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Sister Norma and I have been studying the Gospel of Mark recently.  (We try to have a Bible study project for each month of the year.  For example, in January we studied James.  And in March we studied Mark.) Some of the material was so helpful to us that we decided it might bless you as well.

I fully plan to preach some of this as God leads me. It all points to Jesus, the Saviour of the world!  If anyone objects to that Title for our Lord, I point you to John 4:42 --- "And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, The Saviour of the world."  Better yet, read 1st John 4:14 --- "And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." 

 

THESE ARTICLES APPEAR IN THE ORDER THEY WERE WRITTEN.  TO REACH TODAY'S COLUMN ... SCROLL DOWN THE PAGE.  (THERE ARE FIVE SHORT BIBLE STUDIES NOW POSTED HERE.)

 

March 20, 2004 (Saturday Evening about Dark ... 7:05 PM)

I saw this earlier in the year while Sister Norma and I were studying the Gospel of Mark.  (We spent the month of March in the Gospel of Mark!)

In the first chapter of this Gospel (and even in the first 11 verses of that chapter) we are given some "WITNESSES" that Jesus Christ is the Son of God!

Look at Mark 1:1 --- "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."  Mark does not hesitate a second before calling Jesus the Son of God! There MARK himself is our first witness!

Then notice Mark 1:2 and 3 --- "As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.  The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."  The Prophets here (both Malachi and Isaiah) declare Jesus to be the LORD!  They constitute a second group whop witness to Jesus' Deity! 

Next see Mark 1:4-10 where John the Baptist is a witness to Jesus! (Especially verses 7 and 8!)  And if these aren't strong enough for you ... try John 1:29 as a parallel text!  "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."

Fourthly is the Holy Spirit of God!  He's found in Mark 1:10 at the Baptism of Jesus:  "And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him."

Lastly (fifthly) is God the Father Himself! Mark 1:11 --- "And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."  It couldn't be made any clearer, could it?

Five witnesses in eleven verses!

And five just happens to be the number of GRACE!

I want to quickly make it six witnesses though.  I believe He is the Son of God!

Would someone make it seven?

                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

(I just believe this brief Passage will help someone who is "hungry" for a little spiritual thought to develop.  May God use it to His Glory!  After all, it was His idea first!)

 

 

 

April 1, 2004 (Thursday)

The Bible is important for many reasons.  After all, God wrote it!

It is not only of utmost significance for what it says ... but also for what it does not say!

Let me show you what I mean.

When Scripture describes Melchizedek (Genesis 14) it does not give us his parentage!  It mentions no father or mother.  (Usually the Old Testament will do so.)

We perhaps would not think much of that ... but Paul (thus the Holy Spirit Who inspired Paul) does!

For in Hebrews when Melchizedek is being discussed we are told that he was ... "Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually." (Hebrews 7:3)

Here is a Bible doctrine in Hebrews built partially upon a Bible omission in Genesis 14! (Wow!)

Today let me focus this principle on the Gospel of Mark.  What did Mark omit in His story of Jesus?

He leaves out the complete genealogy of Jesus!

Nor does he give birth details!  (No wise men in Mark!)

In fact (amazingly) the Virgin Birth is not even detailed in Mark!

He omits the Sermon on the Mount (3 whole chapters in Matthew)!

In fact, Mark gives no lengthy messages of Jesus!

Also you will find few parables in Mark.  (He just does not emphasize Jesus' teachings!)

There are no "woe" passages in Mark either!  (Plenty in Matthew and Luke though!)

As Jesus dies in Mark there's no mention of His being able to call the legions of angels to help Him!

Neither is there any thief calling on Jesus to remember him in the kingdom!

What's the point of all this?

(The Bible teaching by its very omissions!)

Mark presents Jesus in a special way. 

Not as the King (that's Matthew)!

Not as the perfect man (that's Luke)!

Not even as the Son of God with eternal credentials (that's John)!

BUT ... as a lowly servant!

Mark's key verse:  "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."  Mark 10:45

And with a servant ... even the Servant of God ... there's no need for a genealogy or a detailed birth record or a long record of his words or any mention of angels being at His command!  That's just not necessary for a servant!

Everything Mark omits ... is compatible with his presentation of Jesus as God's Perfect Servant!

Wow!

Learn to read the Bible not only for what it says ... but also for what it does not say!

Did you ever stop to think that David's terrible sin with Bathsheba is carefully (and shamefully) recorded in 2 Samuel but is left out in the parallel Chronicles material? Why?  There must be a reason! 

Because Chronicles emphasizes God's GRACE!  And in God's grace ... David's sin had been forgiven ... and apparently forgotten!

Glory to God!

(Another lesson from the omissions of the Bible!)

Hope you got a "nugget" today!  I sure did!

                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

April 6, 2004 (Tuesday after from Myrtle Baptist Church in Myrtle, Mississippi)

The little Gospel of Mark is so interesting!

Let me share with you three or four unique features it has.  In these ways it differs from all the other Gospels ... even including the other Synoptics (Matthew and Luke).

