Matthew was a customs or tax collector (also known as a publican ).  He was one who paid the Roman government a sum of money for the right to collect money on the taxable goods brought into the area by the farmers, merchants and foreign traders.  They made their money back ( and much more) by charging the tradesmen excessive taxes on their goods.  Tax collectors were hated by the people, because of their corruption and greed, and  their association with the Romans.   After all, they were taking money from their own Jewish brethren  and giving it to the Roman government and keeping a lot for their own pockets.  Most Jews considered tax collectors of that day to be betrayers,  on the same level as robbers, murderers, harlots (Matt 21:31), Gentiles (Matt 18:17) and sinners (Matt 9:10).


It would be strange, don't you think, for Matthew to respond to such a call as Jesus gave, leaving his job and becoming a follower of Jesus without knowing Who He was? ?  Had Matthew ever seen or heard of Jesus? 

 Yes, remember the verse in Acts 1:21-22, which gave the requirements to be an apostle of Jesus?  21Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. This verse indicates that Matthew was one of those who was in attendance at  the baptism of Jesus.  Matthew would have seen Jesus there and  heard John the Baptist announce that Jesus was the Messiah.  So when  Matthew is called  to follow Jesus, Matthew already knew Who He was.


 Luke 5:27 27And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. 28And he left all, rose up, and followed him. 29And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. 30But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? 31And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. 32I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. 

(The last sentence "I came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance"  gives part of a simple definition  of an evangelist.)


Probably soon after, either that day or in the next few days, wealthy Matthew gave a great feast at his house to honor Jesus, and he invited many guests, including Jesus' disciples (Matt 9:10), and those who were of similar disrepute as Matthew. The scribes and Pharisees would not associate with publicans and sinners, much less eat in their homes, so they questioned  the disciples of Jesus as to why He would do  such a thing.  They thought it was terrible that Jesus would be seen and would socialize with sinners.  

In response to their question, Jesus answered,"They that are whole don't need a doctor; just those that are sick.  I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.  For a long time I thought  that  Jesus was saying that the Pharisees were righteous.  Yet I knew that wasn't true.  In looking at this more closely, I saw that Jesus was saying that people  have to know and admit that they are sick, before they will seek healing for their bodies from a physician.  In much the same way,  people have to know and admit that they are sinners, in need of repentance and forgiveness, before they will seek the healing of their spirits from the great Physician,Jesus,  Who was sent from God to bring healing to all and in all.

The publicans (tax collectors) knew they were sinners and needed the forgiveness and  the salvation that Jesus the Messiah brought.  The Pharisees and scribes thought they had no sins and, therefore, thought that they had no need of repentance.


PRINCIPLE: A person must recognize, admit  and repent of his sin before he can receive the forgiveness and healing that Jesus offers.   Salvation cannot come to a person who will not confess his sins and repent of them.  It requires that a person humble himself before God. 

We know that  Matthew did that, because he spent the rest of his life following the Lord Jesus and eventually wrote the Gospel of Matthew. The Pharisees and scribes did not humble themselves and repent. (Matt 21:32   Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. 32“For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.)

 They rejected what Jesus told them from God the Father  (John 12:49-50  49For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. .

LESSON 45   Mark 2:18-22


18And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not? 19And Jesus said unto them,  Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. 21No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.  22And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.


The Pharisees questioned Jesus' practices, because in terms of fasting,  they saw that He didn't seem to do as they did or even as the known holy man, John the Baptist, did.  They believed that fasting was a way to express mourning for sin in a person or in a nation.  They thought fasting was an activity of holiness.  They had lots of rules about fasting, how to fast, when to fast,how long to fast, etc.  So when they didn't see Jesus fasting, they incorrectly assumed that He didn't fast at all. 

 (We know He did fast at times, because He taught about fasting,  Matt 6:16-18, and practiced it , giving Him  power over a certain kind of demonic spirit   {see Mark 9:17-29}  His teaching on fasting was a part of Jesus' famous "Sermon on the Mount", which also contains the beautitudes.  You can read the whole sermon in Matthew ,chapters 5-7. Jesus did not have to fast to mourn over sin, because He had no sin. 

(   Hebrews 7:26  For such an high priest (Jesus) became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,1 John3:5... in Him (Jesus) is no sin...

1 Peter 1:19  18Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, ... 19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot,

 2 Cor 5:21   For he (God) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might become  the righteousness of God in him. 

