The summer months provide a unique opportunity for reflection and spiritual investment. Many people notice a change of pace and a variety of opportunities to engage others. Around the FM area, we’ll see more people outside playing sports, catching up with neighbors, and generally more available. Did you know that there are 98 days between memorial and Labor Day weekends? This summer could be the summer you look back on for years because of the investments you choose to make. What would it be like if the week after Labor Day you look back and realize that your efforts resulted in a spiritual maturity you never imagined possible? How would you feel if you knew that your investments resulted in lasting spiritual fruit in the lives of those around you? The summer is a great time to evaluate, redirect, and invest in spiritual realities. We will see from Colossians 3:12-17 how we can live out our faith with an increased intentionality resulting in spiritual fruit.
Psalm 68 records a bold prayer asking God to demonstrate His power as He has done in the past. The request is simple: As you have done before, so God do it again. In so many ways, this is a prayer asking God to put His power on display for all to see. Revelation 19:14-21 records the ultimate display of God’s power: no one is more powerful than Jesus is and nothing will display His power like the grand procession of Jesus as King when he returns to establish His reign on earth. The final answer to the psalmist’ prayer in Psalm 68 occurs when Jesus returns to establish His kingdom. Until then, the people of God enjoy the privilege of boldly asking God to display His power. Our Heavenly Father invites you to relationship with Him through His Son, by His Spirit, that He might display His power through you for the sake of His Kingdom.
For weeks, through Mark’s presentation, we have been watching Jesus deal with the skepticism or naïveté of those who ought to better understand who he is—the Pharisees and the disciples in particular. He has been under pressure to offer some proof that might legitimize his work and person; but the proof has been all around—lives are being changed left and right, and Scriptural expectations are being fulfilled! Now, in this pivotal section of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus draws from the disciples a conclusive understanding of who he truly is—an understanding rooted in their increasing awareness that Jesus is truly unique.
As Jesus walked along the shore, he encountered Levi the tax
collector and said, “Follow Me.” Levi was probably known as one who had to be
reckoned with; a man not well liked by the public. He was also a man of
prominence. He enjoyed life as one with influence and power. Levi responded
immediately when Jesus called him. Levi’s response suggests that he knew of Jesus
and had been paying attention to the work Jesus was doing in the area. Levi
immediately threw a party to introduce his friends to Jesus. Outside the party, the
scribes stood in judgment of Jesus and his friends. They accused them of hanging
out, “with tax collectors and sinners.” Jesus’ sharp response to the scribes in verse
17 highlights the love Jesus has for those “sinners.”
Jesus’ deity is on full display as we witness the healing of a
paralytic man in response to his faith in Mark 2:1-12. The paralytic’s friends take
great risk, doing whatever it takes to get their friend to Jesus so that he might be
healed. Interrupting the Great Teacher, the friends dismantle the roof and lower
the paralytic through the ceiling right into the middle of a crowd. Jesus sees their
faith and announces forgiveness of sin. Demonstrating power to forgive sins to a
skeptical audience, Jesus then commands the paralytic to rise, take up his mat, and
walk. The healing is complete and the crowd stands amazed. Matthew, Mark and
Luke recount that the crowd was seized by awe at this powerful encounter with