As if you didn’t already know that One Direction had a fragrance…
To be honest, I thought the bottle said “One Moment” instead of “Our Moment”. “One moment” makes me think of today’s Luke reading where the soon-t0-be disciples encounter Jesus one time. They have one experience with him and he tells them to follow him and they do. How many times did I have to hear about Jesus before I decided to follow him? But also, it makes me want to share Jesus with people as often as possible, because maybe they’ll just need one moment to get it.
- Moses sniffs out the fear of the leaders of the tribes of Reuben and Gad. They do not want to go to war to inherit the land God has promised to them. Eventually they come to a compromise where they will still fight, but leave their children and livestock behind.
- 3-4 – This is referring back to the original death of all the firstborns in Exodus. This is not a new series of first borns who die.
- 33-34 – Though most people did not recognize Jesus’ identity, spirits, both clean (the Holy Spirit inside of Elizabeth) and unclean, seemed to recognize him.
- 43 – Many people believe that Jesus’ sole purpose on earth was his death. Verses like this refute that and prove that Jesus’ life and ministry also held great importance.
- 10-11 – One encounter with Jesus caused these men to leave their regular life to follow Jesus.
- Jewish people consider pigs to be unclean. Wasting gold on an unclean animal is like wasting the beauty and goodness of a woman on someone who will throw themselves around as if they weren’t created in the image of God.
Obviously not every minute of Jesus’ life could be recorded. Mark takes that to the extreme…as in, he doesn’t even record the birth of Christ. If you ever want to give someone a version of Jesus’ ministry they can read in a week, Mark’s your guy.
- The passage says, “as the Lord had commanded Moses” several times. It is significant that the Israelites obeyed God’s instructions exactly. We also saw this from Noah when he built the ark. He followed God’s plan, “just as he instructed.”
- 20-21 – The ark of the testimony or Ark of the Covenant represented the presence of God. It was, for obvious reasons, very valuable to the Israelites.
- 34-38 – God’s presence, in the form of a cloud, allowed the Israelites to know when to travel and when to stay put.
- 35 – Moses could not enter the tent while God’s presence was there because of his sins.
- Mark’s gospel moves much more quickly than any of the others. It is believed that it was the first gospel written around 70 AD. It was most likely written quickly because Christians were being badly persecuted during this time and the writer was just needing to get an account down.
- 2-4 – John the Baptist fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy about a precursor to Jesus who would prepare the way for him beginning some of his messages, particularly baptism and forgiveness of sins.
- 8 – Before John, there is not a lot of mention of the Holy Spirit.
- 9 – Note that Jesus appears in Mark as an adult. He tells nothing of his birth, childhood, or preparation for ministry.
- 11 – A powerful message from God to think about when people are baptized.
- 24 – Interesting that an unclean spirit is the first to recognize Jesus for who he is.
- David seeks revenge and God seems to grant it.
Though we often complicate it and make things far more difficult than they should be, Jesus gives us one job as his parting words – go and make disciples. So that’s it – tell other people about Jesus and help them follow him.
- God cares about the details.
- It is significant that women were the first to witness Jesus’ resurrection and disappearance from the grave. Women’s testimonies did not count in court.
- 11-12 – The chief priests immediately try to discount the account of Jesus’ resurrection. At the time Matthew was written, the rumor they started was still being spread.
- 18-20 – This is known as The Great Commission. This passage is used as reason for evangelism.
- 11 – “Fear of the Lord” refers to a type of awe and respect.
Moses spends 40 days in the presence of God, fasting the entire time. Jesus, too, completed a 40 day fast. Fasting is a fairly foreign concept to us American consumers. It’s not just about powering through the time and not eating. We are supposed to allow our desire for food, or whatever we’ve given up, to remind us of our need for God. As much as we want food, we want God more.
- 10 – God makes another covenant with Israel.
- God was very explicit not to leave any remnants of other gods in their land so they weren’t tempted to worship them.
- 26 – We are called to give to God off the top. Give to him first before we buy or pay for other things.
- 28 – Jesus also did a 40 day fast.
- 30-35 – It is believed that Moses’ face shone from the glory of the Lord.
- 15-23 – It must have been so hurtful to Jesus that the crowds asked for a criminal to be released instead of him.
- Crucifixion was already a humiliating punishment, but the soldiers saw to it that Jesus was even more humiliated than normal.
- 16-17 – Just like today, people of ancient Israel put their hope in everything but the Lord.
- Wisdom is something we can all gain if willing.
When Jesus died the temple curtain tore down the middle. The temple curtain separated the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, which represented God’s presence, from the rest of the temple, where people were allowed. Jesus’ death took away any need for separation between God and humanity. Jesus’ sinless life and unfair death bridged the gap.
- 1 – God gave Bezalel and Oholiab the skills they needed for the task at hand. He does this for us as well.
- 3-7 – The Israelites worked together to provide all that was needed and more. No one held back or assumed their contribution wasn’t significant enough. This is a beautiful picture of how God’s people can come together to do great things.
- 39-43 – Jesus most likely had similar thoughts. He had saved so many others and definitely had the power to save himself.
- 48 – Sour wine was used similarly to an anesthetic.
- 51 – The temple curtain was the separation between the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man. This is how these were symbolically separated. Jesus’ death broke down any separation between man and God.
