walking with Jesus: Diaspora mission is a kairos opportunity

Brothers and sisters in Christ:

Today we divert to reading the following passage of an executive summary. Changes are already in place for those who are ready to walk with Jesus in this last week of the passion. All we need is a step of faith.

“Diaspora mission is a kairos opportunity.”

Diasporas from Cape Town 2010 to Manila 2015 and Beyond

(http://www.lausanne.org/content/lga/2015-03/diasporas-from-cape-town-2010-to-manila-2015-and-beyond)

Sadiri Joy Tira

The Lausanne Movement and scattered peoples

According to the United Nations Development Programme, there are over 214 million international migrants—people living outside their country of birth. Caused by multiple factors, both voluntary and involuntary, diaspora is a complex issue that is changing world demography, economies, policies, cultures, and societies.

The current global phenomenon of diaspora is a God-initiated and God-orchestrated missional moment in contemporary history. The mass redistribution of people has profound implications for missions strategy. Recently, global diaspora movements have caught the attention not only of government policy makers and social scientists, but also of missiologists.

Global diasporas, particularly diasporas and missions, were a highlighted topic at the Third Lausanne Congress in Cape Town in 2010. One of the issues discussed was how to minister to, minister through, and minister beyond diasporas or scattered peoples. Global diaspora missions were embraced and integrated into The Cape Town Commitment.

Lausanne III highlighted ministering to and mobilising the diaspora people. However, this push came primarily from practitioners. Therefore, there arose a need for a collaboration of academics and practitioners in the study of diaspora and missions. Furthermore, informed discussion of diaspora and missions was also needed through a growing body of literature. In anticipation of the challenges and opportunities presented by this need, the Lausanne Movement leadership tasked the Senior Associate for Diasporas to form a wider organization.

The Global Diaspora Network (GDN) was organized during the conclusion of Lausanne III in order to broaden the diaspora network and project the diaspora agenda beyond the event. The GDN headquarters/secretariat office was established in Manila.

The GDN has been instrumental in the formation of Diaspora Institutes at various theological training institutions. There are also increasing numbers of evangelical students in doctoral programs of various seminaries who are writing diaspora-related dissertations. Their research and writing will be major contributions to the growing body of diaspora missiology literature.

The GDN will convene the Global Diaspora Forum (GDF) from 24-28 March 2015 in Manila. The purpose of this global gathering of diaspora missiology scholars and practitioners is to assess and advance diaspora missiology five years after Cape Town 2010. The vision of the GDF 2015 is: to gather the key evangelical leaders to engage, discuss, and mobilize the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world, specifically to the people on the move.

The Lausanne Movement and GDN are hoping that more than half of the key evangelical seminaries around the world will offer a course on diaspora missiology as a result of GDF 2015, thus catalyzing the global church to embrace diaspora missions. More information about the forum may be found on the Global Diaspora Network website, www.globaldiaspora.net.

In particular, after GDF 2015, the GDN will be publishing a comprehensive compendium on diaspora missiology to promote it as a respectable academic field, alongside other existing disciplines.

While many agencies are responding slowly to the realities of diaspora, there is a gradual realization of the strategic value of diaspora missiology for reaching the ‘global peoples’.

Diaspora mission is likely to accelerate as academics and practitioners implement diaspora missiology following Cape Town and the Manila Global Diaspora Forum. Diaspora mission is a kairos opportunity. I am thankful that the Lausanne Movement’s embrace of diaspora missiology is stimulating the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world, particularly to the diasporas—the scattered peoples.

walking with Jesus: Mark 10 making a difference

In reading Mark 10 we see the difference Jesus wants His disciples to make. We are to march with a different drum beat. When I read the history and biographies of many missionaries, at the beginning of the 20th century, I understand what Jesus means in this chapter. These are Jesus’ disciples. They make a difference. They listen and obey the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They give up their comfort zone because of the great commission of Jesus to make disciples of all nations. Many give their lives for the love of Christ.

Key verses from Jesus on the order of the Kingdom of God in which His disciples are to operate:

1. “43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.” (Mark10:43-44)

2. “for My sake and for the Good News.” (Mark 10:29)

The disciples are asked to make a difference in the following aspects of lives:

1. “What did Moses say in the law about divorce?” Jesus questions. He wants His disciples (including all who follow Him) to differentiate with merely being concerned with what the law (whether secular/civil/religious) allows. It is the extra mile we walk with Jesus that matters. The fruit of the Spirit enables and empowers us to walk the second mile with Jesus. (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23)

2. “One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.”  Jesus wants us to differentiate from the worldly ways of management (e.g. time management), value system (based on hierarchy, monetary and material possessions, social status, political and governmental posts etc.).

