Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us the perseverance, the persistence, the strength, and the determination to complete this journey of faith. Help us to learn, grow, understand, and fully appreciate the events of the resurrection.
Mark 16:1-19, Easter, the Grand Finale.
VV 1-3, 1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
Easter was the most important event of the gospel. Jesus conquered death on Easter. He died, was buried on Good Friday, but resurrected to life on Easter. The women at the cross came to the tomb early bringing spices to anoint His body because they expected to see a corpse and not a Risen Christ. When the sun had risen, the Son had risen.
VV 4-8, ” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. 6’’ Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 Butgo, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”8Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid’’.
When they saw the stone rolled away, they entered the tomb. An angel said, ‘’He has risen, He is not here’’. In Greek, He has risen, is, ‘’anesti’’. When they saw the empty tomb, they trembled, shaken, amazed, and afraid.
[The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9–20].
VV 9-11, ‘” 9When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.’’
The disciples did not believe Mary Magdalene because she was a woman. In first-century Israel, a woman’s testimony was not valid and was not even admissible as evidence in court.
VV 12-13, ‘ ’ 12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 These returned and reported it to the rest, but they did not believe them either’’.
Jesus appeared in a different form to the 2 disciples on the Emmaus road, Luke 24:13-33. When these 2 went back to Jerusalem and reported their encounter with the Risen Christ to the disciples but they also did not believe them.
V 14 ‘’Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen’’.
Jesus appeared to the disciples in the upper room while they were eating. He rebuked them for their hardness of heart. They refused to believe the testimonies of those who had seen Him.
VV 15-18, 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name, they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
The Risen Christ commanded the disciples to preach the gospel to all creation. This is the Great Commission. Mark 16:18 was not a universal command. In Acts 28:3-5, Paul was bitten by a snake and did not die. The promise of Mark 16: 18, was only a specific promise to the 12 apostles and Paul, but not to the Christians today.
VV 19-20, ‘’19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it’’.
Jesus ascended to heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. Jesus is praying and interceding for us continuously before the Father. Romans 8:34, ‘’Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died, more than that, who was raised to life, is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us’’. The disciples preached the gospel everywhere, the Lord worked with them, confirming His word with signs.
Heavenly Father, thank You for this exciting journey of faith through the gospel of Mark. May our lives be enriched and our faith strengthened as we continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in His name, Amen.
Heavenly Father, please speak Your Truth into us, enable us to mature in faith and wisdom, and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Mark 15: 22-47, Crucifixion Part 2.
VV 22-27, ‘’22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull ” ). 23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get. 25 It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The written notice of the charge against him read the king of the jews. 27 They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left’’.
They crucified Jesus at Golgotha. Golgotha is Hebrew and Calvary is English. The soldiers offered Jesus wine mixed with myrrh, a narcotic drink. Jesus refused to drink it because He wanted to experience pain. Mark quoted Psalm 22: 18, !000 BC, ‘’They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.’’ Pilate coronated Jesus as King of the Jews with the inscription, ‘’Jesus of Nazareth, King of Jews’’, written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Jesus died for everyone. Mark quoted, Isaiah 53: 12, ‘’and He was numbered with the transgressors’’. One rebel repented and received salvation. Another rebel did not repent and perished. Both of them had the same opportunity to be saved. One believed and one did not believe.
VV 28-32, ‘’ [29 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!” 31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him’’.
The chief priests and teachers of the law mocked Jesus saying, that He could save others but cannot save Himself. Unknowingly they spoke the truth. If Jesus saved Himself and did not die on the cross, He would not be able to save others.
VV 33-37, ‘’33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? ” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). 35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “ Listen, He is calling Elijah. ” 36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said. 37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last’’.
Before Jesus died, complete darkness covered Golgotha for 3 hours. Darkness represents evil and judgment. In the 9th plague darkness covered Egypt for 3 days. In the 9th plague, the Passover lamb and the firstborn son of Pharaoh were killed. At the crucifixion, the Lamb of God and the Son of God was killed. Because Jesus carried the sins of the whole world, God turned His face away from Him for 3 hours. Jesus’ last words on the cross were, ‘’It is finished’’ or ‘’tetelastai’’ which means paid in full, John 19:30. On the cross, Jesus paid our debt of sin in full.
VV 38-41, ‘’38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God! ” 40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there’’.
At the death of Jesus, the curtain in the temple was torn from top to bottom. Fellowship between God and man had been restored. The first post-crucifixion convert was the Roman centurion who confessed Jesus as the Son of God, believed, and glorified God, Luke 22:47. The women at the cross were Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome, the mother of John.
VV 42-47, ‘ ’ 42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid’’.
