“They Watched Him”Monday, December 07, 2020
Mark 3:1-6 records a time when Jesus was in the synagogue and healed a man with a withered hand. This event happened on the sabbath day when God had said no work was to be done (Ex. 20:10-11, 31:15, 3l; Lev. 23:3; Deut. 5:14). Thus, the Pharisees and scribes (Lk. 6:7) watched Jesus on this day, scrutinizing His every move. Other versions besides the KJV say “they watched him closely” in this text (NKJ, NET, etc.).
Why were the scribes and Pharisees watching Jesus (closely)? Did they want to make sure and witness a miracle? No! Were they enamored with the Lord and His power? No! The reason they watched Him so closely was to determine whether or not He would “heal” the man (i.e., work) on the Sabbath (Mk. 3:2). If they could catch Him in such an error, they could accuse Him of a capital offense (Ex. 35:2; Num. 15:32-36; Jer. 17:21-26)!
As I read this text (and parallel accounts in Matthew and Luke), what stands out to me is that these people weren’t watching Jesus so they could show how He was a fake! They didn’t watch to show folks where the “wires” were or how He did tricks with “smoke and mirrors.” Jesus wasn’t a fraud as Simon was (Acts 8:9-11)! These people knew Jesus was the real thing when it came to miracles. They just didn’t accept what that meant for them, and so they looked for ways to accuse Him of sin!
When Jesus merely said, “Stretch out thine hand,” and the man was healed (Mk. 3:5), what “work” did He do? Is speaking now to be classified as a “work” to those people? Jesus had outwitted them, and they were “filled with madness” at what He’d done (Lk. 6:11).
As my old friend used to say, these people accepted the evidence (Christ’s miracles are real), but they rejected the conclusion (Jesus is the Christ)! Their dishonesty would lead them down a road of sorrow, unbelief, and ultimately an eternity in Hell if they didn’t repent (Jn. 8:32)!
There are people like this today, sadly. For example, think about those who say Jesus is a “good guy” or a “good prophet.” Some might say He was a good philosopher, but they deny He’s the Son of God. Here are people today who accept the evidence but reject the conclusion. They won’t accept Jesus as the Son of God! For this choice, they jeopardize their souls!
Another lesson we learn from this text is that the Pharisees and scribes, though supposed to be living in a close relationship with God, didn’t express that which God embodies -- love (I Jn. 4:8)! Love doesn’t think ill of another. Love doesn’t envy, and love thinks the best of others (I Cor. 13:4-8). We see none of those attributes in the Pharisees in this text. They were looking for a way to accuse Jesus. They were watching in the hope of finding fault. That’s not love!
Mark 3:5 declares Jesus looked upon the Pharisees and scribes “with anger.” He was angry at the people and that their hardened hearts would stand by in condemnation as He healed a man who needed it. It was lawful “to do well” on the sabbath (Matt. 12:11-12; Lk/ 6:9). Yes, menial work was prohibited and jobs wherein people might’ve been engaged all week long were to be stopped on this day, but showing compassion and mercy to another wasn’t prohibited any day of the week! Their lousy attitude had so clouded the truth that they thought being compassionate was somehow sinful. Read Galatians 5:22-23 and learn there’s no law that is somehow against one practicing the “fruit of the Spirit.”
Jesus had a lot of work to do, but He was up to the challenge! Read the book of Mark and see what facts come to life for you! There is much to learn, and perhaps it is I that’ll get an “attitude adjustment” by reading about the works and listening to the words of Christ!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
“Jesus' Attitude Toward Sinners.”Saturday, December 05, 2020
The book of Mark is the shortest book of those comprising the “gospel records.” It shouldn’t surprise us, then, that Mark doesn’t wait long before showing us the opposition Jesus faced in His preaching. In Mark 2, we see scribes and Pharisees opposing Him and His work. Among their common complaints was that Jesus associated with sinners. Mark 2:15-17 says, “And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his (Matthew’s, JMJ) house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Seeing as Jesus just invited a publican (Matthew) to follow Him (Mk. 2:14), it shouldn’t be a surprise that when Jesus went to Matthew’s house, publican friends would be invited to listen to Jesus! Jesus treated this man just as He had earlier treated four fishermen (Mk. 1:16-20). He simply requested that they “follow Him.” This would change their lives far beyond anything we could describe on this page.
