Morning Musing: Mark 11:27-30

“They came again to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came and asked him, ‘By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do these things?’ Jesus said to them, ‘I will ask you one question; then answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was John’s baptism from heaven or of human origin? Answer me.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Hypocrisy is something we see all too often today. Especially in our politics. It’s enough to make people cynical. Supporters of one candidate or another are willing to excuse even the most egregious behavior when their side does it, but rail long and loud about the character flaws of the other side when the fault is discovered on the other side of the line. A prominent Democrat politician recently referred to people with a mental handicap as “retarded.” A major media outlet merely tweeted a gentle chiding that he had used an “outmoded” word and that was the end of the issue. Let there be no doubt that if a prominent Republican politician had done the same thing there would have been immediate calls for his resignation from the same media outlet because of his obvious inability to care about the people he serves. At the same time, the position of evangelical Christians on whether or not sexual misdeeds should disqualify someone from public office did a complete 180 degree shift when they needed to justify their support for Trump’s presidency from where it had been during Clinton’s tenure. As disgusting as this rank duplicity is, there is nothing new under the sun. It met Jesus as soon as he walked into the temple. Let’s talk about how He dealt with it.

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Morning Musing: Mark 11:25

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Yesterday we looked at a few verses in which Jesus seems to give us a blank check to essentially demand whatever we want from God and if we believe we’ll receive it strongly enough, we can expect to get it. We talked about the challenges of those verses and how they are all too often used improperly. The other thing I mentioned then was that in those verses there didn’t seem to be any clear “buts” that would lead us away from a straight line Prosperity Gospel. Well, this verse which follows immediately on the heels of what Jesus said about prayer gives us a bit of a “but.” This exception, though, is pretty important to note because it’s something Jesus said several different times. Let’s talk this morning about the relationship between forgiveness and prayer.

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Morning Musing: Mark 11:15-16

“They came to Jerusalem, and he went into the temple and began to throw out those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I was listening to a counselor one time talk about how important it is to be engaged as a husband and father. He said that his wife and kids were having a heated argument one day. They were yelling and slamming things around. He walked into the kitchen where it was all happening and slammed a cabinet door good and hard. Everyone jumped and looked at him in shock. He said quietly, “I just wanted to feel like I was part of the fun.” He sent them the message that he was there with them even in their hard times. He made a scene, but for a purpose. When Jesus walked into the temple the morning after His grand arrival into the city, He made a scene for a purpose as well. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Mark 11:14

“He said to it, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again!’ And his disciples heard it.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When was the last time you threw a fit about something? What sparked that? I remember going on a mountain getaway with some friends several years ago. We were cooking a Stouffer’s lasagna for dinner, and it fell to me to get it out of the oven. Somehow, I tipped over the pan all over the oven door, basically ruining dinner for the six of us. In the moment I was so embarrassed and angry that I threw an oven mitt across the little kitchen. Fortunately, the meal was salvageable. It was my little freak out that did more to put a damper on the evening than the messy meal. Talk about an awkward moment. I was lucky to have a gracious wife and friends. Well, this morning, I want to look with you at a time when Jesus seemed to throw a fit.

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Morning Musing: Mark 11:9-10

“Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I love magic. I’m not any good at it, but I love watching it. Fool Us with Penn and Teller is one of the shows I make sure to catch every time it’s on. One of my favorite kinds of tricks are the ones when the magician seems to have lost control of the trick, but reveals at the end that he was totally in control of things the entire time. Similarly, I love tricks where the magician leaves you feeling like you know how he did the trick only to do something a few moments later that you can’t even imagine how he could have done it. Those tricks give the audience a brief feeling of having an edge on the magician. But the truth is things were always going exactly how he planned for them to go. As Jesus rode into Jerusalem for what would be the final time, there were points along the way when it seemed like things were flying out of control. The final act, though, revealed that He had things perfectly in hand the whole time. Let’s talk about it.

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