Jesus and his disciples are walking from Jericho. Sometime today, tomorrow and the next day, I invite you to take a walk. Place yourself within this passage. It may be helpful to have a time limit, if you’re not used to doing an exercise like this.
I used to not enjoy reading when I was younger. So in my early twenties, I picked up some audio books and listened to them. This was something I enjoyed and found when I heard the story, I was able to remember it better and place myself within the story to picture it. One day I decided to pick up some books and read them. I began to picture the story line and the books began to come alive to me. This is one of the reasons I love to read the Bible: many stories in there that can actually tell our story.
So, this is an exercise to try and make the scripture come even more alive, in our imagination. I have found it is too easy to sit and read and not let the Word take root in us; but if we move like the people in the Bible, we’ll be able to experience more.
Read. Read the passage a couple times before heading out for a walk. (passage is below). If you have an audio version you can take with you on the walk, awesome.
Pray. Pray before heading out asking God to reveal himself to you in a new or different way.
Walk. This is one of my favorite parts. Walk and reflect on the passage. As you find yourself walking, picture the story happening right where you are. Imagine Jesus, the disciples, a crowd, a shouting person asking for help. Do you keep walking? Do you stop and just watch? Do you call someone else? Is it time to make fun of or chastise the person? Do we pray and ask God to send someone else so they can help?
Imagining the story like this helps me to be able to see God working in our day to day life. This also helps to remind me to look for opportunities to be present and see God, his people and his mission wherever I am.
Journal. I recommend journaling what you experienced, what God showed you on your walk. This way, it is easy to remember and we have a record we can go back and read later.
Pray. Pray again. This is a simple prayer of thanks. Thanking God for the opportunity to see the world as he sees it. Also, asking God to help us see the world and his people this way in all aspects of life.
Prayer walks are enjoyable to me. I hope God reveals himself to you as you try this exercise.
Next week, we begin a new series on “Giving Thanks.” We’ll have one devotional each week for the month of November, but there will be 7 things to pray for (one for each day of the week). I’m excited about this upcoming series and seeing what will happen when we take intentional time to thank and praise God, even the trials we experience.
Mark 10:46-52 (CEB)
Healing of blind Bartimaeus
Jesus and his followers came into Jericho. As Jesus was leaving Jericho, together with his disciples and a sizable crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, Timaeus’ son, was sitting beside the road. When he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was there, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, show me mercy!” Many scolded him, telling him to be quiet, but he shouted even louder, “Son of David, show me mercy!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him forward.” They called the blind man, “Be encouraged! Get up! He’s calling you.” Throwing his coat to the side, he jumped up and came to Jesus. Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said, “Teacher, I want to see.” Jesus said, “Go, your faith has healed you.” At once he was able to see, and he began to follow Jesus on the way.
Mark 10:44-45 Whoever wants to be first among you will be the slave of all, for the Son of Man didn’t come to be served but rather to serve and to give his life to liberate many people.
True greatness does not lie in the position one has in life. True greatness lies in the attitude and character of the person. Jesus is a great reminder how we should live our lives and sets the example. His priority was to move people into a relationship with God the Father. This was not done by force or even all talk. He lived what he preached.
There were times He got on to people (like the Pharisees and Sadducees) when they were using their position and power for their own good instead of the good of the Kingdom of God. Everywhere Jesus went He would heal and serve.
Imagine the incredible God we serve, coming down in human flesh and serving Hie creations. We may not always want to serve other people; but God does. It is awesome to see His work throughout the world.
Who can you serve this week?
Next week, we’ll conclude Mark 10 with the healing of the blind man. The sermon is “Gaining Sight.”
Mark 10:41-43 Now when the other ten disciples heard about this, they became angry with James and John. Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the ones who are considered the rulers by the Gentiles show off their authority over them and their high-ranking officials order them around. But that’s not the way it will be with you. Whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant.
There have been may times that something I have said has made another person, or even a group of people, angry or upset. I have gotten upset over words from another person (hearing a voice or via written message). We can easily allow what people say to upset us and let our emotions determine how we act.
This is how I imagine the disciples mindset at this point in time. I cannot blame them for feeling the way do at this point. It is easy to understand what might be going through their minds at this point. If they would have taken time to talk with James and John, would they have gotten angry? Would they be able to understand the brothers’ background and meet them where they were? Did the other ten disciples want to have the same position of greatness and were angry because they did not ask first?
I wonder if James and John understood why the other disciples were angry.
