Saturday, June 30, 2018

1 Timothy 4

Today's reading...
1 Timothy 4:1–16 (NLT)
1Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.
2These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.
3They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten with thanks by faithful people who know the truth.
4Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks.
5For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer.
6If you explain these things to the brothers and sisters, Timothy, you will be a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is nourished by the message of faith and the good teaching you have followed.
7Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly.
8“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”
9This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it.
10This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.
11Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them.
12Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.
13Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.
14Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you.
15Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.

16Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.

Watch yourself (1–5). Satan is at work spreading false doctrine, and his ministers are already in the church (2 Cor. 11:13–15). God’s servants must preach the truth and fight the devil’s lies. Declaring war may not make us popular, but it will keep us faithful.

Exercise yourself (6–10). If believers would put as much effort into the spiritual life as they do their recreation and hobbies, what a difference it would make! Physical exercise is important, but spiritual exercise is even more essential. Both discipline and devotion are needed to make a winning athlete and an effective Christian.

Give yourself (11–16). It takes real effort to grow in the Christian life and to be successful in Christian service. God asks for our wholehearted surrender, no matter what the cost. Ponder these admonitions that Paul wrote to Timothy and see how they apply in your life.

--With the Word

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Friday, June 29, 2018

1 Timothy 3

Today's reading...
1 Timothy 3:1–16 (NLT)
1This is a trustworthy saying: “If someone aspires to be a church leader, he desires an honorable position.”
2So a church leader must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach.
3He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money.
4He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him.
5For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?
6A church leader must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall.
7Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.
8In the same way, deacons must be well respected and have integrity. They must not be heavy drinkers or dishonest with money.
9They must be committed to the mystery of the faith now revealed and must live with a clear conscience.
10Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons.
11In the same way, their wives must be respected and must not slander others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do.
12A deacon must be faithful to his wife, and he must manage his children and household well.
13Those who do well as deacons will be rewarded with respect from others and will have increased confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.
14I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon,
15so that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth.

16Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory.

Being a leader of God’s people is a serious task, and no one should accept an office who is not qualified and willing to use that office to help the church.

Watching (1–7). The title bishop means “overseer” and describes the work of the elder (Acts 20:17, 28). God’s people are like sheep; they need shepherds to watch over them, protect them, and lead them. Pray for your spiritual leaders that they might more and more be what God wants them to be.

Working (8–13). The word deacon means “servant.” The deacons assist the elders in carrying out the work of the church (Acts 6:1–7). As with the elders, the deacons should be qualified spiritually and set the right example in their homes.

Worshiping (14–16). The church is much more than a group of like-minded people who assemble from time to time. The living God is in their midst (Matt. 18:20), and the truth of God has been deposited with them! They worship the Son of God who alone is worthy of praise! Yes, it is a serious thing to be a part of a local church. Do you take it seriously?
--With the Word

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

1 Timothy 2

Today's reading...
1 Timothy 2:1–15 (NLT)
1I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.
2Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.
3This is good and pleases God our Savior,
4who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.
5For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.
6He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.
7And I have been chosen as a preacher and apostle to teach the Gentiles this message about faith and truth. I’m not exaggerating—just telling the truth.
8In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.
9And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.
10For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.
11Women should learn quietly and submissively.
12I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly.
13For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve.
14And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result.

15But women will be saved through childbearing, assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty.

What is the most vital ministry of the local church? According to Paul, it is prayer. Prayer moves the hand that governs the world. We must pray for government leaders, that the doors of ministry will be kept open and souls will be won to Christ. Because God’s people do not pray for people in authority, wars close mission fields, officials do not grant needed visas, and the work of the Lord suffers.

Paul reminds Christian men that Christian women are important to the Lord and to the work of the church. The gospel brought freedom to women in the Roman Empire, but some of them did not know how to handle it and went to extremes asserting their liberty. Hence, the reminder about the spiritual leadership of the men in the church.

Modesty, true spiritual beauty (1 Pet. 3:1–6), godliness, and good works—these will characterize the woman God blesses.
--With the Word

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

1 Timothy 1

Today's reading...
1 Timothy 1:1–20 (NLT)
1This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, appointed by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus, who gives us hope.
2I am writing to Timothy, my true son in the faith. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.
3When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth.
4Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God.
5The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.
6But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions.
7They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they speak so confidently.
8We know that the law is good when used correctly.
9For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders.
10The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching
11that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.
12I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him,
13even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief.
14Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.
15This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all.
16But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.
17All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.
18Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they help you fight well in the Lord’s battles.
19Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.

