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Day 33:Mark 14:1-11-A woman anoints Jesus

It was now two days before the Passover celebration and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law were still looking for an opportunity to capture Jesus secretly and put him to death. 2 “But not during the Passover,” they agreed, “or there will be a riot.” 3 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had leprosy. During supper, a woman came in with a beautiful jar of expensive perfume. She broke the seal and poured the perfume over his head. 4 Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why was this expensive perfume wasted?” they asked. 5 “She could have sold it for a small fortune and given the money to the poor!” And they scolded her harshly. 6 But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why berate her for doing such a good thing to me? 7 You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But I will not be here with you much longer. 8 She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time. 9 I assure you, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be talked about in her memory.” 10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests to arrange to betray Jesus to them. 11 The leading priests were delighted when they heard why he had come, and they promised him a reward. So he began looking for the right time and place to betray Jesus.

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Day 32: Mark 13-Things to come

As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these tremendous buildings! Look at the massive stones in the walls!” 2 Jesus replied, “These magnificent buildings will be so completely demolished that not one stone will be left on top of another.” 3 Later, Jesus sat on the slopes of the Mount of Olives across the valley from the Temple. Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him privately and asked him, 4 “When will all this take place? And will there be any sign ahead of time to show us when all this will be fulfilled?” 5 Jesus replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, 6 because many will come in my name, claiming to be the Messiah. They will lead many astray. 7 And wars will break out near and far, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must come, but the end won’t follow immediately. 8 Nations and kingdoms will proclaim war against each other, and there will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, and famines. But all this will be only the beginning of the horrors to come. 9 But when these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the courts and beaten in the synagogues. You will be accused before governors and kings of being my followers. This will be your opportunity to tell them about me. 10 And the Good News must first be preached to every nation. 11 But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry about what to say in your defence. Just say what God tells you to. Then it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit. 12 “Brother will betray brother to death, fathers will betray their own children, and children will rise against their parents and cause them to be killed. 13 And everyone will hate you because of your allegiance to me. But those who endure to the end will be saved. 14 The time will come when you will see the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing where it should not be”-reader, pay attention! “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. 15 A person outside the house must not go back into the house to pack. 16 A person in the field must not return even to get a coat. 17 How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for mothers nursing their babies in those days. 18 And pray that your flight will not be in winter. 19 For those will be days of greater horror than at any time since God created the world. And it will never happen again. 20 In fact, unless the Lord shortens that time of calamity, the entire human race will be destroyed. But for the sake of his chosen ones he has shortened those days. 21 And then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or, ‘There he is,’ don’t pay any attention. 22 For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform miraculous signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. 23 Watch out! I have warned you!

24 “At that time, after those horrible days end,

the sun will be darkened,

the moon will not give light,

25 the stars will fall from the sky,

and the powers of heaven will be shaken.

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Day 31:Mark 12:28-44-The most important commandment

28 One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the discussion. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” 32 The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. 33 And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbours as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.” 34 Realizing this man’s understanding, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions. 35 Later, as Jesus was teaching the people in the Temple, he asked, “Why do the teachers of religious law claim that the Messiah will be the son of David? 36 For David himself, speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said,

‘The LORD said to my Lord,

Sit in honour at my right hand

until I humble your enemies beneath your feet.’

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Day 30: Mark 12:13-27-The traps of the Pharisees and Sadducees

13 The leaders sent some Pharisees and supporters of Herod to try to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. 14 “Teacher,” these men said, “we know how honest you are. You are impartial and don’t play favourites. You sincerely teach the ways of God. Now tell us-is it right to pay taxes to the Roman government or not? 15 Should we pay them, or should we not?” Jesus saw through their hypocrisy and said, “Whom are you trying to fool with your trick questions? Show me a Roman coin, and I’ll tell you.” 16 When they handed it to him, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. 17 “Well, then,” Jesus said, “give to Caesar what belongs to him. But everything that belongs to God must be given to God.” This reply completely amazed them. 18 Then the Sadducees stepped forward-a group of Jews who say there is no resurrection after death. They posed this question: 19 “Teacher, Moses gave us a law that if a man dies, leaving a wife without children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will be the brother’s heir. 20 Well, there were seven brothers. The oldest of them married and then died without children. 21 So the second brother married the widow, but soon he too died and left no children. Then the next brother married her and died without children. 22 This continued until all the brothers had married her and died, and still there were no children. Last of all, the woman died, too. 23 So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her.” 24 Jesus replied, “Your problem is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God. 25 For when the dead rise, they won’t be married. They will be like the angels in heaven. 26 But now, as to whether the dead will be raised-haven’t you ever read about this in the writings of Moses, in the story of the burning bush? Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, God said to Moses, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 27 So he is the God of the living, not the dead. You have made a serious error.”