Heb 4:15   14Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  

1 Peter 2:22 1For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:  22Who did no sin, neither was guile (deceit) found in his mouth: 23Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not;)

 Jesus fasted, as the scriptures taught, to be able to break the chains of Satan off people. (Isaiah 58:6-11)


PRINCIPLE:  There will always be people who assume things about you that aren't correct.  You can't help that.  Just  be sure that how you are living is pleasing to God.  Follow the commandments that Jesus gave:  love God passionately, love yourself wisely, taking good care of yourself as the creation of God and His temple, ...love other Christians, so that the world may know you are Jesus' disciple, and  love your neighbor  (8Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.


Jesus responded to their question about fasting by asking a rhetorical question  ( one that is asked to make the hearers think, no spoken answer is expected). He used a metaphor - a word that gives a picture- of a bridegroom, because it spoke  of His love and devotion to His followers, as a bridegroom would love and be fully devoted to his bride.  He is making the point that  the coming of the bridegroom  to obtain his bride is not a time to be fasting, but celebrating and rejoicing that the bridegroom is here..  Jesus is the Bridegroom Whom His Father sent to get a bride from the earth.   The bride of Christ are those believers who have been washed in the blood of Christ for their salvation and who allow Him to wash them in the water of the  Word to keep them beautiful and clean.  (Revelation 1:5, Ephesians 5:25-27)  


Notice that Jesus does not dismiss their idea that fasting is a legitimate practice, for He says that ,when the Bridegroom (Himself) is gone (left the earth after His ascension), His disciples will fast.  That's why believers in Christ are supposed to fast.  If you need to review  fasting, read lessons 22 and 23.


PRINCIPLE:  Enjoy the life God gives you, while you have it.  Be thankful for what you have.

PRINCIPLE 2:  Love people, by speaking good to them instead of cursing, doing good to them instead of evil, praying for them.  (These were Jesus' instructions for how to treat your enemies, but they apply to your friends as well. (Matt. 5:43-45)  

PRINCIPLE 3:   Fasting is a proper activity of the Christian.

Next time we'll look at verses 21 and 22.  What do you think they mean?


LESSON 46    Mark 2:21-22

18And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not? 19And Jesus said unto them,  Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. 21No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.  22And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.



In verse 21, Jesus talks about sewing and wineskins, more metaphors  to illustrate  what He was teaching.  


Jesus is saying that fasting and feasting don't mix.  His way and the Pharisees' way don't mix. The Pharisees refused to accept what Jesus was preaching and teaching because they were used to their old ways and their hearts were hardened to the Word which they continued to reject. Their ideas, the old cloth, represent how the Pharisees were trying to live, following manmade rules and regulations, far beyond what God had laid down for them. They thought their old  ways were better.  


 Picture an old torn garment with a big hole in it.  If a person sews a new piece of fabric to cover the hole, and then washes the garment, the new fabric will shrink, tearing the old garment even more and making the rip worse.  Jesus came to present a new way, kingdom living, that couldn't be mixed with the old ways of John and the Pharisees that were based on the Mosaic laws.  It wasn't about keeping rules outwardly, but inwardly having a heart  to obey God. 


   The old cloth represents the old covenant, the law of Moses,the old way of doing things, which involved  the blood of animal sacrifices to pay for sins and that only held off the judgment of God for  one  year.These were in effect until the Messiah came. When Jesus came,  they were to accept Him as their sacrifice, putting an end to the old ways of doing things.He was the Completion of the sacrificial law.  Romans 10:4  4For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.  


 In a deeper teaching, the new cloth represents the grace of Christianity as compared to the old garment of the law. It is the new covenant, that we are in as a result of accepting Jesus' sacrifice for our sins and His paying the penalty of  the judgment against our sin by His death on the cross for us.The giving of His blood pays for our sins forever.  There will be no judgment of them anymore.

 

In HIs teaching here in Mark 2, Jesus was saying that the new covenant and the old covenant could not be "sewn " together.  It just wouldn't work.    Law and grace cannot be mixed, in the same way that fasting and feasting can't be done at the same time.  We are saved by grace, not anything that we could provide or do for ourselves.  Jesus did it all for us. He took our place, our judgment, our penalty.  

The second metaphor, the new wine and old bottles, is a similar teaching.  Old wineskins weren't supple; they didn't stretch anymore.  If new wine were put into an old wineskin, the new wine's fermentation gases would increase the internal pressure so much,  it would cause the old wineskin to burst.  New wine must be put into a new wineskin that could stretch as the fermentation  gases  increase. ( This internal pressure explains why we see corks that pop and liquid rushing out, when a wine bottle is opened for the first time.)  

The old bottles represent the old covenant, the law of Moses, the religious rituals of these Jews.The new wine represents the Holy Spirit of the new covenant, Who, at your conversion, come into a new wineskin- you!  2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  Your new spirit can contain and be filled with the Holy Spirit, because it is brand new,given to you by God.  25Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you:

Had the Pharisees accepted what He was saying, they would have begun to rejoice as well.


