Thursday, April 26, 2018

Deuteronomy 17:1-20 (Daily bread of 24/4/2018)

IDOLATERS WILL BE PUNISHED
Key verse 17:5
God talks about how to deal with idolatry in Israel. Israel will have to follow the servants in legal matter and the King is supervised.     
1. You will extirpate idolatry from the land (1-7)
Moses told the people not to offer malformed animals to God. It is strange that he should mention it in the midst of idolatry. Perhaps because idolatry is similar to a malformed animal. God wants the people created by Him to be faithful to Him. God is a perfect God, so one cannot bring him something imperfect, even though he is not at fault for himself. Human idolaters are different. They are not distorted in appearance, but they are internally twisted beings. God hates them. They don't do their creator any credit. They must be punished by the people. The investigation must be serious and we need two witnesses, because man's heart is not trustworthy. The man and woman who rally with the idols must be stoned first by the witness and then by all the people. The evil is eradicated.
2. Judgments and Royalty (8-20)
   
If the cause of judgment is too complicated, the people have to go up to the temple of Jerusalem and ask the Levite priests who reside there for advice. When someone brings the case before them, his heart needs to be emptied of all prejudices. He must be ready to listen to the servant's opinion, whatsoever it may be. He must not give up in the middle because of his preference. It is necessary to follow the  teachings which are given to him until the end . God foresees that the people would claim royalty when they enter the country. Samuel said what good would it do, but he hearkened to the voice of the people, and crowned them King. The King's status will not be special nor above the people, he is one of the citizens. It is especially necessary for him to move remove any objects which would distance him from God, such as many horses, gold, women etc.. He has to make a copy of the law and keep it on his bedside table and read it every day. Thus he will not depart from God and will assume the role of King to rule the people.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Deuteronomy 6:1-25 (DB of 12/4/2018)

Key verse: 5

YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART

Moses exhorted his people to love God with all of the heart, soul and might. This is the fundamental base for a believer, and this love is expressed through the commandments. 

1. That you may do them (1-19)

God gave his people the commandments so that they would observe them and in doing them be happy. To observe means to fear the Lord. Love for the Lord also means to fear him, for he is our Creator God. When man maintains this attitude, he is blessed and his life on earth prolonged. Not only that, God also multiplies his fruit. Israel had to listen to God because God is one. Our God is the tri-une God, existing as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but he is one. He was incarnated in Jesus Christ to save man, but he is the God of eternity. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. We must love God with all our heart, soul and might. The people would experience great blessing in the new land, but at this moment, man's heart was ready to fall. We must well remember God's grace and thank him, lest we turn to idols and be vainquished by the enemy. 

2. You shall teach them to your children (20-25)

Moses pointed out the importance of religious education, since man is quite forgetful. We must therefore teach children so that they obey the commandments with joy. The young generation has no understanding of history. But they must be told who they were and how a loving God delivered their ancestors from the hand of enemies through miracles. They must know that this loving God had given them these commandments based on love. So, we must not perceive God as too demanding or legalistic, for his fundamental motive is love. It is so that his people enjoy a long and fulfilling life. We must believe in his love. Moses says that obediance is righteousness for the people. 


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Mark 15:1-20 (DB of 29/3/2018)

key verse: 2

YOU HAVE SAID SO

Mark tells of the morning assembly of the Jewish Council, the interogation in the praetorium and the exchange between Pilate and the crowd. Pilate finally gave Jesus over to be crucified, while Jesus himself kept silent.

1. Jesus kept silent (1-5)

Wrongdoers rise early to conspire against an innocent man. They were not tired from the previous night's trial and rose early. They bound Jesus and sent him to Pilate, since his permission was needed to put a man to death. Thus, Jesus stood before Pilate. When he asked if he was the King of the Jews, Jesus replied in four words, "You have said so". It was a dangerous answer to give the Roman governor because it could be interpreted politically. Yet, Jesus identified himself as the King of the Jews. Spiritually, it was the title of the promised Messiah. He is our Savior and Redeemer. Pilate pressed Jesus to defend himself in face of several accusations. But Jesus no longer answered. Before his accusers, he kept absolutely silent. Pilate was astonished, since whoever is on truth's side has no need to defend himself. Pilate was someone with an ethic of circumstance.

