Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bethany Bullet - March 31, 2015

We've come to the end of our Lenten pilgrimage and thus we've also said our final “amen” to our Lenten Series the Prayer of Our Lord

Hopefully one thing has become very true for us…that is, the Lord’s Prayer can rightly be called “our prayer.” 

These words do give form and structure to any communication we would have with heaven and the God who has granted us access and relationship with Himself through The One who so taught us to pray. 

At the same time these words speak volumes for us when we don’t know what to say.  Since these words are Jesus’ words – they are perfect! 

Yet, He invites His disciples to make these words their own.  As we speak them together in worship, offer them up with members of our own family, or speak them silently throughout our days – may we become more and more certain that the Prayer of Our Lord’s is a prayer of ours.  Thus, even though we can speak them without thought, may they move us to reflect more deeply on what we seek, and what He in grace provides.

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer

Monday, March 30, 2015

The One Year Bible- March 30th

When I was in second grade our class was scheduled to sing in church.  The song we sang was called “Everywhere I Go.”  Why do I remember such a thing?  Well, this song had a big impact on my life.  It has a catchy tune and great words and I latched on to this song and sang it everywhere I went.  I started singing this song every time I was scared or though I was in trouble.  I sang it a lot while riding my bike.  This song gave me comfort and security because even as I child I knew that God was there with me.  This song came to my mind this week while reading the story of God’s people as they entered the Promised Land.  I am sure many of them were scared and fearful of the future.  But Moses and Joshua reminded the people that God was with them everywhere they would go, and to be strong and courageous.  As we begin today, don’t forget that the same God is with you as well.  We begin with the words of that song:

Everywhere I go the Lord is near me
If I call upon Him He will hear me
Never will I fear, for the Lord is near
Everywhere I go.

Everywhere God is there
Tending all in loving care
He is with me everywhere I go

On to the study...

Seth’s Thoughts

The Old Testament
Let me set the stage for you once again.  The people are on the edge of the Promised Land.  Moses has gathered the people together to give them a pep talk and remind them of the promises of God and his continued faithfulness.  Moses will not be joining the people because of his own disobedience but he is still God’s prophet.  At the end of the pep talk he breaks out into song.  This last bit of instruction for the people served as a reminder and a comfort for them.  Just before Moses gets a glimpse of the Promised Land, he introduces Joshua as the new leader.  We see in just a few short verses the phrase, “Be strong and courageous”.  This is an important phrase, as the people will be doing some difficult things in the next few years.  Moses as well as the Lord tells Joshua and the people to, “Be strong and courageous”  at least six times.  Indeed the Lord will be with them; and indeed he was.  The Lord caused the Jordan river to stop as the people crossed it.

In the next few days we will see that the Lord delivered the fortified city of Jericho into their hands.  The Lord blessed them, but true to form the people disobey.  After Jericho was destroyed someone took some of the plunder that was to be devoted to the Lord.  This caused a military defeat of the people and doubt started to creep in.  It was just one small action that had big consequences.  It seems that is what happens in our lives as well.  Just one seemingly small sin causes us big problems.  Even after the pep talk from Moses, the people disobey.  This will be a theme we will see over and over again.  When we look at the world today we see the same theme.  We have heard what we should do, we know the right things be we find ourselves doing the opposite or not even listening to God.  For the people of Israel this caused problems.  Later we will see how sin begins to spiral out of control and eventually the people will be lead off to exile.  We are in the exile of sin as well and we are in need of rescue.  God sent his son Jesus to rescue us from our sin.  Because we could not do it, Jesus did it all for us.  Jesus fulfills the requirements of God and we get all the benefits.  The Old Testament once again points us to Christ the author and perfector of our faith. 