LESSON 47


Mark 2:23-28     23Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain. 24And the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25But He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him: 26“how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat, except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?” 27And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28“Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”


To understand the context of this passage, let me give you some background about the sabbath. First, God created the heavens and the earth, and all that is on it, in 6 days and then the record states He rested on the 7th day.  (Genesis 2:2  1Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. 


2500 years later,when God gave Moses the law,including the ten commandments, He said that the Jewish people were to keep a sabbath day every week.  The seventh  day of the  week  (6:30pm Friday to 6:30pm Saturday-Jewish days start in the evening) was to be set aside to rest, as God had done in His creation work.  It was not a day of worship or sacrifice.  It was simply a rest day for all, even servants and animals. No work was to be done, not even building a fire.  Cooking for the sabbath was to be done the day before, so that the women could rest on the sabbath as well.

Principle:  Everyone needs a day to rest from work.  No one should work 7 days a week,if possible.


The sabbath of the Old Testament is not only representative of physical rest, but also it represents the spiritual rest that a person enters when he puts his faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  He ceases from trying to work for his salvation.  He realizes that he could never work enough to become acceptable to a holy God.  He  believes that the work Jesus did on the cross was all that was needed to be done  for him to be saved.  From then on, the work he does is not to earn salvation, but to join with the Lord in His work to bring others into His kingdom.  As far as working for salvation, he is at "sabbath rest." (Hebrews 4)

The sabbath rest  also represents the 1000 year reign of Jesus on the earth, which will occur sometime in the future,after 7 years of tribulation on the earth. It is referred to as a rest, because there will be peace on the earth and no wars for that whole 1000 years. This period of time is called the millennium,which is a Latin derived word meaning a thousand years.


Reading the account from Matt 12:1-8  we learn that the disciples were hungry.  As they went through a corn field on the sabbath, they began pulling corn from the stalks and eating it.  The Pharisees who were watching  them thought  what they were doing constituted work on the sabbath and so they criticized  and condemned the disciples for breaking the law. Jesus responded with a  question about  an event in the life of King David,  one of the most famous and revered kings in Israel's history.  Jesus said that when David and his men were very hungry with no other means of getting any food, David asked the priest to give them the holy bread (showbread) from the tabernacle, which was only  supposed to be eaten by priests.

Then Jesus also reminded the Pharisees that the priests of their own day worked on the sabbath by their ministry in the temple and were blameless. (Matt. 12:5)  What was Jesus teaching them by these two examples? 

First, Jesus was teaching them that life must be valued and protected.   In the case of David and his men, it was more important to preserve their  lives than to preserve a ritual. Life is more sacred than any "thing".  

Second, Jesus was indicating that sometimes there are exceptions to the rule, as in the case of the priests serving in the temple on the sabbath.  

Third, Jesus showed that the Pharisees, who wouldn't   think of condemning  David or the priests for their actions, were incorrect in criticizing His disciples. His disciples took corn from a field; David took from the house of God.  In another passage,(Luke 14 :5), Jesus pointed out that the Pharisees would have rescued one of their animals, if it had fallen in a ditch on the sabbath, yet they criticized those who took care of their lives' needs on that day.  They were more merciful to an animal than to a human being.


Notice the response of Jesus to the Pharisees' question.  He didn't react with an angry defense, but He pointed them to what the scriptures say. The Holy Spirit told Him which passages to choose.  Jesus knew the scriptures very well, having studied them and memorized many verses.  This is the same technique that Jesus used in Matthew 4:1-10, when He was fasting for 40 days in the wilderness and  Satan tried to tempt Him to sin.  When you need to answer someone carefully, ask the Holy Spirit to give you the right words to say. In the meantime, study the Word in preparation for that time.

 LESSON 48  

 Mark 2: 23 23Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain. 

  

Perhaps in  the disciples helping themselves to the corn (wheat), you might think they were stealing.  Stealing was against the law that God had established to govern the behavior of people.  Exodus 20:15 "Thou shalt not steal." There were many penalties that would be applied to those who stole what was not theirs.

 However, in Deuteronomy 23:24-25, provision was made for those who might be hungry and unable to buy food. (They didn't have supermarkets on every corner back then.)  24“When you come into your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes at your pleasure, but you shall not put any in your container. 25“When you come into your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pluck the heads with your hand, but you shall not use a sickle on your neighbor’s standing grain.  Even in this, we can see that God provided for  the needy and the poor.  So the disciples were not stealing when they were hungry and ate  corn in the field.  

