Posts Tagged With: Mark

Mending a Mother’s Broken Heart

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, last week as I was rushing at the end to complete on time our discussion of Peter’s release from prison—an effort at which I failed miserably, BTW—we mentioned-in-passing two noteworthy individuals, each of whom deserve far more than passing-mention.

Mary, a generous homeowner and gracious hostess who opened her home for going on-fourteen years by the time of this story to the earliest, first generation followers of Jesus, our ancestors in the faith.

Mary also happened to be the aunt to our old friend Barnabas, and a very close and personal friend of our even older friend, Peter.

And then there is Mary’s son and Barnabas’ cousin (Colossians 4:10)—as well as Peter’s protege—John Mark.

With glistening credentials such as these, they both do indeed deserve our special attention. Especially given the fact that immediately upon his miraculous release from prison, instinctively Peter made his very first stop to announce his release at Mary’s home.

Even more especially given that this is Mother’s Day weekend.

For this is in every sense of the word this is a Mother’s tale.

Specifically, how God in His matchless, infinite, and eternal grace melted and mended a mother’s broken heart.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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THE House

JEWISH_TEMPLE00000018Welcome to Monday of Jesus’ last week, His Passion week, the final few days leading up to His coming crucifixion.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, At the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, way back in John 2 (Podcast #21), Jesus cleansed the Temple for the first time. Now here in Mark 11, at the very end of His ministry, Jesus cleansed the Temple for the second time.

A display of uncharacteristic anger, rare to be sure. But a shocking display of anger nonetheless. Quite out of character for a Jesus who described Himself, and who consistently showed Himself to be a Very.Gentle.Jesus.

As Jesus walked through the Temple courts that day, something set Him off.

Yes, He was understandably upset about the fleecing of the flock that was going on here. To be perfectly pointed about it, these religious leaders were making bank by selling God. Religion had become big business. By the time of Jesus, the Temple Industrial Complex was alive and well and oh-so-lucrative.

Sadly, they had discovered in that day what so many Christian leaders have discovered today: God sells. Jesus sells. Then and now, there is money to be made in Jesus’ name. A boatload of money.

That being said, there was something of even greater offense to Jesus going on there in the Temple courts. You might not see it at first blush. But trust me, it is there, front and center. As you will soon see.

I’ll give you a hint: God desperately longs to dwell among His people, literally. That is a thread that is woven throughout the pages of the Bible.

God desperately longs to dwell among His people, literally. All of His people, Jew and Gentile alike, “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5).

From the very first pages of the Bible (Genesis), through to the very last pages of the Bible (Revelation), God desperately longs to dwell among His people.

That theological thread that ties the entire Bible together runs right through this story here in Mark 11, as Jesus cleansed the Temple for the second time.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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“I Want to See.”

99222_origMeet Blind Bartimaeus, a man who seems at first blush to be nothing more than a bit player in this most dramatic and poignant moment.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, this wasn’t the first time that Jesus healed a blind man. Nor is this the first time we have talked about Jesus healing a blind man. Last November, Podcast 141, comes to mind. So I would totally understand if you were tempted to bring to this story a sense of “been there, done that,” Déjà vu all over again. Like, if you’ve seen one blind-man-healing, you’ve seen them all, right? WRONG!

As I said just a moment ago, this story is both dramatic and poignant.

The implications of this story, both for the Jews of Jesus’ day, and for the entire world in our day, cannot be overstated. This story is indeed dramatic, dramatic in the extreme.

Nor can we overstate the emotional state Jesus must have been in at this most significant moment of His ministry, as the final chapter of His life is about to unfold. Emotions that infuse this story with feeling from start to finish. A story poignant to a palpable degree.

To be perfectly honest, there is so much going on here that I’m really in a quandary as to where to start. So let me start with this: In the Middle East, both in Jesus’ day, and in our own day, Symbolism = Substance.

Symbolism = Substance. IOW, as I’ve said so often, the Bible is God’s picture book. The biblical writers were painters. The visual means something. Symbolism = Substance.

