Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lesson 14 ~ Mark 11-12

I'm sure all of you had a wonderful Christmas holiday and spent time with your friends and family. The more I scale down my decorations and “feasting” commitments, the more time I can focus my thoughts of The Greatest Gift of all.
 One most special and wondrous event was my “Christmas at the Library.” It was my pleasure to share the Christmas Story through children’s books with hundreds of children and adults. As Story Reader I rotated with three ladies.  My break time allowed me the opportunity to go outside and meet the people. One purpose was to let parents and children know about the Story time location and hours.  
The slide shows the live Nativity scene which attracted the most children (of all ages.) Notice the mother sheep, great with “child”( lamb), and her friend a young zebra who constantly stayed by her side.
Her due date was mid December. Each night I watched with interest. How good is our God! The days were accomplished that she should be delivered. “ Luke 2:6 Can you guess when the twins were born? This photo came from a friend who works at BGEA. 
Several nights I was able to work outside with Leigh and Nancy Sabol with the Carriage Rides.
Questions! Questions! Questions! “How was your Christmas? Did you travel? Were you able to celebrate with the family? Did you eat plenty of good food?” Most of these questions were asked by friends and family who love you and expressed interest because they care.
Our lesson this week is also about the questions Jesus was asked by different groups as He taught in the temple. These questions were not asked in loving concern or even for the exchange of knowledge. These questions were to set a trap for Jesus, to find some fault in his ministry, to catch him breaking the Jewish laws, or blasphemy.
Lesson 14: Mark 11:27 – 12:44 (“Jesus Meets Increasing Hostility”) My question is
Does Jesus have authority in your life?  
·        Question of Authority 11:27-33
·        The Parable of the Tenants 12:1-12:12
·        More Questions 12:13-34
·        Acceptable Sacrifice 12:35-44
The time for Jesus to fulfill His ultimate purpose was getting close. Before Christmas we studied Mark 11. The events included Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the cleansing of the temple.
We are going to take another look at the temple. The outer courtyard, the Court of the Gentiles, was accessible to all. Further inside was a latticed barrier, made of stone, prohibiting non-Jews and non-purified or blemished Jews from going further.
Most Jews would go straight to the Court of Women. Name because that was as far as women could go. Notice it elevated from the Gentile area. Do you think that is significant? Let’s take a closer look.
Jesus did most of His teaching in this courtyard sometimes called the Treasury, because this was where offerings were collected. In this close-up, notice the many steps to the Court of Israel where only men could enter.
Application:  How many of you are in a small study group or book club? You get together and discuss what the author meant by this phrase or how the characters interacted.
That’s how I interpret this picture. Jesus is sitting casually chatting amicably with others about the law. See the one of the religious leader going up the stairs to the Court of Israel.
After the cleansing of the temple each group is now desperate to stop Him and will use any means necessary.
The Question of Authority Jesus' spoke with such authority. It threatened the power of the Pharisees. These Pharisees and Herodians, Sadducees, and scribes were challenging Jesus posing a variety of questions trying to confound and discredit Jesus, and to turn His followers against Him.”  
Matthew 21:23, Mark 11:28, & Luke 20:2 "By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?" On this occasion, because of the hardness of their hearts in rejecting John the Baptist, Jesus did not answer their question directly. Jesus used another question instead to find the true purpose of the inquirer.
Mark 11:29 “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.”
Have you ever been in a conversation especially family or your children and you decided that no answer would be your best answer?  That’s how the Pharisees felt! Either answer would get them in trouble.
Does Jesus have authority in your heart?
Is there some area of your life that you haven't surrendered fully to his authority?
The Parable of the Tenants is one of the last parables Jesus will share. 
The vineyard is a familiar image in Israel. Throughout the Old Testament:
·        Genesis 9-Noah planted a vineyard.
·        Judges 15-Samson burns the fields and vineyards of the Philistines.
·        1 Kings-King Ahaz killed Naboth to steal his vineyard.
·        Proverbs 31 woman planted a vineyard.
There are 185 references to vine or vineyard in the KJV of the Bible.
Mark 12:1 And He began to speak unto them by parables: "A certain man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge about it, and dug a place for the wine vat, and built a watchtower; and he leased it out to husbandmen and went into a far country.
In Israel most common people were familiar tenant farming.  Wealthy landowners rented an out their land. When the season came, he sent a servant[a] to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed.  This was repeated many times until he sent his beloved son.
Jim Peacock “The arrival of the son and heir was the owner’s final attempt to solve the problem of the dishonest and cruel tenants.  Despite the warning contained in this parable,Israel killed its promised Messiah according to “God’s set purpose and foreknowledge” (Acts 2:23).  However, in God’s plan of salvation the rejection of the Son of God by Israel gave the Gentiles their opportunity of becoming the people of God.  The awesome and wonderful grace of God turned the disaster of Israel’s rebellion into a blessing for all nations.”
Are you willing to give him the first fruits of your possessions?
Does Jesus have authority in your life?
More Questions 12:13-34
SLIDE 15 Most are familiar with the question referring to our responsibility (13-17) paying taxes to Caesar or the government.
Are you rendering to God the things that are God’s: your money, your talents, your time?
·        18-27 question of 7 brothers marrying the same childless widow. It was ridiculous because Sadd-u-cees do not believe in resurrection.
v.24 “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?
*When Jesus said we would be like angels, He did not mean we would be transformed into angels with wings. But there would no longer be a need to procreate as man and wife.
Question of Greatest Commandment is our memory verse Mark 12:30-31
This scribe was one instance of a positive response to Jesus. 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
How about you? Do you study the scriptures and the power of God in your life?
Does Jesus have authority in your life?
Acceptable Sacrifice 12:35-44

