Daddy blog

I started this blog when I was following the Life Journal Bible reading plan on YouVersion. (I've since completed that plan.) At that time, YouVersion didn't provide any way for people to respond to my notes, other than to "like" them. So this blog is here to remedy that problem. You may comment on my notes here in the comment section.
I also have a general blog.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Study on John 3

3:1-21 Ah, the famous passage where John 3:16 comes from. I remember long ago reading this and wondering, “How could Nicodemus be so dense? Obviously Jesus was speaking metaphorically. But we live in a different cultural context. It may not have been as obvious in their cultural context.

People often accuse Christianity of being “condemning” to other people. But this is the core, right after the famous verse, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already” -- we’re not in the business of condemnation, but in the business of trying to get people out of condemnation.

3:22-36 Again, we see the unselfishness of John the Baptist. “Rabbi, the one who was with you on the other side of the Jordan River, about whom you testified – see, he is baptizing, and everyone is flocking to him!” But John replied “He must become more important while I become less important.”

Long ago, my friend Lim Cheh Miang and I translated the song “Betapa Hatiku” from Bahasa Indonesia into English, and later, I introduced it to the Graduate InterVarsity Christian Fellowship of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Someone from 2100 Productions came to the fellowship to speak one day and heard the song and loved it and took it back with her, promising to give us credit for the translation. However, when the video came out and was publicized at the Urbana Missions Conference (the largest missions conference in the world), our names were left out of it. (The lady who took it from us later apologized, saying that she had left the project and the new person who took over didn’t know about our work.)

My first reaction was to be upset, for my work wasn’t recognized. But heck, did I translate this song for the fame? No, it was for the glory of God. It is a lovely praise song and it’s now released to the English-speaking world and no longer restricted to the Bahasa-speaking world. Ultimately, the glory of God is what’s important. So “He must become more important while I become less important.”

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Study on John 2

2:1-11 Jesus seemed reluctant to do anything at first, because “My time has not yet come”, but his mother Mary just told the servants and forced his hand. Some Catholics and Orthodox Christians point to this as evidence to support the efficacy of asking for Mary to intercede for us.

Be as it may, we are supposed to intercede for each other in prayer, and God may do things that might not otherwise have been done had we not prayed. I don’t know how this works, with the sovereignty of God, but I guess it’s one of those things that are beyond human understanding to a certain extent. God is sovereign and He is beyond us, yet “the fervent prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)

So, I don’t fully understand how or why prayer works, but yes, it works! So, let’s pray!

2:12-18 Here in John, the clearing of the Temple is near the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, instead of near the end, as in the synoptic Gospels. Some people think there were 2 different clearings of the Temple, while other people think this is an artifact of the lack of concern for chronology in ancient storytelling.

Be as it may, people were disrupting the proper use of the court of the Gentiles -- a place for people who do not yet know Yahweh to come and find out about Him -- and using it for their own selfish purposes instead.

2:23-4 “Now while Jesus was in Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover, many people believed in his name because they saw the miraculous signs he was doing. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people.” In fact, they had completely missed the main purpose of His coming -- not to become a political Messiah King but to die for our sins and save the world -- including the Romans.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Study on John 1

This first part is thought to be an early Christian hymn. The Word - the Logos - is God the Son, creator of the universe. John the Baptist testified to this Word Become Flesh.

John said that he wasn’t the Christ, Elijah, or the prophet. But Jesus said he was a prophet and Elijah. So what’s going on? Well, he wasn’t _literally_ Elijah, but he _was_ the Elijah who was prophesied in Malachi 4. But there’re other views, for example which puts forward the idea that if the Jews had received John’s and Jesus’ ministry, they would have ushered in the Messianic kingdom right then and there, but since they rejected them, it was delayed. But I’m not sure I buy that. Here’re a few other interpretations:

John the Baptist didn’t glorify himself, nor did he begrudge his disciples to Jesus. He virtually sent Andrew and the other disciple to Jesus, and Andrew ended up bringing his brother Simon Peter.

Application: we shouldn't begrudge people who might leave our church if they can serve God better in another church.

Jesus didn’t let Nathanael’s skepticism deter him.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Study on Mark 16

My Life Net Group has been doing a study of Mark over WhatsApp, so I've not been doing my SOAP studies, so I thought I'd share what we've discussed so far instead.
Christ is risen! He’s risen, indeed! In most modern Bibles, it points out that Mark abruptly ends at 16:8, and two alternate endings, one shorter, and one longer, are tacked on to the end.

