April - Reading 13

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Apr 13, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Helen

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    The passage in Mark for today contains two of my favorite stories of Jesus healing people.

    First, a RULER of the synagogue comes to Him. What humility that must have taken, considering the way the other heads of the religious establishment were treating Jesus! And Jesus did not simply heal the child at a distance, as He was certainly capable of doing, but honored this ruler by going to his house and taking the child by the hand and raising her from the dead. This is incredible and beautiful.

    Note that the first order Jesus gave about the child was that she be given something to eat. From a purely academic/scientific point of view, I find this very interesting. It was as though Jesus were saying "OK, I started those life processes back up, now you folks keep them in order by feeding her!" There seem to be a number of times when the first action of a person raised from the dead is the need to eat.

    If we spiritualize this, then we should understand that when we die to ourselves and are raised as new beings in Christ, our first need is also for food -- spiritual food: the Bible. His Word. Not the words of others, but the pure unadulterated spiritual food of Scripture.

    The second healing story here is of the woman with a bleeding problem who dared to 'touch' Jesus. I have understood from a pastor we visited some time ago that this simple form of translation misses a major point: the woman grabbed onto Jesus' prayer shawl, or the tassles, which was then a highly symbolic act and one of utter desperation, as the shawl was to be kept ceremonially clean at all times and her touching it would have desecrated it. But Jesus did not reprimand her as any Pharisee would have done, but instead healed her.

    So much for tradition! So much for Jesus being unapproachable!

    ================

    Parts of the Corinthian passage have been badly misunderstood and misused through history, which is really a shame.

    Paul says first that those who work at sharing the gospel have a right to support, but then he adds that he has not taken advantage of this right. We know that Paul supported himself as a tentmaker.

    And yet, he adds also that he is compelled to preach the gospel. The Holy Spirit was obviously so in control of this man that his actions were truly not his own. I would pray for the same for all of us!

    Then comes the first of the two misunderstood parts:

    First, Paul states that he makes himself a slave to everyone: to the Jew he becomes a Jew and to the man free from Hebrew law, he becomes like one of them (although he hastens to add that he is always under Christ's law). The reason for the chameleon-like nature? To win people to Christ. "To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some."

    There are those who have considered this license to licentiousness, or freedom to sin with those who are sinning. This is ABSOLUTELY not what Paul is saying! He is stating that he is not above, beyond, or removed from any condition men are born into or raised in while he presents the gospel message. Another way of putting it is that he walks alongside the people he is talking to, and gets to know their frame of reference to find the 'hook' on which to hang the gospel so they will understand it. And this is incredibly important. We are nowhere, never, no how, told to start screaming at people or 'informing' them of their status of deserving hell and needing Jesus out of the blue! We are to do as Phillip was instructed to do by the Holy Spirit in Acts: walk alongside. Listen to the other person. Then courteously ask a question, perhaps. And always be ready to give an answer for the hope we have. But an answer implies that a question was first asked by the other person, and no question will ever be asked of us if we do not do two things: walk alongside, and live differently (Christ in us, not we ourselves). Then we will be living and speaking as Paul did in this passage.

    Secondly, Paul speaks of running for the prize. The prize is NOT salvation. That is a free gift. We do not, and cannot earn it, or contribute to it in any way, barring the possible 'act' of giving up completely to God! What Paul is referring to is also known as a 'crown' in heaven -- or those rewards given to the faithful servants by Christ. For while all who believe and are in Christ are saved, not all will be rewarded for faithful service to Him while on earth. Paul was 'running' for this prize. "Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

    Did he actually beat himself, as some have believed? NO! He is saying there that he is constantly battling his own fleshly desires so that he will not be seen as a hypocrite! This would most certainly disqualify him for the prize, despite faithfully preaching the gospel. It would be good, I think, for a number of widely known (and perhaps a lot of others, as well) preachers to pay attention to that message...
     
  3. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Helen!!! Thanks for the commentary and thanks for leaving the passage from Judges to me!

    Today in Judges, we read the account of the fourth judge, Deborah. Chapters four and five tell the same story but chapter four is done in prose, chapter five is done in verse.

    Deborah is the only one of the twelve judges to be cited as a prophetess. She was a woman in power and obviously commanded the respect of the Israelites. It should be noted that the Judges did not individually affect all of Israel, but cumulatively the twelve reached all the borders. The military leader, Barak, testifies to Deborah's power by refusing to go to battle with the Hazorites without her leadership. When Deborah tells him that the victory would be handed to a woman, didn't you think that she meant herself? It's a great literary device using the SHOCK of the woman turning out to be Jael. Jael being the wife of Heber suggest that she may have not even been Jewish! Heber is described in verse 4:11 as seperating from the tribe of Moses' in-laws. GREAT story!

    Another note of interest is the setting of the battle. we learn in 5:20-21 that God caused it to rain during the battle in the Kishon River valley which aided the Israeli army in their defeat of Sisera. This same scenario was repeated when Napolean's army defeated the Turks in the same area in 1799! We will also return to this area later in the year with the story of Elijah's defeat of Baal's prophets.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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