*  Mark loves to use the word "and."  Of Mark's 16 chapters ... the vast majority  of them begin with this little conjunction!  Chapters 2,3,4,5,6, 7 (in Greek),9,10,11,12,13,15 and 16 all start with "and!"  What does this mean?  Jesus, as God's Servant in Mark, works and works and works ... without a break!  It's just one continuous story of miracles and good deeds and actions offered to the glory of God His Father!  It is a living illustration of of a Servant of the Lord being "instant in season and out of season!"  (2 Timothy 4:2)

*  Next Mark enjoys using the Greek word "eutheos."  Now this simply means "straightway or immediately or forthwith."  I counted it 40 times in Mark's brief chapters! How very prompt Jesus was in His service!  How urgent was His mission!  There are no signs of His holding back or being reluctant in any way!  I might could even say He was nearly always in a hurry doing what His Father had commanded.

*  Also Mark seems to love the word "Gospel!"  Matthew uses that word 5 times.  Luke another 4 times in his biography of Jesus.  And John not at all!  But Mark (shortest of the four) uses it 8 times!  (When you count it as a singular noun and as a possessive too.) Mark is HEAVY on his emphasis of the Gospel.  The word appears in his very first verse! "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."  Mark 1:1  In Mark Jesus the Servant of the Lord is busy taking the Gospel to all who will listen!  Jesus was the Bearer of Good News!  He was the Herald of glad tidings!

*  Lastly, in the temptation account of Mark a unique little fact is added that all other Gospel writers omit. Mark 1:13 --- "And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him."  Notice the part about the "wild beasts."  Just as the servant of the Lord David overcame the lion and the bear before reigning on the throne ... so did Jesus the Greater Servant of the Lord live with tame (at least in His Presence) wild beasts before His public ministry of service ever began.  It is a classic example of "boot camp" ... training before service!

I enjoy seeing the little differences between (and similarities among) the Gospels.   It's like holding a diamond under bright light and admiring the way it reflects (and refracts) light in dozens of beautiful patterns!

Lord willing, more about Mark later.

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

April 7, 2004 (Wednesday)

As Sister Norma and I studied the Gospel of Mark, I remembered something from years ago.  Jesus in Mark, as God's Perfect Servant, is pictured using His HANDS a great deal!

Let me show you what I mean.

 In Mark 1:31 Jesus healed Peter's Wife's Mother.  "And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them."

In Mark 1:41 watch how Jesus healed a leper.  (No one would touch a leper in thise days!)  "And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean."

In Mark 5:41 Jesus raised a little girl from the dead!  "And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise." 

Occasionally Mark makes summary comments as is in Mark 6:2.  "And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?"

Only their rank unbelief kept Him from doing more with His powerful hands!  Mark 6:5 --- "And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them."

In Mark 7:32 and 33 He heals a deaf man!  Watch how He does it.  "And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue."

Again in Mark 8:23 with a man who could not see.  "And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought."  Remember he then could only see men as trees walking.  Then Jesus: "After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly."  (Mark 8:25)

In Mark 9:27, after Jesus had cast an evil spirit our of a young boy who was thrown to the ground (by the departing wicked spirit) ... "But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose." Jesus must have used His hand to lift the little boy from the ground!

Notice how He blesses the little children in Mark 10:16 --- "And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them."

Surely we see the Servant of God faithfully and tirelessly working with His hands!

And what was His reward for "going about doing good" (Acts 10:38)? 

Wicked men laid their hands on Him Who only did good with His hands!

According to Mark, Jesus said these words at the end of His Gethsemane prayers. "And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners."  Mark 14:41

Here's how they arrested Jesus --- "And they laid their hands on him, and took him." Mark 14:46

Even at His crucifixion we read:  "And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands." Mark 14:65

Some day all the "saved" of the ages will look upon those dear nail-pierced Hands and thank Him for what He's done (and still is doing) for us all!

Here's just one more thought!

John 10:28 --- "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."  Here's Bible proof that right now you who are born again are resting in His Hand!

In Isaiah 49:16 God tells us:  "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands ...."  What a place to be!  What security this should produce in our hearts!

Thank God for His Hands!

(And thank God Mark wrote about them!)

                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

April 9, 2004 (Friday afternoon from Cumming, Georgia)

One of the most outstanding things about "servants" in the Bible deals with their "eyes!"  Look at Psalm 123:1-2.  "Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.  Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us."  A slave must look at his master constantly in order to know that master's will!

Since Mark is the Gospel that highlights Jesus' Role as a Servant ... one would expect the Lord's Eyes to be mentioned regularly.  They are.

In Mark 3:5 when Jesus healed the man with a withered hand we are told: "And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other."  (Notice Jesus' look!)

Again in Mark 3:34 and 35,  "And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!  For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother."  (What would His eyes have "said" as He looked at them that day?)

Then notice Mark 8:33.  "But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men."

Or Mark 10:21 with the Rich Young Ruler, Mark (and only Mark) tells us:  "Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me."  (Jesus is still "looking.")  Even as the young man departed, still lost in his sins, we are told by Mark:  "And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!"

Then in Mark 11:11 --- "And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve."  You may be sure that Jesus was not sightseeing here.  His "looks" meant something profound.

Let me just add this thought.  I sure am glad those precious eyes of Jesus looked my way one day!  He saw me drowning in my sin and reached out and saved my soul!

We, as followers of our Lord, should also be "looking unto Him" at all times!  Hebrews 12:2 teaches us to be ... "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith."

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

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