As much as they loved Jesus, their love was still a selfish love. It was about “what I get” instead of “what I give”. Being “great” in the kingdom was more important than being a servant in the kingdom. They were looking expectantly for the “Kingdom of God” and had no understanding of what the “Kingdom of God” was truly about.
In the book of Amos we are told, “Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! Why would you have the day of the LORD? It is darkness, and not light.” Amos 5:18. Our churches just don’t get it. Like the disciples, we sing our praises, whoop and holler while talking about the coming of Jesus. How excited we get thinking we are going to Heaven when Jesus comes. The older we get, the closer His coming seems.
There will be a lot of “weeping and wailing” when Jesus comes. All those church-going “Christians” who thought they were going to heaven will be very disappointed. The reality is simple, we need to be teaching people how to prepare for the “day of the Lord” through hard work, sacrifice and obedience to the Ten Commandments. Going to church and watching people on TV tell us He is coming soon, isn’t going to get you into heaven.
Mark 9:1 to Mark 10:52
And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”
I can just imagine how that made the disciples excited. They must have been thinking to themselves and saying, “Yes! The Kingdom of God is coming in my lifetime.” Sounds like a lot of people today. “Oh, Jesus is coming in 5 years.” “It can’t be more than ten years before Jesus comes.” I’ve heard it all since I was born in 1951. Like the disciples, church members are not really interested in truth. They just go along with the hype and believe their church and what they hear in the media. For those of you not in prison who want to learn what events still need to be fulfilled before Jesus will come, do our Bible studies and watch our videos at: www.jcpm.com. For those in prison, read the book, “Change Your Life Biblically”.
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them.
Peter, James and John were now experiencing the “Kingdom of God” in metaphor. Jesus was clothed in the glory that He will come with at His second coming. His divinity flashed through His humanity. The disciples were able to catch a glimpse of the “Kingdom of God”.
And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.
Well, the disciples thought Elijah and Moses were coming to help Jesus set up the “Kingdom of God” on earth. They weren’t. They were here to encourage Jesus in His work for the “Kingdom of God”. To enter the “Kingdom of God” much sacrifice is required. Elijah and Moses had been through much sacrifice, hardship and trouble. They were able to encourage Jesus in what He was about to go through.
If Jesus failed in His mission, Moses and Elijah would have had to come back to this planet and die eternally. How much encouraging do you think they were giving Jesus? How much do you encourage people to stay true to Jesus and live as He lived: perfect, sinless and commandment keeping? “He saves men, not in sin, but from sin; and those who love Him will show their love by obedience. . . . When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience.” DA 668.
Elijah represented those who would be translated at the end of time without seeing death. They are the ones who will be living for seven months after the close of probation without sin. They will be taken off this planet as Elijah was. Moses represented those who will be resurrected at the end of time. They will join the translated ones in meeting Jesus in the air. That was the “Kingdom of God” in miniature. The righteous dead, raised to life, together with the living righteous meeting Jesus at His second coming. Are you preparing yourself to be included in the “Kingdom of God”?
And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
Typical of people. Let us build denominations, churches, religions and other “monuments” to Jesus, “saints” and other “righteous” people. But let us not change our hearts and lives to live the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life. It is much easier to pretend we care by going to church than to actually care by changing our characters for heaven.
For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified.
Most denominations, churches, religions, pastors, ministers and leaders have no idea what they are saying. It is all about pride, ego and arrogance. Money, money, money.
And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”
That is all God wants: “Listen to Him!” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our denominations, churches, religions, pastors, teachers and ministers actually “listen to Him” instead of talking about Him. But instead, they go to colleges, seminaries and church to listen to human nonsense. None of it is listening to Jesus and living in obedience to what He says to do.
And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.
That is precisely where we should be: alone with Jesus. “Jesus only” is to be our mantra. No “church”, no monuments, no denominations, no religions - Jesus and Jesus only. God the Father did not tell the disciples to go to church, set up a denomination or start a religion. He told them to “Listen to Him”. Are you?
And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
There is a time and place for everything. How often we want to “share” every good thing that comes our way. I know I do. But I have been learning over the years that one person’s joy and excitement may be another person’s dread and fear. What was so wonderful to Peter, James and John was death to the church leaders. We must be very careful in our presentations, remembering that timing is everything.
So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean.
