Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Gospel According to Mark
Chapter 16:9-14

9 And when Jesus was risen again, early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils:
10 And she went and told them that had been with him, which mourned and wept.
11 And when they heard that he was alive, and had appeared to her, they believed it not.
12 ¶ After that, he appeared unto two of them in another form, as they walked and went into the country.
13 And they went and told it to the remnant, neither believed they them.
14 Finally, he appeared unto the eleven as they sat together, and reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him, being risen up again.

Brethren:
 
Perhaps it is not so amazing that they did not at first believe. Place yourselves in their shoes at the time. Even though they themselves, had witness the raising of the dead on a few occasions, (the most notable being Lazarus), they could not bring their faith to believe that He that raised others, would Himself be raised.

Verse 9 - Christ himself appeareth to Mary Magdalene to upbraid the disciples’ incredulity.
Verse 12 - Christ appeareth to two other disciples, and at length to the eleven.
Verse 14 - The Evangelist considered not the order of the time, but the course of his history, which he divided into three parts: The first showeth how he appeared to the women, the second, to his Disciples, the third, to his Apostles, and therefore he saith, Finally.

Better news cannot be brought to disciples in tears, than to tell them of Christ's resurrection. And we should study to comfort disciples that are mourners, by telling them whatever we have seen of Christ. It was a wise providence that the proofs of Christ's resurrection were given gradually, and admitted cautiously, that the assurance with which the apostles preached this doctrine afterwards might the more satisfy. Yet how slowly do we admit the consolations which the word of God holds forth! Therefore while Christ comforts his people, he often sees it needful to rebuke and correct them for hardness of heart in distrusting his promise, as well as in not obeying his holy precepts.” - Matthew Henry Theologian




Monday, February 19, 2018

The Gospel According to Mark
Chapter 15:33-47

33 Now when the sixth hour was come, darkness arose over all the land until the ninth hour.
34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama-sabachthani? which is by interpretation, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elijah.
36 And one ran, and filled a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let him alone: let us see if Elijah will come, and take him down.
37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.
38 And the veil of the Temple was rent in twain, from the top to the bottom.
39 Now when the Centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he thus crying gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.
40 There were also women which beheld afar off, among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less, and of Joses, and Salome,
41 Which also when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him, and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.
42 And now when the night was come (because it was the day of the preparation that is before the Sabbath)
43 Joseph of Arimathea, an honorable counselor, which also looked for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and asked the body of Jesus.
44 And Pilate marveled, if he were already dead, and called unto him the Centurion, and asked of him whether he had been any while dead.
45 And when he knew the truth of the Centurion, he gave the body to Joseph:
46 Who bought a linen cloth, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb that was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulcher:
47 And Mary Magdalene, and Mary Joses’ mother, beheld where he should be laid.


Verse 33 - The strangeness of the wonder, is so much the more set forth in that, that at the feast of the Passover, and in the full moon, when the Sun shined over all the rest of the world and at midday that corner of the world, wherein so wicked an act was committed, was overcovered with most gross darkness.
Verse 38 - By renting of the veil of the Temple, and by the testimony wrung out of them which murdered him, he showeth evidently unto the rest of his enemies which are as yet obstinate, and mock at him, that he shall be known out of hand to be conqueror and Lord of all. (a)


'This rending of the veil signified that the whole of the Jewish dispensation, with its rites and ceremonies, was now unfolded by Christ; and that thenceforth the middle wall of partition was broken down, so that now, not the Jews only, but the Gentiles also might draw nigh by the blood of Christ. It further signified that the way to heaven was laid open by our Lord's death. 'When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers.'The veil signified that heaven was closed to all, until Christ by his death rent this veil in twain, and laid open the way.
Pulpit Commentary


At the same instant that Jesus died, the veil of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom. This spake terror to the unbelieving Jews, and was a sign of the destruction of their church and nation. It speaks comfort to all believing Christians, for it signified the laying open a new and living way into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. The confidence with which Christ had openly addressed God as his Father, and committed his soul into his hands, seems greatly to have affected the centurion. Right views of Christ crucified will reconcile the believer to the thought of death; he longs to behold, love, and praise, as he ought, that Saviour who was wounded and pierced to save him from the wrath to come.”
Matthew Henry - Theologian


