"The basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse." Romans 1:19-20

Prayer: Loving God, help us to learn about you from the wisdom of the Bible. As we read, give us not just understanding but the will to embody your truth. Amen.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Authority of Jesus Challenged

27 Again they entered Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. 28 They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right to do them?”

29 “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. 30 “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!”

31 They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. 32 But do we dare say it was merely human?” For they were afraid of what the people would do, because everyone believed that John was a prophet. 33 So they finally replied, “We don’t know.”

And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Mark 11:27-33


Monday, September 29, 2014

Jesus Clears the Temple

15 When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, 16 and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. 17 He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”

18 When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill him. But they were afraid of him because the people were so amazed at his teaching.

19 That evening Jesus and the disciples left the city.

20 The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up. 21 Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!”

22 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. 23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. 24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. 25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

Mark 11:15-25

vs. 16... People were using the temple grounds as a shortcut from one part of the city to another.

vs. 17...If a man wanted to give an offering to God, he had to change his Roamn currency for temple money.  The moneychangers charged exorbitant interest for the transaction, thereby robbing God and lining their own pockets.

The doves sold in the temple were much more expensive than those sold outside.  However, the priests only accepted temple doves, since they received a percentage from the sellers.

vs. 25-26...There's a relationship between forgiveness and prayer.

When we've been forgiven by God, we're more inclined to forgive others.  If we ask Him for forgiveness for ourselves, we cannot be harboring a grudge against someone else.

Note:  I noticed in the NLT version, there was no vs.26.  So I checked my other Bibles and they all were missing vs. 26 except the King James Version.  

The KJV vs. 26 says..."But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is is heaven forgive your trespasses."

The Amplified Bile has a note that some manuscripts do not have a vs. 26.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Jesus Curses the Fig Tree

12 The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. 14 Then Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it.

Mark 11:12-14

vs. 13-14... The fig tree represents the nation Israel in the scriptures (Jeremiah 24:1-10; Hosea 9:10; Joel 1:6-12).

When Jesus went to the fig tree, He knew it should have small, green figs by April.  This demonstrated the nation of Israel's curse for not bearing fruit.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jesus’ Triumphant Entry

1 As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. 2 “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks, ‘What are you doing?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it soon.’”

4 The two disciples left and found the colt standing in the street, tied outside the front door. 5 As they were untying it, some bystanders demanded, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They said what Jesus had told them to say, and they were permitted to take it. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it.

8 Many in the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting,

“Praise God!
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
10 Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David!
Praise God in highest heaven!”

11 So Jesus came to Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around carefully at everything, he left because it was late in the afternoon. Then he returned to Bethany with the twelve disciples.

Mark 11:1-11

vs. 9... NLT uses "Praise God" in place of "Hosanna" in the KJV.  "Hosanna" means save now (Psalm 118:25-26).  Jesus' entry into Jerusalem was the fulfillment of prophesy (Zechariah 9:9; Daniel 9:25-26).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus

46 Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road. 47 When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

48 “Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him.

But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

49 When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.”

So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!” 50 Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.

“My Rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”

52 And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.

Mark 10:46-52

vs. 50...Some scholars suggest that the garment Bartimaeus took off was his begging coat.  He knew that once he met Jesus, he wouldn't need to beg by the highway anymore.