Our anticipations are never in line with realities. God sees reality. We see our emotional wants, fantasies and desires. The disciples could not fathom what Jesus was talking about. However, after the event, it all became clear. I share the information Jesus is giving me, knowing that very few, right now, understand it. But there will come a day when events will come about in which the Spirit of God will be able to awaken memory and people will “see” and understand what God is putting out through this ministry.
And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?”
Again, they were so brainwashed by the church their first thoughts were to migrate back to what the church taught. They still didn’t understand that it wasn’t about what their church was teaching, it was about what Jesus was teaching.
And he said to them, “Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”
John the Baptist was the “Elijah” for their day. God raised up this ministry to be another voice in the desert putting out the teachings of Jesus to stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments to get eternal life. We have to stop the sin in our lives. We must repent and turnto God, away from our churches, pride, ego and own opinions. Churches, religions, independent ministries and denominations are the greatest hindrance to our eternal life. We have become so brainwashed by these “religious” institutions we are unable to see the truth.
And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them.
Church loves to argue. It is very important for churches to put on a show of power, authority and “we know”. Churches and people with their own opinions, ego and pride are very defensive. They have to be “right”. Church does not want anyone, including God, taking authority away from them.
And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him.
Jesus is amazing. When we let go of the fighting, arguing and fussing over that which has nothing to do with eternal life, we will greet Jesus and find the peace He offers.
And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?”
Absolutely! What is all the arguing about? Oh! Pride, ego, authority, power and money. Yep, that will always produce arguing.
And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, . . .
Yet, when it came right down to it, none of that helped the father or his son, did it? None of that arguing brought any joy to the father. It only sidetracked the father and the disciples from what was really important: the healing of the son.
. . . for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.”
Of course they were not able. They were way too busy arguing and fighting with themselves and the church. The church wanted their submission. The disciples wanted to be “first” and the power that was to come with the new “Kingdom of God”. Pride and ego, authority and power, money and status. The boy was forgotten.
And, oh yes, it was the evil spirit that “seizes him” and “throws him down” and “he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid”. God does not do that. If you see that taking place in your church, TV or the internet, run for your life.
And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.”
What a statement! For over 6,000 years Jesus has been with us and we still don’t get it. He has been working and working and working for our salvation, and we still don’t get it. He brought the Israelites out of Egypt and gave them signs and miracles again and again and they still didn’t get it. He became so angry He let that generation die in the desert. If we don’t get it quickly, it won’t be long before we will be left to die on this planet.
And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth.
The spirit of the devil was delighted to show his power. He could make the boy fall down. He could make the boy roll around foaming at his mouth. He made the boy convulse. None of that brought joy, peace and happiness to the boy or his father. I think that too many of us are allowing the spirit of the devil to convulse our lives, throw us down and roll us about. We need to get out of the devil’s playground and go to Jesus.
And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood.
How long have you been troubled by evil spirits? How long have you been affected by sin? Aren’t you tired of it? Do you want healing?
And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Do you feel helpless? Do you feel like you have been cast into fire or into water? Do you at times feel that everything you have worked for is burning up? Do you feel at times that you are drowning in the troubles of this world? Have you thought that God can’t do anything about it?
And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”
The devil tries so hard to destroy our lives, our peace and our joy. So many times I have felt abandoned by God. But then, I remember, all things are possible for one who believes. Then I fall at the feet of Jesus and cry out for His help.
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
“Unbelief” doesn’t mean we “don’t believe”, it means we lack the belief that makes it real in our lives. I can “believe” that I can ride in a wheelbarrow being pushed by a tightrope walker across the Niagara, but that doesn’t mean I “believe” enough to get into the wheelbarrow. Most have the first belief. Few have the second. We need to develop working belief in our lives. A belief that actually trusts God and takes Him at His Word. If we do that, the “unclean spirit” of sin we carry in us will be evicted and we will live the perfect, sinless and Commandment keeping life.
And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.”
When our old life is put to death, we may seem to be dead. However, it is the only way to receive the new life Jesus offers.
But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
After putting to death the old life, we must let Jesus take us by the hand and lift us up in a new life. Only the power of God can give us the new life. We may shine ourselves up, put on new clothes, eat vegan, stop smoking, put the bottle and drugs down and sit in church, but all of that has nothing to do with eternal life. Only a new life, a new heart, a new perspective from Jesus will give you eternal life.