In this story about yes, yet another blind man being healed by Jesus, it really is all about the optics. The symbolism. The connections that the original readers would have made in their minds as they read Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s account of this miracle

The symbolism of What happened (the healing of Blind Bartimaeus), When it happened (c. AD 30, just days before Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem), and Where happened (Jericho).

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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So Near, and Yet So Far

rich-young-ruler-3You could call this story an epic “Opportunity Lost.”

You talk about a guy presented with a once-in-a-lifetime golden opportunity, an opportunity that he squandered. An opportunity that he squandered Badly.And.Sadly.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, this is an offer rarely made, and shockingly dismissed.

A young man who burst on the scene like a blazing comet streaking overhead, only to flame out and fall out of the sky to come crashing and burning to earth.

What a story!

One thing’s for sure. Jesus never took a class on Personal Evangelism, witnessing, soul winning, or whatever you want to call it. Because, to be honest, Jesus Broke.Every.Rule of personal evangelism in this very personal encounter.

Here you have what we call in our contemporary Christian culture a seeker coming to Jesus to ask Him one question. THE question. The single most important question.

A softball question that any one of us could answer.

His question?

“What should I do to inherit eternal life?”

This young man asked Jesus exactly the right question, to which Jesus gave him exactly the wrong answer!

Or did He?

Don’t fault me for asking that. Jesus’ own disciples thought that Jesus gave him the wrong answer. Check it out: The disciples were “astounded and astonished” when they heard Jesus’ answer.

All this guy needed to do, all that Jesus needed to tell him to do, was to pray a “Jesus, come into my heart” prayer, right? Yet, by the time Jesus got done with him? The young man walked away.

In the words of the noted Lutheran New Testament scholar, R.C.H. Lenski,

“Picture him: an exemplary young man in early manhood, fine and clean morally as the phrase now goes… wealthy… with a strong religious bent… a pillar (in the community)… Where is the church that would not give him a prominent place?… Yet all this is in the eyes of Jesus… worthless.”

Yeah verily, I will add, so worthless that Jesus offended him. Lost him. Drove him away.

Know why?

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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No Wonder They Hated Him, and We LOVE Him

the_promiseOK. So I’ve got to tell you that I find this entire series of events that we will be discussing in this PODCAST

 

All of which I will remind you took place in less than 36 hours…

This entire series of events that took place in just one day in the life of Jesus… I find to be remarkably REFRESHING, while at the same time to followers of Jesus’ faith utterly unsettling…

Absolutely REVOLUTIONARY to me, while at the same time to the leading rabbis of Jesus’ day disgustingly revolting…

Undeniably IRRESISTIBLE to me, while at the same time to the Torah-teachers of Jesus’ day scorchingly scandalous.

So unsettling, revolting, and scandalous that they hated Him for it. Yet so refreshing, revolutionary, and irresistible that we love Him for it!

It’s been quite a ride, really, this journey that we’re on together. Two years ago, we began our ongoing study of Jesus in High Definition. The stated purpose of which is to rediscover afresh who Jesus really is, and what Jesus is really like.

Much to my surprise and our delight, the biblical picture of Jesus that is continuously emerging EVERY SINGLE WEEK is that of a GENTLE Jesus.

A gentle Jesus who did some of the most delightfully surprising things.

A gentle Jesus who said some of the most surprisingly delightful things.

A gentle Jesus who is every sense of the word irresistible.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

Please, please, please share a link to this podcast with your family and friends.

God bless you as you listen.

And THANK YOU, from my heart to yours, for making this journey with me.

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When Hopelessness Met Gentleness

Online GreetingShe was a footnote in this chapter of the Jesus Story. But she was NEVER a footnote to Jesus.

And neither are you, as you will be reminded in this poignant PODCAST.

If I had to choose one word to describe this woman — and let me assure you, there are many to choose from, such as desperate, fearful, impoverished, unclean, shunned, rejected, lonely, isolated, alone, damaged — If I had to choose one word to describe this woman, the one word I would choose is invisible.

She was indeed invisible. Totally and completely invisible.

She was invisible to her family, her former friends, her neighbors, her faith community… No one gave a thought to, or cared one whit about, this poor precious woman.

