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-LESSON 2: OVERVIEW OF MARK

by Dr. D ~

The ‘Supernatural’ in The Gospel of Mark 

Nearly half of the 45 verses in Mark- Chapter One, are connected with some kind of ‘supernatural’ event. 

Why is this important you ask?  Critics of the New Testament have long held that the Gospels were written long after the events, by second generation Christians who embellished the scriptures with ‘supernatural’ events in order to make Jesus look more important.  Yet, the Gospel of Mark is recognized by scholars–conservative, liberal, & secular alike-to be the earliest Gospel, written well within the lifetime of those who were there, and it actually emphasizes those very ‘supernatural’ deeds & actions.

The following are things that you don’t see every day (what those of us in the western world would refer to as ‘supernatural’)–in Mark-Chapter One:

Verses 7-8:  -Prophetic declaration

Verses 10-11:  -Open Heaven

-Spirit descending as a dove

-Voice from Heaven

Verses 12-13:  -Spirit sent/inspired

-Personally tempted by Satan himself

-Wild animals didn’t harm him

-Angels attended to him

Verse 15:  Prophetic statement

Verse 16:  "Come follow me…", invitation accepted–they actually leave their work!

Verses 23-25:  Evil spirit expelled

Verses 29-31:  Peter’s mother-in-law healed

Verses 32-34:  Healed many & cast out demons

Verse 39:  Preaching & driving out demons

Verses 40-45:  Leper healed

These are events that those of us, in the secular ‘modern’ world, would consider exceptional.  However, in the life and ministry of Jesus & his Apostles, our exceptions were their norm.  Our world view is markedly different from those in the first century. 

Those of us who have read these verses many times, & heard about them in Sunday School as children, really have a hard time engaging the text.  Stop and think for a second; if you were actually there, how would you react?  Probably far different than you did when you read about it. 

These events were real, and they really did happen to real people!  Think about it.  If a stranger came to your office tomorrow and said to you- "Come follow me…" -would you go?  The fact that Peter, Andrew, James, & John-all left their jobs behind immediately-demonstrates that something extraordinary was going on.  If someone in the local mall started healing every sick or disabled person he saw, what would happen?  Would anybody listen to what he had to say?

Jesus proclaimed everywhere he went (verse 15): 

"The Kingdom of God is near.  Repent and believe the Good News!" 

What did that declaration mean to those who heard it in the first century?  The Jewish people at the time were hoping for the Messiah to come & kick out the Romans.  The OT prophets foretold of a time at the end of history, when the Kingdom of God would be established, and there would be no more sickness, hunger, poverty, or death. 

When Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, & miraculously fed thousands; he was demonstrating tangibly who he was & is–when you are near Jesus–"The Kingdom of God is near".  Even today, when you are a friend of Jesus, the hope & the reality of the Kingdom, and rule of God is near.

We plan on beginning each lesson with a notation of the ‘supernatural’ events and acts in each chapter followed by the ‘notes and commentary’ on the verses.

-Read chapter one for the next lesson.

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-Bible Study for Easter

by Dr. D ~

A look at the facts concerning the resurrection of Jesus–a timely pursuit for the Easter season:

Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?” by William Lane Craig, professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California.

image  This is the best and most concise article that I have found on this issue.            *Top

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-Matt 6:9-13: An Application of the Lord’s Prayer- “Thy Will Be Done in Earth” (Verse 10b)-Part 2

by Dr. D ~

Matt 6:9-13
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.   -KJV

Part 2-How to Live and Pray the Will of God

The fact is, the more you include the Holy Spirit in your daily activities the greater the possibility for you to actually do the will of God in your life on earth. It is the Spirit which guides us beyond ourselves and connects us with our Father in Heaven.

The best way to include the Holy Spirit in our day is to start it off with prayer. When I get to the “thy will be done on earth” part in my prayers that is when I remember to pray for the salvation of all of my family and friends. It really is the will of God that everyone should accept the free gift of his Son Jesus and salvation. He really doesn’t want anyone to parish.

Another thing I am confident of when it comes to God’s will is to pray for the spiritual condition of myself, my family, and friends. I pray:

“More of the Spirit Lord and more of your power to do and be the person you really want me to be. More of your Spirit for my whole family, let them grow in you and become the people you have called each one of them to be.”

Then I pray individually for each member as directed before I turn my attention to my friends.

Healing is another thing you can pray about. After all there is no disease in Heaven. It is the ultimate will of God to eradicate and eliminate sickness and death.