Principle:  Stealing is wrong.  If you have been taking things that are not yours, go  to the one (s) you have stolen from and confess your sin.  Return the items or give money to them to replace what you stole. Ask their forgiveness. You must make this right or your worship of God will be unacceptable to Him  (Matt 5:23-24  23 Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you,24 leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.).  Then confess your sin to God and ask His forgiveness as well.  1 John 1:9   9 If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. (ASV) 

 

In Luke 6:9 ,  9Then Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?”

Look back at Mark 2:27  Jesus' conclusion is that the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.   In Matt 12: 12, Jesus said "It is lawful to do well on the sabbath days."

 The final point is that He is Lord of the sabbath. He decides who is out of order and guilty of wrong doing on the sabbath.  He concluded the disciples were blameless. (Matt 12:7)


LESSON 49  Mark 3:1-6 (Matt 12:10-14,Luke 6:6-11)


1And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.” 4Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. 6Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.


v.1. .( Jewish people attend their synagogues on the last of the week, Friday night and Saturday, their sabbath.  Christians worship on Sunday, the first day of the week, in commemoration of the resurrection day of Jesus Christ.) 

 Jesus made it a practice to go to a place of worship.  There He found opportunity to listen, teach , minister and bless.  That is what we should look for when we go to church.


v.2.  The Pharisees were following  Jesus  (v.6), hoping to catch Him in something wrong, so they could accuse Him to others (v6).

In Matt 12:10, it says the Pharisees asked Him, "Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath?" that they might accuse Him.( Isn't it a shame that they keep wasting the opportunities they have to be changed in His presence and to learn from Him?  When you are in His Presence and in His Word, pray to be changed and to learn from His Holy Spirit.)


To answer their question, Jesus tells the man with a withered (right) hand to stand up and stretch out his hand.(Luke 6:6-8)  The man obeys. As soon as he stretched out his hand, he saw it restored completely.

Instead of rejoicing over the healing and being amazed at what they had just seen, the Pharisees were enraged (Lk 6:11).  They left the synagogue  to seek others called Herodians who would join with them to destroy Jesus. (The Herodians were Jews who curried King Herod's favor and who sided with the Romans.  The Pharisees  did not like them , but here they aligned themselves with the Herodians against Jesus.)

Principle: Find a good church and attend regularly.    Ask the Lord to show you what  good works you should  do.  (Ephesians 2:10)  Look for opportunities to do good. Galatians 6:9-10   9And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. 

Principle 2: Always check your attitude. Don't be like the Pharisees.  Use this verse in Philippians 4:8 as a guide to your thinking:  8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (ASV)  If what you are thinking doesn't measure up to these standards, replace the thought with one that does meet God's standard.

Principle 3: Many people have a "withered hand" area of their lives, a part of them that is not right, not whole, not healthy, or has not developed as it should have. Perhaps it is poor self esteem,  a critical or disrespectful attitude stemming from feelings of inferiority, or discouragement in a certain area of your life. Whatever it is, you can be changed by bringing it to Jesus, asking Him to reveal to you what is needed, ask Him  make you whole, restored. Only He can heal you.  Give this problem to Him and ask Him to change you into the person He wants you to be. If you'll let Him, He will do it.  He loves you with all His heart.  He wants the best for you.


LESSON 50

Mark 3:6-12  6Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.7But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea 8and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon (north of Israel), a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him. 9So He told His disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for Him because of the multitude, lest they should crush Him. 10For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions (plagues-KJV- incurable diseases) pressed about Him to touch Him. 11And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, “You are the Son of God.” 12But He sternly warned them that they should not make Him known.


Jesus left Capernaum to avoid the men who wanted to kill Him  and went  to the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  A huge crowd followed Him.  This included people from as far south as Idumea, below Jerusalem,  and some from the north, Syria.  The news had spread that there was a great Prophet in Galilee, Whom God had sent.  He could do miracles and heal sicknesses.  They desired to hear Him and many wanted His help. 

Notice Jesus doesn't try to get away from the multitude, but He does set up some safety precautions by having a boat nearby that He could get into , if the crowd surged forward, so eager to touch Him.  The people in this crowd were similar  to those in the land of Gennesaret  recorded in Matthew 14:35-36   35And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region,and brought to Him all who were sick, 36and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well. The people wanted to get close enough to touch Him, so that they or their loved ones would be healed.


Not only did He heal, but He freed many who were afflicted by demonic spirits as well. Notice the demons knew Who He was.  They called Him the Son of God and bowed before Him.  However, He commanded them to be silent.  He did not want the people to be listening to demonic spirits at any time, and He didn't need demon endorsement; He had the endorsement of God His Father, the scriptures, His works, and  the testimony of John the Baptist (John 5:32-40)  That's all He needed.  