And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”
Few people sincerely ask that question in their own lives. I’m constantly asking the Lord why something went wrong, how it could have been changed, did I goof up and need to change something in my life? I want to please the Lord. I have had a lot of bad habits to change over the years. Little by little the Lord, in His grace, has been helping me to see them and change them.
“Man would have dispensed with that long period of toil and obscurity, deeming it a great loss of time. But Infinite Wisdom called him who was to become the leader of his people to spend forty years in the humble work of a shepherd. The habits of caretaking, of self-forgetfulness and tender solicitude for his flock, thus developed, would prepare him to become the compassionate, longsuffering shepherd of Israel. No advantage that human training or culture could bestow, could be a substitute for this experience.
“Moses had been learning much that he must unlearn. The influences that had surrounded him in Egypt—the love of his foster mother, his own high position as the king’s grandson, the dissipation on every hand, the refinement, the subtlety, and the mysticism of a false religion, the splendor of idolatrous worship, the solemn grandeur of architecture and sculpture—all had left deep impressions upon his developing mind and had molded, to some extent, his habits and character. Time, change of surroundings, and communion with God could remove these impressions. It would require on the part of Moses himself a struggle as for life to renounce error and accept truth, but God would be his helper when the conflict should be too severe for human strength.” PP 247-248.
And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
It takes lots of prayer. Constantly praying and asking. There are so many variables, and yet God is patient as I work through them to find out what it really is that is hindering this or preventing that. That is how this ministry has grown over the years.
They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.”
The “Gospel” as is taught by the churches, religions and denominations of today was totally unknown to the disciples in Christ’s day. Jesus wasn’t teaching a gospel of His birth, life, death and resurrection to the public. He “did not want anyone to know” about His death while teaching His disciples. The “Gospel” Jesus and the disciples taught the public was the “Good News” that we can live the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life in order to get our eternal life. Now that’s Good News! Matthew 4:23; 9:35, Mark 1:14,15.
But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
Most people today do not understand the teachings of Jesus. They also are “afraid to ask Him” for fear of the truth. They love the lies and fables taught in their churches, denominations, independent ministries and religions. Some things in the Bible “are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, leading to their own destruction, as they do the rest of the Scriptures.” 2 Peter 3:16. “Saved by Grace” (which is not in the Bible), is so much easier to believe and live than “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. Philippians 2:12. Jesus told us we have to “strive to enter” (Luke 13:24) the Kingdom of God by living the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life. Not a teaching people want to hear. Now you understand why the church put Jesus on the cross. Few will be saved.
And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?”
We do the same. We think we are “hiding” our discussions from Jesus when we talk about this and talk about that to each other. We would rather not have Jesus listening in on our selfish ambitions. However, you can’t keep anything secret from Jesus. He knows it all.
But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest.
Yep, let’s get together and discuss who to put in as president of the club, or chairman of the school board or director of the church board and pastor of the church. We plan and argue about who is the greatest and who gets what, while all the time we forget to see Jesus standing there with a crown of thorns on His head, a spear in His side and nails in His hands and feet. Aren’t we so self-righteous.
And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
Have you ever eaten at a place where they had a “servant”? You know, those people that bring you the food, ask if you are enjoying yourself and clean up after you. I haven’t seen many school board or church board members doing that. Have you? Have you ever been to a wealthy home? I have. As a photographer I did lots of work in homes with servants. Trust me when I say, they are not proud. They are not asked for their opinions about this or that. They “SERVE”. They do their duties. That is all they do. Our churches, denominations and religions of today have no understanding of what it means to be a Christian and “SERVE”.
And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
And yet, not many in our churches are as humble, forgiving and accepting as children. A child gets stepped on, pushed over or slighted, and he brushes it off, forgives and is ready to keep on playing; much like my pit bull when I step on his foot. He says, “Daddy, that hurt. But I forgive you and love you. Let me kiss you”. And then He slobbers all over my face and wants to play. How quickly they forget the hurts. What love. What acceptance. When was the last time you saw that behavior in your church?
John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.”
John thought nothing strange about his behavior. After all, isn’t that what church is all about? Us versus them! “You are not part of our group; therefore, you are not of God - stop that!” “You don’t belong to our church and can’t be of God!” Isn’t that why you belong to your church? You probably think it makes you a “Christian” to belong to your church. It doesn’t.
But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me.
Again, churches are so evil. Church isn’t about “do you belong to Jesus”? It’s, “do you belong to MY church?” God could care less about your church. God wants you to belong to Jesus. Do you?
