In Mark 4:35-41 we read that one evening Jesus ordered His disciples to cross the sea of Galilee by boat and as they crossed a great storm suddenly arose and the ship appeared to be sinking.
Contrast the reaction of Jesus with that of His disciples.
What do you think? Is this just a miracle, or is there a lesson for us about how we should react in the “storms” of our lives?
What else impresses you about this account?
Filed under Faith, Trials, Trust
This is kind of a final summary of the rejection of the Jewish leaders. In spite of the signs they did not believe. Some did believe but would not confess out of fear of being put out of the synagogue.
Jesus quotes from Isaiah 6 and 53, chapters which foresaw the Jewish rejection (in Isaiah’s day and now again in Jesus’ day). The quote from Isaiah 6 goes as far as to say God blinded them so that they could not believe.
The passage begins, “although He had done so many signs they did not believe in Him”. In our study the last 5 months we have read about many miracles and we are told there were many more, not recorded (John 20:30).
Question: What do you believe was the main reason so many did not believe in Jesus? How did God blind them? Was their own will to be blamed as well?
In the first part Jesus told His followers that if they have faith like a mustard seed they can tell a tree to be pulled up by its roots and planted in the sea and it would obey them! In a similar statement elsewhere (Matthew 17:20; Mark 11:23) He said they could move mountains!
Jesus then reminds His followers that even when they have done all they were commanded they are still unprofitable servants.
When we have obeyed fully, we are still unprofitable servants. Does that seem harsh to you? How does accepting that truth manifest itself in your life?
Filed under Faith, Humility
Today’s Text: Mark 9:14-32
Coming down from the mountain Jesus encounters a multitude gathered around man whose son is epileptic and demon possessed. The father had asked the other disciples (the 9 that did not go up the mountain?) to cast out the demon, but they could not.
Jesus perceives a lack of faith on the part of the disciples as well as the father who said “if you can do anything have compassion and help us” (9:22). Jesus restores the child, counsels the disciples about their lack of faith, and then tells them again about His upcoming death.
This is where Jesus said (according to Matthew) to His disciples, “if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).
Do we still need mountain moving faith today?
What else did Jesus say to His disciples about the demon (Mark 9:29)?
Last night we studied James 2:14-26 and talked about what on the surface looks like a conflict between Paul (in Romans, Ephesians, and Galatians) and James.
Paul says we are justified by faith, not works (Romans 4:1-5).
James says “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:24).
They both use Abraham for example and cite Genesis 15:6 in proving their point!
Someone said, “Paul and James do not stand face to face, fighting against each other, but they stand back to back, fighting opposite foes.” I like that. They are both defending the gospel, but addressing different issues and misunderstandings.
I believe Paul is talking about LEGALISM (as defined in Galatians 5:4) – attempting to be saved by law keeping which is practically impossible because it would require total conformity to law (Galatians 3:10, 5:3) and which would entitle one to boast (Ephesians 2:9, Romans 4:1-5) because they have done it themselves.
James is talking about….well, as the paragraph begins, “What does it profit if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” (James 2:24). The answer is of course is no.
But Paul helps us understand that its not the works that save….so we can never boast and this is also where our security comes in – our salvation isn’t dependent on having perfect works.
Anyone else like to share their thoughts on Paul vs James?
Last night we continued looking at James. We talked about the idea that it is a practical book. It deals with practical topics (the tongue, materialism, trials, partiality) and not a lot of doctrine (does not mention baptism or even the cross).
Another definition of the word practical is having to do with the actual doing rather than theory and ideas. As we look closer at the book it is apparent that this what James is driving at:
Be DOERS, not just HEARERS (1:22)
Someone THINKS THEY ARE RELIGIOUS but doesn’t control their tongue. (1:26)
True, pure RELIGION is visiting the fatherless and widows and keeping ourselves unspotted from the world (1:27)
Someone has the FAITH of JESUS but is a respecter of persons. (2:1)
In fact, the best known verse in the book should probably be looked at this way: A man says he has FAITH but does not have WORKS (2:14, 26)
In chapter 3 he will talk about a man who blesses God, then curses men (3:9-10).
Altogether the message is we can HEAR the Bible, be active in a RELIGIOUS organization, and say we have FAITH in Jesus, but none of that means anything unless we are living like Jesus.
What does James conclude about the faith of the man or woman if their religion and faith is not practical? (2:26)