In another place, Matthew 12:15-21, a parallel passage reveals that Jesus was fulfilling Old Testament scripture (Isaiah 42:1-4) about the Messiah when He told the multitude not to make Him known to others. 

" ... he healed them all; 16And charged them that they should not make him known: 17That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 18Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased (also said by the Father at Jesus' baptism): I will put my spirit upon him(the Holy Spirit's anointing for service at Jesus' baptism), and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. 19He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.(Jesus was not what we call a street preacher.) 20A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench (Jesus was very careful of any who were hurting ), till he send forth judgment unto victory. 21And in his name shall the Gentiles trust." 

This multitude from Jerusalem and the areas north and south of there were an example of the drawing power of the reputation of Jesus.  Many who had heard of His teachings, healings and miracles sought Him.

Principle:  Like Jesus, your reputation comes from what you say and do.   Therefore, your reputation is important.  Other people hear of it, good or bad.  Turn your self and your day over to the Lord and ask Him to make  you a person who honors and glorifies Him completely, in every way, every day.  Ask Him to show you what areas need changes and what they should be.  Then follow His instructions. The Holy Spirit will always draw you nearer to Jesus and He will never contradict the Word of God.


 

ESSON 50 – Mark 2:23-28

Mark 2:23-28 Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain. 24And the Pharisees said to Him, "Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?" 25But He said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him: 26"how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat, except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?" 27And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28"Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath."

To understand the context of this passage, let me give you some background about the sabbath. First, God created the heavens and the earth, and all that is on it, in 6 days and then the record states He rested on the 7th day. (Genesis 2:2 1Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.)

2500 years later, when God gave Moses the law, including the ten commandments, He said that the Jewish people were to keep a sabbath day every week. The seventh day of the week (6:30pm Friday to 6:30pm Saturday-Jewish days start in the evening) was to be set aside to rest, as God had done in His creation work. It was not a day of worship or sacrifice. It was simply a rest day for all, even servants and animals. No work was to be done, not even building a fire. Cooking for the sabbath was to be done the day before, so that the women could rest on the sabbath as well.

Principle: Everyone needs a day to rest from work. No one should work 7 days a week, if possible.

The sabbath of the Old Testament is not only representative of physical rest, but also it represents the spiritual rest that a person enters when he puts his faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He ceases from trying to work for his salvation. He realizes that he could never work enough to become acceptable to a holy God. He believes that the work Jesus did on the cross is all that needs to be done for him to be saved. From then on, the work he does is not to earn salvation, but to join with the Lord in His work to bring others into His kingdom. As far as working for salvation, he is at "sabbath rest." (Hebrews 4)

The sabbath rest also represents the 1000 year reign of Jesus on the earth, which will occur sometime in the future, after 7 years of tribulation on the earth. It is referred to as a rest because there will be peace on the earth and no wars for that whole 1000 years. This period of time is called the millennium, which is a Latin derived word meaning a thousand years.

Reading the account from Matt 12:1-8 we learn that the disciples were hungry. As they went through a cornfield on the sabbath, they began pulling corn from the stalks and eating it. The Pharisees who were watching them thought what they were doing constituted work on the sabbath and so they criticized and condemned the disciples for breaking the law. Jesus responded with a question about an event in the life of King David, one of the most famous and revered kings in Israel's history. Jesus said that when David and his men were very hungry with no other means of getting any food, David asked the priest to give them the holy bread (showbread) from the tabernacle, which was only supposed to be eaten by priests.

Then Jesus also reminded the Pharisees that the priests of their own day worked on the sabbath by their ministry in the temple and were blameless. (Matt. 12:5) What was Jesus teaching them by these two examples?

First, Jesus was teaching them that life must be valued and protected. In the case of David and his men, it was more important to preserve their lives than to preserve a ritual. Life is more sacred than any "thing."

Second, Jesus was indicating that sometimes there are exceptions to the rule, as in the case of the priests serving in the temple on the sabbath.

Third, Jesus showed that the Pharisees, who wouldn't think of condemning David or the priests for their actions, were incorrect in criticizing His disciples. His disciples took corn from a field; David took from the house of God. In another passage (Luke 14 :5) Jesus pointed out that the Pharisees would have rescued one of their animals if it had fallen in a ditch on the sabbath, yet they criticized those who took care of their lives' needs on that day. They were more merciful to an animal than to a human being.