This is in fact the longest variant reading in the New Testament. But even this doesn’t change the Gospel at all.

Many anti-Christians like to point out that there are variant readings in the Bible, and pretend that this means that the Bible is unreliable.

And yet, even in this biggest of all variant readings, it doesn’t change the Gospel. Most of the variant readings are just a word here or there, a copying error, etc.

And we haven’t tried to burn and destroy all variant readings, like some other religions. Instead, we have preserved them so one can compare and contrast, and realize that in the end, the Gospel stays the same.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Study on Mark 15

My Life Net Group has been doing a study of Mark over WhatsApp, so I've not been doing my SOAP studies, so I thought I'd share what we've discussed so far instead.
15:4-5 So Pilate asked him again, “Have you nothing to say? See how many charges they are bringing against you!” But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.

Jesus didn’t defend himself… his mission was the cross.

15:11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas instead.

Was this the same crowd that waved palm branches the previous week welcoming him as the Messiah? Maybe - Jesus didn’t overthrow the Romans as expected, so maybe they were disappointed.. Maybe not - certainly there’re enough people in Jerusalem that they could be a different crowd, and the chief priests’ instigators drowned out the pro-Jesus crowd.

15:16-41 Jesus is mocked, whipped bloodily to shreds, and the crown of thorns piercing his head, and struck, and spit on. Then he’s forced to carry the cross in his weakened state, (until he collapsed and Simon of Cyrene had to take over, as other Gospel accounts tell us) and then nailed to the cross and died an excruciating death.

“He could have called 10,000 angels to destroy the world and sent him free.
He could have called 10,000 angels, but he died alone, for you and me.” 😱😰🙏🏽

“What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul?”

“O sacred head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down,
now scornfully surrounded
with thorns, your only crown.
O sacred head, what glory
and blessing you have known!
Yet, though despised and gory,
I claim you as my own.”

15:34 “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” The perfect lamb of God who had never sinned, never been separated from God, now God had to turn away from him for the sins laid upon him.

This may have been worse than the physical pain Jesus felt.

15:44 Pilate was surprised that he was already dead.

It wasn’t just the physical distress that killed Jesus -- that God had to turn away from him. He gave up the ghost. “It is completed” as other Gospel accounts pointed out.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Study on Mark 14

My Life Net Group has been doing a study of Mark over WhatsApp, so I've not been doing my SOAP studies, so I thought I'd share what we've discussed so far instead.
The chief priests and the religion lawyers plotted to kill Jesus. They had rejected the witness of their own eyes as to Jesus’ miracles, and were just all caught up in that Jesus’ teachings exposed them.

A woman anoints Jesus with nard, an expensive oil-based perfume, and some disciples were upset at the “waste” but Jesus said that wherever the Good News is preached, she would be remembered for what she did, because she was preparing him for his burial. Jesus knew that the plot to kill him would succeed. In his Gospel account, John tells us that this woman was Mary the sister of Martha & Lazarus.

Jesus very explicitly again affirms that he is going to die, and that they would be scattered. He predicts Peter would deny him, in spite of his bravado.

Judas may have gone to betray Jesus because he knew Jesus could do miracles, and was the Messiah, yet seemed to refuse to take political power. Judas might have been trying to force Jesus’ hand.

Even to the “good” disciples, Jesus’ upcoming death seemed nonsensical and a disaster, but God had a good plan behind it.

Application: when God doesn’t seem to make sense, when things seem to be going crazy, we can still rest assured He is still in control.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Study on Mark 13

My Life Net Group has been doing a study of Mark over WhatsApp, so I've not been doing my SOAP studies, so I thought I'd share what we've discussed so far instead.
Jesus predicted the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. He mentions something which seems very puzzling, “But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.” (Mark 13:14)

However, note that what’s related in Mark 13 is also related in Luke 21. (And also Matthew 24). While Mark and Matthew refer to this as “the abomination of desolation”, Luke says “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies” instead.

Almost certainly the original words Jesus spoke was “the abomination of desolation”, but Luke, realizing that he’s writing to a non-Jewish crowd, interpreted what that Jewish phrase meant in plainer language.

To a Gentile, Jerusalem being surrounded by armies isn't a sign of "abomination of desolation stands in the Holy Place". But to the Jews of Jesus' time, it could well mean that.

History tells us that before A.D. 70, as Roman armies surrounded Jerusalem, the Christian Jews in Judea heeded Jesus' warning and fled. The non-Christian Jews did not, and were massacred. The Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple so completely that it was said that you couldn't even tell that there was once a city there. Decades later, the Romans under Emperor Hadrian rebuilt as a totally Gentile city and renamed it Aelia Capitolina. Jerusalem remained non-Jewish for almost two millennia after that.