20Hymenaeus and Alexander are two examples. I threw them out and handed them over to Satan so they might learn not to blaspheme God.

The work in Ephesus was not easy, and Timothy wanted a new assignment; but Paul urged him to stay where he was and get the job done (1:3). The next time you want to abandon your assigned place, consider the arguments Paul gave Timothy for staying where he was.

For the work’s sake (1–11). What Paul warned the Ephesian elders about had come true: false teachers were in the church (Acts 20:28–30). The pastor’s job is to warn them and teach the people the truth. If he abandoned the flock, Timothy would be a hireling and not a shepherd (John 10:12–13).

For the Lord’s sake (12–17). Jesus died to save sinners, and He lives to equip and enable His servants to do the work of the ministry. The same God who empowered Paul could empower Timothy—and can empower us today. God is faithful!

For our own sake (18–20). God had equipped Timothy, called him, and given him a solemn charge. There was a battle to fight, and he dare not run away. If we flee the post of duty, we rob ourselves of opportunities to grow, to serve, and to glorify God.

When the winds of adversity blow, set your sails in the right direction, and let Christ handle the rudder. Otherwise, you may be shipwrecked.
--With the Word

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Psalm 22

Today's reading...
Psalm 22 NLT
For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be sung to the tune “Doe of the Dawn.”
1My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help?
2Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.
3Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them.
5They cried out to you and were saved. They trusted in you and were never disgraced.
6But I am a worm and not a man. I am scorned and despised by all!
7Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying,
8“Is this the one who relies on the Lord? Then let the Lord save him! If the Lord loves him so much, let the Lord rescue him!”
9Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb and led me to trust you at my mother’s breast.
10I was thrust into your arms at my birth. You have been my God from the moment I was born.
11Do not stay so far from me, for trouble is near, and no one else can help me.
12My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls; fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in!
13Like lions they open their jaws against me, roaring and tearing into their prey.
14My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me.
15My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead.
16My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet.
17I can count all my bones. My enemies stare at me and gloat.
18They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing.
19O Lord, do not stay far away! You are my strength; come quickly to my aid!
20Save me from the sword; spare my precious life from these dogs.
21Snatch me from the lion’s jaws and from the horns of these wild oxen.
22I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among your assembled people.
23Praise the Lord, all you who fear him! Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob! Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel!
24For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help.
25I will praise you in the great assembly. I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you.
26The poor will eat and be satisfied. All who seek the Lord will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy.
27The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him.
28For royal power belongs to the Lord. He rules all the nations.
29Let the rich of the earth feast and worship. Bow before him, all who are mortal, all whose lives will end as dust.
30Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord.

31His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything he has done.

Crucifixion (1–21). Because he was a prophet (Acts 2:30), David was able to write about the Messiah centuries before He came. Crucifixion was not a Jewish form of capital punishment, yet David described it accurately. As you read, you see Jesus at Calvary: His cry to the Father (v. 1; Matt. 27:46); the period of darkness (v. 2; Matt. 27:45); the ridicule of the people (vv. 6–8; Matt. 27:39–44); His thirst and pain (vv. 14–15; John 19:28); His pierced hands and feet (v. 16; Luke 24:39); and the gambling for His clothes (v. 18; John 19:23–24). Remember, He endured all of these things for you.

Resurrection (22–26). The Savior is no longer on the cross but is alive and in the midst of His people, leading them in praise for the mighty victory God has won (Heb. 2:11–12). The first day of the week is the memorial to His resurrection, and we follow His example by meeting with God’s people and praising the Lord. Resurrection day is victory day!

Coronation (27–31). Christ shares the blessings of Calvary with His church (v. 22), with Israel (v. 23), and with the whole world (vv. 27–31). We must get the message out to every nation that Jesus Christ is Savior and King (v. 27): “The Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14).

