Devotions for Mark 1:1-11
March 14-20, 2016
Monday, March 14, 2016
“He sent two of his disciples” (Mark 11:1).
Grampa and Gramma were coming and certain things needed to be done before their arrival. Extra food had to be purchased and some special treats baked. The guest bedroom needed to be straightened up. Room needed to be made in the closet so Grampa and Gramma could hang up their clothes. The children had their tasks, too. They needed to tidy up their rooms and create a “Welcome” banner. Making preparations for guests is something that we all do.
Jesus was arriving at Jerusalem after a long journey. Jerusalem was the seat of Jewish religious power and the center of Roman rule. Jesus knew what lay ahead and in order to accomplish what needed to be done preparations needed to be made. Jesus sent two of his disciples ahead to prepare the way.
Like the first disciples, we too have been sent ahead to prepare for Jesus’ arrival. We do this by continuing Jesus’ ministry. We proclaim the good news of Jesus and share God’s love and grace by our words and actions. Looking around us, we are able to see many things we can do to make preparation for Jesus’ arrival.
Jesus, as we prepare your way we say, “Come, Lord Jesus, come.”
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
“Immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt” (Mark 11:2a).
Jesus was not going to sneak into Jerusalem like a criminal, nor enter as a common pilgrim. Jesus was going to enter into Jerusalem as a king—but a different kind of king. When kings entered a city they did so mounted on a mighty stallion. Such a steed represented the power and majesty of their kingdom. Some Biblical scholars think that Pontius Pilate was entering Jerusalem at the same time as Jesus, but on the other side of town. When Pilate entered the city he was most certainly surrounded by his cohorts and mounted on a horse.
Jesus chose to enter Jerusalem mounted on a colt. Doing so he declared his kingdom to be different from the ones of this world. His kingdom was not built on power, but rather on love. In Jesus’ kingdom the rich and powerful were not served, but instead the poor and needy. Wars would not expand his kingdom. God’s unconditional forgiveness, overwhelming grace and steadfast love would plant God’s kingdom in the lives of God’s children. Living in God’s kingdom we live different lives.
Gracious and loving Lord, craft us into the different people we need to be in order to reflect your glory. Amen.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
“A colt that has never been ridden” (Mark 11:2b).
While attending a rodeo, it is fun to watch the bronco riders. The gate opens and the horses explode from the shoot. For eight seconds they twist, turn and buck in an attempt to unseat their rider. Many times the broncos are successful. Riding a bucking bronco isn’t easy. It takes a lot of hard work, and the falls look painful.
There was no rodeo exhibit that Sunday when Jesus rode into Jerusalem. Even though the colt that he was on had never been broken Jesus was able to ride without mishap into Jerusalem. Jesus had made the lame to walk and the blind to see. He had cast out unclean spirits. Now he rode a colt. Jesus’ power was undeniable.
There are times when our lives appear to be like a bucking bronco. We hang on for dear life hoping that we will be able to stay in the saddle and that the eight seconds will pass quickly. In the middle of our ride we remember that Jesus entered Jerusalem on an unbroken colt. If Jesus could tame that colt he certainly can tame the bronco that we’re riding.
Mighty Lord, help us to hang on and not fall off when our lives become like twisting and turning horses. We give you thanks that you are riding with us. Amen.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
“’The Lord needs it’” (Mark 11:3).
At the beginning of creation, the Lord used the remnants of the Big Bang to create planets, suns, galaxies and constellations—all of creation. Jesus blessed five loaves of bread and two fish in order to feed five thousand or more people. A colt was used by Jesus when he entered Jerusalem. God has chosen to work in partnership with creation in order to carry out God’s plan. God could have acted alone, but that isn’t how God works.
If a colt was part of the story when Jesus rode into the crowded city, certainly we will be part of the story, too. We will be mentioned when the hungry tell how they were fed, the children share how they were taught and the tired and weary recount how we bore their burdens. We don’t do it for fame or glory. We are channels of God’s love and grace because God has chosen to work through us. It is a humbling experience to be used by Almighty God.
God of Power and Might we are your hands and feet. Use us. Amen.
Friday, March 18, 2016
“They went away and found a colt” (Mark 11:4).
The disciples must have been amazed. Things happened exactly like Jesus said they would. The two disciples followed Jesus’ directions and found the colt. As they were untying the colt they were questioned about what they were doing. The disciples answered with the words Jesus gave to them and the people allowed them to take the colt to Jesus. The final confrontation between Jesus and the religious and political authorities was drawing near. The times were tense and unsettled. Even so, the situation was not out of control. In fact, everything was going according to plan.
Mark wanted his readers to know that God was in control and Jesus was being obedient to The Father. We need to be reminded of this. So often we feel like our lives are out of control and we find ourselves wondering if they are out of God’s control, too. The scripture assures us that God is in control. Our calling is not to try to get control or exert control, but rather to acknowledge that God is in control and to “let go.” With no control issues we are freed to concentrate on being faithfully obedient to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and to serve.
Caring Lord, in the midst of the chaos of our lives enable us to hear your voice and discern your will. Amen.
Saturday, March 19, 2016
“’Hosanna’” Mark 11:9)!
The crowd welcomed Jesus with shouts of “Hosanna!” Hosanna means “Save now.” The people were looking to Jesus to rescue them; to save them. They hoped that Jesus would save them from the cruel Roman occupation. They anticipated that Jesus would save them from the cruel and harsh world when he brought in the kingdom of God. The crowd looked to Jesus for their salvation.
When we talk about salvation today we often limit our conversation to being saved from our sin to a new life with God. Jesus saves us, however, from so much more. “Hosanna! Jesus save us from our fears that incapacitate us.” “Hosanna! Jesus save us from empty lives that are defined by wealth, status and possessions.” “Hosanna! Jesus save us from hopelessness and despair.” “Hosanna, Jesus save us from loneliness.” Hosanna! Jesus save us from purposeless lives.”
“Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Jesus, help us! Come and save us! Amen.
Sunday, March 20, 2016
“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!”
The people in the crowd knew the story. God had made a unilateral covenant with King David. God pledged that a member of David’s family would constantly be on the throne of Israel. While the people waited for the Messiah, they anticipated that when he did appear he would reestablished David’s kingdom. Israel would return to its Golden Age and God’s steadfast love would once again be evident in their lives.
We long for a time of safety and security. A time when our enemies have been routed and a golden age has arrived is a common vision. We want to know without a doubt that God steadfastly loves us and will never forsake us. We want to sense that love to feel, hear and see it. We don’t need to wait for the arrival of some golden age, though, to be assured of God’s steadfast love. We can look to the cross of Christ and know. God loves us and nothing can change that.
Loving God, thank you for your steadfast love in our lives. Fill us with your love and tip us a little so that it spills over into the lives of others. Amen.