Monday, May 23, 2011

Mark 1:2

The purpose of the last two blog posts, was to relate the hope which I experienced from the Lord as I was reading the beginning of the Gospel of Mark, after my good friends Barbara and Jay visited our home. I frequently experience a profound absence of Christ in the local catholic parishes. And, it grieves me, and persuades me that the Lord abandons this particular Church community here in the Diocese of Metuchen, except for the remnant.  I have also noticed that many catholics have become deeply wounded and the attack of Satan has been very effective in neutralizing many efforts to bring renewal to the Diocese of Metuchen. Many priests seem to be unable to preach the Word of God and our lay leaders, including myself, have also been rendered largely ineffective for the Kingdom of God. Some have no expectation that any thing should be any different, for they are blinded and deaf and dumb. Others feel the bondage and deep pain crying out to God for mercy.

I have had this feeling of hopelessness that this is never going to change, and while in my mind, I know this is a lie straight from the pit of hell, yet, it has continued to persist in my heart as something that felt very true, largely until the night after Barbara and Jay left and then, I sat with the Word of God, and the Lord eradicated this feeling of hopelessness through His Word.  Yet, there is still pain and sadness at the bankruptcy of our particular Church of Metuchen, but now with hope!  Let's finish up this reflection on Mark 1:1.

So, we have seen in Mark 1:1, how Mark used the word "gospel" which is drawn from Isaiah 52:7. And we saw how the sin of Israel led God to sell them for nothing so that, after repentance and also making payment for their sins, God also promised to redeem them without money, which indeed he does through the shed blood and the sufferings of Jesus Christ. And we have drawn the parallel to our own day, and placed our hope in Jesus Christ, that perhaps, God withdraws even now from many of our particular Churches to bring them to repentance so that these Churches can be redeemed once again through Jesus Christ.  And, even if they do not repent, and even if the Lord Jesus must turn against a particular Church because she foolishly attacks the remnant of the Lord, even so, after our Lord snuffs out that particular Church, there will be new missionaries that will come from neighboring particular Churches to preach the Gospel.  And, even if the particular Churches in an area are unfaithful together, the Lord raises up prophets and evangelists and whole evangelical Christian communities of believers who are invisibly in communion with the Catholic Church through faith in Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, through Baptism and through Holy Matrimony for the proclamation of the Gospel.

So, since, it is apparent that Mark had one eye on Isaiah as be began writing his Gospel, it would seem logical he might continue in the same strain of thought. And, indeed he does in verse 2-3: As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, "Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his maths straight--" Mark is conjoining three different Old Testament passages, namely: Exodus 23:20, Isaiah 40:3, and Malachi 3:1, and if you want to explore the relation, then go buy this study Bible. In this space, I will focus solely upon how I saw the text last Sunday evening, in the light of Isaiah.

The background context of Isaiah 40:3, is Isaiah 36 through 40, which itself is a very long (almost?) verbatim quotation of 2 Kings 18:13- 20:19, regarding the reign of King Hezekiah. Now prior to Hezekiah there were a slew of bad kings who led Israel into deep sin. While Hezekiah was devoted to the Lord, nevertheless, at this point the judgment of God is at the doorsteps of Jerusalem. According of Isaiah 36:2, Sennacherib King of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. And the king of Assyria sent the Rabshakeh from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem, with a great army. The Rabshakeh is basically the number two guy after the King of Assyria. So, the Rabshakeh makes a really arrogant speech mocking God and God protects Israel and defeats the King of Assyria. Then the King of Babylon send envoys to Jerusalem with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. And Hezekiah welcomed them; and he showed them his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his whole armory, all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. (Isaiah 39:1). And, Isaiah says to Hezekiah, "Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your father have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon, nothing shall be left, says the Lord. And some of your own sons, who are born to you, shall be taken away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon." (Isaiah 39:6-7) And, this is what happens. They go into exile and, starting with Isaiah 40 and onward, are the words of God spoken to them by the prophet Isaiah.

