DAY FORTY-SEVEN : Exodus 19 v. 1 – 20 v. 26; Mark 1 v. 29 – 2 v. 17; Psalm 22 v. 12 – 21
EXODUS 19 – Three months in, they arrive at Sinai. God calls from Mt Sinai. God asks the Israelites to “obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all the nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
The Israelites pledge their allegiance, “we will do everything the Lord has said.” Ahh, how long will that last?
Something holy and awesome is about to happen – God is paying them a visit on the top of this holy mountain, so the Israelites are consecrated, a period of two days of cleansing and abstainance to prepare for this momentous event. No-one is allowed to step on the mountain for fear of death.
On the third day, God appears in thunder and thick cloud. God descends and Moses ascends to the mountain top. Boundaries are set to protect the people from God’s holiness.
EXODUS 20 – God gives Moses the Ten Commandments.
1 – You shall have no other gods before me.
2 – You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth below
3 – You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God
4 – Keep the Sabbath, rest day
5 – Honour your father and mother
6 – You shall not murder
7 – You shall not commit adultery
8 – You shall not steal
9 – You shall not lie (bear false witness against your neighbour)
10 – You shall not envy, coveting what’s not yours
Matt, our Youth Pastor, was reminding me the other day that there is only one commandment which has a blessing / consequence attached. Making an idol of something else and bowing down to worship it will lead to three or four generations of punishment, whereas God will show love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep His commandments.
The people tremble at the sights and sounds surrounding this fantastic event.
God reiterates His command not to make false idols, and to make a simple and pure earthly altar for sacrificing on.
MARK 1 – Jesus’ healing ministry is well under way already. He heals Simon’s mother-in-law (is Simon really happy about that ?). That evening, the whole town gathers for further healing and deliverance.
Next day, Jesus heads off early for His quiet time – a solitary place. Simon and others find Him and say, “Everyone’s looking for you.” (that’s exactly why he’s stolen away to be on His own with God) to which Jesus replies, “Let’s go elsewhere”. He’s not to be confined to one place, and they are immediately on their way to take the news elsewhere. In every place, Jesus spends time in the synagogues preaching and healing.
“If You are willing, You can make me clean.” – the leper’s words indicate his faith in Jesus, and how ‘unclean’ he feels because of his leprosy. Which is worse, the disease or the way others make him feel about his disease ? Jesus is willing to attack and heal both !
Jesus is ‘filled with compassion’ for the man – always the reaction in Jesus which causes a miracle to occur. The greek word indicates gut-wrenching pangs which identify with the suffering of another / others.
Although Jesus asks him to keep it quiet, he can’t and it affects Jesus’ ability to go about His ministry – and He had to stay outside the towns, in lonely places. His popularity is increasing already, as chapter one ends.
MARK 2 – Jesus heals the paralysed man, in Capernaum once again. The place is packed, so the paralysed man’s friends take him onto the flat roof, breaking their way in above the crowd and lowering their friend on his stretcher-bed. In chapter one, the point is made that the leper suffers through both his disease and his uncleanness. Here the point is made between that the paraysed man suffers through his disability and his sin / wrongdoing (although others might like to see a direct connection between the two, i.e. he suffers his disability because of his sin (cp our two weeks in the book of Job !), Jesus is not making that link, but shows His power to attack both ailments !).
Jesus’ talk of forgiving sins upsets the teachers of the law, for in saying this, Jesus identifies Himself as God, hence the charge of blasphemy.
Jesus knows what they’re thinking in their hearts!
All the people are amazed when Jesus’ words of healing and forgiveness enable the man to get up, take up his mat and walk out in front of them. AMAZING.
It’s always been a story of Jesus rewarding the faith of the friends who bring their paralysed friend to Him. “When Jesus saw THEIR faith, He said to the paralysed man….”. It’s a call to radical intercession, of bringing people to Jesus for their healing. Your faith matters !
Jesus calls Levi, from his tax-collector’s booth by the lakeside. How unpopular is this guy, representing the evil Romans, but worse than that, being a traitor Jew ! Levi immediately leaves everything to follow Jesus, and invites all his reprobate friends round for a meal to introduce his new friend. Many of them are beginning to follow Jesus, and the Pharisees are appauled at the company He’s keeping. It’s clear who has the real problem here.
Jesus addresses the Pharisees with important words whick will mark His relationship with them and with the sinners / unclean who are responding in great number……
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”These words should act as a bit of a check to us – with whom do we spend most of our time ? Where do our priorities lie ? Whose company do we crave ?PSALM 22 – this psalm which Jesus quotes on the cross (‘why have you forsaken me’), contains the haunting words,
‘all my bones are out of joint…my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth…a band of evil men has encircled me…they have pierced my hands and my feet…people stare and gloat over me…they divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing….”
all of these phrases indicate the death Jesus is dying on the cross. Amazingly prophetic words.
Even through all this, the psalmist cries out to God for His faithfulness, strength, deliverance and rescue.
‘Come quickly to help me.’