This week we are considering the entry.
One of the most iconic songs of all time is The Beatles Song “All You Need is Love.” The message of that song doesn’t so much define love, but describes several things you can do if you have it. It was a powerful song in a volatile time where the call from The Beatles was one of love and faithfulness amidst the violent, war-torn world of the 1960’s.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey, as predicted in Zechariah 9:9, there were definitely political undertones at play. Was now the time when He was going to overthrow Rome? Was now the time Israel was going to be restored? This, in many ways, was a powerful, albeit unique, sign of God’s love and faithfulness amidst the violent, war-torn world of His day.
As we start this week of reading, let’s remember what is happening in the streets of Galilee at such a time as this. We have spent the first ten chapters of Mark covering the first years of Jesus’ life and ministry on earth. As you read this week, think through the lens: How is Jesus choosing to live His last moments before His crucifixion? With the knowledge of His impending death, what is HE doing, saying and teaching before He leaves His disciples? Why is that so significant? In turn, for reflection, think: What would I be doing if I knew I had one week to live? What would hold value and importance in my final days?
In this section, Jesus is handling the challenges from the religious leaders of the day and foretelling what is going to be happening in the coming days. These words proved to be a balm to the early disciples and they are a balm for us when we see the sturdiness of the Christian faith and the reliability of Jesus: he does what He says!
Right in the middle of this powerful section is Jesus’ teaching on the Great Commandment: to love God and to love your neighbour as yourself, as well as His teaching about a poor widow who gave her last two coins in faith. In the midst of all the conversation and predictions, Mark is showing us the essence of what Jesus had come to call people to was love and faithfulness.
As the days leading up to His crucifixion and the Passover got closer, Jesus reminded His disciples that the way of faith looked different than the way of the world. This is instructive to us as we consider the ways of Jesus in our day. 1) His care for the hearts of His people, 2) His concern for what truly matters, and 3) His call for their faithful obedience still resonates with us today.
Love and faithfulness. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? And yet the Bible is one long story of humanity’s inability to love and be faithful to God and His Word. Why? It is because the heart is bent towards the self. The prophet Jerimiah said that “the heart is deceitful above all things, who can understand it?” God does! The predicament of our hearts is why Jesus came. He took on flesh and, with a pure heart, lived a life of love and faithfulness.
As you prepare your heart and mind for this week’s readings, remember God’s commands to live are not burdensome. They can be understood in two principles: Love God and love others. These two commandments summarize all God’s laws. Through faith (and faithfulness), let these commands rule your thoughts, decisions, and actions, thus proving Jesus to be, not only the King of Hearts, but the King of your heart.
Why do you think holding love and faithfulness together is important?
Who is someone you consider faithful? What do you admire about them?
Is there one area of your life you sense God is asking you to be faithful in right now? To trust Him?
What are some ways you’ve experienced tangible love? What did that do for your heart?
Verse of the Week
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and
with all your strength.”