--With the Word

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Mark 16

Today's reading...
Mark 16:1–20 (NLT)
1Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body.
2Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise, they went to the tomb.
3On the way they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”
4But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside.
5When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side. The women were shocked,
6but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body.
7Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.”
8The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, and they said nothing to anyone because they were too frightened. Then they briefly reported all this to Peter and his companions. Afterward Jesus himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life. Amen.
9After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons.
10She went to the disciples, who were grieving and weeping, and told them what had happened.
11But when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen him, they didn’t believe her.
12Afterward he appeared in a different form to two of his followers who were walking from Jerusalem into the country.
13They rushed back to tell the others, but no one believed them.
14Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead.
15And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.
16Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.
17These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages.
18They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”
19When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.

20And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.

He arose (1–8). Because they forgot His resurrection promises, the women were in sorrow and worrying about the future: “Who will roll away the stone?” When they learned that Jesus was alive, their first response was fear and not faith; but then they became the first heralds of the Resurrection.

The angel had a special word for Peter (v. 7) who was no doubt still grieving his sins. The living Christ gives you something to rejoice in, something to talk about, and something to look forward to. He goes before you!

He appeared (9–18). This section summarizes the Lord’s resurrection appearances. All to whom He appeared became witnesses of His resurrection (Acts 1:22), just as we should be today (Rom. 6:4; Phil. 3:10).

He ascended (19–20). The Servant is the Sovereign at the Father’s right hand! He humbled Himself in obedience, and God exalted Him in glory (Phil. 2:5–11). But He is not idle, for He is working with His people as they take the gospel to every nation. What an encouragement to be a witness for your Lord!
--With the Word

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Mark 15

Today's reading...
Mark 15:1–47 (NLT)
1Very early in the morning the leading priests, the elders, and the teachers of religious law—the entire high council—met to discuss their next step. They bound Jesus, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor.
2Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You have said it.”
3Then the leading priests kept accusing him of many crimes,
4and Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?”
5But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise.
6Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner—anyone the people requested.
7One of the prisoners at that time was Barabbas, a revolutionary who had committed murder in an uprising.
8The crowd went to Pilate and asked him to release a prisoner as usual.
9“Would you like me to release to you this ‘King of the Jews’?” Pilate asked.
10(For he realized by now that the leading priests had arrested Jesus out of envy.)
11But at this point the leading priests stirred up the crowd to demand the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus.
12Pilate asked them, “Then what should I do with this man you call the king of the Jews?”
13They shouted back, “Crucify him!”
14“Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?” But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!”
15So to pacify the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.
16The soldiers took Jesus into the courtyard of the governor’s headquarters (called the Praetorium) and called out the entire regiment.
17They dressed him in a purple robe, and they wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head.
18Then they saluted him and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!”
19And they struck him on the head with a reed stick, spit on him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship.
20When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.
21A passerby named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was coming in from the countryside just then, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. (Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.)
22And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”).
23They offered him wine drugged with myrrh, but he refused it.
24Then the soldiers nailed him to the cross. They divided his clothes and threw dice to decide who would get each piece.
25It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.
26A sign announced the charge against him. It read, “The King of the Jews.”
27Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.
29The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days.
30Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!”
31The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself!
32Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him.
33At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock.
34Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
35Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah.
36One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. “Wait!” he said. “Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down!”
37Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last.
38And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
39When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!”
40Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James the younger and of Joseph), and Salome.
41They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for him while he was in Galilee. Many other women who had come with him to Jerusalem were also there.
42This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation, the day before the Sabbath. As evening approached,
43Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.)
44Pilate couldn’t believe that Jesus was already dead, so he called for the Roman officer and asked if he had died yet.
45The officer confirmed that Jesus was dead, so Pilate told Joseph he could have the body.
46Joseph bought a long sheet of linen cloth. Then he took Jesus’ body down from the cross, wrapped it in the cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance.

47Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus’ body was laid.

When you face the unjust assaults of an evil world, remember Jesus. The world says, “Defend yourself!” but Jesus was silent (vv. 1–5). The world says, “Pamper yourself!” but Jesus refused the drug (v. 23). The world says, “Save yourself!” but Jesus remained on the cross and finished the work the Father gave Him to do (v. 30).