Jesus teaches his disciples about true greatness. He tells them that earthly position and authority are fragile. We should not strive to gain earthly recognition, but to strive for the glory of God.
To live for the glory of God means we live our life for something bigger than we are. When we do this, we become more humble. Becoming more humble means we begin to be a servant rather than a master. It seems backwards. Becoming a servant to become great. I think this makes good sense when we think about it. We cannot just jump to becoming an owner, we have to work for it. We have to be able to do the lowliest tasks in order to become ready for the bigger tasks.
“Whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant.”
Mark 10:38-40 Jesus replied, “You don’t know what you’re asking! Can you drink the cup I drink or receive the baptism I receive?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said, “You will drink the cup I drink and receive the baptism I receive, but to sit at my right or left hand isn’t mine to give. It belongs to those for whom it has been prepared.”
Ever have a moment when you feel you present your best case to someone and they just shut you down? I have. We can try to think through all the angles and the other person shows another angle we missed.
Jesus does this for James and John. It is very possible they asked Jesus to agree and grant their request before they ask they question because they figured Jesus may not respond favorably. They were right.
I love Jesus’ response here. “Can you…” Well, of course the disciples were going to say YES to whatever Jesus mentioned because they were trying to show they had what it takes to have the positions they were asking for. Jesus is trying to show them they really don’t know what they’re asking for; but they will one day.
Jesus talks about drinking the cup (living the destined purpose) and receiving the baptism (final cleaning of sin). Do you think if the disciples were not understanding the prediction of Jesus’ death that they really understood what Jesus was asking them? To me, this seems like a typical guy response. “Of course I can do that. If you can, I can.”
Jesus looks right through their response here and simply says they will drink the cup and receive the baptism. He was trying to tell them something about their future. James was the first disciple martyred and John was exiled to the island of Patmos. They lived as Jesus predicted they would live.
Jesus lived His earthly life always pointing people to God, God’s Kingdom, heaven; something bigger than His human life. It is difficult to explain the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit); but Jesus reminds the disciples and us that what we think we want in heaven while here on earth, there is something greater than we can imagine ahead.
Are you able to handle what Jesus gives? Are you able to handle the life Jesus calls you to?
With Christ, you can!
Mark 10:29-31 Jesus said, “I assure you that anyone who has left house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or farms because of me and because of the good news will receive one hundred times as much now in this life—houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and farms (with harassment)—and in the coming age, eternal life. But many who are first will be last. And many who are last will be first.”
Each day this week, we have been talking about letting go of what we’re holding on to that keeps us from truly experiencing grace. This passage today is one of the reasons Jesus is appealing to me. He shows that we shouldn’t have to worry about what position we have in this life because in the eyes of Christ, it’s not that important.
We can have may reasons why we should be in a certain position and placement. Jesus is basically saying here that we should not think higher of ourselves than we should. Jesus is with us in this life, and the next life. This is something incredible!
Becoming a Christian and believing in Christ means that we will have some separation from our “old” way of living to the way we are now called to live. This can and will feel painful to our human side; but there is so much more after coming to faith in Christ. We do not have to worry about what we have left behind because the life Christ lives with us now and the life to come is so much better.
Yes, there will be challenges and people trying to make us drop our faith; but Christ is with us. Hold on to this as you journey through your life! Jesus is with you and will not leave you!
Next week we begin a new five day series on Mark 10:32-45. The sermon is called “Being Great.”
Have a blessed weekend!
Mark 10:27 “Jesus looked at them carefully and said, “It’s impossible with human beings, but not with God. All things are possible for God.”
What does this verse mean to you? If I were to guess, I bet there are several ideas about what this means.
Remember, we should read this verse in context. Jesus just finished talking to a young rich man wanting to know how to enter into eternal life. Then the disciples are perplexed at how difficult it seems Jesus is making it to enter into eternal life and they just asked, “who can be saved?”
Now, Jesus says this. First of all, we should remember that we are saved by grace, by the Grace of God. It is God who has saved us, not anything we have done (see Ephesians 2:8-9). In this context, nothing is impossible with God!
But there is more. Look back at Genesis and God creating the entire world and heavens out of nothing. He created people, delivered His people, fought battles, sent angels, and so much more throughout the Scriptures. What an incredibly powerful God we serve and who has called us!
If our God has done all of this, what is there He could not do? We obviously want Him to intervene more often; but what if He does and we don’t see it? I think it is incredible how God has filled us with His Spirit. Our God is all around us and in us. God can and does work through His people. If He wanted to, He could end all evil right here, right now and everything would be perfect.