Treasury of the Temple was the Outer Court. There were various types of offerings, and thirteen different offering boxes to collect them all.

Jesus was in this area when a poor widow presented her offering to God as described in Mark 12:41-44  “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
Our bodies should be a living sacrifice. The greatest commandment requires showing complete love to God of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second was to love your neighbor.
Are you willing to make an acceptable sacrifice to God?
Are you willing to make sacrifice for your neighbor?
Does Jesus have authority over everything in your life?
After an amazing and uplifting New Year's Eve at our church, too excited to sleep, I checked my e-mail. This subject line caught my eye.
Will YOU volunteer to help the Homeless for 1 night this winter??
* My Pastor reminded us that Jesus owned no home or wealth as He walked this earth. Now I want to appeal to you to have a “heart reboot” for the homeless in Gaston County.
Many of us could be one step away from needing financial help ourselves! Through my church and CBS, I have come to know homeless women, women who were unable to pay their rent or take a hot bath in the winter time.
This urgent appeal is for overflow homeless shelter through this winter season. I am contacting churches and organizations to secure teams of two or three.
Ideally one man and one woman to watch care from 8:30 pm to 6 am. So far I have had 3 responses. Katie and Glenda have offered to stay with me one night.
Angela Dreher, Executive Director and founder of As One Ministries, Inc. Operates Day Shelter and Resource Center for Homeless Individuals and Families.
The Day Shelter provides breakfast and lunch, clothing and provides training and transportation for job interviews and medical care. There are many areas to volunteer through the day.
Call Angela on her mobile 704-460-0773
Call As One Ministries 704-862-6079 (volunteer staff answer 8:30AM – 4PM),  
Angela spends most of her time and even her nights at the shelter.
The winter shelter will be open through the end of February on every night where the temperature is expected to fall below 40 degrees. Unfortunately, on nights where it is expected to be above 40 degrees, homeless folks are on their own. If there were enough volunteers, the shelter would be open every night, but right now she only has volunteers for 4 nights. I am leaving after the lecture tonight to spend my first night at the shelter.
Won't you walk in His steps and care for the least of these. Let's get out of our comfort zone. We need to put feet to our faith and be His arms and feet. Pair up with a buddy to share Jesus’ warmth with the less fortunate.

Please turn your bibles to Matthew 25:34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

Are you willing to walk a mile in your neighbor shoes? Remember the story of the Good Samaritan. Let's call the homeless The Samaritan. Are you willing to sacrifice your comfort, your time to help take care of the least of these.

Are you willing to give God authority over your life?


Lord, giver of all, we enjoy greater privileges than Israel had.  Help us to bear the fruit that we should, and show our thankfulness to you by offering praises from the heart, and by helping those who are in need.
                                                Jim Peacock MA in Theology