Joseph of Arimathea, a secret disciple of Jesus, approached Pilate for Jesus’ body. Joseph Arimathea and Nicodemus took Jesus’ body, wrapped Him with strips of linens, and buried Him in a new tomb, John 19:39. Nicodemus also brought 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes and wrapped them between the linen strips. The entrance was covered by a huge stone.
Heavenly Father, we bowed before our Lord and Savior who died on the cross in Calvary on our behalf to pay our debt of sin in full. He died in our place so we can have life. Thank You, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Heavenly Father, thank You that we can set aside this time to study, comprehend, interpret, and apply Your Word. Please help us enjoy, rejoice, and be refreshed by Your inerrant, infallible, and inspired Word, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Mark 15: 1-21, Crucifixion Part 1
VV 1-5, ‘’1Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law, and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. 2 “Are you the king of the Jews? ” asked Pilate. ‘ ’You have said so, ” Jesus replied. 3 The chief priests accused him of many things. 4 So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.” 5 But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed’’.
After the three trials before Annas, Caiaphas, and the Sanhedrin, they took Jesus to trial before Pilate in the early hours of the morning. This was an illegal and a sham trial. The Jewish law forbade trial at night, during Passover, and in private. They charged Jesus for claiming to be King of the Jews. When Pilate asked Jesus whether He was the king of the Jews, He replied, ‘’ it is as you say’’. They also accused Him of other charges which Jesus refused to answer and Pilate was amazed.
VV 6-11, ‘’6 Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. 7 A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. 8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.9 “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead’’.
In his commentary, the 2nd-century church father, theologian, and historian, Origen, wrote that Barabbas was also called Jesus Barabbas, which means, Jesus, son of a father. The people chose to release ‘’Jesus, son of a father’’ and not ‘’Jesus, Son of The Father’’. Did you choose to believe Jesus, Son of The Father’?”
VV 12-15, 12’’ What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them. 13’’ Crucify him!” they shouted. 14’’ Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
Pilate pronounced his verdict that Jesus was not guilty, but the mob demanded Jesus be crucified. To satisfy the mob, Pilate, ordered Jesus to be flogged and sentenced Him to be crucified.
VV 16-21, ‘ ’ 16 The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. 17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. 18 And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” 19, Again and again, they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.’ 21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.’’
Putting a purple robe and a crown of thorns on Jesus, the soldiers ridiculed, mocked, and falsely worshipped Him. Jesus carried the horizontal cross beam and walked towards Golgotha until Simon the Cyrene, a Jewish bystander was made to carry it for Him.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the life of Jesus, who was falsely accused, illegally tried, pronounced innocent, flogged, humiliated, and crucified so that we could experience life, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Heavenly Father, once again we come before You on bended knees, to learn, listen, apply, practice, and proclaim. We acknowledged that we are unworthy sinners. We claim the promise of 1John 1:9. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Mark 7: 1-23
VV 1-9. ‘ ’ 1The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus 2 and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 4When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles.) 5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands? ” 6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” 9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!’’
The Pharisees and some of the Scribes sent a delegate from Jerusalem to Galilee which was 70 miles away. Traveling 70 miles just to tell someone off for not washing hands before a meal was ridiculous. Scribes or teachers of the law were experts in the Old Testament laws. Pharisees were members of the conservative and legalistic Jewish sect who considered oral traditions of the elders as equivalent to Old Testament Laws. Rules for washing hands, pitchers, kettles, and cups, etc were part of the oral traditions. Jesus quoted Isaiah 29: 13, “‘Therefore the Lord said; In as much as these people draw near with their mouths, and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men.’’
VV 10-12, ‘’10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God), 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
The 5th commandment, Exodus 20:1, is, ‘’Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you”. They used the oral traditions to circumvent this commandment. If they gave money reserved for looking after their parents to God as an offering, they would have no more obligation to support their parents because anything dedicated to God is Corban or consecrated to God. The Pharisees and Scribes did many things like this.
VV 14-23, 14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this 15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”  17After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) 20He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thought comes—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
To protect them from certain diseases, the kosher law of Leviticus forbade Jews from eating certain animals. The law forbade murder but Jesus said having thoughts of anger or hatred in the heart was a murderous heart. The law had to do with an inward attitude, not an outward action. Food entered the stomach, digested by the body, and eliminated by the intestine. But words spoken by the mouth from the heart cannot be eliminated. Luke 6:45, ‘’A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.’’ What or how you eat does not make you more spiritual than others. What you say and think is more important. 1 Cor 8:8 ‘’But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.’’
