The end of the Beginning

This week we finished Mark’s Gospel and began to read Acts. The last few chapters of the Gospels all deal with the trials, humiliation, beatings, death,  burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We have read that the religious leaders we at odds with Jesus and sought how they might destroy Him. Interesting that they were so driven with envy and hatred that they wanted to destroy Jesus, not just silence or discredit Him, but to eliminate Him and his teaching. Jesus lived within the Law of God, but it was His unwillingness to live according to the laws of man that caused the hatred of Jesus by the Religious leaders.

We have read about the Last Week or Passion week of Jesus. Passion here means Sufferings – Jesus knew that the Cross laid before Him; yet took deliberate steps to the Cross. As the scripture tells us – the Son of Man came to seek and to save the Lost, and give His life a ransom for many. [Luke 19:10, Mark 10:45]

The Triumphal entry that Sunday was filled will all the shouts and singing for Jesus. The Messianic hopes were at a all time frenzy. As great as the scene must have been for all involved, it would soon go to the furthest extreme and the crowds later would cry out ‘Crucify Him”

I called this blog post the end of the beginning – for Jesus had completed His earthly mission, it is only with Christ ascending into heaven can the end come. Revelation 5 gives us the view of Jesus the Lamb of God taking the scroll from the Father’s hand – then Jesus is not longer the slain Lamb, but the Lion of Judah!  Until that time the end could not come. Jesus the Worth Lamb could begin to unfold the end times.

Jesus is very passionate during His finally days. He cleanses the Temple – for it was a money making business, not a place of worship and prayer. Jesus condemns the religious activity of the Pharisees and Sadducee s. No wonder Jesus did most of His ministry out in the remote places and the cities synagogues; that is where the people were. I wonder if this situation has been prevalent today for the ones who need Christ the most are absent from the churches. Have we become so self-centered that we have neglected the very reason the Church exist? The Temple worship existed for the religious system, not the people. Are we guilty of the same?

Mark 13 is what I call the Eschatological chapter, for it deals in a variety of ways with the end times and Second coming of Jesus.  I compare it to Luke 21, where Jesus answers three [3] different questions within the conversation. Only problem was that scholars have been trying to understand what it all means.  Jesus answered the question of when the Temple would be destroyed, the question of persecution and the final cataclysmic end of the age. I think Christ did this so that we would not be able to assign dates and times. [Acts 1:7]

The complete week has both highs and lows. The mock trials, the death plots and Lord’s Supper centered around the great Passover feast. It has been said that while the priests were sacrificing the lambs for eating the Passover, Jesus was hanging on the Cross. I find the correlation between the scene of Abraham offering Isaac on that same Mount, and God provided a lamb instead of Isaac; and God the Father providing His only Begotten Son as the sacrifice, reflects the name of God as Jehovah Jireh to the nth degree.

The trails before Pilate, Herod and Caiaphas were a mockery of a judicial system. Jesus was actually scourge and crucified for being who He was, the Son of God. His death culminates the verse  – and He came unto His own and His own received Him not. [John 1:11] From this point on in scripture, the Gospel message travels through the Gentile not the Jews. While there were many that followed the “Way” most of the Jews missed the Salvation they had longed for.

Chapter 16 of Mark has been the topic of debate for 100’s of years. The reason for this is that the verses 9-20 are not found in the original manuscripts. Mark is one of the synoptic Gospels [Matthew, Mark and Luke] Many believe that in an attempt to reconcile the Synoptic s these verses were added later by transcribing scribes.

In the end we find that Peter is restored to fellowship with the other disciples and Jesus. It is a glorious beginning – for the Risen Savior is anything but done with His ministry. Hebrews 7:25 – Jesus continues the ministry TO US, via intercession. Oh to know that He ever lives to make intercession for the saints! May we be bold in our witness and courageous in our living out of Faith in Jesus our Savior and Lord!!!

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