Application: When we find things that are confusing and unclear in the Bible, if we can find clarifications from other parts of scripture, it is better to look at that instead of making up fanciful imaginations of our own.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Study on Mark 12

My Life Net Group has been doing a study of Mark over WhatsApp, so I've not been doing my SOAP studies, so I thought I'd share what we've discussed so far instead.
The Parable of the Tenants was spoken against the Pharisees, who were the religious conservatives of the time. Then the passage about the hypothetical question of the woman who married 7 brothers one after another in levirate marriage was spoken against the Sadducees, who were the religious liberals of the time. Both sides have their problems, and we likewise today have to watch out that we don’t succumb to something similar.

I had lady friend who was very bothered by the idea that there’s no marriage in heaven -- because she loves her husband very much. But I suspect that it’s not less, but more -- we’ll have that kind of oneness with all our brothers and sister in Christ in heaven, and not be limited to just our spouse.

Back to the religious people: there were, however, also religious people who were on the right track, like the expert in religious law who realized that Jesus was right about the two greatest commandments.

Jesus warned against how many experts in religious law,, however, who liked to be honoured by men., and pointed out how the widow with the two copper _lepta_ had given more than all the rich people. Another jab against the prosperity gospel, we think, so we who are against the prosperity gospel might be smug and think, “Oh, that’s not a problem for me.”

But, is it really? Temptation of desiring wealth I think is not far from me even in spite of my theology.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Study on Mark 11

My Life Net Group has been doing a study of Mark over WhatsApp, so I've not been doing my SOAP studies, so I thought I'd share what we've discussed so far instead.
11:1-11 God must have told the owners of the donkey colt that someone’s coming for his donkey, which is why they were so willing to let complete strangers take their animal.

This passage is often titled “The Triumphal Entry.” Luke’s longer account of this (Luke 19:41), however, it records that Jesus wept as he approached the city. This is interesting, because why would Jesus weep right after people celebrate him coming into Jerusalem in his “triumphal entry”?

Palm branches were the symbol of the Hasmonean dynasty, the last time Judea was self-ruled by Jews. You can read about this fascinating story in 1 Maccabees. (I highly recommend reading it. Even though Evangelicals don’t believe it to be scripture, pretty much everyone agrees that it’s historical, and gives a good insight into what happened in Judea between Malachi and Matthew. You can read a modern translation of it here: )

So, this passage actually was very Jewish nationalistic. It’s as if some foreign country had conquered Malaysia and banned the Jalur Gemilang, then this saviour arose and lead a procession into Kuala Lumpur and everyone came out and waved the Jalur Gemilang in defiance of the foreign overlords.

But do you see, why Jesus wept, then? Because, even here towards the end of his earthly ministry, he knew that the people misunderstood his purpose for his first coming -- to die for the sins of the world, not to become a political messiah like King David and wipe out the Roman overlords.

11:15-33 Here is a really interesting set of events. We like to point out the cleansing of the temple event, but the cursing of the fig tree always had bothered me. I mean, doesn’t this show Jesus being petty and impatient? After all, it wasn’t that the fig tree wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do -- it was, after all, not fig season.

But the cleansing of the temple, and the answering of the chief priests and lawyers, showed Jesus’ authority. So perhaps this fig tree incident also shows Jesus’ authority?

Christian radio talk show host Brant Hansen, whose podcast I enjoy listening to, pointed out that it is not surprising that the infinite God does stuff that we don’t understand. Isn’t it silly to expect that we would understand *all* of God’s motives?

Back to the cleansing of the temple: the merchants had taken over the court of the Gentiles -- the part of the temple that God had designated as a place for people who don’t know Yahweh yet to come to find out about Him. So by turning this into a marketplace, it meant that it was no longer a place that Gentiles could come to find out about Yahweh. The Jews had forgotten the essentially evangelistic mission that they had from the time of Abraham -- that through Abraham’s seed all the nations on earth would be blessed (Genesis 22:18). So, as someone (Thomas?) pointed out earlier, Jesus was very focused on his mission.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Study on Mark 10

My Life Net Group has been doing a study of Mark over WhatsApp, so I've not been doing my SOAP studies, so I thought I'd share what we've discussed so far instead.
10:1-12 OT Law permitted divorce because things are not ideal. But the ideal we should be aiming for is no divorce. For me, this hasn’t been a personal problem but I don’t know that I can tell a woman that if her husband abuses her, she cannot divorce him. And must we force a divorcee to remain single for the rest of her life or else become adulterous, because of this verse? Things are not ideal now as well as in OT times.

