Archive for the ‘Mark’ Category


Genesis 26:1-4,6-7,12-17 Now there was a famine in the land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. So Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines. The LORD appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. “Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham… So Isaac lived in Gerar. When the men of the place asked about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he was afraid to say, “my wife,” thinking, “the men of the place might kill me on account of Rebekah, for she is beautiful”… Now Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. And the LORD blessed him, and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy; for he had possessions of flocks and herds and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him. Now all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines stopped up by filling them with earth. Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are too powerful for us.” And Isaac departed from there and camped in the valley of Gerar, and settled there.

Today’s chapter has a lot more than just the few verses I’ve selected and I sometimes wonder if we should draw more from it but there will be a time for that in the future. After Abraham and Sarah’s journey, we are now journeying with Isaac, Rebekah, Esau and Jacob.

Amazing how true the statement is that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree! Isaac says to the Philistines the very same thing his father Abraham said to them that their wives were their sisters.

They were operating in fear instead of in faith and it is only by God’s grace that they were spared. We read later that Abimelech discovers the truth, is angry again, and prohibits anyone in the land from touching Rebekah.

Because Isaac does not go down to Egypt but stays in the land God promised to bless him in, he is now blessed with abundance of everything, so much so that Abimelech requests him to leave the land and Isaac then moves to the valley of Gerar and settles there.

As we read this passage, we can see the pain of lying, the fruit of obedience and the nature of God. What probably surprises us is why God permits suffering in our lives when we willingly follow Him? (more…)

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Mark 16:1-7
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

There are 23 days from today to the commercially celebrated birthday of Jesus Christ and the joy and festivities have begun. Everywhere we go, we can see colorful lights, christmas trees, santa, elves, movie releases, sales, offers, dinners, dances, choirs, services and so much more. It would be great if all of this actually was meant to celebrate the birth of Jesus whereas in reality, it is nothing but a retail and commercial event to most celebrants. Santa Claus has become bigger than the birthday boy Jesus Christ and the story of the birth and death of Christ is replaced by Christmas movies. What a tragedy but is it really? In these dark times, we also hear of the many who receive gifts they din’t expect, are shown love they have never felt and probably get a chance to experience Christ whom they desperately need and I hope you are a part of that side of Christmas?

When Salome and both Mary s went to perform the ritual practices that were done in those times to mourn the dead, they were struck by shock to realize that the one they came to anoint with spices was no longer dead but alive. This is a phenomenon that has baffled the world for centuries and will continue to, but to those who believe, it is the reason for their faith and the reason for their hope. If Christ had not risen, we would have to put our faith in a dead God but in his resurrection, we have the hope of eternity because through Christ’s resurrection, we know that sin can never defeat us if we are on God’s side. Physically our bodies will fade away but our souls will celebrate the end of living in this dark world and the beginning of an eternity in God’s perfect presence. What are you celebrating this Christmas? What does this Christmas mean to you and what are you plans to serve Christ through this time?

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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Where The Path Leads


Mark 15:16-20
The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

The Passion of Christ was a movie that depicted what Jesus went through in those torturous hours and it was very hard for me to watch not only because of all the blood and gore but because it seemed so real and put reality in place of a ‘tale’ we have often read or heard. I don’t know about you but for me, when I grew up, the Bible was a bunch of stories that were meant to be heard and remembered but I often doubted it. What was so special about God and more so about his son who came to die for us?? Life was good, school was fun, there were good times and so on and where did God have to fit in? Then and even for a long time after, Church and faith were requirements to be fulfilled but dint make any relevant sense.

In today’s movies, the hero most definitely comes up with a genius plan and rescues himself while giving the bad guys a real beating but here, things seem to go south for Jesus and he has no rescue plan, no heavenly hosts appear and scare the daylights of these bad people, nothing. Jesus is falsely accused and offers no response, humiliated and beaten but does not utter a word and finally broken and put to death and his short but eventful life seems to come to an end but it is not the end, only the perfect beginning for us. If Jesus had not gone through all of this and overcome death, we would have no sacrifice to atone with God and how much more perfect can our sacrifice be than this? If there is 1 thing God cannot hold against us regardless of how horrible we are and were, it is the image of his son whose blood was shed for us. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God the father sees us as Jesus’s own and this shed blood for our brokenness is vital to our new relationship. I pray this morning that you are able to stand with me at the cross and thank Jesus for putting himself through all of this for us. I pray that we will recommit our lives to him and hand over the reins to him.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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A Loving Embrace

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Precise Instructions

Posted: Monday, November 30, 2009 in Mark, New Testament

Mark 14:12-16a
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them.

In Chapter 14, the incident recorded above is possibly the least significant because this is where we read about Jesus’s anointing, the last supper, Jesus’s prayer at the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’s arrest and betrayal by Judas, the false charges and the trial before the Sanhedrin. In all of this why this passage you might wonder and I better explain my thought. It is probably my present situation of starting up all over again in a new land and our desperate need for God to supply our every need that I found hope in this passage. Read the passage again and note the words Jesus speaks to the disciples who want to know where to prepare the passover meal.

