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Tag Archives: sacrifice

Mark 10 – The Blind Man Sees and Receives Sight

Mark chapter 10 is the end of a larger narrative that began in chapter 8:22. This central narrative of Mark begins and ends with blind men receiving their sight. The first blind man, as you may remember, gradually received his sight, first seeing men blurry as though they were trees. This first man received his sight gradually. The second man in 10:46-52 gains his sight immediately and as the bookend to this section he provides a contrast to the other stories found in chapter 10.

Chapters 8-10 are composed of three stories of Jesus proclaiming that he must suffer and die and then he turns to his disciples and tells them that they must do the same. They continually fail to understand who Jesus is and therefore continue to misunderstand what Jesus calls them to do. These three passion predictions by Jesus climax with James and John requesting that they have seats of honor when Jesus comes in his glory. The other apostles became indignant with them, not because they were any different than the Sons of Zebedee but because they too wanted the power that came with being close to Jesus. It is obvious that none of them understood who Jesus was.

Bartimaeus, the blind man at the end of the chapter, though he is blind, saw clearly who Jesus is. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem (10:32) when he came to Jericho (about 15 miles away). When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was near he began to call out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” The people around him rebuked him but his faith led him to call out to Jesus all the more. When Jesus called him over, he threw his cloak aside. This may not seem like a major detail but his cloak was probably laid across his legs to catch any money that people might toss his way. Is throwing his cloak aside, scattering the coins he would have to live off of, demonstrating that he has a better understanding for who Jesus is that the rich young ruler?

When Jesus called him, he went with blind abandonment; casting his belongings aside, jumping to his feet, he went to Jesus. The blind man staggering towards the voice of Christ is reminiscent of the demon-possessed boy’s father who went to Jesus and said, “Lord, help me overcome my unbelief!” (9:24). When he reached Jesus he was asked the same thing Jesus asked James and John, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man asks for something the apostles thought they already had, the ability to see. When Jesus tells him that his faith has healed him, he immediately received his sight and “followed him on the way.” Some translations (like the NIV) translate that he followed Jesus “along the road.” The New Revised Standard Version (along with the KJV) better capture the imagery that Mark is painting by translating it as “the way.” The early church was called “The Way” before they were called Christians (Acts 9:2). Bartimaeus, who was able to see Jesus for who he is and received his sight at the gates of Jericho, was the first person Jesus allowed to follow him of the people that he healed.

To follow Jesus along “The Way” you must first have sight to see who Jesus is. We often desire Jesus because of the benefits we gain from following him. We desire his salvation but we don’t want to follow him on “the Way.” He called his disciples (and us) to follow the way of service in a world that promotes claims for power. The disciples time and again were blind to who Jesus is and were left confused by Jesus’ call to become servants and slaves to one another.

When the Sons of Zebedee make their request to Jesus he responds by asking, “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” One can’t help but be reminded of the cup of the Lord’s Supper and of Baptism. These are the two earliest elements tied to Christian faith. We think of the cup as a remembrance of what Jesus did on the cross for us, and our Baptism for our sins being washed away. When we only think of this we are solely focusing on what Jesus provides for us. We quickly forget what Jesus has called us to: to be self-sacrificial and servants to all. The Cup and Baptism are continual reminders for the life that Christ has called us to live.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Bible Blog, Mark

 

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Matthew 27 – The Servant King Gives His Life

There is so much in this chapter to take in that I think I’m going to do my best to just hit some key things that I haven’t really focused on before. If you have questions that aren’t addressed, I’d love to have some dialogue.

The question of Judas’ repentance is an interesting one. What was the real motivation behind what Judas did? He had followed Jesus for 2-3 years at this point. Was 30 pieces of silver really worth having him killed? At the point that Judas saw that Jesus was condemned to die he was filled with remorse. I tend to lean in the direction that Judas really did see Jesus as the Messiah but his understanding of Jesus as the Messiah was way off. He wanted the warrior king who would rise up against Rome instead of the servant king. By turning Jesus over, Judas thinks (in how I see it) that Jesus will have to come to action and rise up. Judas is trying to get the ball rolling for Jesus to take power by forcing his hand. The implications of his actions were unexpected by him. Was Judas saved by his repentance? What he did is not beyond the forgiveness enacted on the cross. The question we need to ask ourselves is in what ways do we try to force Jesus’ hand in being the Messiah he didn’t come to be? Do we pray or do certain things so that we will then be bless monetarily? Continue to read the Gospels and get to know Jesus so you don’t make the same mistake Judas makes.