The chief priests were guilty of envy (v. 10), and Pilate was guilty of compromise (v. 15). Their sins led to the release of an evil man (v. 15), the embarrassment of an innocent man (v. 21), and the death of a good Man (v. 25); yet envy and compromise are not looked upon as terrible sins today. Should they be?

Man was doing his worst, but God was doing His best and fulfilling His Word (vv. 28, 34): “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Rom. 5:20). And He did it for you and me!

--With the Word

If you have a question about the passage, or would like to leave your thoughts please leave a comment or send me a note. :)

Friday, June 22, 2018

Mark 14

Today's reading...
Mark 14:1–72 (NLT)
1It was now two days before Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law were still looking for an opportunity to capture Jesus secretly and kill him.
2“But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.”
3Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.
4Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked.
5“It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly.
6But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me?
7You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me.
8She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time.
9I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”
10Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests to arrange to betray Jesus to them.
11They were delighted when they heard why he had come, and they promised to give him money. So he began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
12On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go to prepare the Passover meal for you?”
13So Jesus sent two of them into Jerusalem with these instructions: “As you go into the city, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him.
14At the house he enters, say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’
15He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal.”
16So the two disciples went into the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there.
17In the evening Jesus arrived with the Twelve.
18As they were at the table eating, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, one of you eating with me here will betray me.”
19Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one?”
20He replied, “It is one of you twelve who is eating from this bowl with me.
21For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”
22As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take it, for this is my body.”
23And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
24And he said to them, “This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many.
25I tell you the truth, I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.”
26Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.
27On the way, Jesus told them, “All of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’
28But after I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.”
29Peter said to him, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.”
30Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
31“No!” Peter declared emphatically. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the others vowed the same.
32They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.”
33He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed.
34He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
35He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by.
36“Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
37Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?
38Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
39Then Jesus left them again and prayed the same prayer as before.
40When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. And they didn’t know what to say.
41When he returned to them the third time, he said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But no—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
42Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”
43And immediately, even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders.
44The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss. Then you can take him away under guard.”
45As soon as they arrived, Judas walked up to Jesus. “Rabbi!” he exclaimed, and gave him the kiss.
46Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him.
47But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear.
48Jesus asked them, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me?
49Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there among you teaching every day. But these things are happening to fulfill what the Scriptures say about me.”
50Then all his disciples deserted him and ran away.
51One young man following behind was clothed only in a long linen shirt. When the mob tried to grab him,
52he slipped out of his shirt and ran away naked.
53They took Jesus to the high priest’s home where the leading priests, the elders, and the teachers of religious law had gathered.
54Meanwhile, Peter followed him at a distance and went right into the high priest’s courtyard. There he sat with the guards, warming himself by the fire.
55Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find evidence against Jesus, so they could put him to death. But they couldn’t find any.
56Many false witnesses spoke against him, but they contradicted each other.
57Finally, some men stood up and gave this false testimony:
58“We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this Temple made with human hands, and in three days I will build another, made without human hands.’ ”
59But even then they didn’t get their stories straight!
60Then the high priest stood up before the others and asked Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?”
61But Jesus was silent and made no reply. Then the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
62Jesus said, “I Am. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
63Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Why do we need other witnesses?
64You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” “Guilty!” they all cried. “He deserves to die!”
65Then some of them began to spit at him, and they blindfolded him and beat him with their fists. “Prophesy to us,” they jeered. And the guards slapped him as they took him away.
66Meanwhile, Peter was in the courtyard below. One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest came by
67and noticed Peter warming himself at the fire. She looked at him closely and said, “You were one of those with Jesus of Nazareth.”
68But Peter denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and he went out into the entryway. Just then, a rooster crowed.
69When the servant girl saw him standing there, she began telling the others, “This man is definitely one of them!”
70But Peter denied it again. A little later some of the other bystanders confronted Peter and said, “You must be one of them, because you are a Galilean.”
71Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!”

72And immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept.

Preparation for betrayal (1–2, 10–11). Judas solved the chief priests’ problem by offering to lead them to Jesus. But how do you “conveniently” betray the Son of God? Is it not a costly endeavor in every way?

Preparation for burial (1–9). Mary’s act of worship brought joy to the heart of Jesus and malice to the heart of Judas, who wanted the money she had spent (John 12:6). Other women came to anoint Him after His burial (16:1), but Mary did it when He could be encouraged by her love.