The New Testament
A few things jumped out at me as I read through the readings from Luke this week. After our readings in the Old Testament about washings, the section at the end of chapter 11 (readings for April 6th) where Jesus really blasts the Pharisees makes more sense to me. Jesus really lets them have it for only worrying about the outside things. He tells them in no uncertain terms that God looks at the inside as well and they need to get their act straight. In Luke 7 Jesus says some hard things. Jesus tells us that if we want to be his disciple we need to hate other things. I have always struggled with this statement. In one of my seminary classes we talked about the word “hate” and how it is used in the New Testament. This is another word that we translate the Greek literally but it has some Hebrew meaning. In Hebrew the word we translate as “hate” means that we prefer one thing over the other but not necessarily at the expense of the other. In the Old Testament we read that Jacob “hated” his wife Leah, but he still cared for her, he had children with her and he provided for her. This does not sound like the “hate” we think of. Now it is true that Jacob preferred Rebekah, but he did not “hate” Leah as we see it. I hope this sheds some light on this passage for you. We are to prefer following Jesus over all others. We will still need to carry our cross and count the cost and that will only be possible with the help of the Holy Spirit.

One quick comment from one of our readings coming up later this week: In Psalm 78:41 (April 7th) a reference to the “Holy One of Israel” is found. We will see this term often when we get into Isaiah and some of the other prophets. This term refers to the promised Messiah and when you see it you can be certain that this is talking about the coming of Christ.

Have a great week and remember that God is with you everywhere you go!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bethany Bullet - March 24, 2015

Breathe: “Deliver Us from Evil”

“Prayer is to the soul what breath is to the body.  When breathing becomes heavy and clogged, the body is bound to be ill.  When praying becomes unpleasant or irksome, the soul is not well.  When the Christian stops conversing with heaven, then hell begins to speak.”  - Martin Luther

We have spent the season of Lent looking at the Lord’s Prayer and today we will spend some time with the petition, “Deliver us from evil.”  It should not surprise you that even though the Lord’s Prayer has been memorized over the centuries, many have often misheard it. 

You see, the devil is working overtime here in God’s house to speak, and to distract us from hearing the truth.  One young boy wanted to show his father that he had memorized the Lord’s Prayer so during bedtime prayers he prayed the following:

Our Father, makes art in Heaven
How do you know my name?
The Kingdome comes; the wallaby runs a nurse that is with Kevin.
Give us this day our dilly bread
And forgive us our trash passes,
as we forgive those who passed trash against us.
And lead us not into Penn Station.
But deliver us from eagles.
For mine is the kingdom, the flower and the jewelry. Amen.

But my friends, this is no joking matter.  The evil one desires to distract you and not be able to take a stand against his schemes.

We have come to the last part of the prayer as it is taught by Jesus in Matthew chapter 6. 
“Deliver us from the evil one.”

I know that in most churches as the Lord’s Prayer is prayed aloud we say, “And deliver us from evil,” but Jesus was expressing to His followers that evil is more than just a concept it is a person, it is the deceiver, Satan himself. 
Martin Luther in his Large Catechism has a great passage about this. 

He writes,
“It seems to be speaking of the devil as the sum of all evil in order that the entire substance of our prayer may be directed against our archenemy.  For it is he who obstructs everything for which we ask: God’s name or honor, God’s kingdom and will, our daily bread, a good and cheerful conscience, etc.”

“Therefore at the end we sum it up by saying ‘Dear Father, helps us to get rid of all this misfortune.’ …For because the devil is not only a liar but a murderer as well, he incessantly seeks our life and vents his anger by causing accidents and injury to our bodies.  He crushes some and drives others to insanity… Therefore, there is nothing for us to do on earth but to pray without ceasing…For if God did not support us, we would not be safe… for a single hour.”

“Thus you see how God wants us to pray to Him for everything that attacks even our bodily welfare so that we seek and expect help from no one but Him.  But He has placed at the end, this petition, for if we are to be protected and delivered from all evil, His name must be hallowed in us, His kingdom come among us, and His will done.  In the end He will preserve us from sin and disgrace and from everything else that harms or injures us.” (LCIII: 113-118)

“Deliver us from the evil one,” …Indeed!

Hell and the forces of evil have had their voice heard loud and clear in this present age.  Prayer was once a mainstay in western culture and in life.  Giving thanks and offering petitions was just what was done.  But somewhere along the line, prayer became unpleasant and irksome and we see the illness that has resulted from it. 