Certainly, the particular Churches in the West have no concept of physical exile. Yet, some particular Churches outside of our Western civilization know persecution. In the West, the experience of exile is still only spiritual, the withdraw of the experience of God, His power and His love. It is the lack of the operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the lack of knowledge of the Word of God, which leads to despair, hopelessness, and a sense of no purpose for existence. And, yet, is it not clear as day, that if the Churches of the West do not repent, God is raising up nations which will punish the West and thrust her dead unrepentant Churches into exile once again?

Isaiah 40:1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. The Lord speaks these words to those in exile after the People of God receive from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. Indeed, it is Jesus Christ who pays that ransom. But, to the man who knows His own sin, but has not yet encountered the remedy in Jesus Christ, these words feel like mockery, like placing salt into the wound to make it hurt even more: "Lord, you speak these words to me, but you do nothing. What comfort?" And, what a sorry state is the soul of the man who believes with his mind the things of God, yet his heart is dead. The only remedy is repentance, surrender, and honesty about the state of ones own soul. That man must acknowledge the debt of sin which he cannot pay, and the hypocrisy of his life up until now, and let go of any sense of self, any lie that perhaps he can save himself through his knowledge of God or his good works. He must place his trust completely in Jesus Christ for salvation, and all others things must be accounted as worthless, not that they are, but so that God can re-order man's life, and give them worth through His grace and love. Indeed, once our free will is received as the gift of God, it then has value in Him. And, once the sacraments of the Church are received as the gift of God, then they, too, have value in Him. However, to the self-righteous Christian, the sacraments of the Church can bring death. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body and eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died (I Corinthians 11:28-30) The self-righteous Christian reads this verse and says it is about transubstantiation (which I accept as a true doctrine). However, the true believer reads the same verse and says it is about experiencing being spoken to tenderly by the the living God that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins.

Verse 3-4: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Here we have the New Exodus. In the original exodus, the way of the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt by way of a highway through the Red Sea, out of slavery and into freedom. Now, the way of the Lord brings Israel out of all the nations to whom Israel has been scattered, especially Assyria, through the desert and back to Jerusalem. This is the promise of the restoration of the Twelve Tribes under a shepherd who will gather the lambs in his arms (verse 11), Jesus Christ. It is the redemption of the People of God from slavery into freedom. And, Christ is at work, even now, continuing this work, bringing those who reject him to repentance, and then to restoration.

And so, in Mark 1:2-3, this is the backdrop. Jesus Christ is the shepherd King, the son of David, who will gather together the scattered sheep of Israel into the Kingdom. Jesus Christ, the new Moses, makes straight in the desert a highway for our God, to bring a remnant of Israel from the slavery of exile, along the way of the Lord, back into the freedom of the promised land.  And so, he will bring a remnant out of  our dead Church if there is repentance, or else judgment.

And then, I jumped down to Mark 1:11: and a voice came from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased", which is an echo of Isaiah 42:1.

Isaiah 42:1 Behold my servant, who I uphold, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make is heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not fail or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands with for his law.

God brings forth justice to the nations, but he starts with the Church, for the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? And "If the righteous man is scarcely saved, where will the impious and sinner appear?" (I Peter 4:17-18) He fights fiercely to set us free and bring us into his law of love.   He will fight for every particular Church to bring Her into the fullness of His Body and He will spare no expense for her.  Yet, if any particular Church becomes the enemy to the remnant of the Lord, even the Lord will turn against that particular Church and cut her off from the universal Church.  He will bring judgment and baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. And, yet he is so gentle, especially to the bruised reed and the dimly burning wick. The Lord does not count our wounds or weaknesses against us. The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)  This brings hope to my heart, that the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God are deep and furthermore that his judgments are unsearchable and his ways are inscrutable (Romans 11:33).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mark 1:1 Part 2

When you see the word gospel in the New Testament, always read it in the context of Isaiah 52:7.

There are two points which I wish to highlight before leaving the first verse of the Gospel of Mark. The first point is that good news presupposes bad news, which is revealed in the context of Isaiah previous to the feet of him who brings good tidings. The second point is that it is the suffering of Jesus Christ's which redeems us, revealed in the context of Isaiah after the feet of him who brings good tidings.

