8th - 13th July: Mark 11-13; Exodus 26:1-27:19; Proverbs 4:10-19
Here we learn of the authority of Christ. Calling the 'colt' into His service, He says, with authority, 'The Lord has need of it' (3). With authority, He speaks to the fig tree (14) - a 'visual aid' of His teaching: 'Every branch of Mine that bears no fruit, He takes away' (John 15:2). In the temple, He speaks with authority, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer...' (17). He speaks of authority in prayer: 'whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours' (24). The religious leaders did not understand Jesus (27-33). Why? - They didn't love Him. We can experience His authority: His Word spoken to us 'in power...' (1 Thessalonians 1:5). We can exercise His authority: Through prayer, setting His Word free to do His mighty work (Ephesians 6: 18-20) - if we are learning to love Him!
Jesus - God's 'beloved Son' (6): Rejected by men, raised by God (10-11). Jesus' enemies tried 'to trap Him in His talk' (13). He spoke with wisdom - and so can we. Anointed by the Holy One, we have the mind of Christ (1 John 2:19-20; 1 Corinthians 2:14-16). Christ's enemies knew 'neither the Scripture nor the power of God' (24). We are to speak as those who know the living God (27). Our 'first' priority is love for God (29-30). Jesus says, 'Love your neighbour' (31). This is not, however, 'the be-all and end-all' of our life. There is more. We must not forget God. Jesus is 'Lord' (35-37). Let it be: Jesus is my Lord. The scribes had all the external trappings of religion - and nothing else (38-40)! The 'poor widow' had very little, yet she had everything that really matters: she loved the Lord (41-44)!
From the outside, it was a 'tent'. On the inside, the tabernacle was a place of great beauty. Many look at Christ, and see 'no beauty that we should desire Him' (Isaiah 53:2). The believer looks at Christ, and says, 'You are beautiful beyond description, too marvellous for words, too wonderful for comprehension, like nothing ever seen or heard' (Mission Praise, 788).The 'veil' has been removed (2 Corinthians 4:3-4,6). Our sin had separated us from God, hiding His face from us (Isaiah 59:2). When Christ died, 'the curtain of the temple was torn in two...' (Mark 15:37-38). He has changed everything (Hebrews 9:7-8,11-12). Once, we were 'separated...alienated... strangers...far off'. Now, we are 'in Christ Jesus' - 'brought near in the blood of Christ' (Ephesians 2:12-13; Hebrews 10:19-22).
We highlight two interesting phrases - (a) 'as you were shown on the mountain' (8); (b) 'towards the sunrise' (13, New International Version). We need both 'the Scriptures' and 'the power of God' (Mark 12:24). Our faith is based on divine revelation - 'according to the Scriptures' (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). We are 'not' to 'go beyond what is written' (1 Corinthians 4:6). Face the risen Son - We may not always be facing the rising sun, but we should always be facing the risen Son! The revelation, the resurrection, the Scriptures, the Son - these are the great focal-points of our Christian Faith: God has revealed Himself, Christ has risen. Encouraged by the Scriptures, and empowered by the Son, we face the risen Son and we say, 'I will proclaim the glory of the risen Lord' (Romans 15:4; Matthew 28:18-20; Mission Praise, 14).
We are not to be a people whose 'faith' is locked in the past! We are to be a people of hope. We look to the future. We 'see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory' (26). There may be 'wars and rumours of wars' (7). When Christ returns, only one thing will matter: 'he who endures to the end will be saved' (13). 'This day - the noise of battle': Look beyond all that to 'the victor's song' (Church Hymnary, 481). In human conflict, there is so much of self - 'We are the people'. When Christ returns, nothing will matter but this: 'When the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there' (Mission Praise, 759). We hear of 'wars and rumours of wars'. Do we say, 'This is part of our history. It's always been this way'?. We must remember: Preaching Christ's Gospel is far more important than 'defending' our ways (10)!
'The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day' (18). Face the risen Son. His life in us is like the rising sun. It begins with 'the first gleam of dawn'. It 'shines ever brighter until the full light of day''. Christ 'dawns on us like the morning light' (2 Samuel 23:4). In a moment of discovery, we say, 'It's just dawned on me'. It is very wonderful when Christ reveals Himself, when He brings us out of our darkness and into His light. This is just the beginning. There is so much more: 'No eye has seen, nor ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him' (1 Corinthians 2:9). 'Light has dawned that ever shall blaze...Light a flame within my heart... Let my flame begin to spread' (Mission Praise, 422; Songs of Fellowship, 339).