Pilate’s name is important here. He is a real person who connects the real Jesus to the real world. Pilate’s role is to keep some kind of control over an ever troublesome group, the Jews. He is a state official and he wants to know if Jesus is a rival to Herod. What he doesn’t even think to question is whether or not Jesus is a rival to Caesar. When Christians profess that Jesus is Lord they are emphatically saying that Caesar is not.

Pilate does everything he can to set Jesus free but ultimately he has to appease the crowed to keep peace. Rome doesn’t care too much about the things Jesus has claimed about himself or even what others have claimed about him. Rome simply wants order.

Jesus is silent before his accusers because he is the new order of peace standing in the face of the old order of lies and injustice. He is willing to be wronged when he could use power to be right. He is the model for how we should approach a world of evil.

If Pilate saw Jesus as an innocent man, why did he have him flogged? In order to execute someone in the horrible way of crucifixion they must be dehumanized. They beat him and then mock him. The soldiers were doing what they do. They were going about business as usual. They had no idea they had God in the flesh before them.

With Jesus on the cross, he is faced with the same temptations that were before him in the wilderness. This time the desire to give into those temptations are much greater. “If you are the Son of God…” prove it. Not only did they mock Jesus but they also mocked God, calling God out to save Jesus if he really is his father.

The question has come up throughout history as to who actually killed Jesus. Matthew’s gospel has often been used to justify calling Jews “Christ Killers” bringing about (or justifying) persecution of the Jews. Did the Romans kill Jesus? Pilate? Me? Humanity? Matthew’s gospel emphasizes that Jesus gave up his spirit. He willingly died for the creation.

Matthew points out who of Jesus’ disciples were actually there by his side. The disciples had fled but the women stayed. Joseph of Arimathea plays a significant role in the passion story. With Jesus’ comments in the Gospel of Matthew about the rich, it is interesting that Matthew points out that Joseph was a rich man. He made a bold move in asking for Jesus’ body. This could have gotten him thrown in prison or even killed but Pilate ordered that Jesus’ body be given to him. Using his own tomb, Joseph gives Jesus a proper burial because he was fully human and fully died.

Mary and the other Mary seem to be the only followers of Jesus who listened to Jesus that he was going to resurrect from the dead…though they seemed to miss the three days part. They sat faithfully across from Jesus’ tomb being the examples of what it looks like to fully follow Jesus.

Not only did Mary (x2) remember that Jesus said he was going to resurrect from the dead but the chief priests and the Pharisees remembered as well and asked for a guard to be posted. Sixteen men post guard anticipating the disciples and build our anticipating for what will happen tomorrow.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2013 in Bible Blog, Matthew

 

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Philippians 2 – The Vastness of Jesus’ Sacrifice

A few months ago, Ryan posted this as his “Hot Topic.”  When it comes to Philippians 2, I don’t think I could say it much better.  Without any further ado…

There once was a prince who grew up in the royal house. He had no idea what life was like outside the walls of the palace. As his father, the king, grew older he realized more and more that he would have to take on responsibility of ruling the kingdom. As this grew heavier and heavier on his mind he desired to know what life was like for the people he would rule.

In the early hours of the morning he snuck out of the palace without his royal guards. Disguised as a servant, he set out to be amongst the people to observe everyday life. How did the people speak of his father as king? What was it like to be at the bottom of society in this kingdom? His curiosity and questions got the best of him and he was off into the dark hours of the morning.

He found him a nice comfortable piece of ground to sit on near the market and sat back and watched at the city came to life. He was amazed as he watched the people. Their lives were simple. They had pride in their crafts and looked for ways to make their living throughout the day. Occasionally someone would take pity on the beggar that he presented himself to be and tossed a few coins at his feet.

Two men in the market began quarreling over a misunderstanding in their trade. The beggar-prince couldn’t help but step in to resolve the argument. Appalled that the beggar would interfere with a higher class of people they turned their focus to him, ridiculing him, and threw him to the ground. In the heat of the moment he threw off his beggars robe and revealed his true identity. Everyone in the market dropped to their knee and bowed before him. Having revealed his true identity he quickly made his way back to his palace where he had protection and power again. His life simply went back to how things used to be.