The point being that Jesus looked at five sinners (Rom. 3:23) and saw not what they were, but what they could become! He saw people who’d do much good for the Lord’s cause and kingdom, but they had to be taught! Jesus was willing to teach. In fact, Jesus was willing to teach all that would listen to Him. This is why we see multitudes coming to Him and listening (Mk. 1:28, 33, 37, 45, 2:1-2, 13, etc.).
In contrast, the scribes and Pharisees had no time, no compassion, and gave no thought to the lives and concerns of the sinners around them. I’m reminded of Christ’s parable in Luke 18:11-12. Therefore, when they saw Jesus spending time with publicans, sinners, and the like, this was scandalous to them! If He claims to be God’s prophet, and people claim He is the Messiah, surely even He would know the kind of people He is around! (For more study, please read Luke 7:36-50 and see the attitude of Simon toward Christ.)
In Mark’s short book, we see Christ’s attitude toward sinners as one of respect, one of compassion, and one of love. He never berated them for their bad decisions or sins. He never acted as if they were beneath Him (though they were -- all of us are!). He did, however, tell the truth and told it unapologetically. He told the truth in a manner that they (and all) could understand. Please read Mark 2:15-17 and see that when Jesus was criticized for even associating with publicans, sinners, and others, His answer was not a defense of their sin. He didn’t say, “At least they’re not hypocrites!” as some might’ve been tempted to say. His answer was straight-forward: “they need Me!”.
Notice Jesus called them sick. He called them sinners and said they needed to repent (Mk. 2:17)! Can you imagine such language coming from the lips of the Lord? Yet, there it is. What impresses me is that these people seemed to follow Him in greater numbers the longer He was on earth. What had Jesus done? As we observe Jesus in Mark 2 and the rest of the book, we see Someone who showed compassion (Mk. 1:41, 5:19, 6:34, 8:2). He saw people who needed direction (Mk. 6:34) and saw sinners who needed salvation. The people responded to this genuine action and listened intently. What Jesus said in Mark 2:17 was not “new news” to them. They knew they were in sin, and now they knew that they had come to the right Person who could bring them salvation!
What can I learn from this short reading? I can learn first to not be like the scribes and Pharisees. No one is “beneath” you. All of us have sinned (Rom. 3:23). If you’ve been saved from your sins, then thank God for the salvation (Lk. 19:10; Mk. 16:16)! When you see people who aren’t saved, realize that you were in their shoes not that long ago. Someone loved you enough to tell you the truth. Now, love them enough to do the same (II Tim. 2:2; Eph. 4:15)!
The second lesson I learn in Mark 2:15-17 is to be like Jesus in my speech! Folks who are in sin need to know it! Friend, “no greater injustice can be done to a person than to leave them with the impression they are saved, when in fact, they aren’t!” Jesus called the people sick, sinners, and in need of salvation. This is precisely what they needed to hear. If they hadn’t been told this, they might’ve left the presence of Jesus thinking that they were just fine. Dear one, when you talk to someone about their soul, remember that this part needs to be said. You can talk about the weather, crops, children, the government, and 1000 other things, but if you miss the chance to talk to someone about his soul, you’ve missed it! There’s nothing more important than the condition of one’s soul (Matt. 16:26)! Pleasant smiles, hugs, and being neighborly will mean little when on Judgment, they look at you and say in so many words, “You met me day by day and knew I was astray, yet you never mentioned Him to me!” I would much rather thousands of people on Judgment Day cry that I told them about Jesus and warned them about sin but hurt their feelings than to have one person say, “You never mentioned Him to me!” What about you?