In the last blog post, we looked at Isaiah 52:1-19, which is the immediate context of the Isaiah reference to the gospel. Now, we will look at the larger context of Isaiah prior Isaiah 52. We ask the question, why does God comfort Israel in Isaiah 52? What happened prior that caused Israel to be seeking comfort. We find the immediate answer in Isaiah 51:17: Rouse yourself, rouse yourself, stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk at the hand of the Lord, the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl of staggering. They were being punished by God, but why? For sin, but we have to cut this off for now. Maybe sometime we can look at the nature of the sins of Israel, and draw comparisons to our own day. Indeed, we too are punished, not arbitrarily by an angry God, but as children beloved of the Father.

Verse 18: There is none to guide her among all the sons she has borne; there is none to take her by the hand among all the sons she has brought up. It is a Biblical principle that when God punishes a Church, she lacks guides among her sons. This sad situation, we see today in spades in the particular Churches which are even now under the wrath of God. Lay ministers, Deacons, Priests, and Bishops unable to guide the sons and daughter of those particular Churches.

Verse 19: These two things have befallen you -- who will condole with you? -- devastation and destruction, famine and sword; who will comfort you? While there is no doubt that eventually, sin will lead to famine and sword, nevertheless, what we see in our western civilization is more of a spiritual famine and sword. Our spiritual leads are unable to feed the flock with the Word of God which they themselves -- to their shame -- rarely study, which results in sacraments bestowing curses upon the faithless. This is the famine, the lack of spiritual food and drink which comes from faith which comes from hearing which comes from preaching (Romans 10:14-15). The spiritual sword is the free reign which the demons have some particular Churches because the spiritual fathers have forfeited their authority. Christians are dominated by pride, self-righteousness, lust, anger, and every form of ungodliness.

Verse 20: Your sons have fainted, they lie at the head of every street like an antelope in a net; they are full of the wrath of the Lord, the rebuke of your God. Another Biblical principle is that God's wrath results in a forfeiture of masculine protection and strength. The enemy targets the men and emasculates us with the permission of God.

Verse 21: Therefore hear this, you who are afflicted, who are drunk, but not with wine: namely, drunk with the wrath of God.

Verse 22: Thus says your Lord, the Lord, your God who leads the cause of his people: Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering: the bowl of my wrath: you shall drink no more. When we have paid justly for our sins, such that we become like the prodigal son in the pigsty, when we have come to our senses, then -- and only then -- does the Lord speak to us again.

Verse 23: and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors, who have said to you, 'Bow down, that we may pass over'; and you have made your back like the ground and like the street for them to passover. Once God has had mercy upon us and restored the dignity of our sonship, he then begins the process with our enemies who have oppressed us. He pours his wrath upon our enemies, because they are His children, too, and he wants to bring them to repentance so that he can bestow the blessing upon them, also.

This the nature of the bad news, the wrath of God, which prepares the ground so that He can eventually offer comfort and restoration, namely, the person of Jesus Christ. Now, if we look at the verses of Isaiah which follow closely upon the heals of the announcement of the beautiful feet of him who brings good tidings, we discover the method of our redemption.

Isaiah 52:13 Behold, my servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up and shall be very high. Jesus alludes to this verse when he says, and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself (John 12:32) He speaks of the manner of His death, crucifixion. Jesus further confirms his own awareness of the poignant context of his own words when -- only a few verses later -- he proceeds to quote Isaiah 53:1, Lord, who has believed our report, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed.

Verse 14: As many were astonished at him -- his appearance was so marred beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the sons of men -- He was so brutally beaten and whipped by the Roman guards prior to his crucifixion, that he almost did not appear human.

Verse 15: so shall he startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; Startle is a mistranslation. It should read, "so shall he sprinkle many nations," alluding to baptism. Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-4).

Verse 15b: for that which has not been told them they shall see, and that which they have not heard they shall understand. When you see the word, for, you must always ask what is is therefore. The nations first hear the gospel proclaimed so that they can see, hear, and understand. Then, and only, then can they be baptized, without prejudice to the ancient practice of infant baptism when both parents are believers in Christ.

