I’m still working through the OT, halfway through 1st Samuel right now but took another detour back into the Gospel of Mark.
SOURCE: Mark 6:20-49
I made some Cole’s Notes on Mark 6:20-49
I’m using the Amplified Study Bible so some of the wording I use may differ slightly from your translation. And to shorten it a bit, I’m also paraphrasing.
BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO:
KNOW our own spiritual moral reality, solely in and of ourselves
HUNGER for true righteousness that comes only from God
ACKNOWLEDGE our own limitations (sinful state and need for change)
THE COST AND REWARD
Being in God’s Kingdom is going to bring hatred, exclusion and scorn but it also brings great reward in heaven.
THE WRONG APPROACH – THE WORLD’S WAY
Woe to those who place their faith in wealth and possessions
Woe to those whose focus is solely on self indulgence
Woe to those whose goals are to receive man’s praise for their own accomplishments
THE CORRECT APPROACH – GOD’S WAY
Love your enemies
Do good to those who hate you
Bless and show kindness to those who curse you
Pray for those who mistreat you
If someone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other
If someone takes your coat, be willing to give them your shirt
Give to who ever asks of you
If someone takes what is yours, do not demand it back
Treat others the same way that you would like to be treated
WHY THE RADICAL DIFFERENCE IN APPROACH ?
If we only love those who love us, how are we different from sinners?
If we only do good to those who do us good, how are we different from sinners?
If we only lend to those who we expect to receive it back from, how are we different from sinners?
WHAT IS THE PRIMARY DIFFERENCE IN THE TWO APPROACHES ?
LOVE FOR OTHERS VERSUS LOVE FOR SELF
WHY LOVE FOR OTHERS?
BECAUSE love seeks the betterment of others, this includes our enemies
BECAUSE love does good for others, expecting nothing in return
BECAUSE love gives to others, expecting nothing back
BECAUSE as sons or daughters of the Most High, we need to emulate Him and He is kind, gracious, good and merciful to the ungrateful and the wicked
Do not judge and we will not be judged
Do not condemn and we will not be condemned
Pardon others and we will be pardoned
STATED RATIO RETURN PRINCIPLE
Give to others and it will be given to us by our Father. Give to receive.
The standard of measurement we use in giving and doing for others determines the standard of measurement used by God in giving and doing for us, but there is a general generosity of God in that He always gives us more than what we have given to Him and others.
GENERAL SOURCE PERSPECTIVE GUIDELINES
- Can the blind lead the blind? To whom do we look to for guidance?
- Once we have decided on who our Teacher is, we undergo His training, during which time we are inferior to our Teacher. After we are completely trained, we shall be like our Teacher.
- A critical initial requirement of our training is to truly become aware of our deficiencies before endeavouring to address the deficiencies of others. Normally we have a tendency to see ourselves as above others and the polarity on this requires adjusting.
- The fruit of our heart, which flows from the words of our mouth, validates as to whether our hearts are good, honourable and moral.
BRUCE’S COLE’S NOTES OBSERVATIONS
- I would not want to be taking a practical exam on all these requirements because I can’t see me passing, not even with a pass mark of 50%. Scary part is, this is just part of one chapter of one gospel in the New Testament.
- If the prerequisite of being like the Teacher is to be completely trained, this course of instruction is a heck of a lot longer and much more demanding than I ever envisioned it to be.
- The thing is, when Jesus says something, I listen and these are not idle words He is passing onto us. Meeting some of these requirements, I’d like to think so but all of them, at all times, in all situations …. not even close. Too much of me still lives within this body, but I’m getting there, it’s just taking a lot longer than I thought it would.
- I can’t help but see a correlation between keeping all of the Law in the Old Testament and adhering to all of the requirements that Jesus gives us. Short story is I could not have kept all of the Law in the OT and as long as I am in this physical body, checking off all of these character traits of our heavenly Father is highly unlikely.
- And you can correct me if you think I’m wrong, but I surmise that this is exactly, once again, the lesson behind keeping the Law in the OT, and keeping all of the commandments of Jesus in the NT. Jesus knows we cannot totally meet this standard, because only one person in the flesh was and is perfect and that is Jesus.
- All these things that we’re supposed to do in the NT leads us to the same place that keeping the Law does in the OT, the realization of our need for and dependency on Jesus. If our focus and dependency is on and in Him, He is our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, just like scripture says He is (1st Corinthians 1:30).
- One of the most difficult mind sets that we hold, and that we need to get rid of, is the concept that our acceptance with God is based upon our performance. This basically infers that how I perform today with regard to adhering to the commandments of Jesus determines how God looks upon me. This is not true. If I fall short, which I often do, His love and acceptance of me does not change one tiny bit. I am accepted because of my faith and trust in Jesus and who He is and what He did for me on the cross. I do have to confess any sin I commit daily and endeavour to ensure that the sin doesn’t become a habitual occurrence, but my standing with God our Father depends not on my performance but rather on He whom I trust and believe in (Jesus). John 6:29 “Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” Any good works that I do (or the Holy Spirit of Christ does through me) are the RESULT OF my faith in Jesus, not the means whereby I am deemed acceptable in God’s eyes. Good works are the fruit that naturally follow faith, good works in themselves do NOT justify me before God. If you truly believe in, trust and depend in Jesus, it’s going to show. I’m always reminded of a bumper sticker I used to see years ago which read, “If it was against the law to be a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”
- We are told in the scriptures that if we walk in the Spirit we will not give in to the demands of the flesh and I believe that (Galatians 5:16). Some days are better than others but as long as I remain faithful to my trust and reliance in Jesus, all of these days are the same with regard to my being a child of God. That which He has begun in me, He will bring to completion (Philippians 1:6). The Christian walk is a progressive walk with valleys, hills and mountain tops, with numerous repeats and in no particular order or sequence. Hebrews 12:2 KJV “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
- I try to keep it simple. I need more of Jesus living in me than I need me living in me. I’m really not all that keen about me anyway. Slowly but surely Jesus is transforming me into Himself. I can’t wait for my graduation day. Jesus has my heart, the remainder of me is slowly being diminished. And for that, I am grateful.
But most importantly, all the while, I am a child of God!
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!