10:13-16 “Suffer the little children” is an example of when people get the totally wrong idea because the English language has changed since the King James Version was translated. I’m very happy that Joni received Jesus when she was about 2 years old.

10:17-31 Jesus felt love for the rich young man who tried to attain salvation by keeping the commandments. But nobody is able to keep all the commandments. Jesus looked into this young man’s heart and saw that his riches was keeping him from following God. People were amazed because the Jewish equivalent of the Prosperity Gospel was prevalent at the time -- the idea that if you were godly, God would bless you materially. But instead, materialism can become an idol. “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” So many of the prominent people in this life may be last in the next.

10:35-45 The disciples were not above jostling for position. Jesus teaches us “whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant”. The church has struggled with this through the ages, which even the Reformation hasn’t removed the danger of.

10:46-52 Healing of blind Bartimaeus. Hmm… sorry, I don’t have any deep thoughts about this 😁

Friday, July 21, 2017

Study on Mark 9

My Life Net Group has been doing a study of Mark over WhatsApp, so I've not been doing my SOAP studies, so I thought I'd share what we've discussed so far instead.
8:34-9:1 Putting things in perspective. So easy for us to lose that perspective, and become too busy with the things in this world. May I not ever be ashamed of the Son of Man.

9:2-9:13 Peter’s reaction: gibber, gibber 😜. And again Jesus points out he must suffer.

9:14-29 “I believe; help my unbelief!” I have this same reaction many times. I’ve gone for prayer, seen people gone for prayer and not gotten healed. In the recent Supernatural Encounter, many testified to great healing, yet also many others were not healed. “I believe; help my unbelief!”

9:30-32 Again Jesus predicted his death and resurrection but the disciples “did not understand this statement and were afraid to ask him.” Just like many of my students!

9:38-9:41 Some others actually _did_ manage to cast out demons in Jesus’ name, unlike the 7 sons of Sceva. Who have we excluded from the Kingdom of God because their theology doesn’t match ours, but we might be surprised by in heaven?

9:42-9:50 Jesus uses superlatives (‘Cut off your hand! Pluck out your eye!’) to point out how terrible sin is… yet how difficult it is for me to remember it when tempted! O Lord, remind me, that I might not sin against You.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Study on Mark 8

My Life Net Group has been doing a study of Mark over WhatsApp, so I've not been doing my SOAP studies, so I thought I'd share what we've discussed so far instead.
8:1-21 Jesus repeated the multiple feeding sign, and in between the two incidents, he walked on water… yet when he spoke of “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod!” the disciples thought it was about having no bread. Jesus was more concerned about what they had in their hearts than bread. Sometimes we can be “too heavenly minded till we’re no earthly good” but more often it’s the other way around. I tend to be very rational and practical, but I need to balance that with the fact that we have a miracle-working God, who is more interested in our spiritual well-being. 8:22-24 Why did this man need 2 healings? I’m guessing that the first healing was for his physical eyes, while the 2nd healing was for the brain programming. Neurologist Oliver Sacks wrote about a man named Virgil who was blind since he was 5, but at 50, they managed to restore his sight. But “The house and its contents were unintelligible to him, and he had to be led up the garden path, led through the house, led into each room, and introduced to each chair.” Another case of a teenaged boy is related by Dr. Pawan Sinha, a professor of vision and computational neuroscience at M.I.T. When the boy’s bandages are removed after his eye surgery which gave him sight for the first time, “The boy sits still and blinks silently, the room around him reflecting in his eyes as a kind of proof of their new transparency. Sinha believes these first moments for the newly sighted are blurry, incoherent, and saturated by brightness—like walking into daylight with dilated pupils—and swirls of colors that do not make sense as shapes or faces or any kind of object.” So, modern eye surgery shows what the 1st century author of the Gospel according to Mark could not have known -- hence adding to the body of evidence that this was a true account of a true miracle. 8:27-33 Peter realizes that Jesus is the Messiah, but Jesus tells them not to reveal it to the world. Why? Because he needs to first die for our sins. So he cannot be the political messianic king that the Jews wanted, and he would be misappropriated for if the Jews knew. Matthew adds the detail that Jesus told Peter after his declaration, "You are blessed, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven!” So when Jesus declared that he was going to suffer and die, Peter took it upon himself to rebuke Jesus! But Jesus turned around and called Peter, this guy whom he had just affirmed received revelation from the Father in heaven, “Satan”! “You are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on man’s.” We may be greatly gifted by God with Word of Knowledge, Word of Wisdom, etc. but that doesn’t mean that everything we say or think is godly -- it can even be the devil’s plans! So, if God gives us wonderful supernatural gifts, we must nonetheless be circumspect and pay attention to the Holy Spirit. So many great supernaturally gifted people in the past have fallen astray and started teaching an unbalanced Gospel because of that -- and aside from the internationally famous ones, I have met one here in Malaysia who has drastically negatively impacted the lives of many including some people I know and love. Peter’s mistake didn’t invalidate that God indeed did give him a true word earlier. And his mistake also didn’t mean he was a goner now -- God indeed did take him through more failures and successes after this. So, we, likewise, when we have had a high, don’t become proud. When we’ve had a low, don’t give up.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Study on Mark 7