2. Crucify him (6-20)

During the Passover, a custom of national amnesty was observed. Perhaps the Jews had imposed this rule on the governor to commemorate God's delivery of Israel from captivity in Egypt. Thus, people asked him to release one person. Pilate thought the crowd would ask for Jesus the King of the Jews, since he knew that it was out of envy that the chief priests had asked for the death of Jesus. Yet he was mistaken because the leaders had already stirred up the people to ask for Jesus' death. Pilate was stuck, even more so because he hadn't formed his own opinion. "What evil has he done?" It was his desperate cry in face of the injustice that he would have to uphold in spite of himself. He finally gave in and sent an innocent Jesus to be crucified. The soldiers treated him arbitrarily with all kinds of physical and moral violence. Jesus was struck and mocked more than he had been by the religious leaders. He was treated that way in order to save sinful men like you and I. Thank you, Lord. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Mark 14:1-11 (DB of 22/3/2018)

A WOMAN WITH A FLASK OF OINTMENT

key verse: 8

Today's account tells how Jesus received annointing from a woman. Jesus gave this memorable moment meaning. Judas was a traitor who betrayed Jesus for a few pieces of silver.

1. The woman poured the ointment over Jesus (1-7)

The cunning Jews were looking for a way to kill Jesus. They always used plots in order to eliminate their enemy without trace or proof. As hypocrites, they were instruments of Satan, and they were themselves devils. Jesus entered the home of Simon, whose purpose was surely tied to this tentative. Then a woman appeared from nowhere, with a flask on her shoulder. She was so determined that they could say nothing. She approached Jesus, broke the flask and poured all the contents over his head. His clothes were covered in mucous and he could have been very annoyed. This nard-filled alabaster flask represented the woman's dream of marriage. Yet, she broke it without sparing in order to bless Jesus who had saved her from all her sins. The others complained about the price of the ointment, going so far as to criticize her. Yet, Jesus saw things differently and praised the woman. This woman was full of devotion and engagement. Above all, she knew how to reciprocate grace received from God.

2. Truly, wherever the gospel is proclaimed. . . (8-11)

Seeing her actions, Jesus honored the woman through the spread of the gospel. In a word, she was a protagonist of Jesus' redemptive work. She simply responded to his grace, and God, who knew her humble and sacrificial heart, wanted to raise her to the level of protagonist in his story. If we bring our sacrificial offerings, God never neglects them, but honors them in his redemptive work. Sometimes the offerings are poor, but God knows the heart and lifts up every action for him in memory of the gospel. Our preaching on the campuses and one-to-one Bible studies are our offerings of great value in God's eyes. Judas did not understand this sacrificial life for God. His philosophy was "every man for himself" and he followed Jesus to improve his status and achieve his own dream of a messianic kingdom in Israel. He finally turned his back and became an enemy of God. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Mark 13 : 14-27 (Daily Bread of 20/3/2018)

WE'LL SEE THE SON OF MAN COME TO THE NUDE
Verse Key 13 : 26
Here are described the two crises to come. Jesus speaks first of the signs of the last time and of His second coming to judge heaven and earth, in His perfect glory in heaven.       
1.     The abomination of desolation (14-20)
First, there will be the desecration of the temple. This refers to the phenomenon of the 2nd century BC when the Greek emperor Antichos Ephiphanes had the pig offered as a holocaust in the temple at the same time as he abolished the Torah, which provoked the revolt of the Machabee. But this applies to all acts of idolatry in history, which inspired a sense of disgust and horror in the Jews. This verse 14 refers first of all to the desecration of the Temple by the Romans in the year 70 AD. J.-C. But the meaning goes beyond that, that is, Jesus, for the instruction of the Church to come, probably alludes to this phenomenon that will take place at the same time as the antichrist appears. At this time of crisis, the people will have to flee, renouncing material attachment. God's people must always adopt this way of life in expectation of the coming kingdom of God.
2.     Beware (21-27) 