3. “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus wants us to make a difference even in our daily living just as Jesus has done.

4. “the blind man said, “I want to see!”” Jesus wants us to really see when others remain blinded by the things of the world and its system.

1 John 2:15-16 15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.

~~~~~~~~~~~Bible verses from Mark 10 (quoted in parts; boldness added)

Then Jesus left Capernaum and went down to the region of Judea and into the area east of the Jordan River. Once again crowds gathered around him, and as usual he was teaching them.

Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife?”

Jesus answered them with a question: “What did Moses say in the law about divorce?”

“Well, he permitted it,” they replied. “He said a man can give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away.”[a]

But Jesus responded, “He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts. Later, when he was alone with his disciples in the house, they brought up the subject again. 11 He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery against her. 12 And if a woman divorces her husband and marries someone else, she commits adultery.”

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13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.

14 When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” 16 Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.

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17 As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good...

21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

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28 Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said.

29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. 31 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.[g]

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33 “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man[h] will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans.[i] 34 They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.

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35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do us a favor.”

36 “What is your request?” he asked.

37 They replied, “When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”

41 When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. 42 So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

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51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.

“My Rabbi,[j]the blind man said, “I want to see!”

52 And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.[k]

Mark 8-9 “see the kingdom of God present with power”

Jesus is concerned with the understanding of His disciples (followers). I quote from Mark 8-9 in parts and add boldness to some verses. Please read the whole chapters from your bible.

Brief notes: Seeing the kingdom of God requires understanding of God’s nature and God’s will for His kingdom. Jesus shows us how it is operated. We need to look at things through His eyes and His heart. Jesus is God focused at all times. The pharisees look at what Jesus does with a wrong motive. They do not want to believe in Him and they have no real interest in wanting to know God personally. Jesus wants us to do differently. We see lots of signs but the Person God is bigger than the signs. The spiritual God matters (and not physical stuff). Seek God.

“How is it you do not understand?” (Mark 8:21)

He wants us to “see the kingdom of God present with power”! (Mark 9:1)

Mark 8

Then His disciples answered Him, “How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?”

He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?”

And they said, “Seven.”

They also had a few small fish; and having blessed them, He said to set them also before them. So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments. Now those who had eaten were about four thousand. And He sent them away,

11 Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him. 12 But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.”

13 And He left them, and getting into the boat again, departed to the other side. 14 Now the disciples[a] had forgotten to take bread, and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat. 15 Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”

16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have no bread.”

21 So He said to them, “How is it you do not understand?”

25 Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. 26 Then He sent him away to his house, saying, “Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.”[c]

29 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ.”

30 Then He strictly warned them that they should tell no one about Him.

31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke this word openly. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

Mark 9

And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!”

14 And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. 15 Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. 16 And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?”

17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”

23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe,[a] all things are possible to him who believes.”

24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”

29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”[b]

30 Then they departed from there and passed through Galilee, and He did not want anyone to know it. 31 For He taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.” 32 But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him.

35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” 36 Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”

41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.

42 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.

49 “For everyone will be seasoned with fire,[g] and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”

walking with Jesus: Mark 7 “Be opened.”

When we read Mark 7 we see the contrast between two groups of people, towards Jesus.

1. groups of powerful religious or theological authorities who close their eyes and ears to Jesus: for examples, the Pharisees and some of the scribes who are merely concerned with the superficial forms of religious/traditional practices for which they choose to ignore the spiritual truth behind those practices. Their goal is to find fault in Jesus and accuse Him. They totally overlook the great miracles and good He is doing, showing and proving the true nature of God and God’s love.

2. Individuals who open themselves to Jesus by simple faith without questioning: for examples, a woman who kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter; a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech and could not even speak for himself (and his friends had to bring him for healing and he was of course very willing).

Application: Jesus reminds us of the greatest commandment. Love God with our whole being. It takes faith to love an unseen God. God is pleased with faith. Faith in God (through belief in Jesus) actually speaks a truth: trust in God’s love and in turn love God.

~~~~~~~~~~~Bible verses are quoted in part with added highlight:

Jesus’ conversation with the religious and theological authorities:

Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?”

He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’[b]

For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men[c] —the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”

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Jesus’ conversation with a foreign woman whose nationality was considered unclean in those days:

28 And she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.”

29 Then He said to her, For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.”

30 And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed.

Jesus’ interaction with a man who needs healing and has to be brought to Jesus by others:

32 Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him. 33 And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue. 34 Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, Be opened.”

35 Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly.

walking with Jesus: Mark 6 glimpses of the power and authority of Jesus

We read from Mark 6 the increasing revelation of the power and authority of Jesus, over the natural and physical elements to the point that there is really no denial that He is who He is, the Son of God, filled with the Holy Spirit of God, having been made man to save the man’s world.

