* Theme Week – Jesus: Mark 14
Old Testament: Joshua Intro below
Psalms Reading: Psalm 94
This entire chapter is full of various preparations for the crucifixion of our Savior.
It starts with a simple act of pure love and devotion. Jesus was in Bethany, eating with Lazarus and his sisters. And after this meal, a woman (John’s account tells us that it was Lazarus’ sister Mary) comes in with an expensive alabaster jar of fragrant oil and anoints Jesus. She has brought Jesus only the best and has complete disregard for its monetary value. Jesus tells us that what she is actually doing is anointing him for his burial. She isn’t giving to Christ for her sake, or out of guilt or in a rush of emotion. She prepared an offering of the best of what she had and gave. Jesus says that “She did what she could,” and she did it without direction or suggestion. She thought and found a way to serve her Lord and Savior whom she loved.
In a different act of preparation we see the disciples taking direction from Jesus to go and prepare the passover meal. Jesus gives them all the direction they need, and when they follow those directions all is provided for them. They were given a mission, and all they had to do was follow – the means to complete it was supplied.
And yet after the supper, when Christ asked a few of them to go with him and help him prepare for his coming death through prayer and fellowship, they couldn’t follow through. They fell asleep time and again. They fell short three times. Three times he checked on them, and reminded Peter to pray because the flesh is weak. Three times he came back and woke them and asked them to stay watchful and pray. Three times they proved themselves weak. Just as Peter would deny him three times.
Take some time to prepare yourself with me by examining your actions and intentions today. Ask yourself:
What can I do to show my love and appreciation for my savior? Am I too concerned with how others see my devotion to Jesus? How can I show my devotion as purely as Mary did?
When I’m given a task by God, do I follow through? Do I have faith that he will provide for my needs and give me a way to complete any task he gives me?
My spirit is willing and like Peter I refuse to believe that I could ever deny or disobey my savior. But is my flesh weak? In what areas of my life am I sleeping rather than remaining watchful?
My prayer for you today is that you are able to look over your life and the decisions you’re making and analyze your motives and intentions. Take stock of how you are serving. Are you able to serve in faith and without worrying about whether or not you’ll be given what you need? Are you able to serve with the purest of intentions? I pray that you find a way to serve and follow and do it in a way that is pure and devoted.
Having finished Deuteronomy yesterday in our Old Testament reading, here is our introduction to the book of Joshua which we will begin reading tomorrow.
The book of Joshua details the time from immediately following Moses’ death through the conquest of the land of Canaan. We’re not told, but it is likely that Joshua himself wrote most of the book, since it sounds like a first-hand account of the events that happened and were recorded at the time. At least the end of the book that records Joshua’s death had to have been written by someone else.
This book details the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham that his descendants would be slaves in Egypt, but afterward would return to the promised land – the land of Canaan. A promise God repeated to Moses. We see this from the very beginning of the book, where in Joshua 1:2-3, God told Joshua, “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give them – to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.”
The first 12 chapters detail the miraculous crossing of the Jordan River, the battle of Jericho, the sun standing still over Gibeon for about a whole day during the battle with the Amorites, and the conquest of all of the land of Canaan. Chapters 13-22 discuss the division of the land among the tribes of Israel. Chapters 23-24 close with a challenge to worship God alone.
Some well-known verses in Joshua include:
Joshua 1:7-8, “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
Joshua 23:14, “…You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.”
Joshua 24:14, “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
This is an exciting book. As you read it, consider the blessing and successes of Joshua, who faithfully followed God, contrasted with the punishment of people like Achan for disobedience.
Interestingly, the Hebrew name Joshua is the same as the new testament name Jesus.