First, after the appearance of the Antichrist, there will be the upheaval of nature. The stars will fall and there will be no more sunlight, and deep darkness will reign. It is a phenomenon announcing the coming of the true great event which is the second, and which is as it is written in verse 26, nothing but the return in glory of the Son of Man on the cloud. This is the direct reference of Daniel 7:13, the Son of Man being the title of this prophet. This event, which stands out most clearly in this chapter, is the final triumph of Jesus. The suffering Messiah will ultimately enter into his glory. While Jesus gives us the impression that his present disciples will not attend during their lifetime, it is certain that, Jesus did not lose sight of his future Church that she be firmly established with this vision of last time where he will triumph perfectly by destroying all the enemies of God and his people. The gathering of the elect by the angels in v.27 presupposes that the divine plan of verse 10 will have been realized in the meantime. For the elect will bring the good news of Jesus to the ends of the earth, as Jesus Christ commanded them.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Mark 12: 28-37 (DB of 16/3/2018)

YOU WILL LOVE THE LORD, YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART

Verse Key 12: 30
Jesus taught the greatest commandment to one of the scribes, then he taught that he is the son of David, though he clashes with chronology.      
1.     You will love the Lord your God with all your heart (28-34)
One of the scribes saw how Jesus could refute the adversaries who attacked him with their malicious questions. Then he approached Jesus and asked him the question about the greatest commandment. First, he drew the attention of all the people, saying,"Listen." It was Moses who said this way to say that the God of Israel was the one and only God on earth, therefore he is the Creator whose word is worthy to be heard. Even if he works in three persons, it is notorious that he is the one and only God. We must first love this one and only God in a way worthy of his name, that is, that he is worthy to receive all our being. We must love him with all our heart and soul and with all our thought and strength. Jesus added the second commandment, but as great as the first, is to love one's neighbour as oneself. Then the scribe summarized Jesus' teaching in an excellent way, even adding his commentary which was also excellent: for example, God is one, and there is no other, and replaces soul by intelligence, etc. He said,"God is one, and there is none else. He was an excellent man, so when Jesus saw him, he saw him with great admiration. Jesus says he is not far from the kingdom of God. By his intelligence, he has almost arrived in the kingdom of God. What does he miss?
2.     Christ is the son of David (35-37) 

Now it is Jesus' turn to ask the question. It happened that there is some chronological discrepancy, for Jesus is the son of David. But Jesus is the Lord of lords, therefore he is the Lord of King David. David himself confessed his filial relationship with the Messiah, that he is one of the Messiah's subjects. His Messiah is the mighty God who destroys the enemy and puts him in show, and puts them under his footsteps. He knew that the Messiah would come as his descendant, but he knew as a prophet that he too was a sinner redeemed by the coming Messiah. People listened with joy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Mark 12:1-12 (Daily Bread 13/3/2018)

THEY KILLED HIM AND THREW HIM OUT.

Key verse 12:8

In reply to the leaders' question about authority, Jesus gave a parable, that of the winegrowers. The vineyard's authority was greatly underestimated The owner of the vineyard had authority, but it was not well known. The action of the winegrowers was very serious before God.      

1.     They killed the envoys (1-8)

A man had a beautiful vine. He took great care to establish an environment conducive to fruit bearing. Then he rented it to winegrowers before going on a trip. In the coming season, he sent his servants to receive the harvest from the winegrowers. Now the winegrowers had become extremely proud and arrogant, so much so that they put every envoy to death . Finally, for the owner, only his own son remained. Thinking that that they would have the minimum of conscience to respect his son, he sent him. However, the winegrowers were treated him more violently that they did the others. They were very wicked, for they thought that if they killed him, the heir, the vine would be theirs.  They threw his body out of the vineyard, and he would surely have fallen prey to predators.What happened to them, those men and the vines they had coveted so much.  

