Mark XX: Fig Leaves, Faith, and Forgiveness - Mark 11:1-26

The main theme of Mark 11:1-26 is Jesus’ judgment of Israel’s worship, and the alternative that He sets forth. Once again, Mark sandwiches two related stories together: we go from the temple to the tree to the temple to the tree and back once more to the temple. The point of mixing these two events together is that they each help interpret one another, and the interpretive key is that the fig tree stands for the temple. This means that the bottom line isn’t good, because the fig tree is all leaf and no fruit, symbolic of a temple full ofMark…

Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2018 by CJ Bowen

Mark XIX: A Ransom for Many - Mark 10:32-52

Both James and John on one hand, and Blind Bartimaeus on the other, come to Jesus to make a request, and Jesus responds to them with the same searching question: “What do you want me to do for you?”That question is searching, because it tests your own awareness of your desires as well what you think of Jesus and His kingdom. What you ask for depends on what you think you need, and who you think you’re asking. And so as we consider the disciples’ answer as well as Bartimaeus’, we ought to examine our own hearts and hear Jesus…

Posted on Wednesday, August 08, 2018 by CJ Bowen

Mark XVIII: Entering the Kingdom of God - Mark 10:13-31

In Mark 10:13-31, Jesus answers an all-important, life-changing question: how do I enter the kingdom of God? And as the text unfolds, this is what we see: you enter the kingdom like a child. You enter the kingdom with empty hands. You enter the kingdom by following Jesus. You enter the kingdom by the power of God. You enter the kingdom with nothing, only to receive everything. And when it comes to entering the kingdom of God, it isn’t what you’d expect: the first will be last, and the last, first. Children enter in, but rich men are turned away.We see this in verses 13-16 as Jesus welcomes little children. What the disciples were doing in turning them away wasn’t rude or culturally surprising, but it was very offensive to Jesus. His dignity had been offended because the apostles made it seem like the kingdom of God wasn’t for children. Instead, Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.” So children, listen to Jesus: God loves you, and the kingdom of God belongs to you. That’s the blessing that Jesus has for you.…

Posted on Wednesday, August 01, 2018 by CJ Bowen