Jesus’s instructions were very clear and precise. No room for ambiguity and no cause for the listener to wonder. These were instructions from God himself and sounded like he had prepared each of these people, the situations and the responses just right. Take for instance the timing of the disciples meeting the man carrying the jar of water without saying where, what time and what he looks like. Then take the home owner being asked about a guest room. Would you be able to follow these precise instructions? Not unless you believe the person giving them is in total control and you had total faith in that person. What is God speaking to you today? What are his instructions to you that sound absurd to the non-believing ear but words of wisdom to the believing ones? Are you willing to obey and meet God at the place he wants you to go to? I am and I can’t wait to rejoice with God at the end of my journey.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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Mark 13:32-37
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”

The reality of Jesus’ betrayal and his death has become a reality to the disciples who now sit Jesus down to enquire when it will take place. This is so human and curiosity kills. Israel was and is still waiting for the coming messiah who would save them and take them to heaven and like the rest of Israel, the disciples wanted to know when. They realized that Jesus was the long-awaited messiah but wanted to know what next. Reminds me of me because as I wait upon the Lord for the right job opportunity, my curiosity kills me to a point of asking God for signs or evidence that he has something in store and I’m reminded again that I am to wait on God for his timing and not mine.

Jesus’s response to this question is not what the disciples probably hoped to hear, specially when he said that neither the angels or even he knew when the time was but he certainly gave clues. 2 days ago, a new friend and I were talking and he indicated to me signs that the end times were here and I have to say, it was compelling. Therefore the caution that Jesus gives us to be on guard and not asleep is key for us today. Our eyes are to be focused on sharing the gospel to the world and living worthy lives through God’s help and not to be caught off-guard. It’s a wake up call that we cannot be asleep in our walk with Christ but awake. If we are not walking with Christ yet, it’s a loud shout to us that the end is near and before we loose the opportunity to share eternity with God, we need to submit our lives to his Lordship. Rise and shine Children of the living God!

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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Mission Panorama


Mark 12:41-44
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins,j worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

As the threats to Jesus increase and the attacks of the Pharisees and Sadducees get worse, Jesus continues to patiently teach his disciples rather than being stressed about the terrible things that are to come. What’s most amazing is that Jesus knew exactly what would happen and rather than avoiding the horrid betrayal and crucifixion, he is focussed on sharing the gospel, saving as many souls and clarifying the reality of what God wants for man. This observation he makes of the poor widow is again such a wonderful reminder about the fact that God looks at our hearts not the outward appearances we make.

We are often reminded by Jesus that he doesn’t want us to speak “Churchinese” or “Act holy” or make gestures that show we are Christian in Church specially when we don’t mean it. When we are faced with the world, what’s in our hearts shows in our way of dealing with non-Christians and our lives are a reflection of our hearts. The old widow gave all she had to tell God that her trust was completely on God whereas we will count our pennies and give what we think is right. If that’s our attitude, it will be so even when we serve God and show our love to the lost. What God wants of us is our everything, not just measured portions. If we truly understand the sacrifice God made for us, we will know that our everything will not add up to a fraction of what the Lord has done for us. Lets not count the pennies and count the cost but consider it pure joy to submit our lives to our Lord and Savior and glorify him shamelessly. He will reward us in his time and take care of our every need.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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Nature's Perfect Mirror


Mark 11:28-33
“By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?” Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or from men? Tell me!” They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men’…” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.) So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

For a man who was going to be betrayed, the kind of things Jesus did at the end seemed insane. Entering on a donkey and getting praise from the lips of common folk certainly did not sit well with those in authority there. Adding insult to injury was when Jesus entered the temple courts and threw all the sellers out and overturned the tables of the money changers. These were people who managed to work their way into the temple courts through befriending the Pharisees and they charged exorbitant rates for sacrifices and money changing because they had exclusive dominion in that place and worshippers had no choice but to buy from them. Worse than all of this was that Jesus sat and taught the people who came into the temple courts about what God wanted for their lives and this shook the very foundation of the faith at that time.

It is clear from the passage above that Jesus was not going to be ‘Shooed’ away and if these temple priests wanted him out, they would have to come up with something more than accusations. The only option they had then was to make falsified charges and take his life which was certainly what Jesus came for. He came to die for sinners and to give us hope of eternity with him through his resurrection. Are you willing to put your trust in Jesus who fought the world to clarify the truth to save us? Are you willing to stand up against the powers of this world and evil to proclaim his name above every other name? Lets not be caught sleeping when he come again. Lets rise us and share the gospel with the lost sheep and help them find their shepherd, Jesus Christ.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

Fields of Harvest