For the one who is not against us is for us.
Are you against those of us who do not belong to your church? This ministry belongs to no church. It belongs to Jesus. He started it. He keeps it going. He moves the hearts that donate to it. He dictates and directs the material coming from it. Yet, Jesus refuses to make it a “church” with membership simply for that reason. Belonging to Jesus isn’t about where you sit on Sabbath, it’s about Who you walk with all week long.
I went to our local church one Sabbath. They were in such a rush to keep on schedule, do all the right rituals, keep to the script and get out on time, they had no time for Jesus. It was all “religion” but not one person repented of his sins or confessed. After all, there wasn’t time for that! However, it was a great Catholic tradition.
For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.
God would feel a whole lot better about your “church” if it removed the pews for stinking butts and replaced them with tables to feed the hungry and bunks to house the homeless, then He would know you “belong to Christ”.
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
So let me get this straight, is Jesus talking about those who give a cup of cold water to those who need it? If so, churches need a large millstone around their necks. Most people give to the church to pay high salaries and keep the church looking good for their selfish feelings and the poor get nothing. No wonder Revelation talks about the destruction of all the churches of today.
And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.
Is your hand involved with church instead of feeding the hungry? Is your hand involved with your church instead of housing the homeless? When was the last time you gave a cup of cold water to one who needed it? When was the last time you opened up a bedroom to a homeless person?
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell.
Are your feet taking you to church instead of the homeless shelter? Are your feet taking you to church sponsored activities instead of the hungry?
And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’
Is your eye busy reading your church papers instead of the Word of God? Is your eye looking at church people instead of homeless people? Is your eye looking at the potluck dinner your church is giving instead of the hungry people at a soup kitchen? Are you so busy watching religious programs you have no time for Jesus?
For everyone will be salted with fire.
Fire can do two things. It can destroy, or it can purify. What will it do to you? If you let the fire of God’s Spirit into your life now, it will purify you through service to the poor, the hungry and the homeless in order to prepare you for Heaven. If you are going to church, you will be burned up by His fire at the last day.
Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
Not much peace in the “Christian” world today. It is so selfish, self-righteous, bigoted, egotistical, prideful and downright wicked. Church, church, church is all the “Christian” world talks about. Churches have their “causes”, but not Jesus. Jesus said He wished they would shut the church doors. They don’t want to learn from Jesus. Revelation says that at this time in earth’s history, Jesus is no longer in the churches. He is standing outside knocking to be let back in. Revelation 3:20. But churches don’t want Him.
And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again. And again, as was his custom, he taught them.
Yep, He left the “good” church people and went back to the sinners.
And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
We do the same today. So much nonsense in churches. Arguing, fighting over words and concepts. Trying to “outdo” each other in showing off our church knowledge. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people would “show off” their Christianity?
He answered them, “What did Moses command you?”
Pretty simple, go to the Bible. But people don’t want what the Bible has to say, they want their church to reinterpret the Bible to make it easier to look like being a Christian. Obeying the Bible as it is; that’s too hard for church people.
They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.”
See, even Moses was carried away by the desires of wicked people. It is easy to do. He was human and made mistakes.
And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.
There are a lot of “sins” that are overlooked by God. They would not be tolerated in Heaven. However, down here on this sinful planet, they are “Okay” for now. The Bible calls it being “winked” at (Acts 17:30). For example, there is no killing in heaven. Yet, down here on this sinful world, God commanded a lot of killing to take place.
But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
God has enjoined much that the churches are separating today. God has enjoined us to be joined to Him. Yet the churches are separating man from his God. God has enjoined us to come to Him, yet churches tell us to “come to church”. God has commanded us to go to His Ten Commandments and live in obedience to them. The churches teach us we can’t keep the Ten Commandments. That is why in Revelation the churches of today are called whores. God calls what the churches are doing today “adultery”.
And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
That was correct. That was a legal statement. They were adulterers! But in a sinful world, God “winks” at some illegal activity. That is why John tells us, “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray that God would give him life. This applies to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death.” 1 John 5:16. Churches get so “high and mighty” and point out “sins”, while all the time they are the biggest sinners. We need to bow our heads, humbly loving all and making sure we are living the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life.
And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them.
Way too many are being “rebuked” by the “good” church people. Our churches are full of rebuking for this, rebuking for that, pointing fingers, griping and complaining about others. We should not hinder anyone who has a heart to come to Jesus. Don’t lead them to church, lead them to Jesus.