The evil one has a voice in our culture and as Christians we are called to pray, to breathe deeply in conversation with the Creator.  The battle is real, the enemy is speaking, are you listening?

Far too often we listen when evil speaks.  We talked about temptation at our Wednesday evening Lenten service and heard that in times of temptation and in times of evil we need to breathe deeply upon God’s Word. 

In Ephesians the fourth chapter, Paul describes six things that we have been given to face the day of evil; the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit; known collectively as the Armor of God.

Many have tried to explain these tools and what they mean for us, but in the end many descriptions fall short. 
If we think that by simply doing a few things all will be well, we are falling into the trap of the evil one himself.  I think that Paul is pointing us in another direction, away from ourselves and to the source of our strength.  For just as evil is more than a concept, we have something more than just a list of accessories to help us stand when the day of evil comes.

You see, it is more than just the idea of truth that encircles us it is Jesus Himself.  Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Jesus is not only the source of truth, but truth incarnate.  Truth is not a concept, it’s a person.

It is more than just being righteous.  For on our own we are unable to attain it.  Isaiah was right when he wrote, “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6) But Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians these words, “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness”.  (I Cor. 1:30) Righteousness is not a concept or an idea it is a person.  Jesus is our righteousness.

It is more that attempting to live in peace, peace with one another, peace with our neighbors, peace in the world, peace with God, but Paul in Ephesians writes, “He himself is our peace.”(Ephesians 2:14).  Peace is not a concept, it’s a person.  Jesus is peace.

It is not in the amount of our own faith, but as the writer of the book of Hebrews states, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.”(Hebrews 12:2)  Faith is not simply a concept, but a person, Jesus, the Messiah.

Even our salvation is not something that we can possess on our own. 

This salvation is not from what we do, but is based on what Jesus has done.  Peter, in speaking before the Jewish elders recorded in Acts says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). Salvation is not an idea; it’s a person, the Savior Himself, Jesus Christ.

Even our one offensive weapon is not simply words on paper, or pixels on a screen, but they are Jesus Himself.  John writes, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.”  (John 1:1) And the writer of Hebrews states, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”(Hebrews 4:12).  The Word is not an idea or a concept; it is a person, the Word, made flesh, Jesus!

Standing in the face of the evil one is not about following another set of rules or expectations to follow.  It is not about something that we can do, but it is a person who has taken up our sins, who stood up to the evil one and defeated him. 

We can stand because God in the flesh stood in for us in opposition to the Evil One, and because of Him all your sins have been forgiven.

He is everything that we need; He forgives us, restores us and renews us.  He gives us the strength we need to stand against the devils schemes.  For He faced the evil one head on as He went to the cross and died in our place and He brings us peace with God and defeated death as He rose again.

This same Jesus is here today, He comes to you in His living, active, powerful Word, and by His Spirit, who promises new life and forgiveness, He brings ultimate health and wholeness and He allows us to stand.

And so we pray, “Deliver us from the evil one.”

Even when the evil one knocks us off our feet, we can get on our knees and breathe deep in prayer.
Prayer is vital to the proclamation of Jesus Christ.  In prayer, we can stand toe to toe with the evil one but only because we stand IN Christ and UPON Christ

When we pray in this petition to deliver us from evil; what does this mean?

We pray that our Father in heaven would deliver us from all kinds of evil, of body and soul, property and honor.  And finally, when our last hour shall come, we pray that He would grant us a blessed end and graciously take us from this vale of tears to Himself into heaven.

-Pastor Seth Moorman

Monday, March 23, 2015

The One Year Bible- March 23rd

As I have been driving around this past week I have noticed that many of the trees are starting to leaf out. It is an exciting time of the year when we see blossoms on plants, the days getting longer and the temperatures climbing. Spring is in the air and I think it is kinda neat that during this season we celebrate Easter. Now, I know I am getting ahead of myself since we are still a few weeks away and Lent is still in full swing, but as we look to the changes that are taking place on the earth, new life and new growth, I can’t help but think about the new life that has been given to all of us because of Jesus’ victory over death. When you see the new life springing from the ground, think about Jesus and the new life granted to us and guaranteed by what he did on the cross and his “springing” from the ground in his wonderful resurrection. On to the study...