Preparation for fellowship (12–26). It meant much to Jesus to spend those hours with His disciples. He loved them (John 13:1), and their presence encouraged Him. He took the cup and the bread of the Passover and transformed them into memorials of His own blood and body, for He wanted the disciples to remember Him.

Preparation for danger (27–31, 66–72). The good fellowship in the Upper Room made the Twelve forget the danger outside, so Jesus gave them warning. Peter was not the only one who boasted and felt self-confident: “And they all said likewise” (v. 31). Heed His warnings; He knows what is coming.

Preparation for death (32–65). Jesus’ prayers reveal the conflict in His holy soul as He faced bearing the sins of the world on the cross. When you have a Gethsemane experience, pray what He prayed: “Not what I will, but what You will” (v. 36). Peter had a sword, but Jesus took a cup. You need not fear the cup the Father has prepared for you. Jesus could submit to the abuse of men because He had already submitted to the will of God.

--With the Word

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Mark 13

Today's reading...
Mark 13:1–37 (NLT)
1As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings! Look at the impressive stones in the walls.”
2Jesus replied, “Yes, look at these great buildings. But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”
3Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives across the valley from the Temple. Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him privately and asked him,
4“Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled?”
5Jesus replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you,
6for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many.
7And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately.
8Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.
9“When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me.
10For the Good News must first be preached to all nations.
11But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
12“A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed.
13And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
14“The day is coming when you will see the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing where he should not be.” (Reader, pay attention!) “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills.
15A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack.
16A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat.
17How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days.
18And pray that your flight will not be in winter.
19For there will be greater anguish in those days than at any time since God created the world. And it will never be so great again.
20In fact, unless the Lord shortens that time of calamity, not a single person will survive. But for the sake of his chosen ones he has shortened those days.
21“Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it.
22For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones.
23Watch out! I have warned you about this ahead of time!
24“At that time, after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light,
25the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
26Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory.
27And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
28“Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near.
29In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door.
30I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene before all these things take place.
31Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
32“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.
33And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!
34“The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return.
35You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak.
36Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning.

37I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!”

This is Mark’s version of the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24–25), written with gentile readers in mind (v. 14). If we are to be ready and faithful in these last days, we must heed the admonitions of Jesus.

Take heed that no one deceives you (5). Political and geological disruption will give false prophets and false Christs great opportunity to deceive people. Persecution against God’s people will either strengthen us or weaken us.

Take heed to what Jesus taught (23). The Word of God is the only dependable light in this dark world (2 Pet. 1:19). Jesus has told us beforehand what to expect and what to avoid, and we must heed His words. His Word is dependable and durable, so trust it.

Take heed, watch, and pray (33). During the tribulation period, various signs will signal Christ’s return to earth; but believers today are looking for the Savior and not for signs. “Be alert and keep praying!” is His admonition. “Do the work I have given you to do.” You want to be found faithful when He comes, and He could come today.

--With the Word

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Mark 12

Today's reading...
Mark 12:1–44 (ESV)
1And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country.
2When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard.
3And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed.
4Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully.
5And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed.
6He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
7But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’
8And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.
9What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others.
10Have you not read this Scripture: “ ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
11this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
12And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away.
13And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk.
14And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?”
15But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.”
16And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.”
17Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.
18And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying,
19“Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.
20There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring.
21And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise.
22And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died.
23In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”
24Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?
25For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
26And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?
27He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.”
28And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”
29Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
30And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
31The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
32And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him.
33And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
35And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David?
36David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.” ’
37David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.
38And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces
39and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts,
40who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
41And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums.
42And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.
43And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.

44For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Each family chose its Passover lamb on the tenth day of the month and carefully examined it until the fourteenth day to be sure it had no defects (Exod. 12:1–6). During His last week of public ministry, God’s Lamb (John 1:29) was examined in various ways, and He passed every test. No guile was found in His mouth (Isa. 53:9).

In His replies, Jesus revealed to them who He was; yet they would not accept the truth. He is the Son sent by the Father (vv. 1–9) and the Stone rejected by the builders (vv. 10–11; Ps. 118:22–23; Acts 4:11). His enemies were so intent on destroying Jesus that they did not realize they were destroying only themselves.