Note the circular pattern of the text as a whole. First, the People of God sin. Second, they loose the favor of God. Third, God uses the nations to punish them. Fourth, they repent and are received into full communion with God. Fifth, God punishes the nations. Sixth, the nations hear the gospel, see, and understand. Seventh, after they believe in Christ, they are baptized into the People of God. Then, the patterns repeats until the full number which are to be saved.

Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? Yet, what comes next is most difficult to believe, and yet, it is the cornerstone of our faith. And, this too, all of this, is part of the contextual background of the word gospel in Mark 1:1, and elsewhere in the New Testament.

Verse 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of the dry ground; he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. When we are in our sin, we have no desire at all for Jesus. When a particular Church is under the wrath of God, her children do not see any reason to want to know Jesus, who seems to embrace weakness and powerlessness.

And now, the rest of Isaish 53. I make my comment now, because nothing can follow these prophetic words. I just want to emphasize the context. This account of the suffering of Jesus Christ, prophesied hundreds of years earlier by Isaiah, is the gospel. It is beautiful good news upon the mountains, and in the faithful Churches where the Holy Spirit is poured out, we hear our priests proclaim this good news at each and every homily.

Verse 3-12: He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked as with a rich man in his death although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand; he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mark 1:1

For the past month, I have felt very hopeless. Yesterday, my good friends Barbara and Jay Seidle, along with their awesome children Abigail, Caleb, and Joel, visited our home. When they left, perhaps a few of the host of angels which they brought into our home stayed, because I spent a little time the beginning of the first chapter of Mark, and the hopeless feeling departed.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mark 1:1

This is the beginning of a whole book which is the "gospel," which refers to Isaiah 52:7: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tiding of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns."

Good tidings can be translated good news or gospel. He who brings this good news is Jesus. We see from Isaiah that Jesus has beautiful feet. The context around this verse in Isaiah enters into Mark 1:1. So, let us just look a little bit a some of that context.

Isaiah 52:1 Awake, awake, put on your strength, o Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean.

Here the Lord speaks the exiles of Judah, the people of God who are particularly connected to the King David, the Temple, and the Holy of Holies, which has been desecrated and destroyed by the Babylonians. They are feeling hopeless and the Lord wakes them up and speaks words of encouragement, telling them to "be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take on the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod you feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one." (Ephesians 6:10-16)

For there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean which, allegorically, refer to those principalities, powers, world rulers of this present darkness, and the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. These shall no longer come into us. How is this? Who is going to set us free from our bondage?

Verse 2: Shake yourself from the dust, arise, O captive Jerusalem, loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion. How am I to do this, Oh Lord? You are telling me to do this myself? I have not the power.

Verse 3: For thus says the Lord: You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money. Jerusalem sinned gravely and for her justice, God sold her for nothing into captivity to the Babylonians. She was not redeemed by money, but rather by the Blood of Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses , according to the riches of his grace which he lavished upon us. Ephesians 1:3-9

Verse 4: For thus says the Lord God: My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there, and the Assyrian oppressed them for nothing refers back to the 400 years of slavery at the hand of Egyptian pharaoh and later, to the Assyrian exile of the northern tribes of Israel, both of which occurred within the bounds of divine providence, to teach a lesson to His children and prepare them for good news. Indeed, the exiles of our lives are to prepare our hearts to welcome Jesus.

Verse 5: Now therefore what have I here, says the Lord, seeing that my people are taken away for nothing? Their rulers wail, says the Lord, and continually all the day my name is despised. I have been guilty of this, wailing and blaming the Lord for exile in my life which prepares the way for my redemption. And, many laity and priests, pastors and prophets, we are all guilty. Lord, forgive us for wailing, and mumbling. We must not put the Lord to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents; nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let any one who thinks that he stand take heed lest he fall. I Corinthians 10:9-13

Verse 6: Therefore my people shall know my name; therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here am I. And Jesus said, I am the good shepherd; I know my own andmy own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down lmy life for the sheep. John 10:14-15

