• The Liturgy of the Word
Deut. 18:15 ¶ The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet.
Deut. 18:16 This is what you requested of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: “If I hear the voice of the LORD my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die.”
Deut. 18:17 Then the LORD replied to me: “They are right in what they have said.
Deut. 18:18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command.
Deut. 18:19 Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable.
Deut. 18:20 But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak—that prophet shall die.”
Psa. 111:1 ¶ Praise the LORD!
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Psa. 111:2 Great are the works of the LORD,
studied by all who delight in them.
Psa. 111:3 Full of honor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
Psa. 111:4 He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
the LORD is gracious and merciful.
Psa. 111:5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he is ever mindful of his covenant.
Psa. 111:6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the heritage of the nations.
Psa. 111:7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
Psa. 111:8 They are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
Psa. 111:9 He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name.
Psa. 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever.
Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark 1:21-28
Glory to you, O Lord
Mark 1:21 ¶ They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught.
Mark 1:22 They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Mark 1:23 Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit,
Mark 1:24 and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”
Mark 1:25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”
Mark 1:26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.
Mark 1:27 They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”
Mark 1:28 At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.
This is the gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, O Christ.
In the passage from Deuteronomy Moses prepares Israel for when he would no longer be with them (he was a 120 years old) – They were getting ready to enter the Promised Land – the land of Canaan. He told them of the prophet like himself that God would raise up for them – he will also speak for God, work miracles and lead the people in the way of the LORD.
From a New Testament perspective Jesus is the prophet like Moses that arose in Israel.
A fresh expression of how to keep the Torah (Law) and being the covenant people of God he also warned them that failure to keep the Law would result in punishment.
Managing change is very important and Moses tells Israel that he will no longer be their leader after 40 years, but he also gives a prophetic acclamation of a future leader that has implications right down to this day – a prophet shall arise from among them that will be like himself – Jesus is that ONE!
How do you react or feel when you are told that when you fail to obey God you will be punished?
The wonderful works of God – how he delivered them from Egyptian bondage and has sustained them these 40 years long in their journey to the promised land.
In Psalm 111 we are reminded of the wonderful works of God and encouraged to be a people of praise, particularly when we recall all that the LORD has done for us.
Furthermore, the reason for us to be filled with hope and encouragement is because God is trustworthy and always keeps his covenant of love with his people.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom – this results in an understanding and a reason for us to be people who praise him constantly.
Mark 1.21-28 – In this section Jesus’ approach to faith and practice challenges the attitude of the Scribes that was full of doubtful disputations – In contrast to their style of teaching he was authoritative and very clear in what he believed. This is illustrated in the way that he taught and dealt with the man with the unclean spirit: Folk sat up and began to take note and to talk about this Fresh-Expression-of-Faith!
A fresh expression and approach resulted in folk showing a new interest in what was happening. They were use to the ponderous approach of the Scribes that was often inconclusive and rather muddled in its approach to teaching and attempting to give answers to daily issues of life.
In principle there is nothing wrong with having differing opinions, however, when that leads to paralysis it may land up just like the situation with the Scribes of Jesus’ day with folk being divided between many opinions and getting nothing done. Jesus changed all of that when he behaved and taught with authority and in a forthright way. Wow!
We often find it difficult to be decisive and often are afraid to pin our colours to the mast, not wanting to be seen to stand our as having a different approach or opinion to the majority. Political Correctness (PC) is the modern plague and scourge. I fully agree that we should not seek to give offense but some of what goes for PC is absurd to say the least. The scourge of being too P.C. ! No one wants to give offence, but it also becomes an offence when we do not speak up when things are not right/ wrong!
Examples of P.C.: Mad/insane = mentally ill; deaf and dumb = audibly and verbally challenged; spastic = physical and learning difficulties – Horizontally and vertically challenged = a short fat person (this is amuzing).
Our approach to our faith and the way we live it out is constantly on call. Are we able to say, “This is what I believe and this is what I think?” Also what should I do in any given situation constantly presents itself to us.
The fact that Jesus delivered the man who was possessed by an unclean spirit amazed the folk in the synagogue and so his reputation was spread throughout the region.
We want the reputation of those who follow Jesus to be spoken of – it is our desire to see our congregations grow, not just bums on seats, but men, women, boys, girls proclaiming the Good News. What is your approach to faith like?
Be encouraged: I want you to have a faith that is solid and grounded in the light of the reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!
John Wesley when challenged by the Moravians and particularly Spannenberg and his friends as to whether he had a living faith? He was hesitant and uncertain. He was invited to attend a Moravian meeting in Aldersgate Street, London. He went along rather reluctantly – as the meeting proceeded one of the members read from Martin Luther’s introduction to the Book of Romans:
“I Felt My Heart Strangely Warmed”
In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ,
I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.
I began to pray with all my might for those who had in a more especial manner despitefully used me and persecuted me. I then testified openly to all there what I now first felt in my heart. But it was not long before the enemy suggested, “This cannot be faith; for where is thy joy?” Then was I taught that peace and victory over sin are essential to faith in the Captain of our salvation; but that, as to the transports of joy that usually attend the beginning of it, especially in those who have mourned deeply, God sometimes gives, sometimes withholds, them according to the counsels of His own will.
After my return home, I was much buffeted with temptations, but I cried out, and they fled away. They returned again and again. I as often lifted up my eyes, and He “sent me help from his holy place.” And herein I found the difference between this and my former state chiefly consisted. I was striving, yea, fighting with all my might under the law, as well as under grace. But then I was sometimes, if not often, conquered; now, I was always conqueror.
Thursday, 25.—The moment I awakened, “Jesus, Master,” was in my heart and in my mouth; and I found all my strength lay in keeping my eye fixed upon Him and my soul waiting on Him continually. Being again at St. Paul’s in the afternoon, I could taste the good word of God in the anthem which began, “My song shall be always of the loving-kindness of the Lord: with my mouth will I ever be showing forth thy truth from one generation to another.” Yet the enemy injected a fear, “If thou dost believe, why is there not a more sensible change? I answered (yet not I), “That I know not. But, this I know, I have ‘now peace with God.’ And I sin not today, and Jesus my Master has forbidden me to take thought for the morrow.”
Wednesday, June 7.—I determined, if God should permit, to retire for a short time into Germany. I had fully proposed, before I left Georgia, so to do if it should please God to bring me back to Europe. And I now clearly saw the time was come. My weak mind could not bear to be thus sawn asunder. And I hoped the conversing with those holy men who were themselves living witnesses of the full power of faith, and yet able to bear with those that are weak, would be a means, under God, of so establishing my soul that I might go on from faith to faith, and from “strength to strength.”
P.B.P.W.M.G.I.N.F.W.M.Y! (J I Packer, In Step with the Spirit).
God is trustworthy and keeps his promises based on his covenant of love.