Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 12 April 2022:
Leviticus 10:1, 2 – “Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.”
Nadab and Abihu were given tremendous responsibility to lead communal worship and maintain God’s standards of holiness. God gave strict instructions for worship and demanded obedience. Nadab and Abihu dishonored God, and God held them accountable. If this appears to be an extreme punishment, it can only be because of a misunderstanding of the severity of treating the Almighty’s holiness with contempt.
Leviticus 10:3 – “Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is what the Lord has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’’ And Aaron held his peace.”
Aaron understood the significance of the sin committed by his son’s – he did not dare challenge God’s punishment.
Listen to this message from the late Dr. R.C. Sproul on Leviticus 10:1-11, entitled Holiness and Justice: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/holiness-of-god/holiness-and-justice
Mark 16:1 — “When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.”
The twelve disciples played lead, visible roles in Jesus’ ministry, but it was others behind the scenes, unlikely protagonists, who stayed faithful to the end, remaining with Jesus. It was Joseph of Arimathea (unmentioned prior to Jesus’ death) who “went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body,” no doubt at great personal risk and definitely at great personal cost. Also, John records that Nicodemus claimed Jesus’ body with Joseph, again at great personal risk. While many watched Jesus’ trial from a distance (spectator believers), the Bible says that the two named Mary, as well as Salome, “cared for [Jesus’] needs in Galilee.” These same three chose to anoint Jesus’ body while the disciples remained in hiding (John 20:19), and because of their quiet faithfulness, these women were the first to be given the Good News – “He has risen!” Because of their faith, they saw the power of God in ways others didn’t, and they could proclaim what others couldn’t. On the frontlines of faith, they became leaders in the faith.
Someone once said, “Leaders know the way and show the way.” Jesus said, I am the Way.” So, the real leader is the one closest to Jesus who can lead others to Jesus. At one point the twelve disciples were very enthusiastic about their leadership roles within the Kingdom, even arguing about which among them would be the greatest, but now they remained in fear behind closed doors. Of course, we know that this isn’t the end of the story for them, and after a personal encounter with the Risen Christ (and a rebuke by Him for their unbelief), they will be transformed into men of valor.
Often those most enthusiastic and vocal about leading are not ready for the reality of the cross and the personal costs of worshipful, sacrificial leadership. It takes faith to lead at all costs, trusting that the real victory, eternal life, and immeasurable riches are gained in Christ alone. You must be ready to deny self, take up your cross daily, and follow Jesus unconditionally. Many pursue leadership from a position of pride, but Jesus said true leadership is lowly, costing everything for the sake of the Gospel. The two women named Mary, Salome, Joseph and Nicodemus were focused on one thing – humbly serving Jesus despite the personal cost. They served quietly, behind the scenes and modeled the humble, servant leadership which Jesus taught — something for aspiring leaders to consider carefully today. Are you a leader? Where exactly are you leading those who might be following? “Whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Luke 11:23)
- Mark 16:15, 16 — “And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’”
Leader, Jesus has given you your marching orders and shown you what leadership looks like. Are you the one so close to Jesus that you can’t help but proclaim, “He has risen!” Jesus commanded His disciples to proclaim the Gospel, not just to a select few or to those who were likely to accept it, but to the “whole creation.” The Christian’s responsibility is to boldly proclaim the Gospel to everyone as an ambassador of Christ in a hostile land; how others respond to the Gospel is their responsibility. So, as a leader, from whom have you elected to withhold the Gospel, and why? Where is your leadership on the other side of the cross?
Listen to this message by the late Dr. R.C. Sproul on Mark 16:14–20 on “the long ending of Mark” and the Great Commission: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/sermons/mark-great-commission
Mark 16:7 — But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.
“Does God give second chances to those Who have failed Him? He certainly did so for Peter. Peter had proudly
announced that he was Jesus’ most reliable disciple (Matthew 26;33). Yet Peter not only fled with the other disciples in the moment of crisis, but also blatantly denied he even knew Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75). Peter failed so miserably that he went out into the night and wept bitterly (Luke 22:62).
How compassionate the risen Christ was to Peter! The angel gave the women at the tomb special instructions to let peter know that He was risen. Jesus took Peter aside to allow him the opportunity to reaffirm his love and commitment (John 21:15-17). The risen Lord also chose Peter as His primary spokesman on the day of Pentecost, when three thousand people were added to the church.
God’s desire is to take you from where you are and bring you to where He wants you to be. When He found His defeated followers hiding together in an upper room, Jesus’ first Word was “peace” (John 20:19). Jesus’ first words to you after you fail may also be “peace.” Jesus will find you in despair and bring you peace. Then, He will reorient you to Himself so that you can believe Him and follow Him. Don’t give up if you have failed your Lord. Remember what happened to Peter. God has not yet finished developing you as a disciple.” (Henry T. Blackaby)
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 12 April 22: Today, draw close to the Lord in prayer, worship, and let your relationship with the Lord radiate from your life as who proclaim His Name to everyone around you because your intense love for Him and your intense love for others compels you to do so.