A third thing I learn from Jesus was even when He spoke of people being sick and sinners, He didn’t seem happy about it! May we never take a condescending view of others in sin (Matt. 7:12, 22:39; Gal. 6:1; Jas. 5:19-20; etc.). As we noted earlier, it wasn’t that long ago that we were in their position as well.
Lastly, I have to note that the message of Christ was a message for all. While it would’ve been easy for the Pharisees, scribes, and others to listen to Mark 2:17 and then think, “OK, this is why Jesus is with them.” If we listen closely to the response, it was actually a rebuke to those people as well. Think about it! Jesus said He came to call the sinners to repentance. Amen. Was He not also preaching to the Pharisees, scribes, and others when He was preaching those three years? Was there ever a time from Matthew-John where Jesus stopped His preaching to say, “Scribes and Pharisees, what I’m about to say doesn’t apply to you”? Jesus’ attitude was that those self-righteous people were as guilty of sin as the rest (Mk. 7:6-9)! They needed the same message because they needed the same Savior! Jesus suffered as a sacrifice for all men, not just for the ones on the “wrong side of the tracks”! They would’ve understood Jesus’ message here if they’d cared to listen, instead of wasting time pointing their fingers at others!
Much more could be said, but take what we’ve learned here and think seriously about our attitude. What kind of attitude are we displaying? Who’ve we told about Jesus this week? What efforts do we make to bring others to the Lord, beginning with those under our own roof (Eph. 6:4; Titus 2:3-5)? Think seriously about this, my friend, because the souls of those we love as well as our own souls hang in the balance (Ezek. 33:7-9)!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
“Leaving Father In The Boat.”Thursday, December 03, 2020
In our previous study, we studied about Christ calling Peter, Andrew, James, and John to be fishers of men. One other event connected with this calling is found in Mark 1:20 (and Matt. 4:22). Mark makes a point of saying that Peter and Andrew “forsook their nets,” and when James and John left, they left their father in the boat. Matthew’s account varies slightly by saying they left “their ship and their father.” Either way, the point is that things were left behind to follow Christ. In these four men’s cases, they had to leave their family (father) and their business (ship and nets) to follow the Lord and be “fishers of men.”
Jesus didn’t take such decisions for granted. Later, He told the disciples, “Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life” (Mk. 10:29-30).
Christ never promised the disciples a life of ease when He called for them. Nor did He promise a life free from sacrifice! I think Mark 1:18-20 states this lesson quite succinctly. Matthew 8:19-22 and Luke 9:59-62 teach a similar truth when three people approach the Lord about following Him, and each person is told essentially to choose Him over anyone and anything else. Yes, following the Lord requires sacrifice (Rom. 12:1-2)! He never promised a life of ease on earth. He promised life eternal (Matt. 25:46) and rest one day (Heb. 4:9) if we’ve been faithful now!
Many have sacrificed for the Lord through the years. I think of Elijah, Elisha, Job, and many others in the Old Testament. Some have lost their lives in order to remain faithful to God. This is recorded for us in Scripture. Even our “secular” history records the lives of those who risked life and limb that the gospel might spread far and wide. While many lost their lives, still others lost their livelihoods, and some lost families in order to live according to God’s will. I can think of many preachers of the gospel whose sacrifices have allowed me to preach where I am today, and I’m thankful.
The older I get, the more I understand, though, that anything truly worth having will cost something. I’ve also seen that (with a few exceptions) we don’t usually appreciate the things given to us without some condition. Usually, the things for which we haven’t struggled and earned are the first things we give away or sell. If that item breaks or is stolen, there’s little emotion involved. I hasten to add I know there are exceptions to this, for example, an inheritance or something similar, but usually, what I’m saying is true. Watch people and see if I’m not right!
