March 3

Mark 9:30-50

In verses 30-32, the disciples hear Jesus tell them again about His death and resurrection on the third day. They didn’t understand what He meant. They were afraid to ask Him, perhaps because they didn’t understand and thought they should have, or it could be because they had a legitimate fear about the idea of the Jewish religious leaders coming after Him, and possibly them. The ministry of Christ was getting attention from tens of thousands of people, and many threats were made against His life. This was no fairytale; this was life and death.

In verses 33-37, we read about the disciples arguing about who would be the greatest in Christ’s kingdom. Jesus didn’t rebuke them for wanting to do great things, but He did have a teaching moment where He taught them to receive a child was to receive Him. What does that mean? If you will open your heart to receive a child, as to love and care for him or her, you are also opening your heart to receive Christ and His kingdom. Being great in His kingdom isn’t about the work that is rewarded by getting praise or gain from other humans. It is about serving the way Jesus came to serve. And if we open our hearts to receive Christ, we are also opening our hearts to receive the One who sent Him. Do you want to live a blessed life of covenant relationship and promise? Then we ought to open our hearts and yield them to serve others.

In verses 38-41, John is protective of Jesus and His ministry. He sees someone else who had become a follower of Christ, and in His name, was casting out devils. John did not realize that soon all Christians would be given that same power. In His name, or as a representative of Christ, any miracle performed is considered doing the work of His kingdom. Jesus said, “If he isn’t against us, then he is on our side.” Now in the new testament, we also see Paul giving correction to those people who were trying to turn his disciples away from his spiritual authority. They were against him. Paul himself spoke about being careful to stay in his sphere of ministry and not try to take over a foundation that another minister was laying. There is such a thing as honor between ministers.

In verses 42-48, Jesus warns of offenses, something that would keep the person or anyone else from being reconciled to God through Christ.

In verses 49-50, Jesus talked about be seasoned with a grace to live in peace and harmony with one another. Grace gives us a preserving effect, an ability to guard and keep our relationships together in unity. Love covers a multitude of sins. It doesn’t divide, or separate friendships. It has a maturity that doesn’t burn a bridge or slam a door. It has a maturity that doesn’t split or pull people apart. Is our love level and our commitment level at the level we would consider an adult, an adolescent, or a child?

Numbers 30-31

In chapter 30, God gives Moses laws for vows. In chapter 31, the Lord gives Moses a final assignment – to take vengeance on the Midianites, after which, Moses was leave his earthly body and join those that have gone on before him. The way they warred was with the priest, the holy articles of the tabernacle, and the sound of the silver signal trumpets. Balaam was killed in this battle.

In verses 12-24, the Israelites return from war and go through a purification process.

In verse 25, the scriptures tell of the dividing of the plunder. In verses 49-54, the people bring an offering to the Lord. Verse 49 is incredible, stating that the soldiers were counted and not a man of us is missing. The use of the word atonement here is not a covering of sin, but rather a payment of thanks for the lives that were spared. The offering would be set aside for the tabernacle itself. The protection was miraculous!

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