God is incredible and is with you. He has done the impossible and saved you. Because of Jesus Christ you are saved into eternal life. All we should do is accept and acknowledge this great gift.
God is powerful!
Mark 10:10-12 “Inside the house, the disciples asked him again about this. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if a wife divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
So, this week’s scripture focus from Mark 10:1-16 has been challenging. Possibly because this passage can bring up many feelings from many different people. I know I had some feelings come up as I am studying this passage and praying over this passage before the Sunday I preach on it. But, I think this is part of the point of scripture. We are not meant to be comfortable in our thinking or our lives. We are supposed to be challenged and dig deeper in to understanding so our lives reflect the life of Jesus Christ.
Jesus has said some vary definite statements to answer the Pharisees’ question about divorce. His disciples were with him and did not seem to understand what he said or even why he said what he did. I love how Jesus takes the time to explain to His disciples what he is teaching to the crowds.
I know when I tell my kids something, they may not understand why. It is important to help them understand so they can develop their minds and reasoning skills. Taking time to explain helps because it is something that will help them understand why they are doing what they’re doing.
It is challenging to me when people do not explain to me what’s going on. How do you feel when things are not explained to you?
A challenge we have for today is to look for opportunities to help those around us to understand by explaining. Helping their reasoning skills is important. Jesus did this for His disciples, and we can do the same thing. This is something I am working on daily.
Mark 10:1 “Jesus left that place and went beyond the Jordan and into the region of Judea. Crowds gathered around him again and, as usual, he taught them.”
This month we are looking at the 10th chapter in the Gospel of Mark. As we begin this new series, I invite you to open your heart and see what God may be speaking to you through the Scripture. (Click here for the sermon on Mark 1:1-16)
Reading through Mark 10 and you can see some difficult passages. Divorce, adultery, rich man told to leave behind possessions, figuring out who is the greatest and a blind beggar.
But today, we get to pause in the first verse.
Think about your normal day. What does it involve? Waking up, breakfast, going to work, lunch, going home, dinner, trying to relax, bed, and then start all over? Any memorable conversations?
I think what we do in our day to day lives is of more importance than anything we do. Our habits are formed, health, etc. These are the moments when we are living real life. Life is the little moments we do daily. We do not have to go out of our way to say we’re “living life.”
I love the line, “And crowds gathered around him; and, as was his custom, he taught them.” Jesus’ “normal” life was being surrounded by people. It was very hard to schedule who he could meet with because you never knew who would show up. But he did not let that stop him. His details he had to do each day were in the midst of talking and teaching people. He taught them about the Kingdom of God.
Imagine how our lives would be if we made this our priority. Everything we do would certainly give God glory (like Colossians 3:17 says it should); and we would lead people to see and experience the Living God.
Jesus’ “normal” day was not written in a schedule, it was being where he needed to be. We have our days scheduled, but what if the people we meet with and talk with are the very people God had scheduled for us to meet? Maybe we need to hear what they have to say. Maybe, just maybe, our normal day is more special than we realize.
James 5:13 “If any of you are suffering, they should pray. If any of you are happy, they should sing.”
This week we are entering into the final week of our series on James. We’ll be focusing this week on prayer and it’s power.
“Are any of you suffering?” This is the first thing we come to is the idea of suffering. I find that we tend to over think suffering and try to make this as something really bad. This is one of the reasons, I believe, many people avoid praying because our “problems” or “issues” may not seem big enough to “bother” God with our “little lives.”
Suffering is defined as, “pain that is caused by injury, illness, loss, etc. : physical, mental, or emotional pain sufferings : feelings of pain.” So, with this definition, we all suffer on some level.
One thing I would like to take care of first is reminding us that, no matter how small or insignificant we think our problems or issues are, God loves when we communicate our “sufferings.”
The Apostle Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:6, “Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks.” Anything we go through or have on our minds or hearts, we can bring up to God and express our thoughts and our feelings. We don’t not have to be in a place where we think our problems are big enough for God. We have a God who wants us to bring to Him any and every part of our life.
Praying is a sense of release of the burdens we carry on our hearts. This means that we have a chance to experience joy. Through joy, we can sing our praises. Singing expresses joy in our hearts. This joy is then expressed throughout our actions and our relationships.
What is it you need to pray about today (big or small) to release it off your heart and allow God to fill your spirit with joy and happiness?
The best part is that it doesn’t require any special words or phrases. Simply talk with God as you would another person.
: pain that is caused by injury, illness, loss, etc. : physical, mental, or emotional pain