My Life Net Group has been doing a study of Mark over WhatsApp, so I've not been doing my SOAP studies, so I thought I'd share what we've discussed so far instead.
7:1-23 Ritual purity isn’t so important. More important is actual moral purity. “Am I being a pharisee?”

Incidentally, the “corban” thing, some time after Jesus, the rabbis actually decided Jesus was correct about this point.

7:24-30 The Syrophoenician woman: In one of the movies made about Jesus, they showed this as Jesus the human learning from the experience in overcoming the Jewish prejudice he grew up with. Many Christians balk at this interpretation because “Jesus was perfect! How could he have had racism?” but Luke 2:52 said that Jesus did grow in wisdom. So I dunno.

But as far as application goes, we can use this to ask ourselves, “What prejudices do I have that I need to grow from?”

7:21-27 Jesus now goes to the Decapolis and healed people, but this time he told people not to tell anyone. Interesting -- change since the time of the demoniac.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Study on Mark 6

My Life Net Group has been doing a study of Mark over WhatsApp, so I've not been doing my SOAP studies, so I thought I'd share what we've discussed so far instead.
1 “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, and among his relatives, and in his own house.” Familiarity breeds contempt.

“He was not able to do a miracle there, except to lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.” -- Our unbelief hinders God’s miracles.

2 Jesus delegated authority to his disciples. Not their own authority, but they could still preach repentance, cast out demons, and heal.

As noted in the recent Supernatural Encounter, it’s not the celebrity preacher who has the power to heal -- it’s God, and His Holy Spirit can enable _any_ of us to become miracle workers.

Is our faith the limiting factor?

Yet, the other side is the great evil of blaming the victim, “You are not healed because you don’t have enough faith” which has shipwrecked the faith of many.

Also the other evil of saying that you must not use medicine and rely on “Doctor Jesus” alone -- a false teaching which has caused misery and death even here in Malaysia. Then the victims are blamed, “Oh, your child died because of your lack of faith. You just didn’t trust Jesus enough to heal her. It is your own fault of harbouring doubt.” How cruel!

3 Jesus walking on water to the disciples: I remember Pastor Daniel Ho (DUMC)’s joke, the disciples in the boat saw Jesus walking towards them in the storm and cried, “Hantu!!!” And Jesus replied, “Bukan, Tuhan.” 😜

This was right after the multiplication of the loaves & fish, and Mark notes “They were completely astonished, because they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.”

Monday, July 17, 2017

Study on Mark 5

My Life Net Group has been doing a study of Mark over WhatsApp, so I've not been doing my SOAP studies, so I thought I'd share what we've discussed so far instead.
1 The Gerasene demoniac: this was the other side of the passaged we discussed in chapter 1 when Jesus told the man with the dreaded skin disease not to tell anyone. The healed demoniac wanted to go with Jesus but Jesus did not permit him to do so. Instead, he said to him, “Go to your home and to your people and tell them what the Lord has done for you, that he had mercy on you.” So he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him, and all were amazed.

So the former demoniac became a great evangelist. I am guessing Jesus allowed him to do that now because Decapolis isn’t a Jewish area, so his evangelism will not affect Jewish opinion so much and cause them to try to make him a political king instead of the sacrificial lamb of God.

2 Jairus’ daughter and the bleeding woman: Again Jairus was told not to tell anyone, as they’re back in Jewish territory.

The bleeding woman was excluded by Mosaic law from active participation in the worship life of the Jews because her bleeding rendered her ritually unclean. So it wasn’t just a physical problem it was a social and spiritual problem for her as well.

