Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 31 March 2023:
Job 20 — The heavens will reveal his iniquity, and the earth will rise up against him. The possessions of his house will be carried away, dragged off in the day of God’s wrath. This is the wicked man’s portion from God, the heritage decreed for him by God.
The wicked perceive salvation in earthly prosperity and riches, but that lasts only until God brings judgment on the wicked and their sins. From our limited human perspective, God’s perfect justice may seem unjust while sinners seem to prevail and the godly seem to suffer. However, God will make all things right in ways we cannot possibly imagine. Trust in Him and obey Him regardless the near-term cost to you.
Mark 9:2-4 – And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.
Jesus is transfigured on the mountaintop before His three closest disciples. As previously discussed, we shouldn’t miss the point that, while Moses didn’t make it to the Promised Land in his temporal state, He received that reward and so much more in glory. God’s ultimate goal for Moses was not a piece of terrain but rather Himself. Beyond that point, we should also make note of the significance of these two specific people appearing with Jesus:
“It is very significant that these two men appeared, for Moses was the mediator of the old covenant, the giver of the Law, and Elijah stood at the head of the long line of Israelite prophets. In summarizing the testimony of the Old Testament, Scripture often speaks of the Law and the prophets. Thus, we see here the confluence of the Law and prophets with the Messiah whose coming they foreshadowed. Finally, a cloud, a symbol of God’s presence, overshadowed the scene, and God’s voice was heard urging the disciples to listen to Jesus. They were to stop hesitating and embrace His mission to go to Jerusalem to suffer and die for His people.” (Tabletalk Magazine)
- Matthew 5:17 — “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
- Matthew 22:37-40 — And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
- Luke 24:44 — Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
- John 1:45 — Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
- Acts 24:14 — But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets….
- Acts 28:23 — When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.
- Romans 3:21 — But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—
The Mount of Transfiguration reveals agreement between the Law, the prophets, and Jesus; and Jesus’ preeminence and fulfillment of the Law and prophecy. Jesus did not abolish God’s previous words but embodied them. The heart compelled by the love of Christ need not be compelled by commands and fear of punishment, because obedience is the natural product of love, which is all powerful over motivations of fear or duty.
A final point from Ligonier Ministries – “Peter was on a mountaintop spiritually, and he wanted to stay there. But his experience was designed to send him into the world to participate in the death and humiliation of Christ. Consider how your spiritual mountaintops—at worship, at a Bible study, or during a retreat—should drive your walk with Christ.”
Mark 9:24 – Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
“Faith does not come from ignorance. Faith is based on what we know.
Before we will trust others with something precious to us, we first try to find out if they are trustworthy. This father was asking that he might come to know God in such a dimension that he could trust Him to cure his son.
His son had been possessed by an evil spirit since early childhood. The father did not know Jesus well, but he had heard and seen enough to convince him that if there was any hope for his son, it lay with Jesus. In desperation he cried out to Jesus for help. Jesus’ response was to heal his son. The desperate father had correctly gone to Jesus with his problem even though he was struggling with his faith.
When you are struggling to believe, that is not the time to avoid Christ or to be ashamed of your struggle. You will never increase your faith by not going to Jesus! Rather, Jesus wants to help you with your belief. He can not only meet your need, but He will also give you faith to trust Him to provide for you.
If you are struggling to believe that God can take care of your need, it is because you don’t know Him as He wants you to. Go to Him and allow Him to convince you of His ability to meet every need you will ever face.” (Henry T. Blackaby)
Mark 9:38 – John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.”
“At first glance, it appears a noble thing that Jesus’ disciples kept such careful guard over the orthodoxy of Jesus’ ministry. They found someone casting out demons in Jesus’ name who was not a part of their group and not under their control, and they demanded that he stop. Yet Jesus saw through His disciples’ hypocrisy. The disciples themselves had been given the power to drive out demons as well (Matt. 10:8), yet they had failed miserably (Mark 9:28).
How it must have embarrassed the disciples to have publicly failed to cast out a demon from a young boy. Yet, here was someone successfully exorcising demons who was not even regularly with Jesus as they were. They should have been concerned with their own lack of spiritual power and vitality. They should have felt convicted by their Lord’s stinging rebuke at their lack of faith (Matt. 17:20). Instead, they focused on others. Rather than repenting of their sin and grieving over their spiritual impotence, the disciples attempted to hinder someone who was enjoying spiritual success.
At times, it is easier to diminish others’ spiritual victories than to honestly confront our own failures. Jesus’ response to His disciples must have surprised them as He said, “Do not forbid him” (Mark 9:39). He assured them that “he who is not against us is on our side” (v. 40). Have you learned this vital lesson? Are you able to genuinely rejoice in the spiritual victories of others? Are you encouraging those who serve the Lord in a different way or who belong to a different group than you do?” (Henry T. Blackaby)
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 31 March 2023: Share your mountaintop experience in Christ with everyone you can today.