Heavenly Father, help us not to operate by tradition and legalism but to operate by love and grace. We pray that You will purify our hearts and forgive us for being short-sighted, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Heavenly Father, thank You for gathering us together to read, study, meditate, and apply Your word to our life. May we be transformed, in Jesus’ name, Amen
Mark 6: 45-56
The gospel of Mark is an action packed narrative written to a Roman audience by Mark who emphasised what Jesus did, presenting Him as the Suffering Servant.
VV 45-48, ‘’45 Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. 46 And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. 47 Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. 48 Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night, He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.’’
Jesus was growing in popularity and the disciples were excited. Jesus sent His disciples into the boat to go to Bethsaida while He dismissed the crowd, promising to join them later. Even though they were obedient to Jesus, they were heading straight into a storm. Sooner or later, you too will get into a storm. God will deliberately send you into a storm to build character, faith, perseverance, humility, and deepen your walk with Him. Blessings had to be balanced with sufferings. The Sea of Galilee, 680 feet below sea level, is the lowest freshwater lake in the world. Storms are due to cold air from the Mediterranean Sea colliding with warm air above the Sea of Galilee after rushing down the valley at a high velocity. Jesus was 3 to 4 miles away, but He saw them rowing and struggling in the storm. Jesus can see all your struggles and He is never far away. The fourth watch of the night was between 3 am to 6 am. The disciples had been in the storm for many hours.
VV 49-52 ‘’49 And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; 50 for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 51 Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure and marveled. 52 For they had not understood about the loaves because their heart was hardened.’’
When they saw Jesus walked on the sea, they were frightened, thinking that they had seen a ghost. Jesus said, ‘’ it is I, do not be afraid.’’ Their hearts were hardened. Just hours ago, the disciples saw the feeding of the 5000 and yet their hearts were hardened. Is your heart hardened?Why did Jesus walk on water? The disciples feared the waves and the storm. Jesus stepped on the things they feared to show that He was in total control.
VV 53-56, ‘’53 When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 And when they came out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him, 55 ran through that whole surrounding region, and began to carry about on beds those who were sick to wherever they heard He was. 56Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well.’’
When they landed in Gennesaret, the people immediately recognised Jesus because He wore a special garment called the ‘’tallit’’. The sick people who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment with faith were healed. Even though the multitude followed Jesus, not all of them all believed in Him. John 2:23-24, ‘ ’Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men’’.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You gave Your one and only Son to die on the cross to pay the penalty of our sins for us, to give us salvation and eternal life. Thank You for speaking to us as we are hunger for Your truth, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Heavenly Father, once again we come before You. We bow down at Your feet to listen to You, learn from You, grow in faith, wisdom, and maturity. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Mark 6: 30- 44
VV 30-32, ‘’30 Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. 31 And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. 32 So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.’’
The apostles reported to Jesus feedbacks from the mission field. From disciples, they had graduated to apostles. The disciples were sent out to represent Jesus. After hearing the sad news of John the Baptist’s martyrdom, Jesus took His disciples to a solitary place for rest and recreation.
VV 33-36, 33 But the multitudes saw them departing, and many knew Him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to Him. 34 And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things. 35When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, “This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. 36 Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat.”
But they did not get any chance to rest. The multitudes followed Jesus on foot while they were on the boat. When Jesus landed and saw multitudes He had compassion for them. The Greek word for compassion is ‘’splanchnizomai’’ which means intestine. Jesus was moved with compassion because the people were like sheep without a shepherd and He taught them. It was getting late and the disciples were worried. They wanted Jesus to send the crowd away to buy food for themselves.
VV 37-38, 37 But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?” 38 But He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.”
Jesus told them to feed them. 1 denarius was 1 day’s wage for a laborer. 200 denarii were 9 month’s wage! In today’s economy, if 1 day’s wage is 50 ringgit, 200 day’s wage will be 10 thousand ringgit. Jesus asked, ‘’How many loaves do you have?’’ and they reported, “Five, and two fish.”
VV 30-44, ‘’39 Then He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in ranks, in 100s, and in 50s. 41 And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all. 42 So they all ate and were filled. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish. 44 Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.’’
Only Mark commented that the grass was green as this was in the early spring of the Passover feast. Jesus organised the crowd to sit in groups of 100s and 50s. He looked towards heaven and prayed to God the Father. He multiplied the loaves and fish, gave them to the disciples, who distributed them to the people. Everyone ate until satisfied and the disciples picked up 12 basketfuls of leftovers. The size of the crowd was 5000 men, but women and children were not counted. The actual number of people on that day could be anything from 10,000 to 20,000.
Heavenly Father, You are a great and mighty God. You are God of the impossible. You multiplied food for so many people with only a meager amount. We claim the promise of Romans 8:37, that “in all things, we are more than conquerors”, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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