2.     The rejected stone became the main stone (29-33) 


Jesus quoted the word of Psalm 118:22 to indicate how he who is martyred by the wicked becomes a very important person. His tribulation and martyrdom are not in vain. God sees his pain and suffering, and He will reward such a man. Those who unjustly suffer atrocity and mistreatment from the wicked will receive the just reward from God.  This only son so unhappily killed and thrown out of the vineyard refers to the Son of God sent by God to save sinful humanity. He only had the will to receive a little bit of  fruit in exchange of the life that he gave man. It is the will of our master. The problem of the persecuting winegrowers was that they considered the field not as rented property, but as their own. They were not thankful for their fields where they could work and earn a living, but they thought the owner was exploiting their labour. Man blames God who gave him many things, including his life. As soon as he returns, the owner will take the vine away and give it to the others. The leaders grinded their teeth to grasp Jesus, but his hour had not yet come.


Mark 11:1-10 (Daily Bread 9/3/2018)

THE TRIUMPHANT ENTRANCE

Key verse : 11:3

This part is called Jesus' the triumphal entrance. Whatever we do, the way we enter is a great sign to indicate what would happen next. Let us study how Jesus humbly entered this city , even though he is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Why is his entry triumphant?    

1.     Say: The Lord needs it (1-3)

Jesus called 2 of his disciples and commissioned them to prepare the entry into Jerusalem. Their mission was to bring a colt so that Jesus could ride on it to enter the city. It was a test of faith for the disciples, for they had to detach an animal of burden from another, which was theft. However, Jesus said that the owner would let the animal go when they said,"The Lord needs it". Yet it will be no less difficult to follow this direction, because they would have to detach the animal as if they were going to steal it. In this case they would just have to believe that what Jesus said was true and that the people would let the animal go as he said. In any case they left and experienced faith through their obedience. This event teaches us that Jesus is the ruler of the world and everything on earth. We also learn that whatever it is, if we do it by faith, Jesus will bless it. Therefore, let us listen to the word of Jesus, however unreasonable it may be, because God always blesses the one who obeys his word unconditionally.

2.     Hosanna, blessed be...! (4-10)  

When Jesus went up on the colt, the people gathered around him and began to shout: "Hosanna, blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord." Hosanna means, come save us. Jesus is the one who saves us. He can save us from our enemies, but what he truly saves us from is the yoke of sin.Sin is  like a club that keeps knocking on our backs. However, when we come humbly before Jesus and lay down our sins with a contrite heart, he saves us from all injustice and makes us pure and healthy. In the past we were sold to sin, but now by the blood of Jesus poured out on the cross, we are redeemed and healed of all our sins. We are saved from our sins and we are heirs to the kingdom of God. From Satan's slave, we become beloved children of God. On the other hand, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, Satan's head will be crushed. Hence the name "triumphant entry" for this part of the beginning of the passion. 


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Mark 11: 11-26 (DB of 10/3/2018)

Key verse: 22

HAVE FAITH IN GOD

Today's account describes the moment when Jesus cursed the fig tree. He uses this moment to teach about faith. Let's learn the true faith that Jesus teaches and clothe ourselves with this faith so we can be victorious in our lives and missions.

1. May your fruit no longer be eaten (11-19)

After the triumphal entry, Jesus visited and examined the temple. Jesus is the Creator of heaven and earth. God made the temple so that people could worship Him there. Jesus left the temple, and while walking out of the city, he saw a fig tree. Being hungry, he looked for fruit. Since it was not the season, there was no fruit. Jesus then cursed the tree, saying that never again would people eat from that tree. This curse seems unfair, since it was not the season. However, Jesus wanted to show the future of the nation of Israel, which had not fulfilled its mission. This mission has no season, just as Timothy says to preach in season and out. The tree is a creation and its purpose is to satisfy man's appetite. In the same way, the temple is created by God to be a pleasant house which bears fruit. However, in becoming a den of thieves, it lost all purpose. It was supposed to be a house of prayer for all nations, but Israel and its leaders lost this purpose. He who has lost the meaning of his existence becomes an object of curses. Jesus, overwhelmed with anger because of the corruption in the temple, turns over money tables and releases the animals.

