1 Samuel 26-28, Psalm 106:1-23, Mark 13:1-13, 2 Corinthians 11:1-15 Mark 13:1-13: The disciples’ pious wonder at the beauty and magnificence of the temple (13:1) leads Jesus to comment upon the temporal relative brevity of even such human religious magnificence (13:2). Not one stone left upon another. This prophecy was fulfilled in the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. But…

Read More

1 Samuel 24-25, Psalm 105, Mark 12:35-44, 2 Corinthians 10 Mark 12:35-44: As Jesus has been rather ruthlessly questioned by his enemies—and as he has quite brilliantly sidestepped their traps and pointed all his hearers back to spiritual truths—now Jesus turns the table on his interlocutors. Now Jesus asks some questions! First Jesus quotes from…

Read More

1 Samuel 21-23, Psalm 104, Mark 12:28-34, 2 Corinthians 9 Mark 12:28-34: Jesus continues to be tested. They are looking to trap him in his words. This time the trap that is sprung is one of theological orthodoxy. Will he find a way to summarize the law that is simple and yet accurate? If fluffs…

Read More

1 Samuel 19-20, Psalm 103, Mark 12:13-27, 2 Corinthians 8 Mark 12:13-27: Having been deeply offended by Jesus’ blunt assessment of their spiritual predicament, the religious authorities now tried to trap Jesus in his words. They come to him with two “cause celebres” at the time – the one regarding politics, the other a theological…

Read More

1 Samuel 17-18, Psalm 102, Mark 12:1-12, 2 Corinthians 7 Mark 12:1-12: And people think parables are all nice and sweet, sugary and gentle! This parable would have certainly rocked their world. The image of a “vineyard” would have been familiar to Jesus’ hearers. Essentially, it represented God’s people as God’s “vineyard.” Jesus is saying…

Read More

1 Samuel 15-16, Psalm 101, Mark 11:27-33, 2 Corinthians 6 Mark 11:27-33: It is easy to use inquisitorial questions to attempt to gain moral superiority over another person. Hide behind the question a sense of wrongdoing on the part of the one being questioned, sneak that assumption unvoiced behind the question, and fire away and watch the results…

Read More

1 Samuel 14, Psalm 100, Mark 11:12-26, 2 Corinthians 5 Mark 11:12-26: We come now to one of the most discussed and most misunderstood accounts in the life of Jesus: the cursing of the fig tree. Why does he do it? What is the point? Jesus is pronouncing judgment on fake legalistic religion that denies…

Read More

1 Samuel 11-13, Psalm 99, Mark 11:1-11, 2 Corinthians 4 Mark 11:1-11: The triumphal entry—celebrated the world over in churches—but what does it mean? In these first eleven verses, we begin to get a sense of it. Jesus is coming as a king to Jerusalem, as the King, but he is not the king (the Messiah) that many…

Read More

1 Samuel 9-10, Psalm 98, Mark 10:35-52, 2 Corinthians 3 Mark 10:35-52: Two of the disciples try to cut to the head of the line by asking Jesus directly to share in his glory. To sit at his right and his left—the honored positions—in glory. When they ask him, the way they ask exposes their presumption. We want…

Read More

1 Samuel 6-8, Psalm 97, Mark 10:17-34, 2 Corinthians 2 Mark 10:17-34: A rich man—all in a rush with business—runs up to Jesus and asks Jesus the question of all questions. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” The rich man gets right to the bottom line. What’s the most important question here, let’s cut to the…

Read More