A year or so ago I was reflecting on the early Church hymn found in Philippians that is focused on who Jesus is and what He did. It is in this passage that I began to reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus.

“Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a human being,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”
– Philippians 2:6-11

I’ve always had the assumption that when Jesus left heaven, and his place within God (whatever that means exactly I do not know), he simply went back to going about his existence as he had always before. It was in this passage that I began to rethink these assumptions.

Jesus, being God, did not consider using this to his advantage but made himself nothing. He became like one of us, took on the nature of servitude, and even submitted himself to death. This self-emptying seems to be the beginning of his sacrifice. In his death it was God that raised him and then glorified him to the highest place. Jesus was resurrected (1 Corinthians 15) and it is in this resurrected body that he remains at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 8:1; 12:2).

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is what conquers death and makes us right with God. He didn’t decide to just come down and “play man” for a bit and just go back to things as they used to be. When Jesus made the sacrifice to become a man he entered into this broken creation and submitted himself to God. It is God who then exalts him to the highest place and he forever sits next to the throne of God as the slaughtered lamb as described in Revelation. His sacrifice was eternal. He became like us so that we can become like him in his resurrection. This sacrifice caries a heavier weight for me that he gave up his privilege so that we could then be privileged. He became broken so that we can be made whole again. He is the first fruit of the resurrection and we should be thankful for his weighty sacrifice. Thanks be to God for loving us so much.

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2012 in Pauline Epistles, Philippians

 

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The Vastness of Jesus’ Sacrifice

There once was a prince who grew up in the royal house. He had no idea what life was like outside the walls of the palace. As his father, the king, grew older he realized more and more that he would have to take on responsibility of ruling the kingdom. As this grew heavier and heavier on his mind he desired to know what life was like for the people he would rule.

In the early hours of the morning he snuck out of the palace without his royal guards. Disguised as a servant, he set out to be amongst the people to observe everyday life. How did the people speak of his father as king? What was it like to be at the bottom of society in this kingdom? His curiosity and questions got the best of him and he was off into the dark hours of the morning.

He found him a nice comfortable piece of ground to sit on near the market and sat back and watched at the city came to life. He was amazed as he watched the people. Their lives were simple. They had pride in their crafts and looked for ways to make their living throughout the day. Occasionally someone would take pity on the beggar that he presented himself to be and tossed a few coins at his feet.

Two men in the market began quarreling over a misunderstanding in their trade. The beggar-prince couldn’t help but step in to resolve the argument. Appalled that the beggar would interfere with a higher class of people they turned their focus to him, ridiculing him, and threw him to the ground. In the heat of the moment he threw off his beggars robe and revealed his true identity. Everyone in the market dropped to their knee and bowed before him. Having revealed his true identity he quickly made his way back to his palace where he had protection and power again. His life simply went back to how things used to be.

A year or so ago I was reflecting on the early Church hymn found in Philippians that is focused on who Jesus is and what He did. It is in this passage that I began to reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus.

“Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a human being,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”
– Philippians 2:6-11

I’ve always had the assumption that when Jesus left heaven, and his place within God (whatever that means exactly I do not know), he simply went back to going about his existence as he had always before. It was in this passage that I began to rethink these assumptions.

Jesus, being God, did not consider using this to his advantage but made himself nothing. He became like one of us, took on the nature of servitude, and even submitted himself to death. This self-emptying seems to be the beginning of his sacrifice. In his death it was God that raised him and then glorified him to the highest place. Jesus was resurrected (1 Corinthians 15) and it is in this resurrected body that he remains at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 8:1; 12:2).

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is what conquers death and makes us right with God. He didn’t decide to just come down and “play man” for a bit and just go back to things as they used to be. When Jesus made the sacrifice to become a man he entered into this broken creation and submitted himself to God. It is God who then exalts him to the highest place and he forever sits next to the throne of God as the slaughtered lamb as described in Revelation. His sacrifice was eternal. He became like us so that we can become like him in his resurrection. This sacrifice caries a heavier weight for me that he gave up his privilege so that we could then be privileged. He became broken so that we can be made whole again. He is the first fruit of the resurrection and we should be thankful for his weighty sacrifice. Thanks be to God for loving us so much.

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Bible Blog, Hot Topics

 

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