Digging in Deeper: Mark 15:40-41

“There were also women watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. In Galilee these women followed him and took care of him. Many other women had come up with him to Jerusalem.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

The church has a rough history when it comes to the position and treatment of women. Much of this is our own fault. We have too often taken our lead from a culture that has undervalued, underappreciated, and otherwise treated women terribly, and wrapped such harmful assumptions in a religious garb in order to sanctify them. Recent major revelations have shown we are far from rid of such sinful behavior. Where we have done this (and do it still), we have rightly taken our lumps from the world around us (even if such lump-giving is deeply hypocritical). But although we have perhaps done much to sully our own reputation, none of this has been in line with the ethic of Jesus. Let’s talk this morning about His position, that of the early church, and why the church should be the safest and best place for women in the world.

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Morning Musing: Mark 14:21

“For the Son of Man will go just as it is written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for him if he had not been born.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Yesterday we talked about loving in ways that seem hard to the recipient of that love. Last week we talked about why Judas betrayed Jesus. This morning, I want to look with you at something Jesus said that sits right at the intersection of these two conversations. This is another one of those things Jesus said that doesn’t make sense at first read. Well, that’s not quite totally true. It makes sense on it face, but the sentiment He expresses here prompts some challenging theological quandaries. Let’s talk for a few minutes this morning about the time Jesus said it would have been better for someone not to have been born.

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Submit for Good

As we continue in our series, Standing Firm, this week, we’re finally getting into the heart of Peter’s message. If you want to know how to stand firm in your faith without compromising your witness, you need to read this message. Peter lays it on the line for us and doesn’t let us look away until he’s taken us all the way to the mat. His challenge does not mean we roll over and play dead for anyone. Instead, he’s calling us to stand firm in our identity in Christ and refuse to be made a slave to anyone including ourselves. The way to do this, though, is not what the culture around us would have us believe. The way of Jesus looks entirely different. It takes a great deal more courage and a great deal more strength. Read on and think about how God might be applying this to your situation today.

Submit for Good

Have you ever had a boss you didn’t like? I don’t mean just a little dislike either. I mean, you could not stand even to be in the same room for any longer than you had to be. He was rude. She was demanding. He was demeaning. She micromanaged everything and everyone. It just wasn’t a good situation. Maybe you’ve never had that misfortune, but if you have, how’d you handle that? Used to be the general cultural attitude toward that situation would be for you to just suck it up and persevere through the frustration. You had to work because you had bills to pay and mouths to feed. You needed to be a productive member of society, and that was more important than your feelings about your boss. If you wanted to switch careers, you could, but that wasn’t necessarily going to be an easy process.

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Morning Musing: Mark 12:13-14

It is great to finally be back. My family had a fantastic and much needed several days away. I’m ready, though, to hit the ground running this morning. I’ve got the next few weeks through Mark sketched out and can’t wait to dig into Jesus’ final days with you. We’ll also look at some things going on in the culture around us that resonate with the Christian worldview in powerful ways. You won’t want to miss a single part of the journey that lies ahead of us. Thanks for reading and sharing.

“Then they sent some of the Pharisees and the Herodians to Jesus to trap him in his words. When they came, they said to him, ‘Teacher, we know you are truthful and don’t care what anyone thinks, nor do you show partiality but teach the way of God truthfully. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever had someone try and use your words against you? If you’re a parent, you’ve probably had that experience. You draw a line in the sand with one kid, and later, when another kid comes up against the same sort of experience and you’re considering letting them cross it for some reason, the other will loudly remind you of your words to make sure nothing unfair takes place. Or, at least, that’s what I’ve heard. In a larger sense, U.S. citizens have the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution to protect us from our words being unfairly used against us in a legal setting. The experience of having someone take words you’ve said and twist them around for their own ends ranges from frustrating to horrible. As the religious leaders kept trying to find some way to take Jesus down, they sent a group of Pharisees and Herodians to do this very thing.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 12:10-12

“‘Haven’t you read this Scripture: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This came about from the Lord and is wonderful in our eyes?’ They were looking for a way to arrest him but feared the crowd because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. So they left him and went away.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever witnessed a moment when someone finally realized they had nothing left to lose and just went for it? The courage of such a person doesn’t just double. It increases several-fold. When there’s nothing left that can really be done to a person, their willingness to face down any amount of suffering to achieve their aim becomes incredible. Obstacles become meaningless. There’s only one other thing that can give such a boost. When a person is supremely confident in the righteousness of their mission the consequences of its pursuit cease to matter. As the number of Jesus’ days before facing the cross grew shorter He became bolder with His words than He had been before in His ministry. Let’s listen in closely today as He puts the religious leaders in their place.

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