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Archive for October, 2008

Winning the Crowd

October 18, 2008 Leave a comment

In verses 35-37, Jesus wins over the crowd with his simple, cutting analysis of the temple scribes.

It’s similar to why people enjoy Jon Stewart on the Daily Show.

How amazing that Jesus could appeal to the crowds so effectively.

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Categories: bible, mark

Proportionality

October 17, 2008 Leave a comment

In verses 41-44, Jesus teaches that generosity is proportional.

In other words, the less we have, the greater our sacrifice when we give to the Lord.

I have too much to be like the widow. All I can do is give generously to God’s work and pray for the right attitude of sacrifice.

Categories: bible, mark

Pretentious

October 16, 2008 Leave a comment

In verses 38-40, Jesus warns against being swayed by the long, flowing robes and flamboyant manner of the temple leaders.

How often does this happen in contemporary politics?

Categories: bible, mark

Wise Scribe

October 15, 2008 Leave a comment

In verses 28-34, we learn that not all of the scribes were against Jesus.

When your opponent answers wisely, give him the honor due such a response!

Categories: bible, mark

Jesus 1,000,000; Opponents, Zero

October 13, 2008 Leave a comment

In verses 18-27, Jesus easily manages the Sadducees’ parable challenge.

It’s foolish to correlate marriages on earth to relationships in heaven.

We will all be one family, devoted to God, not separated by geography or time or race or any other artificial dividing line.

How does this apply to life on earth in the here and now? How can Christians achieve a heavenly level of unity and love? We sure don’t have it now, with dozens of denominations and petty bickering among clergy and lay people.

Categories: bible, mark

Render to Caesar

October 13, 2008 Leave a comment

What is Jesus saying in this object lesson, verses 13-17?

  1. Pharisees and Herodians step in to set up Jesus in a trap
  2. They try to butter Jesus up in verse 14
  3. Next, they set their trap, with no time in between
  4. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, to representatives of the non-Jewish government?
  5. Jesus immediately calls out his opponents in their set-up
  6. Don’t bother answering a trap question directly, but call out your opponent
  7. Jesus quickly follows up with a question of his own, one that puts his opponents on the defensive
  8. Jesus builds upon the answer to his question to humble his opponents
  9. Paying taxes is not disloyal to God, but holding back my heart from Jesus is disloyal!

Categories: bible, mark

Ungrateful Employees

October 11, 2008 Leave a comment

In verses 1-12, Jesus tells a story which describes the Jewish religious leaders’ historical treatment of God’s prophets.

  1. People who build businesses care for their organizations
  2. Owners expect a share of the profits
  3. Owners have a right to a share of the profits
  4. Renters are stewards
  5. Renters perform a service to the owner
  6. Therefore, renters deserve a share of the profits
  7. Owner:Boss::Renter:Employee
  8. This story may have contemporary application to the workplace, not just to spiritual matters
  9. My boss hired me to perform a service
  10. My boss deserves honor and a fair day’s work
  11. If Jesus worked for his father in the carpenter’s shop, then he was a model employee
  12. Sometimes employees beat up the very people who hire and pay them
  13. This attitude is sinful
  14. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men (Colossians 3:23, NIV)
  15. Does “work at it with all your heart” mean be a workaholic, at the expense of your family?
  16. Of course not. But my attitude toward my employer must be one of humble service, not entitlement and bitterness.
  17. Why would the vineyard owner continue to send people to collect his dues if the renters were untrustworthy to the point of beating and killing the owner’s people?
  18. This parallels OT reality, but does not appear to be wise advice for a boss
  19. How does this relate to the concept of “turn the other cheek?”
  20. A boss can turn the other cheek without giving up his ownership stake
  21. A boss can give wayward employees multiple chances to do the right thing
  22. A boss ought to feel pain when his employees don’t do the right thing
  23. The evil renters escalated their rebellion to the point of killing the owner’s son
  24. The renters’ goal was not just to avoid paying the owner, but also to claim the entire estate for themselves
  25. This is a new level of sin and evil, trying to oust your boss and take his or her estate
  26. When and how do I steal from God in this way?
  27. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord (Romans 12:19, NIV).
  28. The verse above quotes Deuteronomy 32:35
  29. The very next verse in Deuteronomy says: The LORD will judge his people / and have compassion on his servants / when he sees their strength is gone / and no one is left, slave or free.
  30. The Lord’s judgment and compassion on his servants are simultaneous
  31. My parental judgment and compassion on my children must be simultaneous
  32. The stone which the builders rejected / Has become the chief corner stone (Psalm 118:22, NASB).
  33. There is no escaping the Truth value of the Bible, Old and New Testaments
  34. No matter what I attempt to do in my sin, God’s will is going to be accomplished
  35. So why rebel? God will get his way in the end!
  36. If I trust God, and I believe the Bible, then it is in my best interests to obey him completely
  37. Is it in my children’s best interests to obey me completely?
  38. If I am doing my job as a parent, then the answer ought to be yes
  39. Why don’t I obey God completely?
  40. For the same reasons my children don’t obey me completely
  41. Why don’t my children obey me completely?
  42. Their selfishness
  43. Because I’m a idiot sometimes
  44. Because they think they know better than me
  45. As I reflect upon challenging interactions with my kids (and my wife and my students and etc.) I ought to reflect upon how this parallels my own rebellion toward God
Lord, I pray that you’ll help me learn how to obey you more fully through faith in your Truth and obedience to your Word. Remind me to reflect upon my own sinfulness when I feel wronged!

Categories: bible, mark
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