Mark 7:24-30; Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:31-37; Matthew 15:29-31; Mark 8:1-10; Matthew 15:32-16:4; Mark 8:11-21; Matthew 16:5-12
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Mark: Mark chapter 7 opens up with a gentile woman begging Jesus to release her daughter from the control of a demon. Verses 27 through 29 are a fascinating look at Jesus' ministry - "Jesus told her, "First I should help my own family, the Jews. It isn't right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs." She replied, "That's true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are given some crumbs from the children's plates." "Good answer!" he said. "And because you have answered so well, I have healed your daughter." Here we see that Jesus' ministry was initially to the Jews, but here he heals a gentile woman's daughter because of her humility and faith. And of course as we get to the Great Commission at the end of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus' ministry is clearly for "all nations". In fact, Mark's Gospel is a good indicator of how Jesus' ministry quickly expanded beyond the Jews as Mark likely wrote this Gospel in Rome and to a primarily Roman gentile believer audience. Jeff Miller from Bible.org's commentary on Mark chapter 7 is at this link.
Today in chapter 7 verses 32 through 34 we read - "A deaf man with a speech impediment was brought to him, and the people begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man to heal him. Jesus led him to a private place away from the crowd. He put his fingers into the man's ears. Then, spitting onto his own fingers, he touched the man's tongue with the spittle. And looking up to heaven, he sighed and commanded, "Be opened!" Instantly the man could hear perfectly and speak plainly!" I love this image below based on these verses... please meditate on this image for a few moments... What do you think is going through this man's mind at this moment? What is he experiencing?
Matthew: In Matthew chapter 16 verses 11 & 12 stood out to me today: "So again I say, `Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.' " Then at last they understood that he wasn't speaking about yeast or bread but about the false teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees." And I wonder today - are there false teachings that we should beware of today? I believe there are... and there have been times in my life where I have bought into false teaching's. How can we know if a teacher is false? That is a great question. I would say that each of you are doing an amazing thing to help discern whether a teacher is false by reading the entire Bible. I believe the Bible to be the ultimate Truthful teaching that we can read - and thus, if you come across teachers that differ radically or go against the teachings of the Bible, you need to be wary. Don't get me wrong - every pastor / minister / priest is going to have some different takes or views or interpretations of the Bible. By slight degrees... If there are major differences, then you should be worried. In addition to knowing the Bible relatively well, the key to discerning false teachers will be the Holy Spirit. If you are getting bad "gut feelings" (hopefully coming from the Holy Spirit) over and over again about a teacher, there might be an issue. Pray to God about this and ask for his guidance. I realize this can be a sensitive issue! I'd say don't freak out about this and start wondering if your pastor is a false teacher.... :) But, be aware. I do believe there are still false teachers out and about today unfortunately. If you ever feel like you are being confused by someone today, keep your eye on the way out of confusion through God's Word!
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Matthew chapter 15 titled "A Lesson in Hermeneutics" is at this link.
Worship Video: Today's readings reminded me of Lincoln Brewster's awesome song "Everlasting God:"
Do you know our God who reigns forever? Click here for your strong deliverer!
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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