EXODUS 39:1-40:38 | MARK 1:1-28 | PSALM 35:1-16 | PROVERBS 9:11-12
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The Ark and all the Temple furnishings were completed yesterday; today, the priests’ garments and all their accessories are completed. And finally, the Tabernacle itself is set up. There is apparently great devotion and determination in carrying out this great project which must have taken several months, or perhaps even years to complete.
But it is finally done, and Moses has been a capable foreman all along. He is pleased, and he blesses the people. And so is Yahweh. The sign for God’s presence within the Tabernacle is a cloud above it during the day and a pillar of light during the night. What an awesome sight that must have been!
Having completed the first of the four Gospels, we embark today on the second one: The Gospel according to Mark, one of Jesus’ disciples. Mark opens up his account by citing the ancient prophecy by Isaiah about the coming of the Messiah. We are introduced again to John the Baptist, the wild man who had apparently set up tent on the banks of the river Jordan and baptized people in the river.
And while he does this, he says: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
And so we will now begin the journey yet again of Jesus’ life and ministry. These are the accounts of the three short and amazing years that he spent on this earth in the regions of Palestine. Three years that changed the course of history and led to the opening up of the Kingdom of Heaven to every mere mortal that believes.
The disciples begin to be assembled, and the miracles commence. One of the most astounding stories is that of the man possessed with demons. I would have liked to meet that man– can you imagine the stories this man would have had for the rest of his life?
The Psalm for the day is one in which David is crying out to God during an evidently difficult time in his life. He is dejected from being pursued, and slandered, and mistreated. And yet, he chooses to bless those that curse him. He says of his adversaries:
13 Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth
and humbled myself with fasting.
When my prayers returned to me unanswered,
14 I went about mourning
as though for my friend or brother.
I bowed my head in grief
as though weeping for my mother.
15 But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee;
attackers gathered against me when I was unaware.
They slandered me without ceasing.
Finally, many years later, David’s son Solomon, yet another great king of Israel, speaks of the value of doing good to those who might not do the same to you. He offers his exhortation:
12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you;
if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.”
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.