Lord, would You help me cling to the hope of the gospel? Lord, thank You that You came to conquer sin and death. Help me have faith to believe the power of the gospel. Help me trust fully in the gospel and not be lured by lesser hopes. Help me, as I open up your Word, to see the things You desire to teach me. Give me a heart to respond to your Word, Lord. Amen.
Read Mark 9:14-13:37
Mark 9:14–50 Jesus commented on the fact that He is ministering among a faithless people. Even His disciples lacked faith. The father of a demon-possessed boy confessed his weak faith.
All of us come to Jesus spiritually weak and in need. All of us should come to Him with the attitude of the boy’s father. We should ask Jesus for a growing faith because even our faith is a gift from a faithful God. A mark of a true believer is someone who demonstrates not a perfect faith, but a growing faith.
WHAT IS FAITH?
Re-read Hebrews 11. Reflect on what happened to these men and women of faith.
The disciples were still confused about the kind of messiah Jesus would be. Because they expected Him to be a powerful and glorious messiah, they continued to measure greatness in the same way the world measures greatness. Jesus, however, made it clear that He would be a messiah who was also a suffering servant.
Mark 10:1–52 As Jesus made His way to Jerusalem, He continued to teach His disciples. He had an encounter with a rich young man. The rich young man was depending on his own wealth and self-righteousness to attain acceptance before God. But Jesus made it clear these things simply hid his hostility toward God. He worshiped his wealth and depended on his good works.
FOR ALL NATIONS
Did you notice why Jesus was angry with the merchants in the temple? (11:17) They had taken over what should have been ‘a house of prayer for all nations.’
Mark 11:1–13:32 By now, Jesus was entering Jerusalem. When He arrived at the city, He was welcomed by a crowd crying “Hosanna.” They believed their conquering messiah had arrived, the one who would overthrow the dictatorial regime they found themselves living under. But these Jews were focused on the wrong enemy and thought of Jesus as the solution to the wrong problem. The real enemy was Satan, and the real problem was sin.
30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.
- As Christ’s disciples, we should serve others, even when it’ll cost us dearly. Are there ways in which you seek greatness here on earth rather than delight to serve or even suffer anonymously for the sake of the gospel?
- Are you trusting in the gospel alone for your salvation? What are the things in your life that you’re prone to lean on to make you acceptable to a holy God, apart from the blood of Christ? Maybe it’s faithfulness in evangelism, fruitfulness in ministry, obedience, approval of others, positions, or titles. Who are there people in your life who can lovingly point out areas in your life that either have become or may become idols? Find at least one person who can speak lovingly into your life about these things.
- Jesus spoke lovingly to the rich young man. Do you lovingly point out sin in other people’s lives with a desire for them to repent and be made whole? Or do you speak with harshness and a tone that doesn’t image the Christ you seek to represent? Do you allow others into your life to speak lovingly to you about the sin in your life?
- Are you fighting the wrong enemy and using the wrong weapons? Our enemy is not the world or governments or corruption or poverty. Our enemy is sin. The solution is the gospel. Our section today ends as Jesus moved closer to delivering the final victory over this enemy.
- Jesus is calling us to a life of faith. Faith is a gift from a good God, so we need to ask Him to give us faith. But our faith must be placed in the right things: in Christ alone, not in ourselves or others. Take time now to pray and ask God to give you faith in Him and confess any areas where you are relying on yourself or others.
1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. . . .5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake
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