Notice the response of Jesus to the Pharisees' question. He didn't react with an angry defense, but He pointed them to what the scriptures say. The Holy Spirit told Him which passages to choose. Jesus knew the scriptures very well, having studied them and memorized many verses. This is the same technique that Jesus used in Matthew 4:1-10, when He was fasting for 40 days in the wilderness and Satan tried to tempt Him to sin. When you need to answer someone carefully, ask the Holy Spirit to give you the right words to say. In the meantime, study the Word in preparation for that time.



  










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Gospel of Mark

  

LESSON 52 - Mark 3:1-6 (Matt 12:10-14,Luke 6:6-11)

1And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3And He said to the man who had the withered hand, "Step forward." 4Then He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they kept silent. 5And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. 6Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.

v.1. (Jewish people attend their synagogues on the last of the week, Friday night and Saturday, their sabbath. Christians worship on Sunday, the first day of the week, in commemoration of the resurrection day of Jesus Christ.)

Jesus made it a practice to go to a place of worship. There He found opportunity to listen, teach, minister and bless. That is what we should look for when we go to church.

v.2. The Pharisees were following Jesus (v.6), hoping to catch Him in something wrong, so they could accuse Him to others (v6).

In Matt 12:10, it says the Pharisees asked Him, "Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath?" that they might accuse Him. (Isn't it a shame that they keep wasting the opportunities they have to be changed in His presence and to learn from Him? When you are in His Presence and in His Word, pray to be changed and to learn from His Holy Spirit.)

To answer their question, Jesus tells the man with a withered (right) hand to stand up and stretch out his hand. (Luke 6:6-8) The man obeys. As soon as he stretched out his hand, he saw it restored completely.

Instead of rejoicing over the healing and being amazed at what they had just seen, the Pharisees were enraged (Lk 6:11). They left the synagogue to seek others called Herodians who would join with them to destroy Jesus. (The Herodians were Jews who curried King Herod's favor and who sided with the Romans. The Pharisees did not like them, but here they aligned themselves with the Herodians against Jesus.)

Principle: Find a good church and attend regularly. Ask the Lord to show you what good works you should do. (Ephesians 2:10 Look for opportunities to do good. Galatians 6:9-10 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Principle 2: Always check your attitude. Don't be like the Pharisees. Use this verse in Philippians 4:8 as a guide to your thinking: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (ASV) If what you are thinking doesn't measure up to these standards, replace the thought with one that does meet God's standard.

Principle 3: Many people have a "withered hand" area of their lives, a part of them that is not right, not whole, not healthy, or has not developed as it should have. Perhaps it is poor self esteem, a critical or disrespectful attitude stemming from feelings of inferiority, or discouragement in a certain area of your life. Whatever it is, you can be changed by bringing it to Jesus, asking Him to reveal to you what is needed, ask Him make you whole, restored. Only He can heal you. Give this problem to Him and ask Him to change you into the person He wants you to be. If you'll let Him, He will do it. He loves you with all His heart. He wants the best for you.

 

LESSON 53 – Mark 3:6-12

Mark 3:6-12 Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.7But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea 8and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon (north of Israel), a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him. 9So He told His disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for Him because of the multitude, lest they should crush Him. 10For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions (plagues-KJV- incurable diseases) pressed about Him to touch Him. 11And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, "You are the Son of God." 12But He sternly warned them that they should not make Him known.

Jesus left Capernaum to avoid the men who wanted to kill Him and went to the shore of the Sea of Galilee. A huge crowd followed Him. This included people from as far south as Idumea, below Jerusalem, and some from the north, Syria. The news had spread that there was a great Prophet in Galilee, Whom God had sent. He could do miracles and heal sicknesses. They desired to hear Him and many wanted His help.

Notice Jesus doesn't try to get away from the multitude, but He does set up some safety precautions by having a boat nearby that He could get into if the crowd surged forward, so eager to touch Him. The people in this crowd were similar to those in the land of Gennesaret recorded in Matthew 14:35-36 And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region and brought to Him all who were sick, 36and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well. The people wanted to get close enough to touch Him, so that they or their loved ones would be healed.

Not only did He heal, but He freed many who were afflicted by demonic spirits as well. Notice the demons knew Who He was. They called Him the Son of God and bowed before Him. However, He commanded them to be silent. He did not want the people to be listening to demonic spirits at any time, and He didn't need demon endorsement; He had the endorsement of God His Father, the scriptures, His works, and the testimony of John the Baptist (John 5:32-40) That's all He needed.