Yes, we live in a different context and I know that sometimes the Lord may allow us to get sick like he did Job. The Scriptures also tell us that some in the past have even gotten sick and died because of the way they abused the Lord’s Supper. But until death proves otherwise I am going to pray for healing for myself, my family, and my friends -and folks that show up at church for that matter.

Another thing that is consistent with the will of God is for us to be free from anything that would enslave us. Some around the world are literally still in some form of slavery. Others are enslaved and controlled by the cultures they live in. That would include all of us in varying degrees.

Finally, there are many that are enslaved by alcohol, drugs, gambling, and sex –or anything else that folks have a dependency problem with. Demonic influence is another biggie.

These are all things that we can pray about to God the Father with complete certainty.            *Top

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-Matt 6:9-13: An Application of the Lord’s Prayer- “Thy Will Be Done in Earth” (Verse 10b)

by Dr. D ~

Matt 6:9-13
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.   -KJV

“Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”

In the last article on The Lord’s Prayer we talked about the Kingdom of God and concluded that the Kingdom represents the ‘rule of God’. Therefore wherever God rules there is his Kingdom. So when we pray for his Kingdom to come we are really praying for an extension of his rule and authority which is exactly what we are praying for also when we say:

“Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”

His will is done in Heaven. There is no sickness, there is no death, there is plenty of everything for everybody. His will reigns in Heaven but not necessarily here on earth. Choices and free will changes the whole equation here and messes it all up. We have sickness, death, famine, and natural disasters. Also, sometimes nature itself seems to be completely out of control.

Jesus came to change the direction of all creation and bring it back and reconcile it to God the Father. God had given authority over creation to the first man Adam and Satan had stolen it when Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God in the Garden.

Jesus reversed the course of and possibility of all creation when he lived as a perfect man and took back the mantle of the earth. Mt 28:18 tells us that Jesus now has all authority in Heaven and on earth. He holds the keys to bringing the rule of God to the earth just as it is right now in the Heavenly realm.

Roman 8:12-19 tells us that all creation awaits the revelation of the ‘Sons of God’. That is All of creation awaits and is depending on some folks to wake up and understand more fully what it means to be the children of God through faith in Jesus and cry out—Abba Father!

All creation waits for a group of folks to not only pray- Thy will be done- but actually live it?

But how can it be done? How can we even know what the will of God is? Then how can we actually do the will of God on Earth? After all, all sorts of weird doctrines have been formed using this Romans 8 passage as an excuse.

Continue reading »

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-Matt 6:9-13: An Application of the Lord’s Prayer- “Thy Kingdom Come” (Verse 10a)-2- Becoming Naturally Supernatural

by Dr. D ~

Matt 6:9-13
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.   -KJV

Becoming Naturally Supernatural

When we pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in essence we are praying for the Kingdom and rule of God to become part of our lives. But then we ignore him so much of the time—at least I do. Even for those of us who are Pentecostals and Charismatics, the supernatural is still the exception rather than the rule particularly in America and the Western world.

It is time for us to more clearly understand that Jesus is our example. He demonstrated what it means to bring the Kingdom and rule of God into human experience. How to be naturally supernatural.

The time has come for Christians to stand up and be the ‘body of Christ’—be real representatives of Jesus just like we have always been called to be. It is time to do the works of Jesus and forget about playing church and putting all of our efforts into organizations. The church should never be an end but always a means.

Unfortunately the history of the Christian church places so much emphasis on the organizations and leaders that have come and gone. It is riddled with the dead shells of past revivals, by-gone ministries, fallen leaders, and those who don’t know that they are fallen. But Jesus Christ remains and he said that he would be with us to the very end.

It is time to go back to the future. Our future lies in doing the works of Jesus in the 21th century just like the first all over again.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if Jesus had come in our century rather than the first and to America rather than Judea. Who would be his disciples?

I am fairly well convinced that the main-line churches would probably be like the Sadducees of old and many Evangelicals would act in similar ways to the Pharisees. Also, the secularists would probably be like the Romans and their puppet rulers who sought after riches and political power.

What if a revival came to America and the Western world that looked very much like the works and ministry of Jesus? What would the response be? How would the religious leaders in America respond? How would the secularists?

I believe that when revival does come millions of regular folks will be affected and they will experience a major change in world view. The supernatural will no longer be the exception but a natural expectation and result. Bringing the Kingdom into every day life in the 21th century would change it all.

If and when the works and ministry of Jesus become the norm among the faithful Christians in America there will be a major paradigm shift and the supernatural works of Jesus will become natural for the participants. Then we’ll end up with a new ‘Kingdom culture’ to rival and parallel the secular culture that is now dominating America and the Western world.          *Top

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