Seth’s Thoughts

The Old Testament
Numbers is a strange book. It combines the narrative with some rules and regulations and then the “numbers” of counting and census taking. It can be hard to keep track of the story. I found myself turning back the pages a few times to remember what we read (this is not such a bad idea to do once in a while). A few things stuck out for me this week. The name of Baalam comes up again in the New Testament book of Revelation. I don’t know how much you know about the book of Revelation (and we don’t have time here to discuss in detail) but at the beginning of the book, Jesus gives John a message for seven churches. One of the letters warns of holding to the teaching of Baalam. This is the only place in the New Testament that makes reference to this story. Baalam knew about Yahweh but he took money from king Balak to give a curse against the people of Israel. Baalam gave in to the money and compromised his faith for the sake of material gain. I think that many in our world have compromised their faith or their beliefs for monetary gain as well. We outwardly worship the Lord but our hearts lust after wealth. This is the main message of the story. This lesson is important enough for John to mention it in the book of Revelation. Baalam ends up dying at the hands of the Israelites a few chapters later (31:8).

Another amazing event takes place in chapter 31. As the Lord commands the people to take revenge on the Midianites, they completely destroy them with the Lord’s help. This is amazing in and of itself but what really got to me was the fact that when the generals and captains gave a report to Moses they said, “Your servants have counted the soldiers under our command, and not one is missing.” (31:49 NIV) How amazing is that!!! They go to battle and no one is killed?? No friendly fire, no accidents, not even one lost battle. This should have been a sign to the people to trust in God, but as we shall see, the people will start to trust in themselves and not in God and things go wrong. In chapter 33 we have a very important task and warning from God. As the people are on the edge of the Promised Land, they get a command from God, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you and destroy all their figured stones and destroy all their metal images and demolish all their high places. And you shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it... if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell. And I will do to you as I thought to do to them.” We will see that this is one of the main problems for the Israelites in the Promised Land. God told them what to do and they didn’t quite get the job done.

As we begin the book of Deuteronomy, don’t be puzzled by the fact that Moses retells almost the entire story of the history of God’s chosen people. I will have more to say about that next week, but I like to think of this book as Moses’ pre-game speech to the team led by Joshua. They were about to engage the enemy in battle and standing on the eastern bank of the Jordan, Moses encourages and motivates the people to do what God has been preparing for a long time. They were on the verge of taking possession of the promise that was given so long ago to Abraham. It is an exciting time, and time filled with some fear and expectation as well.

The New Testament
Luke is a great storyteller. He weaves a wonderful story together. Luke tells of three “songs” in the beginning of the book; Mary’s song, Zechariah’s song and Simeon’s song. All three of them are wonderful examples of praising God. Mary gives glory to God for the gift she has been given, Zechariah praises God for his mercy, and Simeon thanks God for the fulfillment of his promises through the Christ Child. These “songs” give a depth of emotion not found in the other Gospel accounts. If you grew up in a Lutheran Church that used the old 1941 hymnal you probably know Simeon’s song by heart (by the way it has made a comeback in the new Lutheran Service Book p.p. 199-200). I love that song. I will admit as a child I liked that song because that meant the service was almost over, but as I grew older that song and the words had an impact on me. Those of you who know the tune can sing along:

Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace according to Thy word, For mine eyes have seen Thy Salvation: which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people. A light to lighten the Gentiles and the Glory of Thy people Israel. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end AMEN.

After his baptism and a list of his earthly ancestors, Jesus’ ministry begins in earnest. He first is tempted in the desert and rejected in Nazareth. I could just imagine the scene in the synagogue where Jesus gets up to read for the service and at the end hearing him say “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” I think that would be one of the most exciting times for those who believed that the Messiah was coming soon. Was this guy the one that was promised? Could he be the Messiah that we have been waiting for? Can we like Simeon, now die in peace? For some this guy was a blasphemer and a troublemaker. I hope I would know that this is the Christ the son of the living God. Soon we see that the Pharisees start looking for ways to get rid of Jesus. They see him forgiving sins, and healing on the Sabbath.