All political questions (vv. 13–17) and hypothetical doctrinal questions (vv. 18–27) are chaff compared to the most important question of all: Is Jesus Christ your Lord (vv. 35–37) and do you love Him (vv. 28–34)?

If you were to point out the spiritual people in this chapter, would you indicate the pious scribes (vv. 38–40) or the poor widow (vv. 41–44)? Read Revelation 2:9 and 3:17.
--With the Word

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Mark 11

Today's reading...
Mark 11:1–33 (NLT)
1As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead.
2“Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.
3If anyone asks, ‘What are you doing?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it soon.’ ”
4The two disciples left and found the colt standing in the street, tied outside the front door.
5As they were untying it, some bystanders demanded, “What are you doing, untying that colt?”
6They said what Jesus had told them to say, and they were permitted to take it.
7Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it.
8Many in the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields.
9Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
10Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David! Praise God in highest heaven!”
11So Jesus came to Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around carefully at everything, he left because it was late in the afternoon. Then he returned to Bethany with the twelve disciples.
12The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry.
13He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit.
14Then Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it.
15When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves,
16and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace.
17He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”
18When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill him. But they were afraid of him because the people were so amazed at his teaching.
19That evening Jesus and the disciples left the city.
20The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up.
21Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!”
22Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God.
23I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.
24I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.
25But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
27Again they entered Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him.
28They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right to do them?”
29“I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied.
30“Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!”
31They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John.
32But do we dare say it was merely human?” For they were afraid of what the people would do, because everyone believed that John was a prophet.

33So they finally replied, “We don’t know.” And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Honor (1–11). The donkey was a royal animal, and the event was a coronation celebration (1 Kings 1:32–40). It was the only time our Lord permitted a public demonstration in His honor, and He did it to fulfill prophecy (Zech. 9:9) and turn the people’s hearts back to the Word of God. They did not listen. What changes would Jesus make if He entered our places of worship today?

Hunger (12–14, 20–26). The fig tree pictures Israel, taking up space but not producing fruit (Luke 13:6–9). When we stop bearing fruit, the problem always starts with the roots (v. 20; Matt. 3:10). Jesus reminds us that we must have faith and forgiveness when we pray, or God will not answer.

Holiness (15–19). The psalmist proclaimed, “Holiness adorns Your house” (Ps. 93:5). But unholiness made the temple a place for thieves to hide! The leaders were not praying; they were preying and using religion only to make money.

Honesty (27–33). The leaders had not been honest with John the Baptist, and now they refused to be honest with Jesus. When we obey, God teaches us more (John 7:17); if we disobey, we close the door on God’s truth.
--With the Word

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Mark 10

Today's reading...
Mark 10:1–52 (ESV)
1And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again. And again, as was his custom, he taught them.
2And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
3He answered them, “What did Moses command you?”
4They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.”
5And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.
6But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’
7‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife,
8and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.
9What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
10And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter.
11And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her,
12and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
13And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them.
14But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
15Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
16And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
17And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
19You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’ ”
20And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.”
21And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
22Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”
24And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God!
25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
26And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?”
27Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
28Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.”
29Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,
30who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
31But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
32And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him,
33saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles.
34And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”
35And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
36And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”
37And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”
38Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
39And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized,
40but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
41And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John.
42And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
43But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
44and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.
45For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
46And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside.
47And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.”
50And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.
51And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.”

52And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.

How far can I go (1–16)? The rabbis didn’t agree on their interpretation of the divorce law (Deut. 24:1–4), one school being lenient and the other strict. When you live “by permission,” you are tempted to follow those who tell you what you want to hear. Our Lord led the Pharisees back to God’s original plan and interpreted it for them.

How much can I keep (17–27)? The rich young man was looking for a bargain, the best of both worlds; but he was doomed to failure. Calculation and crucifixion do not agree. At Calvary, there was no bargaining—just Jesus giving His all.

How much will we get (28–45)? Jesus promises to reward all who faithfully follow Him, but He warns against having rewards as your only motive for service. If you are His disciple, expect a cross, a cup, and a baptism, for the servant is not greater than his Lord. The important question is, “How much can we give?”
--With the Word

If you have a question about the passage, or would like to leave your thoughts please leave a comment or send me a note. :)