Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday 13 February: Isaiah 56-58 and Mark 13: 21-37 | Elizabeth

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Isaiah 56-58 and Mark 13:21-37

First I need to apologize for posting this so late. We've decided which 3 puppies we're keeping and have been getting crates set up, figuring out schedules for them, etc. Getting to the library to post just didn't happen yesterday. Now to sell the remaining four. Since I'm doing this quickly, I apologize for any typos I've missed. Hopefully any you find will not make you think I'm a heretic. ;)

(I also just realized that even though I did schedule mine to post last week, it didn't. I've fixed that. I don't know where it'll end up, but you should be able to find it. Sorry. I'm still getting the hang of these settings.)

The focus of the next few chapters of Isaiah is on the proper observance of the Lord's covenant, as well as His willingness to forgive those who repent. The Lord's salvation will come not only for the chosen people, but also for foreigners and outcasts. Israel's leaders have forsaken their sacred duty. We, too, often pursue personal pleasure and gain at the expense of our God-given responsibilities. Unlike Israel's leaders who sought their own gain, Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He laid down His life for every sinful sheep, faithfully fulfilling God's righteous requirements for our sake.
As Israel practices idolatry through a number of degenerate acts, they are openly mocking the Lord. The Lord heals and comforts all who are of a contrite and lowly spirit. But God's comfort and peace are withheld from the wicked, including those intent on backsliding in the ways of their own hearts. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the obstacle of our sin has been removed. There is now healing, comfort, and peace for every contrite heart.
The Lord condemns all who draw near to Him only with words, those who seek their own pleasure above all else. But for those who share with their neighbors in need, the Lord promises healing. We cannot draw near to the Lord in faith while oppressing and quarreling with our neighbors. Jesus perfectly fulfilled the law of love and would lead us to repentance. His cross is the guarantee that the Lord will answer when we call upon Him in faith.
In Mark, Jesus warns His followers of the imminent destruction of Jerusalem, which was fulfilled during the Jewish revolt against the Romans (AD 66-70). These events foreshadowed the end of the world. Jesus tells us these things so that we may be prepared to resist evil and proclaim the Gospel more fervently while we have time to do so. When Jesus returns on the Last Day, He will judge all people. Prior to that glorious day, evil will erupt and bring destruction. Yet, God holds on to His people throughout these events, anchoring believers in Jesus Christ by His Holy Spirit.
Jesus will return on the Last Day to judge all humanity, fulfilling OT prophecy and His own predictions. No one will enter the kingdom of God by works, nor will any mere religion save anyone. Because Jesus died and rose for us and because the Holy Spirit created and sustained saving faith in His people, we can be sure of our salvation no matter how fearsome the Last Day may be.
Then Jesus answers the original question of "when?" about the destruction of the temple. The events of vv 14-23 would take place within a generation. The fall of Jerusalem foreshadows the end of the world, which will come later (vv 24-27). Today, we need to focus on the calling we have as Christ's Church: Gospel proclamation and outreach.God has created this time before the before the second appearing of Jesus so that we may come to faith and call others to faith and salvation. In contrast to the fall of Jerusalem (vv 5-23), which will happen within a generation, no one knows the day when Jesus will return to judge the world (vv 24-27). Jesus exhorts us to bigilance and encourages us to use the available time wisely, proclaiming the Gospel for the salvation of others. Jesus promises to be with us always and has poured out on us His Holy Spirit for the work of evangelizing the nations.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage:  Isaiah 59-61; Mark 14:1-26


Conrad said...

Well said.

At the tail end of the passage in Mark it speaks about the unknown time of Christ's return. In verse 36 it says, "do not let him find you sleeping." I was thinking that it would be embarrassing to have my boss see me sleeping on the job. How much more important it is for us to live every moment for God, and to not find ourselves "sleeping on the job".

Pamela said...

Similar to what Conrad just said, this stood out for me:
“Come,” each one cries, “let me get wine!
Let us drink our fill of beer!
And tomorrow will be like today,
or even far better.”

Whether it is wine, or beer, or any other activity that does not bring us closer to God we need to be aware how our habits look and if we would be proud of them if Jesus were to arrive at that moment.

Mark adds in verse 23:

So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.

We know Jesus is coming back. We need to be on guard--watching, seeking, being alert, and anticipating His return. What are we doing while we are waiting?