One other interesting point Luke makes is that he sets the story in a historical context. One of the knocks on the Bible is that it is just some fanciful story that was made up by the writers. One way Luke gives some credibility to his book is that he places it within the frame of history. This makes the document have more legitimacy outside of religious circles because of the verifiable evidence of history. At the beginning of Chapter 3 Luke writes, “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,...” All of these people can be verified to have existed using extra-biblical sources. Luke wants to let his readers know that he is not just making this stuff up. This was a very important point in the third century when the formation of the New Testament was happening. The inclusion of this information (as well as other factors) gave Luke a solid historical footing for inclusion in the New Testament.

Bits and Pieces

Here are the vital stats for the book of Deuteronomy:
PURPOSE: To remind the people of what God had done and encourage them to rededicate their lives to him
AUTHOR: Moses (except for the final summary which may have been written by Joshua)
TO WHOM WRITTEN: Israel (the new generation entering the promised land)
LAW THEMES: Devoted to destruction, hard-hearted, laws of the covenant, snare of idolatry, cursing
GOSPEL THEMES: Redemption- “I am the Lord, your God”, inheritance, righteousness by God’s Word, promises of the covenant, God’s love and calling, atonement, faithfulness, blessing
SETTING: The east side of the Jordan River, in view of Canaan
KEY VERSE: “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. (7:9)
KEY PEOPLE: Moses and Joshua

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bethany Bullet - March 18, 2015

Continuation of BREATHE series on the Lord’s Prayer
Petition: “…as we forgive…”

Our Lord is clearly not a grudge holder! 

Yet, I wonder if He paused for a moment (while He taught them to pray) as He got to this petition?  He had just instructed them to pray their trespasses be forgiven; then before He continues, did He linger? Did He breathe deeply before saying, “…as we forgive those who sin against us.”?  After all, it won’t be that long and sin against Him they shall.  Whether it is leaving the upper room to betray Him, fleeing from the garden to keep from being arrested with Him, denying knowledge of Him to keep from being ridiculed because of Him, or refusing to head to Golgotha to make sure not to be killed next to Him – the disciples will sin against Him. 

Aside from geography and chronology, our story is the same as the disciples’.  Knowing full well that we would sin against Him, our Lord still went to the cross and in Him we’ve been completely and totally forgivenNote: We’re forgiven NOT BECAUSE of what we’ve done (including forgiving others) but FROM WHAT we’ve done, or left undone (including failing to forgive). 

Our forgiveness is not based on our forgiving, rather our forgiving flows from having been forgiven.  Remembering wrongs done comes not because we’ve not been forgiven but because we’ve forgotten just how much we’ve wronged God!  The debt we owe God is impossible for us to pay!  Yet, He has covered the cost and tossed our guilt away.  So we pray that He would move us to forgive, as in Christ, He has forgiven us.

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer

Monday, March 16, 2015

The One Year Bible- March 16th

With Lent in full swing and our calendars filling up quickly, it may be time to reevaluate your reading plan.  About every three months or so it is good to do a little check-up.  Have you been able to keep up with your daily readings?  If not, do you know why?  What can be done to tweak your routine to find time to read?  I settled into a routine about a two years ago and it has worked for me.  My weekends are quite busy so I have been doing two readings a day on Monday through Thursday and taking a break Friday through Sunday.  This plan gives me one day of wiggle room in case I really get bogged down with other things.  The important thing is to find a time that works and stick to it.  Soon it will become habit.  Please let me know if I can help out in any way!  On to the study...