- 54 – It is significant that the centurion was not a Jew and was one of the first to recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
- When Psalms are attributed to a certain experience in David’s life it can remind us that we too can praise, lament, or call on God in specific moments of our lives.
- 8 – “Taste and see that the Lord is good!” We are to experience God fully with all our senses and abilities.
- Good advice is wasted on those who insist on folly, but folks who want to learn and grow wiser are willing to listen to criticism and rebuke.
Other than the golden calf story, you may never have known that the second half of Exodus exists, but there’s plenty to learn here.
No, a different Mark.
I’m not sure this is where the phrase originates, but it seems that “the devil is in the details” is appropriate when reading the explicit instructions for creating the tabernacle. Often we want to follow God, but we prefer to cut corners and take the easier route or the convenient option. But God values our obedience – even in the smallest of details.
Another major happening this week is we’re beginning a new gospel – Mark!! Woohoo!! Bring it! Mark is the shortest of the four gospels and is believed to have been the first one written. You’ll notice that Mark leaves out a lot of details and descriptors the others include. Mark was most likely writing this hurriedly around 70 A.D. when Jerusalem, and specifically the temple, were being destroyed by the Romans. Mark had to quickly get an account of Jesus’ life out there so his words and actions would not be forgotten.
Here are a couple of things to watch for in Mark:
- There is no birth narrative – Jesus comes on the scene as an adult. Case and point: some major details are omitted.
- There is a heavy emphasis on miracles – look for series’ of miracles one right after another. Mark believed this aspect of Jesus would be significant to his hearers.
- There is also a heavy emphasis on Jesus’ interactions with the demonic. Mark puts a heavier emphasis here than other gospels.
- Mark, like Matthew, puts a heavy emphasis on Jesus’ struggles with religious leaders.
- Mark emphasizes how dense the disciples are in picking up what Jesus is putting down. They continually “don’t get it”.
Really Israelites? Did you really, so quickly, believe that Moses wouldn’t come down from the mountain? Really? And had you really already forgotten the whole parting the sea incident? Really? I mean, come on. A golden calf? Really?
- 1-6 – When the Israelites feel abandoned, they are quick to demand some form of god. Aaron, the head priest, and brother and right-hand-man of Moses, obliges.
- 11-14 – Proof that God does listen to prayer.
- 18-20 – Moses must have been so disappointed. He had put in so much effort to lead these people from slavery and eventually to the Promised Land. It must have been like a parent finding out their teenager is on drugs.
- 24 – A lie. Vs. 4 explains that Aaron fashioned the calf with tools.
- 11 – Seeing God face to face is pretty incredible considering the glory of the Lord was so great that most of the Israelites weren’t even allowed to touch Mt. Sinai when God met with Moses on the top of it.
- 16 – It is God’s presence with them that makes the Israelites distinct.
- 19-23 – Even though it’s just his back, Moses is the only person to actually see God.
- 69-75 – Even after being warned, Peter denies Jesus 3 times. On the flip side, though, Peter is the only disciple who goes to where Jesus is despite the danger.
- 3-8 – Judas feels regret to the point of returning the money and killing himself.
- 14 – Jesus did not respond to allegations. This was to fulfill a prophecy.
- The first Psalm not attributed to David.
Today’s proverb paints a beautiful picture of the intricacy and wisdom with which God created the earth. As you read, picture what it’s describing in your mind.
- 15 – How had people become rich or poor since they all came out of slavery and all have been wandering in the desert? Possibly some had plundered the Egyptians more fiercely than others.
- 1-6 – Bezalel and Oholiab probably thought their talents were going to waste as they made bricks in Egypt and wandered in the desert, but God had a plan to use them.
- 16 – Keeping the Sabbath holy is resting and dedicating a day to only worship God.
- 51-54 – How often do we take matters into our own hands instead of trusting God’s plan for us?
- 59-64 – The religious leaders have been trying to trick Jesus into saying something they can arrest him for throughout his ministry. Jesus calling himself the Son of Man and referencing that he would sit at the right hand of Power seems to be enough.
- This is one of many Psalms where David references various ways God protects him. David was often at war and many nations were against Israel so it makes sense that he would relate to God in this way.
- God created the earth with wisdom – this makes sense because of the complex balance and intricacies in the environment.
It’s easy to forget that Jesus was a man with feelings. It’s also easy to forget that the disciples were his friends – those he had spent all his time with teaching and training them. And one of them turns him over to be killed. Can you imagine the hurt you would feel if you were Jesus?
- At this time the priesthood was passed down generation to generation. Priests came from the tribe of Levi.
- We are in the middle of a series of very detailed descriptions. These are actually great blessings because we want to be able to worship God in a way that is honoring and pleasing to him. Detailed instructions make that much more likely.
- 1-10 – God begins to instruct the priests on how they should intercede for the people and lead worship and sacrifices.
- It’s sad that Judas wasn’t coerced or forced into betraying Jesus. He sought the opportunity out himself.
- 20 – People literally reclined for meals. The original Passover was in a rush and people were not to recline or get comfortable as normal.
- 26-28 – Our practice of communion relates back to the last supper, which relates back to Passover.
- 39 – People often wonder how to pray for the things they want. We can ask for anything we want or need, but it is healthiest when we pray for these things while surrendering to God’s will first.