But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
In churches, at least in the churches that go to church on Sabbath, during the Sabbath School part, the adults sit in the sanctuary while the children get shoved off to other departments. I wonder if we should reverse that concept and send the adults away and let the children have the main sanctuary? Ok, just shut the doors and take the children to the park, the forest or the meadow and teach them to walk with Jesus.
Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
Nothing there about what church you belong to. Nothing there about the church office you hold. Nothing there about how much you know. Nothing there about anything our churches talk and brag about. The Kingdom of God is about living the perfect, sinless and Commandment keeping life. No different than a child living in obedience to his parents.
And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
That’s it! What must I do to inherit eternal life? We need to be asking ourselves that question every day. Lord, what must I do today for my eternal life? Then, don’t go to church or your pastor, go to Jesus and learn from Him.
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
You can flatter Jesus all you want, but it won’t get you into heaven. You can praise Him, throw a banquet for Him, go to church and sing songs about Him, but it won’t get you into Heaven.
You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’”
That is all that counts for eternal life - knowing and obeying the Ten Commandments. All Heaven is obedient to the Ten Commandments. The disobedient renegades were kicked out about 6,000 years ago and none will be allowed back in. “Whenever one renounces sin, which is the transgression of the law, his life will be brought into conformity to the law, into perfect obedience.” CCh 295.
And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.”
That is exactly what good church people say. Teacher, I’ve been going to church on the Sabbath all my life. I’ve memorized the Ten Commandments. I’ve done what the church has told me to do.
And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
But going to church on the Sabbath won’t get you into heaven. Belonging to a denomination won’t get you into heaven. Claiming to be a “Christian” won’t get you into Heaven. Believing in God or creation or Noah’s Ark or Jesus, etc., will do nothing for your eternal life. The man was coveting. He was a liar. He broke the ninth and tenth commandments. Wealth God had given him was kept to himself. Oh, I’m sure he gave a dollar or two when it made him feel or look good. I’m sure he put a few dollars into the church. He may even have paid his tithes regularly and exactly. But he was not sacrificing himself for the good of the poor. His treasure was in his ego, pride, wealth and church. He was breaking the Ten Commandments.
Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
There are a lot of wealthy church people who are doctors, lawyers, business people, etc., who are going away very sorrowfully from Jesus. They go to church where they are praised, looked upon with reverence and esteem and even hold church office. They give mightily to the church and church organizations, but in the sight of God, they are wretched, miserable, blind, naked and will be destroyed.
And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”
Their salvation is in their wealth, their church and their beliefs. They have worked hard and long for the things of this world. They look upon themselves as “blessed by God”, when in reality God does not know them, nor do they know God.
And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
The “eye of a needle” was a small gate in a city wall. Under siege it could be opened discretely to send out runners and bring in supplies. But to do so, the camel would have to get on its knees, unload its burdens and crawl through the gate. Wealthy people don’t want to unload their baggage or crawl on their knees. It is way too humbling.
So, who can be saved? Zacchaeus is an example of a wealthy person working his way to heaven. When the Saviour spoke to him, he gladly gave up half his wealth to the poor and repaid four times to anyone he had cheated. He obeyed the Old Testament when repenting of his sins. Jesus was more important to him than anything he had. I don’t see many “Zacchaeuses” in the church today. Interesting to note, Zacchaeus didn’t give to the church. Praise God!
Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.”
People thought I was crazy to leave everything for Jesus. I am so glad I did. Even though I have nothing, I have everything I need. I praise God for this ministry. I praise God for those who sacrifice and give their tithes and offerings consistently every month in order to support this little ministry. Those who donate every month may not have much, yet, from those who communicate with me I have learned that God is taking very good care of them.
Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
God will provide. However, that providing comes with lots of persecutions, troubles and problems. We don’t make this world our home. As such, the life we lead will cause problems. Yet, God is able to take good care of us as we live for Him.
But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Those with so much now will find themselves without anything. Those with nothing will find themselves with everything.
And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.
Many today who think they are walking with Jesus are either walking ahead, following behind or to the right or to the left. Many are either amazed or afraid. However, if we walk with Jesus, we have nothing to fear. He will take care of everything. Fear comes because we are afraid we won’t get what we want. If you have no wants, you have no fear. That is one reason the Bible tells us not to covet, but to be content with what we have. If you have what you need, it doesn’t matter if it gets taken, God will take care of you.