We see a difference between those who believe and those who do not believe in Jesus.

Those who do not believe see nothing.They are blinded by the god of this world.

Those who are open to Jesus and believe what they see, yes, they see wonders beyond any human world. Jesus opens an unseen world for them to have some glimpses: such as getting food supply from the unseen world, not being constrained by the physical and natural laws on earth, and exercising superior authority over unseen forces (wind, sickness).

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Mark 6 (in parts)

Those who choose not to believe in Jesus are blocked by ridiculous hindrances such as as follows:

Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.

And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.

Jesus does not confine His power and authority to Himself. He passes on to His chosen disciples who will later carry on doing even greater works after Jesus leaves this world. Here is just a bit of the practical training example:

And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.

12 So they went out and preached that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.

Feeding the Five Thousand

39 Then He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties. 41 And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all. 42 So they all ate and were filled. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish. 44 Now those who had eaten the loaves were about[f] five thousand men.

Jesus Walks on the Sea

47 Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. 48 Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. 49 And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; 50 for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 51 Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. 52 For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.

Jesus Heals and makes well whoever who touches Him

56 Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well.

walking with Jesus: Mark 5 the power of Jesus’ authority

Jesus-resurrecting-dead childWhen we read Mark 5 we see Jesus using His authority.

An encounter with Jesus’ authority makes a person whole: demons bow down and beg to be allowed to flee.

Insanity no longer bounds a man’s mind.

Fear vanishes. Even death must submit to Jesus when He speaks.

Infirmity and torment of man and woman must leave immediately as power flow out of Jesus.

Luke 5 (in parts)

A Demon-Possessed Man Healed

When they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes.[a] And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,

When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”

For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” Then He asked him, “What is your name?”

And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10 Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.

15 Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 16 And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. 17 Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.

A Girl Restored to Life

And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet 23 and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.”

35 While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”

36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”41 Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 Immediately the girl arose and walked,

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and a Woman Healed

25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”

29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.

walking with Jesus: who is listening? Mark 4

God's loveJesus puts His audience in a spot: are they really listening to His teaching? Jesus teaches by lots of simple stories relevant to the daily living of ordinary people at that time.

What is the requirement to be His audience? Back then, Jesus already declares: Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

Is it too difficult to understand? The answer is no, unless the person has no ear (physically impaired in hearing). Today we have effective hearing aids to hear. And we have many easily accessible and understandable ways to hear Jesus.

The conclusion: everyone should be able to hear and understand what Jesus is saying. It has thus become a matter of choice and responsibility on the part of the ‘audience’ to either accept or decline the invitation from Jesus to hear Him and understand Him.

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Mark 4 New Living Translation (NLT) (quoted in parts; highlight added)

Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seed

Once again Jesus began teaching by the lakeshore. A very large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat in the boat while all the people remained on the shore. He taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:…

Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed…

Then he said, Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

10 Later, when Jesus was alone with the twelve disciples and with the others who were gathered around, they asked him what the parables meant.

11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secret[a] of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders, 12 so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:

13 Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables?…

20 And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

Parable of the Lamp

21 Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed?….

23 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.

24 Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given[c]—and you will receive even more. 25 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”

Parable of the Growing Seed

26 Jesus also said, The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground…

30 Jesus said, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it?…

33 Jesus used many similar stories and illustrations to teach the people as much as they could understand. 34 In fact, in his public ministry he never taught without using parables; but afterward, when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them.

Jesus Calms the Storm

35 As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.”…

39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

walking with Jesus: who is watching? Mark 3

holy spirit as doveWho is watching Jesus?

the Pharisees: they watch so that they might find an excuse to destroy Jesus.

great multitude: they want healing from sicknesses and deliverance from evil spirits.

unclean spirits: they fear Jesus and have to flee.

His own people; His brothers and His mother: they think He is out of His mind and bring shame to the family.

But Jesus is more concerned with the right persons watching Him: He said,

“whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”

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Mark 3 New King James Version (NKJV) (quoted in parts; highlight added)

Healing on the Sabbath

And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.

Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.

a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him.

10 For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him. 11 And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, “You are the Son of God.”

21 But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.”

31 Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. 32 And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers[e] are outside seeking You.”

33 But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” 34 And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”

walking with Jesus: Jesus teaches who is Lord

Healing of the Paralytic Man Mark 2:1-5

Today we continue to walk with our Lord – Jesus. In Mark 2 we read further the issue of who has the final authority and say, the ‘religion’ or Jesus?