In another place, Matthew 12:15-21, a parallel passage reveals that Jesus was fulfilling Old Testament scripture (Isaiah 42:1-4) about the Messiah when He told the multitude not to make Him known to others. " ... he healed them all; 16And charged them that they should not make him known: 17That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 18Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased (also said by the Father at Jesus' baptism): I will put my spirit upon him(the Holy Spirit's anointing for service at Jesus' baptism), and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. 19He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. (Jesus was not what we call a street preacher.) 20A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench (Jesus was very careful of any who were hurting ), till he send forth judgment unto victory. 21And in his name shall the Gentiles trust."

This multitude from Jerusalem and the areas north and south of there were an example of the drawing power of the reputation of Jesus. Many who had heard of His teachings, healings and miracles sought Him.

Principle: Like Jesus, your reputation comes from what you say and do. Therefore, your reputation is important. Other people hear of it, good or bad. Turn your self and your day over to the Lord and ask Him to make you a person who honors and glorifies Him completely, in every way, every day. Ask Him to show you what areas need changes and what they should be. Then follow His instructions. The Holy Spirit will always draw you nearer to Jesus and He will never contradict the Word of God.

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2Timothy 2:15

 

LESSON 54 – Mark 3:13-20

Mark 3:13-20 And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. 14And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, 15And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: 16And Simon he surnamed Peter; 17And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: 18And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, 19And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house. 20And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.

Luke 6:12-13 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 13And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; ...

The above passage in Luke 6 tells us that before Jesus designated those who would be the leaders of the larger group of His followers and who would be called "apostles" (meaning "sent forth ones"), He spent the whole night in prayer, listening to His Father as to which of His followers to choose to be His closest helpers and leaders among the disciples. Jesus did not rely on His own understanding, but let His Father reveal the choices that should be made.

How many disciples were there from which to choose?

We know there were at least 70 in the group of His followers at one point, because He sends 70 out to preach and heal, after they had been trained (Luke 10:1-17). Whether there were that many at this time, we are not told, as far as I know. (By the time of His resurrection nearly 3 years later, there were 500 followers. (1Cor 15:6)

Notice that not only did the Father include Judas Iscariot as an apostle, but God the Father told Jesus that Judas would be the one who would eventually betray Him. John 6:64 For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. I think that this inclusion of Judas was an evidence of the great grace of God. He gave Judas every chance and 3-1/2 years to change under the influence and teaching of His Son. Judas had every opportunity to be transformed into a different person, an honest person, a person in control of himself. He heard the teachings of Jesus, was with Him every day, saw the many miracles Jesus did and yet Judas did not change. He was not made a betrayer, he chose to become one. How sad!

Read the Mark 3 passage again and list the 4 parts of an apostle's job description:

1.

2.

3.

4.

Which one was the most important?

The first one: to be with Jesus. This is the one which we all can do. We can make fellowship with the Lord Jesus a priority in our daily lives. We can read His words; we can talk to Him and listen as He talks to us. We can seek His wisdom and guidance. He wants a deeper relationship with us. Do you want a deeper relationship with Him? Spend time with Him, as you would with anyone you wanted to get to know better.

The apostles needed to be with Him and to know Him, so that when He returned to heaven, they could give witness to the Messiah as a result of their own personal conviction, knowledge, understanding and commitment.

Why were there 12 chosen? Why not 8 or 15? The number twelve was established in the Old Testament as a governmental number. Do you remember that there were 12 sons of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham? Each of those sons established a family of descendants called his tribe. There were 12 tribes making up the nation of the children of Israel. Each had a banner (flag) with his tribal ensign on it (Numbers 2:2). Each of these tribes had leaders who governed their family matters Numbers 1:16,4-15).

LESSON 55 – Mark 3:19-21

Mark 3:19-21 ... they (Jesus and the disciples) went into an house. 20And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. 21And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.

The people were so anxious to get the help and healing that they had heard about from others, that they crowded the house where Jesus was. They wanted His help, even to the point of interrupting His mealtime.

Do you see the contrast between those who needed help and hoped that Jesus was the answer, and those who didn't know they needed help, but instead thought Jesus was the crazy one acting and speaking the way He did?

The "friends" were obviously not very discerning as to the evidence that was being generated by what Jesus was doing and saying. Why didn't they look at what miracles, healings and teachings Jesus had done and see the glory of God in them and, therefore, in Him? Why didn't they realize Who He really was?

Isn't that what we do sometimes by dismissing the good things God has done, calling them happenstances or coincidences? What kind of friends are we to Him, when we don't give Him the credit for the good things He does in our lives? Psalm 107:1-8 O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 2Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; 3And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south. 4They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. 5Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. 6Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. 7And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. 8Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 9For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

Ask the Lord to show you how you can give Him the proper thanks and praise for His goodness to you, and share that with others, as He directs. Many of the psalms (and other passages) can be used as starting points to praise. Read Psalm 138, 139,145, and 146-150 back to the LORD and after each phrase or sentence or verse, restate it in your own words and praise Him some more. Do it out loud if you can, and mean it from your heart. (If you can't quite, then ask Him also to expand your heart to praise Him as He deserves to be praised by all His children and all His subjects.)