2. Have faith in God (20-26)

The disciples were troubled because the fig tree had been dried to the root. Peter exclaimed, "Rabbi. . .!" It was frightening to witness such a scene. Peter was astonished, not because the tree had wilted, but because of the power of Jesus' words. He wanted this same power in his mission and in life. Yet Jesus says this kind of thing can never happen without faith. Jesus says, "Have faith in God". It is said that prayer is the measure of faith. So, if we have faith, we can pray. While praying, we must believe that our requests are accepted and answered. If we pray by faith, a miracle occurs. But before praying, we must forgive those who have sinned against us. Prayer is not a rite, but a personal relationship with God.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Mark 10: 46-52 (DB of 08/03/2018)

JESUS, SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME

key verse: 48

Before entering Jerusalem, Jesus healed a blind man. It was the last miracle and he would do no others. Jesus offered healing to this man because of his cries. There is something to learn here concerning faith.

1. Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me (46-50)

Jesus heard the cry of a blind man on the way. Though he was busy and hurried on the way to death, Jesus heard the cry of a desperate man. He wanted to help him. Thank you Lord Jesus who hears our cries and is always ready to help us. A lot of people keep silent, thinking that Jesus knows everything, but it is not so. Jesus wants us to cry out desperately in order to receive blessing. A lot of people are too used to their status quo and fear what others will say. Thus they do not cry out and do not experience the power of God through which Jesus answers. We must not keep silent and in spite of any blocks or prohibition, we must be audacious in order to dare the impossible. Healing was a question of life or death for Bartimaeus. We must repent for having long since lost the desire to be healed. Otherwise, Jesus cannot answer. Look how this man, who doesn't even have his own name (Bartimaeus means "son of Timaeus"), desperately fights for healing. Heaven is moved when the heart beats.

2. Go, your faith has made you well (51-52)

What do you want me to do? Jesus knew what the blind man wanted him to do. Yet, he wanted him to verbally express his desire, "Yes, I want to". Romans 10:10 says that if we confess with our mouth, we are saved. Here again, we see how much speaking aloud is important for the believer who desires an answer to his prayers. Let's communicate our needs to God in clear words. On other words, we have to clearly state the subjects of our prayers and clearly bring them out loud before Jesus. Jesus, who saw in the blind man a clear subject and the absence of doubt, decided to heal him. "Go, your faith has made you well." The blind man recovered his sight immediately. Truly, it is faith which triumphs in the end in our lives. There is no illness which cannot be healed, if we have the will to be healed. This is true if we pray humbly, believing in the power of Jesus and persevering in spite of many obstacles. 

Mark 10:17-31 (Daily Bread 6/3/2018)

THE RICH YOUNG MAN

Key verse 10:21
The word of this morning teaches us the way for mankind to reach the kingdom of God. Many have the desire to do so, but few recognize the path. This path is far from an easy life. 
1.     You're missing one thing (17-27)
When the young man came to Jesus, he called him "good master." Jesus says that only God is good. Jesus is God, he is good. He is full of kindness, so he sacrifices his body for us. The goodness of God is great but hidden, but the goodness of Jesus, Son of God, is concrete and tangible. Man must accept his goodness and give himself to him. This young man was adorable, for he kept all the commandments from his youth. He was so pleasant that Jesus loved him with all his tenderness. He was really perfect in appearance, but inside there was no faith. Jesus told him to sell his goods and give the price to the poor. But he refused because he had a lot of good. He went away sadly, therefore, Jesus said that it is easier for the camel to pass through the needle hole than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Man cannot divide his heart between wealth and the kingdom of God. The disciples could not easily accept this fact because of their material and selfish desire that remained in them.  
2.     Jesus comforted the disciples (41-51) 

Jesus saw that the disciples were perplexed. If it is so, who would enter the kingdom of God. But they didn't know what sacrifice they made. If a rich man sold his material was difficult, for them too, abandoning the family was also difficult. But they didn't know him. So Jesus comforted his disciples. When Peter claimed that he had left everything, Jesus recognized him and appreciated his sacrifice. The same was true for all the disciples. Truly, they have abandoned everything, even their most intimate members of the family, their wealth, even if it is so small compared to that of the rich young man. Still, it was quite a sacrifice. It was for the name of Jesus and His glory that they did all this. Some of us have abandoned their families to gain the citizenship of God. They are great before God. Jesus says that if they did so, a reward is given to them in heaven. They will also receive persecution at the same time, but their reward will be much greater: new home and new family, and finally eternal life.