Summary of my notes:

Jesus is the Lord. He has the final say and authority over earth, including religions and their practices. Believing in Jesus the Son of God is the key to know what it means to be a Christian.

The teachers of religious laws and the Pharisees found faults with Jesus in four matters:

The essence of  having our sins forgiven compared with physical healing of infirmities;

God-fearing spiritual cleanliness from inside-out compared with mere physical distancing from the ‘unclean’ who do not practice religious laws;

the real motivation of fasting;

and the dispute between ‘harvesting grains’ and meeting an urgent hunger need.

The religious teachers make the biggest mistake: seeing what they want to see and not seeing Jesus as Who He really is, the Son of God.

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Excerpts quoted from the Gospel of Mark chapter 2: (Jesus’ teaching)

10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man[a] has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

12 And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”

17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

19 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. They can’t fast while the groom is with them. 20 But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.

27 Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”

walking with Jesus : Mark 1

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Time to renew our walk with Jesus. In the next two weeks (3/20-4/5) I shall quote excerpts from the book of Mark for meditation and daily walk. The highlights in the verses are added.

My brief notes:

Good News: Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.

Good News: the Kingdom of God.

Kingdom of God: repent and believe.

Kingdom of God: the authority of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.

The walk: follow Jesus. Focus on His calling for me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.[a] It began just as the prophet Isaiah had written:

10 As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him[e] like a dove. 11 And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”

12 The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, 13 where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.

14 Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News.[f] 15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”

16 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon[g] and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 17 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 18 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

19 A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. 20 He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men.

27 Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!” 28 The news about Jesus spread quickly throughout the entire region of Galilee.

32 That evening after sunset, many sick and demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. 33 The whole town gathered at the door to watch. 34 So Jesus healed many people who were sick with various diseases, and he cast out many demons. But because the demons knew who he was, he did not allow them to speak.

35 Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. 36 Later Simon and the others went out to find him. 37 When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.”

38 But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.” 39 So he traveled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons.

if God cares so wonderfully for flowers

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21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

Teaching about Money and Possessions

22 Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. 23 For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. 24 Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 26 And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

27 “Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

29 “And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. 30 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. 31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.

32 “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

(taken from Luke 12 New Living Translation (NLT))

a fresh start today

new life

A New Life

14-15 Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.

16-20 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.

21 How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.

The Message (MSG) 2 Corinthians 5

true prophets: Isaiah 61 God’s garden in full bloom

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Good news today:

Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
    a praising heart instead of a languid spirit…

For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers,
    and as a garden cascades with blossoms,
So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom
    and puts praise on display before the nations. (taken from The Message)

Isaiah 61 New Living Translation (NLT)

Good News for the Oppressed

61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
    for the Lord has anointed me
    to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
    and to proclaim that captives will be released
    and prisoners will be freed.[a]
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
    that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,[b]
    and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,[c]
    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
    that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins,
    repairing cities destroyed long ago.
They will revive them,
    though they have been deserted for many generations.
Foreigners will be your servants.
    They will feed your flocks
and plow your fields
    and tend your vineyards.
You will be called priests of the Lord,
    ministers of our God.
You will feed on the treasures of the nations
    and boast in their riches.
Instead of shame and dishonor,
    you will enjoy a double share of honor.
You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours.

“For I, the Lord, love justice.
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering
    and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be recognized
    and honored among the nations.
Everyone will realize that they are a people
    the Lord has blessed.”

10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!
    For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
    and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding
    or a bride with her jewels.
11 The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world.
    Everyone will praise him!
His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring,
    with plants springing up everywhere.

Footnotes:

  1. 61:1 Greek version reads and the blind will see. Compare Luke 4:18.
  2. 61:2 Or to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
  3. 61:3 Hebrew in Zion.

Each morning he’ll pull on sturdy work clothes and boots

Isaiah 11 The Message (MSG) A Green Shoot from Jesse’s Stump Root of Jesse

11 1-5 A green Shoot will sprout from Jesse’s stump,
    from his roots a budding Branch.
The life-giving Spirit of God will hover over him,
    the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit that gives direction and builds strength,
    the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-God.
Fear-of-God
    will be all his joy and delight.
He won’t judge by appearances,
    won’t decide on the basis of hearsay.
He’ll judge the needy by what is right,
    render decisions on earth’s poor with justice.
His words will bring everyone to awed attention.
    A mere breath from his lips will topple the wicked.
Each morning he’ll pull on sturdy work clothes and boots,
    and build righteousness and faithfulness in the land.

Wear Love

wear JESUS

Colossians 3 The Message (MSG)

He Is Your Life

1-2 So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.

3-4 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.

5-8 And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.

9-11 Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.

12-14 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

15-17 Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.