(a) – One might also say, that this likewise was significant in that the veil separated the temple into to portions. The people, and the priests. It was known as the Holy of Holies. Thus when torn, the people, were now able to approach God Himself, instead of having a human intercessor, they now had a high priest in Christ. (Read Hebrews 2:17, 3:1, 4:14-15, 7:27, 9:11) “Having laid the foundation, that is to say, declared and proved both the natures of one selfsame Christ, he giveth him three offices, to wit, the office of a Prophet, king, and Priest, of the doctrine of the Gospel which we profess.” - GNV Notes

Sunday, February 18, 2018

A Discourse On Meekness and Quietness of Spirit
  Abridged from the Rev. Matthew Henry
Edited by R.P. Woitowitz Sr.
A meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Peter 3:4
Published by the American Tract Society

THE EXCELLENCY OF MEEKNESS

There is in it the credit of beauty. The beauty of a thing consists in the symmetry, harmony, and agreeableness of all the parts: now what is meekness but the soul's agreement with itself? It is the joint concurrence of all the affections to the universal peace and quiet of the soul, every one regularly acting in its own place and order, and so contributing to the common good. Next to the beauty of holiness, which is the soul's agreement with God, is the beauty of meekness, which is the soul's agreement with itself. "Behold how good and how pleasant a thing it is" for the powers of the soul thus to "dwell together in unity;" the reason knowing how to rule, and the affections at the same time knowing how to obey. Exorbitant passion is a discord in the soul; it is like a tumor in the face which spoils the beauty of it: meekness scatters the humor, binds down the swelling, and so prevents the deformity and preserves the beauty. This is one instance of the comeliness of grace, "through my comeliness," says God to Israel, "which I had put upon thee." [Read Ezekiel 16:14]. It puts a charming loveliness and amiableness upon the soul, which renders it acceptable to all who know what true worth and beauty is. He that in righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, that is, in Christian meekness and quietness of spirit, "serveth Christ, is acceptable to God and approved of men." [Read Romans 14:18]. And to whom else can we wish to recommend ourselves.

Solomon, a very competent judge of beauty, has determined that it is "a man's wisdom" that "makes his face to shine;" [Read Ecclesiastes 8:1], and doubtless the meekness of wisdom contributes as much as any one branch of it to this lustre. We read in Scripture of three whose faces shone remarkably, and they were all eminent for meekness. The face of Moses shone, and he was the meekest of all the men on earth. The face of Stephen shone, and he it was who, in the midst of a shower of stones, so meekly submitted, and prayed for his persecutors. The face of our Lord Jesus shone in his transfiguration, and he was the great pattern of meekness. It is a sweet and pleasing air which this grace puts upon the countenance, while it keeps the soul in tune, and frees it from those jarring discords which are the certain effect of an ungoverned passion.

There is in it the credit of an ornament. The apostle speaks of it as "an adorning" [Read 1 Peter 3:4], much more excellent and valuable than gold, pearls, or the most costly array. It is an adorning to the soul, the principal, the immortal part of the man. That outward adorning does but deck and beautify the body, which at the best is but a sister to the worms, and will ere long be a feast for them; but this is the ornament of the soul, by which we are allied to the invisible world: it is an adorning that recommends us to God, which is in his sight "of great price." Ornaments go by estimation: now we may be sure the judgment of God is right and unerring. Every thing is indeed as it is with God: those are righteous indeed, that are righteous before God; and that is an ornament indeed, which he calls and counts so. It is an ornament of God's own making. Is the soul thus decked? It is he that has decked it. By his Spirit he hath garnished the heavens, and by the same Spirit has he garnished the meek and quiet soul. It is an ornament of his accepting; it must needs be so, if it be of his own working; for to him who has this ornament, more adorning shall be given. He has promised that he will "beautify the meek with salvation;" [Read Psalm 149:4], and if the garments of salvation will not beautify, what will? The robes of glory will be the everlasting ornaments of meek and quiet spirits. This meekness is an ornament that, like the Israelites' clothes in the wilderness, never waxes old, nor will ever go out of fashion while right reason and religion have place in the world: all the wise and good will reckon those best dressed that put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and walk with him in the white of meekness and innocency. Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these lilies of the vallies, though lilies among thorns.[Read Matthew 6:29; Luke 12:27].

