To follow Jesus wherever he goes necessitates a lifetime of self-denial and sacrificial service for others.
When Jesus dispatched his disciples to announce the “good news” to the “lost sheep of Israel,” he warned them to expect to find themselves as “sheep among wolves.” Hostile men would haul them before “councils and whip them in their synagogues,” and his followers would be hated “by all men for my sake.”
Continue reading THE WAY OF THE CROSS
What threatens the Devil’s plans is a church conformed to the Cross of Christ that trembles at God’s word.
Satan offers a smorgasbord of deceptions, and he cares not which one we choose. Only, do not venture in the “wrong” direction. And regardless of which lie, we prefer, common to them all is the goal of steering us away from reliance on the Word of God and living a life conformed to the cross of Christ.
Continue reading WHAT SATAN FEARS
Jesus proclaimed a new political reality, the Kingdom of God, and it bore little resemblance to the political systems of this world.
When Jesus appeared in Galilee, he began to proclaim the “Kingdom of God” – “Repent, for the kingdom is at hand.” In his ministry, the reign of God began to invade the earth, but his realm is of an entirely different nature than the political systems of the present age. On more than one occasion, he refused that kind of political power, especially when it was offered by Satan.
Continue reading PATH TO THE KINGDOM
In Mark, only at his death did the Roman centurion who was present at his execution recognize who Jesus was.
In Mark, all men prove incapable of recognizing who Jesus is, even his disciples. The only exceptions are John the Baptist and the Roman centurion at Golgotha, the very man in charge of his execution. Mark has threaded this theme throughout his gospel to make the point – The Messiah cannot be understood apart from his death on Calvary.
Continue reading THE CENTURION
The Power and Wisdom of God are revealed in Christ Crucified, not in great miraculous displays or the exercise of political might.
We assume people are drawn to the biblical faith by displays of supernatural power, eloquent speech, ministerial success, and so on. Did not Jesus win the crowds by performing miracles? In fact, most of his contemporaries failed to recognize who he was despite his healing the sick, exorcising demons, and even calming a horrific storm with only a verbal command.
Continue reading POWER AND WISDOM
“I will give him a portion among the great because he poured out his soul unto death, and with transgressors let himself be numbered” – Isaiah 53:12.
Unlike Adam, the “Servant of Yahweh” did not attempt to grasp the “likeness of God.” Instead, he humbled himself and chose obedience, even when that meant his submission to a most shameful death. For this reason, God highly exalted him and made him “Lord” over all things. Exaltation did not precede his death – it followed it.
Continue reading HE HUMBLED HIMSELF