Except for Jesus.

If you have ever been tempted to think that Jesus is mean, harsh, angry, impossible to please, time to meet this woman — who will never look at Jesus the same way again.

And neither will you.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it might take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play. And PLEASE, if it is a blessing, consider sharing a link to this podcast with your family and friends.

God bless you as you listen.

 

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The Demoniac of the Decapolis

GeraseneDemoniacWhenever I talk about Satan, demons, spiritual warfare, or anything remotely related, the numbers of distractions in the room increase exponentially.

This is a pattern I have documented over 40 years of ministry. Regardless of time of day, day of week, season of year, or venue in which I teach, it’s as if the devil himself does not want anyone (including you) to hear what the Bible teaches about our (and God’s) archenemy.

That was certainly true at Safe Haven when I recorded this PODCAST.

Coincidence? Don’t know for sure.

What I do know for sure… What I can say without fear of contradiction is that the principles you will learn in this message from the life and ministry of Jesus to a demon-possessed man, Satan does NOT want you to hear.

Don’t be surprised at the numbers of distractions that you will face when you try to hear this.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it might take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen. And PLEASE share a link to this podcast with your family and friends.

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We are ALL in the Same Boat Together

rembrandt-van-rijn-christ-in-the-storm-of-the-sea-of-galilee-c-1633-oil-on-canvas-1363556207_bEver feel spiritually inferior? Like you don’t measure up? Like you can’t measure up?

Then you are in the right place. This message is for YOU!

In this PODCAST, we bid a fond farewell to the parables.

I cannot put into words how much I have enjoyed our study of each of them. The seven parables of Matthew 13 speak so clearly to us, revealing to us exactly what Jesus said the spiritual climate in the world in which we are now living would be like. With pinpoint accuracy, He said it would be so. And it is.

So somewhat sadly, we turn the page and move immediately into the next phase of Jesus’ ministry.

I do say “immediately” because we read this in Mark 4 (as we harmonize the four Gospels and present Jesus’ life and ministry in chronological order)…

… And I’ve got to tell you, I cannot help but to chuckle when I read this:

“Jesus taught them using parables; privately to His disciples He explained everything. On that same day when evening had come, He said to them, Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.”

#Oh.My.Friends, you have NO IDEA — and there #Is.No.Way that I can adequately convey to you the idea — of JUST how terrified AND terrorized disciples were to hear this.

But I will try.

Now, before I get into all of that, a couple of thoughts… Thoughts that you will hear in this podcast.

Trust me, you are in for a treat. This is one hoot of a story.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen.

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Back to the Beginning!

Welcome to this encore presentation of the introductory PODCAST that launched what was then, back in November of 2012, a brand new and exciting and life-changing series: Jesus in High Definition

I know my friends in the midwest will laugh at us here in the Pacific Northwest when I say this. But when it snows — oh, around a half an inch! — the city and state virtually shut down. Well, we are into our third straight day of snow, now approaching a full foot.

snow1

Consequently, it was not safe for our precious people to travel to the Safe Haven this week. As a result, we will seize the day and take you all the way back to the beginning, to where our study started: Jesus in High Definition, the very first lesson.

In this first lesson, we will provide you with an OVERVIEW of the entire Bible — think of it as looking at the box-top of a puzzle — so that we will understand exactly where all the individual “puzzle pieces” of the Gospels fall within the grand sweep of the biblical drama.

By harmonizing the four Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — we have been studying the life of Christ in chronological order, from the first utterances of the angels heralding His birth, to His crucifixion and resurrection. 

It is our sincere hope and expectation that as we continue to immerse ourselves in Jesus’ life and ministry, we will fall more deeply in love with Him, and become more and more like Him.

Why not join us on this journey?

Sit back, relax, and enjoy this little side trip back in time as we revisit our very first study in our wonderful series, Jesus in HD.

If you like it, there’s a free iTunes subscription to this weekly podcast, available HERE.

PLEASE NOTE: Depending upon your connection speed and web browser, it may take up to 60 seconds before the podcast will begin to play. Well worth waiting for!!! 😉

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