The same ornament which is recommended to wives, is by the same apostle recommended to us all. "Yea, all of you be subject one to another:" that explains what meekness is; it is that mutual yielding which we owe one to another, for edification and in the fear of God. This seems to be a hard saying; how shall we digest it? an impracticable duty; how shall we conquer it? Why, it follows, "Be clothed with humility." Which implies, [first], the fixedness of this grace: we must gird it fast to us, and not leave it to hang loose, so as to be snatched away by every temptation: watchfulness and resolution in the strength of Christ must tie the knot upon our graces, and make them as the girdle that cleaves to a man's loins. [Second], the comeliness and ornament of it; put it on as a knot of ribbons, as an ornament to the soul: such is the meekness of wisdom; it gives to the head an ornament of grace, and, which is more, a crown of glory. (See Proverbs 1:9; 6:9).






Friday, February 16, 2018

The Gospel According to Mark
Chapter 15:27-31

27 They crucified also with him two thieves, the one on the right hand, and the other on his left.
28 Thus the Scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was counted among the wicked.
29 And they that went by, railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Hey, thou that destroyest the Temple, and buildest it in three days,
30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross.
31 Likewise also even the high Priests mocking, said among themselves with the Scribes, He saved other men, himself he cannot save.

Related Scripture:
Verse 28 – Isaiah 53:12

Brethren:

We read above how our Savior was mocked during His crucifixion, little did they realize that His death was the saving grace for all mankind.

The chief priests and the scribes are more bitter than the people. In fact they had all along endeavored to rouse the bad passions of the people against our Lord. And now they take advantage of this his present degraded condition to renew the old charge that his miracles of healing had been wrought by Beelzebub, because, if they had been wrought by God, God would have interposed in this his sore extremity and have set him free. He saved others. They cannot deny this fact. But they now try to turn this fact against him, by alleging that he who pretended to work miracles upon others, wrought them, not by the finger of God, but by Beelzebub, seeing that, if they had been wrought by a Divine power, the same power would now be exercised for his deliverance. They desired to take advantage of this public opportunity of exposing him as an impostor, and so they hoped to get rid of him, and at the same time to blot the very name of Christianity from out of the earth.” - Pulpit Commentary

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Gospel According to Matthew
Chapter 24:12
Special Commentary

12 And because iniquity shall be increased, the love of many shall be cold.
Brethren:

Let us reflect a minute on what earlier in this Gospel, that is chapter twenty two, when Christ is queried as to what is the greatest commandments. To which He replies, to love God and to love one another. And yet, we see anger, vileness, hatred, animosity, envy, and other things that do not reflect the righteousness of God, towards each other. We've likewise seen a turning away from His precepts and wisdom, and in its stead have replaced it with worldly wisdom. Friends, this should not be so.

If we ask ourselves honestly, how did this happen, we must first examine the fact that we, as a people have turned away from our Creator. We have rejected His love for us, and replaced it with a love for each of us, that is to say; the individual. How can with love others, if we cannot love God first?

I can only speak upon what I see.

“By the abounding of iniquity here, we may either understand the rage, and malice, and cruelty of the enemies of the gospel; or the apostasy of such as are professors. Both these are great temptations, and though they will not extinguish that holy fire which God hath kindled in good souls, yet they have oft times a very ill influence upon them, to abate of their former warmth in the ways of God. Or if we understand it of love to brethren, the apostasy of professors much cools the Christian, not knowing who they may trust and confide in as sincere. If by the abounding of iniquity we understand the abounding of profaneness in the general, (which always also aboundeth most in times of persecution), that also hath no small influence upon Christians’ warmth in their profession, to cool and abate it.”
Matthew Pool's Bible Commentary

Either the malice and wickedness of outrageous persecutors, which should greatly increase; or the treachery and hatred of the apostates; or the errors and heresies of false teachers; or the wickedness that prevailed in the lives and conversations of some, that were called Christians: for each of these seem to be hinted at in the context, and may be all included, as making up the abounding iniquity here spoken of; the consequence of which would be, the love of many shall wax cold. This would be the case of many, but not of all; for in the midst of this abounding iniquity, there were some, the ardour of whose love to Christ, to his Gospel, and to the saints, did not abate: but then there were many, whose zeal for Christ, through the violence of persecution, was greatly damped; and through the treachery of false brethren, were shy of the saints themselves, not knowing who to trust; and through the principles of the false teachers, the power of godliness, and the vital heat of religion, were almost lost; and through a love of the world, and of carnal ease and pleasure, love to the saints was grown very chill, and greatly left; as the instances of Demas, and those that forsook the Apostle Paul, at his first answer before Nero, show. This might be true of such, who were real believers in Christ; who might fall under great decays, through the prevalence of iniquity; since it does not say their love shall be lost, but wax cold.”
John Gill – Theologian

Lawlessness. No word could more fitly represent [the present times]; of the many; the greater part ...who would be found in the Church of Christ; perhaps, also, the greater part of the nation as such. This was the natural result of the condition of things implied in the “lawlessness.” The tendency of all such times, as seen in the histories of famines, and pestilences, and revolutions, is to intensify selfishness, both in the more excusable form of self-preservation, and in the darker form of self-aggrandizement.”
J.C. Ellicott - Theologian

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Gospel According to Mark
Chapter 15:17-20

17 And clad him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head,
18 And began to salute him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews.
19 And they smote him on the head with a reed, and spat upon him, and bowed the knees, and did him reverence.
20 And when they had mocked him, they took the purple off him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.

