Pat Damiani | January 22, 2019
This week, we will be digging deeper into the text by "capturing the big idea". In today's reading in Mark 16, that is actually pretty simple. The big idea is: Jesus is alive.
All of Christianity is dependent upon that fact. If Jesus did not rise from the grave, then as Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 15, our faith is futile and we are still in our sins. So in his gospel account, Mark is careful to record the wide variety of people who were eyewitnesses to the resurrected Jesus: the angel at the tomb. Mary Magdalene, two disciples on the road and finally the eleven remaining disciples. We know from what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15 that this was just the tip of the iceberg as Jesus appeared to more than 500 people after His resurrection.
So the resurrection of Jesus is one of the most witnessed and attested to events in history. And what makes the testimony of these eyewitnesses even more believable to me is the fact that almost all of them ended up dying to defend their faith. Not many people will do that for a lie.
Do you believe that Jesus is alive? Have you entrusted your life to Him?
Ryan Fregoso | January 22, 2019
Here we are introduced to two kings of Judah, and two kings of Israel. This chapter is sort of a rapid fire area that covers some 44 years of rulers on either side of the kingdom. The first king we are introduced to is Abijam, the son of Rehoboam. Abijam rules for 3 years and is labeled as a bad king, because he followed in the footsteps of Rehoboam. Even though Abijam was evil, the Lord allowed it because of His promise to David. We then see the reign of Asa, the son of Abijam over Judah. This the first good king since David. Immediately, Asa got rid of all of the idols and temple prostitutes. He even went as far as to remove the queen mother, as she made an idol. Nadab is the next king that we are told about, another bad king of Israel. His reign was followed by Baasha. We read in this chapter that there was war between Baasha and Asa.
You see, even though there was finally a good king in Judah, there was still bad in Israel. This constant back and forth will continue through the end of captivity. Evil is a direct result of the fall. David confessed his sin, which again is why we see in verse 5 that he was declared righteous, despite his sins, just like you and I have available through Jesus. When we follow Jesus, we desire to be more like Him, and are more likely to follow His principles and laws because our hearts are changed. David, Asa, and a few more good kings in Judah, also had their hearts pointed towards the Lord which is why they are declared good. You see, God is the one who declares you as good, or righteous. How would He classify you? Have you been saved by the blood of Jesus, thus being declared righteous? He is the only way.
Ryan Fregoso | January 21, 2019
Jeroboam’s son was very ill. He wanted to know the fate of his son, so he sent his wife to see Ahijah, the prophet, to tell them what’s wrong with their son. He had her disguise herself when she entered the room to see him. Before she arrived, the Lord already told the old, blind prophet who was coming and the message to leave with her regarding her son, Jeroboam and the nation. Notice how neither Jeroboam or his wife prayed. Notice how she tried to conceal her identity when she went to a man of God. They didn’t want God’s advise or council, they were more interested in the prophet who can “see the future”. The word from God through the prophet was not good. First, they were told their son would die. Next, they were told that Israel would be judged because of the sins of Jeroboam. We see that when his wife returned, and crossed the threshold, their son died. We are then given a quick overview of his reign, and his death is recorded. Nadab, his son, is named as his successor.
We are given another short overview of Rehoboam’s reign as well. There are a few details that are very important. First, we see that Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord (14:22). Next, we see that Judah was also involved in idolatry and abominations. Next we see that due to an attack by the Egyptian king, Judah was left weaker, as thier gold shields were replaced by bronze. Finally, we see that there was constant war bettwen Jeroboam and Rehoboam. He was succeded by his son, Abijam.
The words "they did evil in the sight of the Lord" are words that will become very familiar to us as we continue in these books. The measuring rod was David himself, as we know was not perfect. Because of this, we must recognize that it was through David’s faith (see Hebrews 11:32-34,39-40) that he was marked as “good”, just as we are forgiven today through Jesus. Jesus makes our sin white as snow. Where is your faith?
Ryan Fregoso | January 20, 2019
Every once and a while a light will shine in darkness. We see that here when a man of God (not identified by name) called Jeroboam out while at one of the altars. He prophesied that God will raise up a king, named Josiah, who will restore God’s Word and tear down these altars. What an amazing and specific prophecy that we see here that we know to be true because of the Scriptures. In 2 Kings 21-23, we read about this event which occurred some 300 years after this man of God spoke them. Immediately, Jeroboam raised his hand to motion for his men to seize him and have him killed, but the Lord intervened and his hand withered. Evidently, at a prior time, it was commanded to him not to break bread with Jeroboam or his prophets, likely because of their association with idols. We see later that this man was deceived by another prophet, and was killed by a lion on the road for disobeying God. The role of the prophet, particularly in this case, was to warn the people of their shortfalls to the standard of God. The man was put there at that specific time to warn Jeroboam about his idolatry and how he was moving people away from the Lord, not towards Him. But, we read in verse 33 that he did not turn from his evil ways.
Have you ever been warned about something, but carried on anyway? Well, allow me to give you an example. If you have heard the Gospel, you have been warned. If you have not responded to this Gospel, then you have chosen, just like Jeroboam, to follow other gods. You’ve been warned. Now, you must respond. Are you ready to do that today?
Ryan Fregoso | January 19, 2019
Here, we see that Rehoboam had an opportunity to gain the favor of all of Israel. They came to him with a request, so he went to his councils. He had two camps that he went to for council. His father’s council advised him to meet their request, but his friends decided instead to go against them and to be harsh with them. While this was all going on, we know from verse 1 that Jeroboam returned from Egypt (where he fled in 11:40). When the people returned, with Jeroboam, for the new king’s answer, Rehoboam answered with the advise from his friends. This caused the people to divide, with Israel following Jeroboam and Judah with Benjamin following Rehoboam. Rehoboam was ready to go to war and gathered 180,000 soldiers, but God sent a prophet and prohibited him from attacking. Jeroboam wanted to ensure the people didn’t return to Jerusalem, so he built two golden calfs and placed them at the very northern tip and the very southern tip of the land of Israel. He also mirrored a feast during the same time they would be required to return to Jerusalem.
This chapter begins the long history of the kingdoms being divided. We will read of kings on both sides, and how many of them (all on the Israel side) were bad all the way through 2 Kings. Essentially we won’t see them united again until later in the Babylonian captivity. During this time, we see many of the OT prophets that were sent by the Lord to warn the people. It would irresponsible for us to believe that God abandoned them during this time, since we see the evidence in our Bibles. But we also know from Scripture that He gives us the ability to choose, and will give us up to those passions (Romans 1). If anything, this history should break your hearts, and remind you of the instructions we see in Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8 instructing is to go out and bring the Good News to the world.