I know it sounds trite to say, “There is no free lunch,” but that is a true statement. For you to get something “free” means someone else bought it. That includes the “free gift” of our salvation (Rom. 5:15-16, 6:23)! Someone else paid a price that we might have the opportunity to be saved (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Matt. 20:28, 26:28; Heb. 5:8-9; etc.). Don’t get me wrong, there are conditions attached to this “free gift,” and rightfully so! We can’t enjoy the blessings of God’s gift unless we believe in Christ (Jn. 8:24), repent of our sins (Lk. 13:3), confess Christ as God’s Son (Rom. 10:10), and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). We must have some “skin in the game,” and we do when we make that commitment to accept the Lord’s conditions and follow Him for the rest of our days (I Cor. 15:58; Rev. 2:10b; etc.). We must put the Lord first (Matt. 6:33) and not be “conformed” but be “transformed” (Rom. 12:2), that we might grow closer to the Lord every day.
Four apostles in this text left family and business to follow Christ and serve Him for the rest of their days (Mk. 1:18-20). What’ve we left behind? Does the gospel mean anything to you? Does the cross mean anything? Have we been fooled into thinking that being a Christian requires little more than warming a padded pew and devoting my time for an hour or so on Sunday? Have we left anything behind willingly? If not, why not? Those who think that being a Christian is nothing or that there isn’t true sacrifice involved in being a Christian have never read the Book! The gospel demands much of us. Ask Peter, Andrew, James, and John what it cost them! However, the reward will surely be worth it (Rom. 8:18).
Are you ready to leave this world behind to gain Heaven?
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
The Great Salvation In ChristTuesday, November 03, 2020
In Hebrew 2:1-5, the Jewish Christians were shown the great salvation that belongs to those in Christ. What is it that makes salvation great? Let’s find out.
First, a great God planned our salvation (Heb. 2:3). God promised that it would be through Abraham that “all families” of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 12:1-3). We can also read in the Bible of the multiple prophecies of a coming Savior (Isa. 7:14, 9:6; 53; etc.). When learning about our great salvation, we see forethought and extensive planning on God’s part.
Next, we see a great Savior executed the plan. Passages like Genesis 3:15, Psalm 22, and Isaiah 53 show us that God’s plan included Jesus dying as a sacrifice for man’s sins. While on earth, Jesus had one motive: to seek and save the lost (Lk. 19:10). His life, death, and resurrection was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. For example, His crucifixion in Matthew 27 was the fulfillment of Isaiah 53. Jesus also prophesied of His own death and burial (Matt. 12:40). Such was foreshadowed in the life of Jonah. He then prophesied that He was to be resurrected the third day (Jn. 2:19). The four gospel accounts record His resurrection in which even His enemies declared that Jesus had risen! The Bible states that Christ’s resurrection gives us the hope of everlasting life (I Cor. 15:13-20; I Pet. 1:3). God’s plan for this great salvation was executed flawlessly by the Sinless Savior (Matt. 5:17; John 17:4, 19:30). We can have salvation today, thanks to what He has done!
Great miracles were performed to prove Jesus is our Savior. (Heb. 2:3-4). These miracles showed that Jesus was the Son of God and that He was speaking the truth (Jn. 2:11, 23; 4:46-54; 11:43-48). The Apostles and 1st Century Christians used miracles for the same reason (Acts 13:7-12). What good would it have done for God to offer salvation to people who wouldn’t believe Him? They didn’t have Bibles to read as we do (I Cor. 13:8-10), thus the need for miracles, signs, and wonders.
The simplicity of obedience makes salvation great! What good would it do for God to devise a plan of salvation that was impossible for man to obey? God’s commands have always been stated so that man can accomplish them. For example, in Genesis 2:15-17, mankind was to dress and keep the Garden of Eden and stay away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Wasn’t that simple? In II Kings 5:10-14, we read about Naaman, who complained about God’s plan for cleansing him from leprosy (an incurable disease) because it was so simple! Today, God’s plan of salvation is that we believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Jn. 8:24), repent of our sins, and be baptized (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38). Isn’t this plan simple? Have you obeyed it yet?