Seth’s Thoughts

The Old Testament

As we have said before, the book of Numbers has a general them of grumbling and complaining by the people.  Time and time again God tries to show the people his love but the people don’t seem to get it.  The phrase that God uses over and over to show is Grace is, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God.” (Numbers 15:41 NIV).  This is almost the same phrase God uses when he gives the law with the Ten Words (Ten Commandments).  God reminds the people that the relationship he has with them is based on Grace.  That being said, God is still a jealous God, who is Holy (meaning without sin and hating sin), therefore he cannot just turn a blind eye to the grumbling and disobedience of the people.  A few examples to illustrate my point:

Their first complaint resulted in God sending a fire to destroy the people. Moses prayed to God and the fire left. One verse later the people start complaining again! Now they want meat. They were sick of this manna stuff and they longed to be back in Egypt. Moses even gets agitated with the people. But God, in his mercy, gives them meat to eat. So much meat that they get sick of it. Moses then selects 12 men to go into the Promised Land to check it out and when they return, 10 of the men say that Israel should not go in because the people are giants. Only Joshua and Caleb give a true account. They trust in God’s promises. So the people started complaining again. They even wanted to kill Caleb and Joshua. God gets fed up with this group and tells them that none of them will even enter the Promised Land.

Chapter 16 tells the story of the rebellion of Korah. This story serves as a lesson to all those who do not trust God. All those who followed Korah were either killed by fire or swallowed up by the earth. Then God wants to destroy all the people, but God in his mercy hears the cry of his people and spares them. (Do you see a theme here?) Surely this will put an end to the complaining. But as soon as they run out of water they rebel again. But God in his mercy hears the cry of his people and provides for them.

Then Moses gets into trouble by not giving credit to God for providing the water from the rock and he finds out that he will not enter the Promised Land. So the people start complaining again in Chapter 21. So God sends snakes to kill the people. But God in his mercy hears their cries for help. He tells Moses to put a snake on a pole and those who look at it will live. This is a foreshadowing of Christ, because those who look upon Jesus (on a pole a.k.a. the cross) will be saved (“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up” –John 3:14,  Interesting that this was the assigned reading in worship this past Sunday too). Our readings for this week ended with the people looking for safe passage through some of the lands near Canaan. They get themselves into trouble by trying to fight when God said not to.

Next up is the story of Baalam. This is a story that tells about the power of God. Baalam knows the true God, but Baalam was not always faithful. King Balak wants Baalam to curse the people but Baalam will not because the Lord (Yahweh) is with them. God also shows his power by making Baalam’s donkey talk. God will use any means necessary to get his message across.

I hope you can see that our God is a God of mercy.  He showed that mercy ultimately in the person of his son Jesus Christ who was the ultimate sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. 

The New Testament

We will finish up Mark’s Gospel and it was a quick journey. It is believed that Mark was the first account of Jesus that was written. And it ends just as it begins, with action. In quick succession we have the Last Supper, the time in the garden, the trial, the crucifixion, the resurrection, and Mark’s version of the Great Commission. Like Matthew, Mark mentions the Temple curtain being torn in two. This was very significant. Remember from our readings in the Old Testament that there was a curtain that separated the holy place from the most holy place and that only the high priest could enter it and then only once a year on the Day of Atonement. When that curtain tore, it showed that we no longer need a human person to go to God for us. Jesus has restored our relationship with the father and now we can approach him because of Christ. The book of Hebrews really drives this point home. It is also interesting that Matthew, Mark, and Luke all say that it tore from top to bottom. Thus signifying this was from God.  There is an interesting bit of text at the beginning and end of the book that serve as bookends for Mark.  In Chapter 1 he writes, “The beginning of the Gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God”.  Then in Chapter 15 verse 39 we read this that came from the mouth of the Roman centurion, “Surely this man was the Son of God”.  Everything in between these two verses tells us all about the ministry of Jesus.  Now of course the resurrection was coming but that was just more proof as to who Jesus is.  One other textual note, I am sure that you noticed that at the end of Marks Gospel there was some note saying something like “The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-20”.  That is not to say that they are not Biblical.  The translators want the reader to know that there are some textual problems with these verses.  For the most part the problems do not go so far as to place a great deal of doubt in these verses but theologians do not generally use these verses as proof texts for doctrine. 

As we begin the book of Luke I want you to notice the different style that Luke uses as compared to Mark.  Luke seems to take more time in the story telling and uses “songs” to show some of the emotion behind the stories.  Many have said that Mark is the Gospel for guys and Luke is for the ladies.  I know that is stereotyping but I hope that helps you see the difference in the books. 

Have a great week!!

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