 

LESSON 56 - BLASPHEMY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Mark 3:22-30 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. 23And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? 24And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. 27No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. 28Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: 30Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.

Here the scribes join the debate. They decide Jesus is demon possessed. They say that He is controlled by the ruler of the demonic. They should have known better than any, since they were in the scriptures a lot as they made copies of the sacred writings, that Jesus was the fulfilment of the prophecies about the Messiah, but they missed it completely. Instead they thought Jesus was of the devil! How wrong they were!

Jesus answered them by asking one question, which pointed out to them how silly and stupid their thinking was. No person, house, city (Matt 12:25) or kingdom can stand, if its own people rise up against it. Jesus is casting out demons and healing diseases that Satan has put on the people. How could He then be justly accused of working for and being controlled by Satan? Jesus and His work completely opposed Satan and his evil works. The scribes' accusations made no sense.

Luke 11:20-23 gives a fuller account of what Jesus continues to say to the scribes in verse 27. " ...but if I with the finger of God (where Jesus' power came from) cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. 21When a strong man (Satan) armed keeps his palace, his goods are in peace: 22But when a stronger than he shall come upon him (Jesus is the stronger One), and overcome him (Satan), he (Jesus) takes from him all his armour wherein he(Satan) trusted, and divideth his (Satan's) spoils.(possessions)"

Jesus was destroying the kingdom of Satan by leading people to God and He was defeating Satan by doing the miracles and healings, reversing what Satan had done to the people. He freed the people from Satan's hold. Jesus showed He was the stronger Person and at the cross, Jesus defeated Satan for all time as the following passage states:

Hebrews 2:14-15 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he (Jesus) also himself likewise took part of the same (flesh and blood); that through death (on the cross) he (Jesus) might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

1John 3:8 For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

In verse 28, to the Pharisees, Jesus gave a warning about making unwise remarks as to the Holy Spirit Who directed Him in all that He did. All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: 30Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.

Here's a similar passage in Matthew 12:31-32. Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Jesus was warning them that ugly, scornful, untrue and disrespectful remarks (blasphemy) made against Him could be forgiven (when the person repents of them and asks forgiveness and then quits doing anything like that), but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit would not be forgiven. He makes it clear that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is done when a person says that Jesus was inhabited by and led by an unholy spirit, rather than the Holy Spirit of God. 30Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit. ...by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.

If a person were guilty of this sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, it would go on his record and not be removed. At the white throne judgment at the end of the world (after the tribulation and a 1000 years of Christ's rulership of the earth), those who have committed this sin and others would be judged for their deeds. Revelation 20:11-12 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (This is not a judgment that Christians will go through, because Jesus on the cross suffered our judgment for us. He paid the penalty of our sin.)

True Christians would not be guilty of this sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit for several reasons.

First, real Christians have the Holy Spirit in them and the Holy Spirit cannot lie. Therefore He would not lead them to blaspheme. 1Cor 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

Secondly, Christians know Who Jesus is, God in the flesh. There is no darkness in Him. Do you remember the verses that we've studied in past lessons that spoke of the purity of Jesus and His sinlessness? Let's review some of them.

Hebrews 7:26 For such an high priest (Jesus) became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners....

1 John 3:5 ...in Him (Jesus) is no sin...

1 Peter 1:19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, ... 19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

2 Cor 5:21 For he (God) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Heb 4:15 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Being tempted is not a sin. Giving in to the temptation by doing wrong is a sin. Jesus was confronted with temptations just as you and I are,but He didn't give in to them. Neither should we.)

1 Peter 2:22 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22Who did no sin, neither was guile (deceit) found in his mouth: 23Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not;

All of these verses tell us that the Spirit that was in Jesus and to Whom He yielded was holy. He was holy and what He did was holy. Jesus listened to His Father and obeyed the Holy Spirit; therefore, His thoughts were holy and also His actions. There are appilcations to us:

1. Be careful what you say about other people. Phil 4:8 (8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue (excellence), and if there be any praise, think on these things) and many other verses instruct us that we are to be kind and gracious to others, not malicious or critical. Pray for them, instead of talking about them. Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying (strengthening, building up), that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

2. Walk in the ways of the Lord Jesus. Think as He thought. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Obey Him as Jesus did. Your day will be much better and you will be allowing the Spirit of God to be Lord.




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