Popular Jewish belief at the time took the prophecy of Malachi 4:2 to mean that the “wings” of the Messiah (the ends of the Jewish prayer shawl / robe) had healing in them, so the bleeding woman was actually showing that she believed in Jesus’ Messiahship by her action. (The word כָּנָף “kanaph” in Hebrew can be translated both as “wing” or as “fringes of garment”.)

And indeed, that faith enabled God’s healing to pass from Jesus to her. As Jesus’ reaction showed, he could sense that her touch was different from the touch of the jostling crowd. Hence “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Study on Mark 4

My Life Net Group has been doing a study of Mark over WhatsApp, so I've not been doing my SOAP studies, so I thought I'd share what we've discussed so far instead.
1 Parable of the sower: the Gospel remained the same, but there’re different responses.

2 “although they look they may look but not see, and although they hear they may hear but not understand, so they may not repent and be forgiven.” Why did Jesus not want them to repent and be forgiven? Elsewhere it’s clear that he _does_ want them to repent and be saved… so what’s going on here? In fact, the very next section talks about the parable of the Lamp.

3 Parable of the Lamp: we are to let our light shine. We should not be “undercover Christians”. If nobody knows we’re Christians, something’s wrong. Of course, there’re exceptional circumstances, e.g. in times of severe persecution, but in general this is the case.

4 Parable of the Mustard Seed: Some people interpret it as evil “birds” from the parable of the sower -- but I think more likely it’s talking about how the church from a small beginning grows and spreads to influence the whole world.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Study on Mark 3

My Life Net Group has been doing a study of Mark over WhatsApp, so I've not been doing my SOAP studies, so I thought I'd share what we've discussed so far instead.
1. Healing the man with the withered hand: The Pharisees were more interested in following their legalism than to notice that God had done an amazing miracle in front of their eyes! How could they be so blind? Yet, phariseeism is a danger for us Evangelical Christians as well.

2. Interesting that the unclean spirits cried out “You are the Son of God.” But he sternly ordered them not to make him known. Why? Because it wasn’t his time yet? He didn’t want people to make him a political king?

3. Appointing the apostles: Jesus himself chose Judas, who betrayed him.

4. Even his own family thought that he was crazy. But later they came to faith, and his brother James even became the bishop of Jerusalem. I used to think that it seemed rude of Jesus to ignore his mother and brothers and instead say that those who do the will of God is his family -- but the Jesus film showed how it may not have been like that: it showed him just using the opportunity to make the point, then he got up and went to see them.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Study on Mark 2

My Life Net Group has been doing a study of Mark over WhatsApp, so I've not been doing my SOAP studies, so I thought I'd share what we've discussed so far instead.
1. Jesus dealt with the *invisible* problem of the paralytic first -- “Your sins are forgiven” -- before dealing with his visible physical problem. Perhaps it was so that he could draw out the Jakims as was what happened, (“He’s blaspheming!”)

2. I suspect this wasn’t Matthew Levi’s first exposure to Jesus. Jesus had been known in Capernaum already, as evidenced by the crowds mentioned earlier. But Levi probably thought he was too “dirty” to be accepted, just like the Jakims did, (“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”) Jesus proved him (and them) wrong, “Those who are healthy don’t need a physician, but those who are sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

3. What did Jesus mean by the “new wineskin”? It’s not fasting, since He did say we would fast after He’s gone. This -- new wine and new wineskins -- are terms that modern Charismatics throw around a lot, but from the context, it’s not so clear to me what Jesus meant. The New Covenant, replacing the Old Covenant? Fasting not as a ritualistic obligation but rather for spiritual growth? Maybe that’s what he meant, because he made more or less the same point in the next paragraph about the sabbath.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Study on Mark 1

My Life Net Group has been doing a study of Mark over WhatsApp, so I've not been doing my SOAP studies, so I thought I'd share what we've discussed so far instead.
1. Sometimes we get the impression that John the Baptist invented baptism, but actually, baptism as an outward sign of repentance and cleansing was already practiced by the Jews. They've even found baptismal pools that date back before Jesus' time in Israel.

2. Jesus told the man with the dreaded skin disease not to tell anyone about it. (v44) In contrast, He told the Gesarene demoniac to tell everyone, and he did, so that all Decapolis heard about Jesus as a result.

The man with the dreaded skin disease disobeyed Jesus, to the point that Jesus was mobbed so much that He had to stay away from town.

I wonder if that's why He told him not to tell, whereas Decapolis wasn't His territory so it didn't matter that the former demoniac told?