Verse 7: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tiding of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns." These are indeed the feet of Jesus, but they are also the feet of anyone who puts on those beautiful garments spoken about in verse 1, by preaching Christ according to Romans 10:15-17. The sacraments of the Church are the written text become living Word in the lives who us who receive the power of Christ. Yet, where the gospel is not preached, the sacraments of the Church quickly become the works of the law which bring death to us who do not have living faith in Jesus Christ, indeed they can bring the curses of the law upon individuals and upon an entire particular Church, by which I refer to a local Church under the authority of their proper Bishop. And where a particular Church does not preach Christ, Jesus removes the lamp stand (Revelation 2:5), selling them for nothing.

Verse 8: Hark, your watchmen lift up their voice, together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion. When I repent of unbelief, that is, when I no longer place my trust in my own works, no longer trusting in my own righteousness, then the Lord will return to me. And the same Church, once she repents, will hear the watchmen singing for joy, proclaiming her redemption without money, that is, by the blood of Christ.

Verse 9: Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. Without Jesus, our hearts and our churches become waste places. His very presence fades and we are left with ourselves in our wretched sinful state. When Jesus returns, He comforts us and redeems us, paying for our sins, as individuals and as Jerusalem, as the people of God, as His Church. We who were Not His People, once again become His People.

Verse 10: The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. Indeed, this is how the Lord brings good out of our evil. As His People, individually and collectively, when we sin, we are sold to the nations, so that, after repentance, when we are redeemed, God by redeeming us in the midst of the nations, shows his salvation to the ends of the earth. We can see by this, that even in the unfaithfulness of the Church, God will show himself faithful.

Enough context, back to Mark 1:1: The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, this good news is about how a particular Church, even in her unfaithfulness, becomes a vehicle of God's mercy to those who do not know God. Cardinal Ratzinger -- now Pope Benedict XVI -- taught that it is unhistorical to say that Jesus founded a Church (Seven Thesis on Christology and the Hermeneutic of Faith: http://scotthahn.com/download/attachment/2637). Rather, the Church is the People of God through out the ages, from Adam right down to the present age. In Ratzinger's own words: Jesus made the old People of God into a new People by adopting those who believe in him into the community of his own self (of his “Body”). Even a particular Church, when she ceases to know God, herself becomes the object of God's mercy as His glory departs so that His Bride, the Church become harlot, can find repentance and rediscover her lover. So, I wonder if we could begin to think of the Jews through the lense of a particular Church with their own Bishop. In this light, when Paul says, And so all Israel shall be saved (Romans 11:26), he alludes to the restoration of the lamp stand to the particular Church of Israel. Israel will be bought without money, with the blood of Christ. Indeed, they have insofar as some Jews have believed in Christ, but I am speaking now of the restoration of old People of God as a particular Church.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Ah, it is so easy for me to just want to gloss over these words of God, saying that this refers to the divinity of Christ, which is true, yet there is so much more. It refers to the promise of God through the prophet Nathan: He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. 2 Samual 7:13-14. It is the promise of God to David that his son shall be the Son of God. This is provisionally fulfilled when Solomon becomes King, as revealed from his coronation psalm. I will tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to me, You are my son, today I have begotten you. Psalm 2:7 Yet, it is Solomon who through his sin, looses the kingdom, and so the prophets look forward to another who will fulfill this promise of Nathan. This person is called the Messiah, which in Greek means, Christ. Christ is not the last name of Jesus, rather it indicates that he is the promised Messiah, who will establish the throne of the Kingdom of David forever, who shall be called God's Son.

And, so, Mark proclaims Jesus to be this Son of God, the one spoken of in 2 Samuel 7:13-14. The gospel obviously refers to so much more than this. It refers to his work of redemption on the Cross. It refers to his mission to set captives free, give sight to the blind, and it refers to the very person of Jesus Christ.

So, after reflecting upon verse 1, next, I started looking at verse 2. But, I must get some sleep now.

Monday, May 2, 2011

New Sewer Charge for Bound Brook Residents???

What's this new Sewer Charge for Bound Brook, NJ, residents??? If anyone knows please post in the comments of my blog. Thanks!