Those going with Jesus up to Jerusalem were amazed and fearful because they were amazed Jesus was going where He was hated, and fearful that their expectations would not be realized. We do the same. We want God to do for us and we fear He may not do what we want. How sad. He has given His life for us. We are so self-absorbed.
And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”
Over and over and over again Jesus kept trying to warn them and prepare them. They were not listening. Their wants and expectations were too big to fit into God’s plans. They were still expecting Jesus to take the Throne of David and rule an earthly kingdom. Church indoctrination is so very hard to overcome.
And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Jesus is sharing with them about His death, and here are James and John thinking only about themselves. “What do you want Me to do for you?” What a selfless heart. Jesus never thought about Himself. With all He knew He was going to go through for them, He took the time to listen to their selfish wants.
And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”
Same in our lives. Glory, pride, ego, status and ambition - that is all we think about in our human condition. We really need to change and become like Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
Jesus was going up to Jerusalem to give His life for them. Would they be willing to do the same for Him?
And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, . . .
Jesus knew their futures. He knew that James would be the first to die. He knew that John would be the last. He knew they would gladly be baptized with the baptism Jesus was going to undergo for them. Yet, at this time, neither of them knew their futures. They didn’t know themselves. How patient and loving Jesus is with us. Are we as patient and loving with those around us? I’m working on it.
. . .but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
Jesus loves to give. In all my reading of the Bible I have found only a couple of instances where Jesus was not able to grant a request. We are told in Matthew that the Father was in charge of those positions. It was up to the Father, not Jesus, to grant them. God is love. In my life He has granted every request, even if it wasn’t good for me. Therefore, I am learning to be very careful in what I ask for and end my prayers, “They will be done”.
And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John.
Even though the disciples had been with Jesus for about three and a half years, their hearts were still not changed. If they had died at this point, they would not have been ready for Heaven. This is why all the church-going one does, all the singing and praising of Jesus one does, all the money one gives for Jesus, none of it will get you into heaven. Heaven is a character thing. As long as we have selfishness in our lives, thinking about “me” instead of love for others, we will never make it to Heaven. The other disciples were “indignant at James and John”. They were still earthly, selfish, prideful and full of ego. The lessons of Jesus they knew in their minds, but their hearts had not yet been affected. There was still way too much church in them.
Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
In this evil world, power, authority and being “great” is everything. Our media is filled with being popular, being “in”, being accepted and having power. It is all about “influence”. None of that will get you into Heaven.
But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.
In our reading of Mark, we have come across this concept of “servant” and “slave” over and over again. However, their church brainwashing refused to understand the concept. It was too foreign for them to comprehend. Churches are all about power, authority, money, prestige, control and ego.
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
In the Old Testament, Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah and John the Baptist understood the concept of the Messiah giving “His life as a ransom for many”. They were susceptible to the workings of the Spirit of God and could look upon the animal sacrifices as an example of the Messiah’s sacrifice for the world. Therefore, their hearts were humble, filled with service for their Master who would sacrifice His life for them. But the church had so ritualized the sacrifices, the meanings were no longer taught and thus the hearts of church members were not able to understand the work and life of the Messiah.
And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Many inmates are crying out to God: “have mercy on me”. They don’t know Jesus. They have never seen a “true” Christian. They have heard of Jesus and in their hearts there is a faint understanding that Jesus can help them.
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.
But many rebuke them and try to extinguish the flicker of flame in the heart. However, there are those who will not give up. They know their lives are filled with darkness. Their lives are blind, and they want to see.
But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were people willing to call the blind inmates and lead them to Jesus? God has called this ministry to flood the prisons with the “calling” so the blind may find Jesus. Jesus thanks each of you who support this ministry. You are a team member in helping this ministry in its calling.
And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.
Many inmates are “throwing off” their old cloaks and coming to Jesus. They are tired of the old life. They want a new life.
And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Jesus is always willing to answer our requests. Notice, though, we have to do the asking. We have to make the effort. He knows what we need, yet He can’t force us to take it. He can’t make us. He can’t provide for our “wants” if we do not know what we “want”. But when we come to Him, asking in faith, . . .
And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.”
. . . Jesus will answer our requests.
And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.
Will you go to Jesus, right now, and ask Him to give you a new life? Will you throw away your old church life and let Jesus give you a new, living life, a life that can “see”? Then rise up and follow Jesus and Jesus alone.