Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The One Year Bible Feb. 22, 2006

As I said last week, please don’t get discouraged when reading tedious sections of Scripture. I know it can be rough reading at times but hang in there. There will be times in the future where the readings will not be very fun (some places in Jeremiah for example). But remember that there is power in God’s word. You may someday be sharing your faith with a person who may know the Old Testament well. This person my not yet trust in Jesus as their Lord but you can find some common ground with them in the words of the Old Testament. There is always a good reason for spending time in the Word and sometimes we don’t see it at the moment.

This week’s readings were both tedious and exciting. The book of Leviticus reads like an instruction manual and the Gospel of Mark is like an action adventure novel. As always there are nuggets of gold in the Psalms and Proverbs.

Where We Have Been

The Old Testament
For the majority of this week our readings have been instructions for Aaron and all the priests to follow. God gave Moses some specific instructions for what was to take place at the tabernacle. These ordinances were then used once the temple was built by Solomon. By reading through the book of Leviticus you begin to see how the Jewish people saw many more commandments than just 9 (see the post on February 8th to understand why I say only 9). In the Jewish mind there were more than 600 laws and ordinances that they needed to keep in order to stay in God’s favor. It should come as no surprise then that the teachings of Jesus were seen as so radical. Remember that Jesus summarized the law into two commands. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40) It is interesting to note that the priests were not only the spiritual leaders, they were also gave dietary guidelines as well as medical advice. They oversaw the total wellbeing of the individual. I think there is something to be learned from this. As a New Testament Christian we are all part of the “Priesthood of all believers”. As such we are called to care for the total wellbeing of all.

The New Testament
The book of Mark is filled with miracles and parables. It is no wonder many point new believers to this Gospel. Mark lays out the evidence that Jesus is the savior of the world and Jesus proves it by his miracles. Jesus also is a good teacher and as all good teachers he uses the power of stories. Stories teach in ways that other words cannot. Stories captivate our imaginations, they take us to places we have never been, they can help us understand complex ideas. Jesus knew the power of story and he used it. In our reading for the 20th we see that “In his public ministry he never taught without using parables” (Mark 4:34a NLT). What better way to teach to a bunch of uneducated people. I think at times we have lost the art of storytelling in our Churches. We do a good job of it in Sunday School but we often forget it with Adults. I feel that we all can benefit from a good story and what better story to start with than the story of Jesus Christ.

Where We Are Going

The Old Testament
The book of Leviticus continues with the rules and regulations of living as a member of God’s chosen people. As we read this list, remember that there is no one on earth who ever did or who ever could live up to all of these regulations except for Jesus Christ himself. For us today this only convinces us more and more that we are in need of a savior. Keep plugging away at the reading and remember the big picture that because of Jesus, you have kept all these requirements “In Christ” and God sees you as “clean”

The New Testament
We will continue with the theme of miracles and parables. We will also see how Mark begins to discuss how Jesus dealt with the Pharisees. Remember that the Pharisees were the ones who were trying to keep all the requirements of the law that we are reading about in the Old Testament. Jesus really lets them have it in Mark 7. The disciples will also get a glimpse of the divinity of Jesus at the transfiguration.

Key Verses:
Mark 2:17
Psalm 36:5-6
Psalm 37:3-4
Mark 3:35
Psalm 37:39-40
Leviticus 11:45
Psalm 39:4-5

Have a great week everyone!! Let me know if you have any questions.


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