Points of Interest:

* ‘we know how honest you are’-again, the leaders are ironically truthful. They are intending to flatter Jesus, but they are actually telling the truth: he is indeed honest, sincere, and impartial. Meanwhile, in these very words they are being deceitful, partial, and insincere.

Continue reading ‘Day 30: Mark 12:13-27-The traps of the Pharisees and Sadducees’

Day 29: Mark 11:27-12:12-By whose authority?

27 By this time they had arrived in Jerusalem again. As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the other leaders came up to him. They demanded, 28 “By whose authority did you drive out the merchants from the Temple? Who gave you such authority?” 29 “I’ll tell who gave me authority to do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. 30 “Did John’s baptism come from heaven or was it merely human? Answer me!” 31 They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe him. 32 But do we dare say it was merely human?” For they were afraid that the people would start a riot, since everyone thought that John was a prophet. 33 So they finally replied, “We don’t know.” And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t answer your question either.” 12 Then Jesus began telling them stories: “A man planted a vineyard, built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. 2 At grape-picking time he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. 3 But the farmers grabbed the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. 4 “The owner then sent another servant, but they beat him over the head and treated him shamefully. 5 The next servant he sent was killed. Others who were sent were either beaten or killed, 6 until there was only one left-his son whom he loved dearly. The owner finally sent him, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’ 7 “But the farmers said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ 8 So they grabbed him and murdered him and threw his body out of the vineyard. 9 “What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do?” Jesus asked. “I’ll tell you-he will come and kill them all and lease the vineyard to others. 10 Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures?

‘The stone rejected by the builders

has now become the cornerstone.

11 This is the Lord’s doing,

and it is marvelous to see.’ ”

12 The Jewish leaders wanted to arrest him for using this illustration because they realized he was pointing at them-they were the wicked farmers in his story. But they were afraid to touch him because of the crowds. So they left him and went away.

Points of Interest:

* ‘Who gave you such authority?’-The leaders are accusing Jesus of vigilantism. They are certain that they are the proper authorities, and they know that they haven’t given him permission to do what he did. From their perspective, they’ve caught him in a rash, improper act; and with this problem they are intending to let him know that they now have him in their power. Instead, Jesus ends up presenting them with a puzzle that demonstrates just how limited their authority really is.

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Day 28: Mark 11:12-25-the clearing of the temple

The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus felt hungry. 13 He noticed a fig tree a little way off that was in full leaf, so he went over to see if he could find any figs on it. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. 14 Then Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it. 15 When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the merchants and their customers. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the stalls of those selling doves, 16 and he stopped everyone from bringing in merchandise. 17 He taught them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a place of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” 18 When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill him. But they were afraid of him because the people were so enthusiastic about Jesus’ teaching. 19 That evening Jesus and the disciples left the city. 20 The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it was withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Teacher! The fig tree you cursed has withered!” 22 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. 23 I assure you that you can say to this mountain, ‘May God lift you up and throw you into the sea,’ and your command will be obeyed. All that’s required is that you really believe and do not doubt in your heart. 24 Listen to me! You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you will have it. 25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

Points of Interest:

* ‘May no one ever eat your fruit again’-It seems a bit unfair and impetuous of Jesus to curse a fig tree simply because he was hungry and disappointed-especially since it wasn’t even fig season. It’s important to notice that the story of the fig tree brackets the story of the temple. Jesus is using the fig tree as a symbol of the temple. Jesus goes to the fig tree expecting figs, and all he finds are leaves. He goes to the temple expecting to find prayer, and he finds plenty of activity but no prayer. Just like a fig tree without figs is of no use to Jesus, a temple without prayer is of no use to him. The fig tree is a sign to the people who run the temple: they can expect the same thing to happen to the temple as happened to the tree.

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Day 27: Mark 11:1-11-Palm Sunday

As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany, on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. 2 “Go into that village over there,” he told them, “and as soon as you enter it, you will see a colt tied there that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it soon.’ ” 4 The two disciples left and found the colt standing in the street, tied outside a house. 5 As they were untying it, some bystanders demanded, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They said what Jesus had told them to say, and they were permitted to take it. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it.8 Many in the crowd spread their coats on the road ahead of Jesus, and others cut leafy branches in the fields and spread them along the way. 9 He was in the center of the procession, and the crowds all around him were shouting,

“Praise God!

Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

10 Bless the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Praise God in highest heaven!”

11 So Jesus came to Jerusalem and went into the Temple. He looked around carefully at everything, and then he left because it was late in the afternoon. Then he went out to Bethany with the twelve disciples.

Points of Interest:

* ‘They said what Jesus had told them to say’-Jesus gives them a small miracle of being provided a donkey. This little miracle is a little reminder of the trustworthiness of Jesus’ words. It’s especially important in the following days that they remember and believe Jesus’ words.

Continue reading ‘Day 27: Mark 11:1-11-Palm Sunday’

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