Jan 7, 2018

Devotion - 7 Jan - In God's Image

 A brief prayer is offered that you can add to your daily prayers this week. The scripture is from our Sunday Service Bulletin for today.  Part of the devotion was inspired by the notes on Mark, of Dr Tom Constable.
Gospel Reading- Mark 1:9-15 [ESV]
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” 12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him. 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.
Devotion: The Image of God
We are studying Genesis in our Adult Sunday School class and Genesis Chapter 1 verse 26 reveals that amongst all those things God created, the very last thing He made was Man. Then verse 27 says “God created man in His own image.” We have a lot to be thankful for, indeed God provides, if we would just have faith and believe. It is a fascinating thing that we are made in His image, but we fall short. If only we could follow that image thing up by behaving more like Him. Our Gospel today, starting at Verse 14, gives us the very start of Jesus’ ministry. First, Jesus makes two declarative statements: 1-The time that God predicted in the Old Testament has arrived, referring to the end of the then present age; and 2- the Messianic age has started. The end of one age and the beginning of God’s Kingdom. Then, Jesus makes a command, “repent and believe in the Gospel.” Can you see how these two things, time and belief, resemble one another? Time is easy, if you think of time (chronos in Greek) in a linear way, an end signals a beginning. Now think of “repent and believe” in a similar way, an end and a beginning. Imagine a person in trouble out on the water clinging to a piece of driftwood to keep him afloat. Then along comes a lifeguard. The successful rescue happens in two quick steps, you let go of the driftwood and trust the lifeguard enough to throw yourself in his arms. Using the water rescue analogy, Jesus wants us to repent, “let go of the old sinful ways” [barely keeps us afloat, but we are going to perish] and believe in the good news of the Gospel, i.e.  “the Messiah is here”, [jump into His arms]. Kind of inspiring isn’t it? Incidentally, Dr Tom Constable, who provided the idea of the lifeguard analogy above, states that this passage in verse 15 is the only occurrence in the New Testament of the phrase “believe in the Gospel”.  Interesting!?!

We pray: “Lord, we believe, help us make our faith grow stronger. Amen”