Monday, July 30
Scripture: Mark 10:35-45
 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”  And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”  And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”  Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”  And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized,  but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”  And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John.  And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.  But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,  and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (ESV)
Scripture Reading Skill: Figures of speech. Metaphors abound in Scripture. In order to understand this passage, you must know how metaphors work both in literature and in this passage. A metaphor is a “comparison in which one thing represents another.” (Hendricks)
In this passage Jesus refers to a cup and baptism. If you take these literally, Jesus is simply saying they will drink from the same cup (which they did at the Last Supper) and be baptized as he was baptized. However, this is not the intent of Jesus’ words.
In order to understand this statement, you must ask and answer some questions:
- What is the cup to which Jesus is referring?
- What is the baptism to which Jesus is referring?
- Where are cup and baptism used elsewhere in Scripture?
Hint: The cup is referred to as a cup of wrath (https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-cup-consumed-for-us). Here, by extension the cup refers to the suffering Jesus will undergo…as does the baptism. They are metaphors.
Tuesday, July 31
Scripture: Mark 10:46:52
 And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside.  And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.”  And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.  And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.”  And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. (ESV)
Scripture Reading Skill: Historical context. Why did Bartimaeus call Jesus “Son of David?” So a good reliable resource is gotquestions.org. It is a theologically sound resource, dependable and reliable. Check out their understanding of this: https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-son-of-David.html.
Now, with that in mind, what was Bartimaeus saying? What did he understand or at least think, that others did not?
Wednesday, August 1
Scripture: Mark 11:1-11
 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples  and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it.  If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’”  And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it.  And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?”  And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go.  And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it.  And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields.  And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”  And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. (ESV)
Scripture Reading Skill: Geographical context. Look up a map of ancient Israel and trace Jesus’ journey. What do you learn from this? What gate would Jesus have come through? What is the significance of this gate.
Hint: Bethany was on the eastern side of Jerusalem. Jesus would have come through the eastern gate. The eastern gate shows up again in prophecy of the return of Christ.
Thursday, August 2
Scripture: Mark 11:12-19
 On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry.  And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.  And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.  And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.  And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple.  And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”  And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching.  And when evening came they went out of the city. (ESV)
Scripture Reading Skill: Historical context. Why did people sell things in the temple? Was Jesus angry because they were selling things? Or because they were being extortioners?
“Doves were the recognized offering of the poor, required for the purification of women, the cleansing of lepers, and other purposes. The installation of stalls for the sale of animals and of other requirements for the sacrifice such as wine, oil and salt, had the effect of transforming the Court of the Gentiles into an oriental bazaar and a cattle mart. Jesus was appalled at this disregard for the sanctity of an area consecrated for the use of Gentiles who had not yet becomes full proselytes to Judaism.” (William Lane)
How does this historical background change your understanding of Jesus’ frustration. Where was Jesus’ heart in this display of anger?
Friday, August 3
Scripture: Mark 11:20-26
 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots.  And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”  And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.  Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (ESV)
Scripture Reading Skill: Historical Context. This brief passage is packed with historical and biblical references. Let me list them for you. (In case you’re wondering, this isn’t tucked away in my brain. I wished it was! Did some research.)
- The fact that the tree is withered from the roots goes back to Job, Ezekiel and Hosea and denotes total destruction. Could this be a reference to the temple where the moneychangers were thrown out?
- If you reference Psalm 90:6, Joel 1:12 and Hosea 9:16, could this be a reference to impending judgment?
- The Dead Sea is visible from the Mount of Olives where Jesus is teaching. “This mountain” could refer to the Mount of Olives that will be split in two on the last day.
“When prayer is the source of faith’s power and the means of its strength, God’s sovereignty is its only restriction.” (William Lane)