Brethren:

Is this not what we see today? People, lovers of themselves and all things that go against God's righteousness. They that would pay false homage to Him. Those who mock God lift themselves up thinking that they themselves are gods. They believe the first lie of Satan who when he spoke to Eve suggested that she and Adam would be as god Himself. Read Galatians 6:7


Christ met death in its greatest terror. It was the death of the vilest malefactors. Thus the cross and the shame are put together. God having been dishonoured by the sin of man, Christ made satisfaction by submitting to the greatest disgrace human nature could be loaded with. It was a cursed death; thus it was branded by the Jewish law, (See Deuteronomy 21:23). The Roman soldiers mocked our Lord Jesus as a King; thus in the high priest's hall the servants had mocked him as a Prophet and Saviour. Shall a purple or scarlet robe be matter of pride to a Christian, which was matter of reproach and shame to Christ? He wore the crown of thorns which we deserved, that we might wear the crown of glory which he merited. We were by sin liable to everlasting shame and contempt; to deliver us, our Lord Jesus submitted to shame and contempt. He was led forth with the workers of iniquity, though he did no sin. The sufferings of the meek and holy Redeemer, are ever a source of instruction to the believer, of which, in his best hours, he cannot be weary. Did Jesus thus suffer, and shall I, a vile sinner, fret or repine? Shall I indulge anger, or utter reproaches and threats because of troubles and injuries?”
Matthew Henry – Theologian

"Worshipped him - Mocked him with the appearance' of homage. The word "worship' here denotes only the respect and honor shown to princes and kings. It does not refer to any "religious" homage. They regarded him as foolishly and madly claiming to be a king - not as claiming to be divine.”
Barnes' notes on the Bible


Monday, February 12, 2018

The Gospel According to Mark
Chapter 14:66-72

66 And as Peter was beneath in the hall, there came one of the maids of the high Priest.
67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked on him, and said, Thou wast also with Jesus of Nazareth.
68 But he denied it, saying, I know him not, neither wot I what thou sayest. Then he went out into the porch, and the cock crew.
69 Then a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them.
70 But he denied it again: and anon after, they that stood by, said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art of Galilee, and thy speech is like.
71 And he began to curse, and swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.
72 Then the second time the cock crew, and Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice, and weighing that with himself, he wept.


And when he thought thereon; on the words of Christ, and on his sin in denying him, and on the aggravated circumstances of it. The Arabic version renders it, "he turned himself to weep"; he turned away from the company, he threw himself out of it, and got out of doors as fast as he could, and broke out into a violent fit of weeping. The Syriac, Persic, and Vulgate Latin versions, render it, "he began to weep"; this phrase is omitted in the Ethiopic version: some choose to render it, "he looked upon him", that is, on Christ: as Christ looked upon him; which produced true evangelical repentance in him, so Peter looked upon his dear Lord with concern, whom he so had shamefully denied; he looked upon him and mourned, he looked upon him with an eye of faith, and sorrowed for his sin after a godly sort: but the true sense of the word is, 'he covered himself'; he cast his garment over his head, he veiled himself as mourners did, who covered their heads, and their faces, and even their lips.


So Maimonides from whence, says he, is uncovering the head, forbidden a mourner? For, lo! it is said to (See Ezekiel 24:17 ) , "cover not thy lips" at all, for the rest of mourners are obliged to the covering of the head; the linen cloth, or veil, with which he covers his head, he covers with a part of it, a little over his mouth; as it is said, ( See Leviticus 13:45 ), 'He shall put a covering upon his upper lip': and Onkelos paraphrases it, 'as a mourner he shall cover himself'.


And thus Peter, through shame, and as a token of sorrow and mourning for his sin, threw his garment over him: and he wept; as Matthew says, 'bitterly': being fully convinced of his sin, and heartily sorry lot it.” - John Gill - Theologian