Finally, a great reward awaits those who accept God’s great salvation. This reward is an inheritance for His people (Matt. 25:34; I Pet. 1:3-4). This reward provides great joy to those saved (Matt. 25:21, 23). One of the best parts about this great reward is that those saved will be in the presence of Jesus forever (Jn. 14:1-3). This great reward makes salvation great! Will you neglect this great salvation? I hope not!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
“Awake Not My Love.” (#2)Friday, October 16, 2020
(Note: If you have not read part 1 of this article, please read it first. It will help you to understand the applications I am making in this article. - JMJ)
After completing the article this morning, my mind continued to think about Solomon’s writing. As is common for me, my mind doesn’t seem to “shut off” easily! (ha) After writing about the Shulammite woman and her requesting that her love not be stirred up or awakened “til he please” (Song of Sol. 2:7, 3:4, 8:4), I began thinking about another application. As I stated in an earlier article, I am not convinced that Song of Solomon is a type/antiype of Christ, nor a “Messianic” song. I do think, however, that there are several places where applications can be made to Christ and the church when we consider the fact that God used the husband and wife relationship to describe this spiritual relationship (Eph. 5:22-33). I am always willing to study with anyone on this if you believe Solomon definitely had Christ in mind in this song.
Having said this, please go back and reread what the Shulammite said. I believe this is one of those verses where an application to Christ and the church can be made. The text in Solomon’s Song said she didn’t want her passions stirred until the time was right and proper. It is not that the passion itself was wrong, but it could be expressed in the wrong way if the time (before marriage) was not right. This statement caused me to think more about “timing” and how God has His timetable for things. Is it not fascinating to consider that an eternal being is concerned with time and has a “timetable” of His own?
I know God doesn’t count time as we do (II Pet. 3:8), but I also know things have happened at the “right time” with God! Think about the birth of Christ. Jesus Christ came to this world “in the fulness of time” (Gal. 4:4). He did not get here too early or too late. It is the same with the church, Christ’s bride. The church came into existence in the “last days” (Isa. 2:2-4). In other words, at the right time, when the right king was in power (Dan. 2:44-45), and when things had come to fruition as God wanted (Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:16-21)! In the case of God and His plan for Christ and the church, no one was going to “stir up” anything to change God’s plan. When the time was right, it happened perfectly!
We could include the fact that when God works providentially, then He is working things out at the right time. This was true with people like Joseph, Ruth, Naaman’s maid, Daniel, Hannah, Abraham, Esther, and a host of others. It is also true today. God has ways in which His will is going to come about. When this happens, it happens at the right time, regardless of whether or not it was our time!
When we think about the end of the world, remember Christ will return for His bride (the church). When He does, it will be at the right time. No man knows when this will be, but again, this eternal being, our Father, has said Jesus will come “as a thief in the night” (I Thess. 5:2; II Pet. 3:10), and when He does, He will return for His bride, and this world will end (Rev. 19:6-21). It is on God’s timetable and not man’s. No one will “stir up” God’s passions and make Him send Christ too early or too late!
Some try to guess as to when the Lord will return. It seems some have made predictions about His return almost since the time He left (Acts 1:9-11; I Thess. 4:13-5:11; II Pet. 3; Acts 5:36-37; Matt. 24:4-5; etc.)! Does anyone remember the bulletin boards and bumper stickers that were out some years ago that said, “If the Lord doesn’t come soon, He will owe an apology to Sodom and Gomorrah!”?
Let’s stop whittling on God’s end of the stick and realize that God won’t be “stirred up” but will make sure things are done right on time as He has always done. Let us, in the meantime, prepare for the Lord’s return by being saved (Jn. 8:24; Lk. 13:3; Rom. 10:10; Mk. 16:16) and remaining faithful to Him as a faithful bride would (Rev. 2:10; I Cor. 15:58). Let us spend time on earth growing (II Pet. 3:18) and maturing in the Lord that we will be ready for Him when He arrives. Let us prepare to hear those words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs