MARCH: Part 3
Character of Jesus
Jesus Christ is both fully man and fully God – YHWH in the flesh. In this way, not only does he perfectly model the attributes of YHWH as God, but also models the image of God as a human. Thus, the character of Jesus is a beautiful model of the Kingdom of God presented on earth. This month, we are going to dive deeply into the character of Jesus, give thanks for his perfect example, and learn how to step into the image of God that we were made to be.
Instructions for Daily Reading
Each day as you engage the Scripture, we recommend following this pattern of devotional reading.
[Take a brief moment of silence to quiet your heart.]
- Read the Scripture aloud.
- Seek out where King Jesus is at work in the Scripture.
- Pray over the Scripture.
- Discern how this Scripture impacts your life.
[Demonstrate loyalty to Jesus in one tangible way today.]
John 1:1-18 The Word Become Flesh
Daily Reflection: The book of John begins with an incredible depiction of Jesus’ role in both creation and reality as we now know it. John’s use of the “word” is a direct callback to Genesis 1. In the beginning, it was the “word” from which all of creation came to be, and held together – see Colossians 1:17 for more context. In other words, the “word” was that which brought order from chaos and kept it that way. The “word,” as John writes, has now come to earth covered in flesh as Jesus, God incarnate. In this way, Jesus comes for the redemption of humanity in such a way that it will model the character, love, and desires of YHWH.
Daily Demonstration: Sometimes, the best perspective to take on life is achieved when one steps back from the day-to-day grind. Take time today to imagine the greatness of God. As John writes, God created the entire universe with his “word.” The “word” became flesh and dwelt among us. Now, we have Jesus to look to as our redeemer, our savior, our friend, and our example. How does this perspective help you today?
Daily Reflection: Philippians 2 provides a beautiful picture of the nature of Jesus Christ – a servant-minded, humble friend. In particular, Paul writes verses 6-11 as a poetic representation of the Gospel, with the central message focusing on the “upside-down” nature of God’s kingdom. It is the humble example of Jesus Christ that God’s people are called to replicate. Paul writes in verse 2 that this “like-minded” approach to living honors Christ while simultaneously places the interests of others ahead of one’s self. In other words, as God’s people follow Christ’s example of humility, the whole body will benefit from its implications.
Daily Demonstration: Return to today’s reading and focus on verses 6-11. Write down a few keywords that pop out as you read. For example, words such as equality, servant, humbled, and obedience may jump out of the page into your spirit. Reflect upon these words today. How can these concepts be modeled in similar ways that Jesus modeled them? Be confident that God will lead your steps to demonstrate his kingdom today.
Mark 10:23-27 Entering God’s Kingdom
Daily Reflection: Jesus makes a clear point that those who trust in riches will find it challenging to enter into the kingdom of God. This is not because riches in and of themselves are bad or evil, but it is an issue of trust. The kingdom of this world is built on independence, while the kingdom of God is built on surrender. As we learn from the life of Jesus, he was consistently surrendered to the will of Father – even if it meant his death on a cross! We cannot enter into the kingdom by any strength or action of our own. It is only by surrender that we can enter into and experience the fullness of the kingdom.
Daily Demonstration: We know that God hears our prayers, yet sometimes we can pray as though we believe he hasn’t heard. Faith is being able to thank God in advance for answered prayer, even though you may not know or see the answer now. As you reflect today, ask God to show you an area where you need to trust him and surrender. Exercise your faith and put your trust in the Father.
1 Timothy 6:6-10 The Love of Money
Daily Reflection: 1 Timothy 6 challenges us to examine our attitude towards possessions. The way of the kingdom is a life led by contentment; we live at peace with what our father God gives to us. The way of the world is a life driven by the pursuit of more. Jesus, however, was not concerned with more possessions, but instead focused on the well-being of others, both in the present age and the age to come. Kingdom culture knows that the natural world is temporary and will fade away and that the kingdom and the supernatural are what stand eternal. What, then, is most important? It is contentment in our place as imagers of God, modeling the kingdom to the world, and stewarding our resources accordingly.
Daily Demonstration: As you go about your day, look for ways to demonstrate contentment and refocus yourself on the betterment of others. It might look like offering to provide financial support to someone you know is in need. Perhaps you could think again about a purchase you’d like to make and ask God what to do instead. There are many ways we can express contentment with what God has given us and where he has placed us.
Mark 10:28-31 Eternal Life to Come
Daily Reflection: Following Jesus’ example requires sacrifice. Even so, he promises that we will be given a hundred-fold in return. When you pledge loyalty to the kingdom of God, you become part of the ekklesia and are connected to all of God’s family and blessings. These blessings do come with persecutions by the world, but if we endure, we know that the reward is eternal life. This kingdom perspective is what drove the character of Jesus as he ministered to others. God gives generously to his family, which allows us to be generous to others as a demonstration of the kingdom.
Daily Demonstration: Our Father has given us so much, and we have the opportunity to model that generosity in our world. Generosity isn’t always financial; you can be generous with your time, your words, and many other ways. Look for an opportunity to be generous to someone today.
Daily Reflection: Have you ever wondered why almost every culture or people group that has ever existed always seems to end up having one or multiple deities, regardless of their connection to technology or global civilization? This is because God has set eternity in the heart of man. From birth, something inside us calls back to what is eternal. All creation shares in this same desire – one day, we will see the full redemption of all creation by the hand of God. Jesus’ ministry was an answer to this truth. He is the incarnate God, comes to satisfy the thirst of eternity in people’s hearts. We know that redemption comes spiritually through salvation, but we won’t see the fullness of the physical redemption until the Lord returns.
Daily Demonstration: As children of God, the more like our Father we become, the more we can be ambassadors of reconciliation and redemption to the world around us. We do this as we share the gospel, or as we bring peace or forgiveness into a tumultuous situation. What is one way you can bring reconciliation or redemption into your world today?
Daily Reflection: Many times throughout his ministry, Jesus spoke of his death, burial, and resurrection. Those who followed Jesus, especially his disciples, were told of these things so that they did not go into those seasons unaware. The disciples walked closely with Jesus, and they followed him in awe. The crowd, on the other hand, walked at a distance in fear. As part of God’s family, we do not have to walk at a distance in fear, but we can follow confidently in gratefulness and awe of his sacrifice on the cross.
Daily Demonstration: Spend some time meditating on the gift Jesus gave us by dying on the cross in our place. Pay close attention to the feelings that arise. Do you look on with a sense of awe and gratefulness, or does it inspire fear? Perhaps ask loved ones the same question. Help to lead your loved ones into walking confidently with Christ, as well.
Daily Reflection: Jesus spent much of his daily ministry walking in stride with the will of the Father. This required him to stay in prayer, prompting, and understanding that which God was doing to redeem humanity. This characteristic is one that all of God’s people should grasp, as well. Like Jesus, we are to “work out our salvation,” as mentioned in Philippians 2:12, to better understand our mission, our hope, and our overall purpose. It is this knowledge that leads to experiences modeling the mission of Jesus – to advance the kingdom on earth as “lights” of the world.
Daily Demonstration: Inspired by Philippians 2, take time today to dig deeper into understanding the will of the Father. On the one hand, this means seeking the Lord in prayer for direction and provision. On the other, it means seeking out wise counsel from those around you and discuss aspects of theology and experience with Christ. Take today to – maybe literally – walk with others, learn their stories, and explore the will of the Father for each other.
Mark 10:46-52 A Blind Beggar at the Roadside
Daily Reflection: Jesus was ready at all times to help those in need, even while on the journey from Jericho to Jerusalem for his triumphal entry on Palm Sunday. This was surely a time of examination and prayer for him, as he walked toward all that he knew was in store. But amid his disciples and a large crowd, he was still actively listening for anyone who would call on his name; and he heard poor Bartimaeus, a blind beggar sitting on the side of the road. Jesus made time to speak to and heal this man, who was full of faith and the assurance that his Savior was near.
Daily Demonstration: May the Lord help us not to miss opportunities to serve those around us, even in inconvenient times. May our eyes always be open to see the world through the eyes of the one who sees us, unworthy though we are. May we not hesitate to make time to ask how we can help others, and to truly listen.
Mark 11:12-19 A Fig Tree and the Temple
Daily Reflection: When Jesus was hungry and turned to the fig tree for food, he found nothing where he expected to find fruit. In the temple, he was disappointed to find “a den of robbers,” where he expected to find “a house of prayer for all the nations.” And now, he expects the lives of his children to bear the fruit of the Spirit in all seasons through the Holy Spirit who lives in us and makes our bodies temples of testimony here on earth. The character of Jesus is modeled through us with counsel from the Holy Spirit himself.
Daily Demonstration: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – see Galatians 5:22-23. When those around us who do not know the Lord look at us, may they see our savior in us as we bear his fruit. May our bodies be temples of prayer in all seasons, keeping us close to him.
Daily Reflection: Prayer has the power to bring both physical and spiritual changes and miracles. Jesus used the withered fig tree and the moving of a mountain as examples of the power of prayer in our physical world, but he also took the time to teach forgiveness as an example of prayer’s spiritual power. The same power that can move mountains is available to believers to help us forgive others as Jesus has forgiven us, and to move us to repentance for our failures.
Daily Demonstration: May the answers to prayers throughout our lives serve as reminders of its power in our times of weakness. May we intentionally cast doubt out of our hearts, believing that this same Jesus is here with us today, and having faith in him to do all that he has promised.
Daily Reflection: Jesus knew his mission on earth, and he was confident in it. He was not shaken by the questioning and doubting of man, because he knew that God the Father had sent him to fulfill his task and ministry. He did not allow himself to be distracted by those who tried to keep him from doing God’s work or to be drawn into argumentative conversation. Jesus’ entire life on earth was a testimony to the Father, and all of his works and teachings made his authority clear. In all seasons of life, when we may be feeling weak, his strength will provide us with the same quiet confidence and assurance of our place in his kingdom.
Daily Demonstration: When the distractions of the world bombarded us, and even when we are attacked by those who are against us, may we always remember the words of Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Jesus kept his attention on God at all times. How can you look to God in your current season of life, as well?
Daily Reflection: The son of the vineyard owner must have known that going to the vineyard at the request of his father was dangerous – but he still went. He knew that his father loved him, and he undoubtedly wanted to save what belonged to them. Jesus knew all that was ahead for him, but he loved the world and came to give his life as a ransom for many, even though he knew the cost. This example of sacrifice and selflessness is unmatched in all of human history. In the face of confrontation, he drew from the same scriptures that believers can draw from today, and the scriptures spoke to him.
Daily Demonstration: In our daily lives, may we always remember that Jesus willingly sacrificed himself for us. He dealt with disbelief, doubt, and disapproval at every turn, but he did not grow weary. May we draw strength and courage from His perfect example, and always turn to the scriptures for guidance, as Jesus beautifully modeled.
Daily Reflection: David took the time to acknowledge the answers to prayers and the marvelous works of the Lord. He recognized what the Lord had done in his own life and encouraged others to rejoice and be glad as well. His words foretold of the one who is the foundation and cornerstone of everlasting life, the Salvation of the world. This reality would be realized in the coming of Jesus Christ – the savior of humanity. He found joy and thankfulness in both what the Lord had done “this very day” and in what the Lord would do. The Lord has done so much for us and is always worthy of our praise as we remember his sacrifice and celebrate his resurrection.
Daily Demonstration: May we “give thanks in all circumstances” (I Thessalonians 5:18) and intentionally remember all that the Lord does for us and all of his answers to our prayers. It is often easier to focus on hardships while forgetting blessings, but he is the one who gave everything for us; “let us rejoice today and be glad.”
Daily Reflection: In this passage, the religious leaders of the day attempt to trick Jesus into making a hypocritical statement. If Jesus instructs them not to pay the taxes, he would be encouraging people to rebel against Caesar. On the other hand, if he were to say to give people’s resources to Caesar, then it would appear as though he sided with the Romans. In his wisdom, Jesus takes this moment to teach a great principle; we must give to God what is rightfully his and give to Caesar what is Rome’s. In other words, as the people of God, we have dual citizenship in the kingdom of God and in the human kingdom in which we reside. We give resources to the social structures that keep order, and we offer our lives as a sacrifice to the Lord.
Daily Demonstration: Romans 12:1 says, “in view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God- this is your true and proper worship.” Jesus freely gave his life for us and, in return, invites us to do the same for others. When you are in the kingdom of God, your life is no longer your own. God’s people are a family, and families help each other. As you go through your day, ask God to highlight to you an area where you need to give to God what is rightly his, whether that be your emotional energy, finances, or other resources.
Mark 12:18-27 Debate on the Resurrection
Daily Reflection: In Mark 12, the Sadducees come to Jesus to question his teachings on bodily resurrection. Jesus corrects their false view of the scripture by first informing them in their lack of understanding of the power of God. Jesus responds to the Sadducees, not by answering their initial question directly, but instead with a lesson to address their underlying question – the resurrection. Jesus uses Exodus 3:6 as an example of the miraculous power of God to provide resurrection, and therefore, existence after one has physically died. At this moment, Jesus exercises spiritual authority alongside spiritual discernment.
Daily Demonstration: It is not always obvious how one should answer the questions of skeptics. Sometimes, it could be that the person questioning has good intentions, and other times, it could be that the person questioning has no desire to hear an actual answer. In this story, Jesus modeled the perfect way to handle such situations. Sure, your faith may be tested in public, but it does not always mean you have the responsibility to feed into their underlying intentions. Practice using discernment today. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as navigate your day.
Daily Demonstration: If you are looking for an excellent way to filter every part of your life, the greatest commandment is undoubtedly a great place to start. If you spend your days loving God and loving your neighbor, you will be amazed at the fulfillment that is experienced both individually and collectively. This message is at the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Look for an opportunity to teach someone else this lesson today, just like Jesus did. Challenge someone else to filter their lives through the lens of God’s love.
Daily Reflection: When Jesus is asked about the greatest commandment, his response echoes thoughts found in Deuteronomy 6. In fact, the blessing in verses 4-5 stands as the cornerstone prayer of the priests of Israel, and therefore the priesthood of believers in the future. In short, to model the greatest commandment is to recognize YHWH as the one, true, Most High God – and to love one’s neighbor as one’s self. This commandment, rooted in the Old Testament, became the framework by which Jesus demonstrated, modeled, and commissioned the kingdom.
Daily Demonstration: During his earthly ministry, Jesus exemplified a life that loved God with all of his heart, soul, and strength. What are some ways you could love God at a deeper level in your heart today? In what ways can loving God with all of your soul be demonstrated to those around you? How could loving God with all of your strength look today? Get in the habit of asking these questions, as the answers will lead to a life that follows the example of Jesus.
Daily Reflection: Deuteronomy 6:1-5 provided the first half the greatest commandment as presented by Jesus during his earthly ministry. Leviticus 19:13-18 provides us with the other half of the commandment – the importance of loving one’s neighbor as themselves. Even to Israel, this seemed like an uncomfortable commandment, as human intuition would lead to caring for one’s self above all. In the kingdom of God, however, caring for one’s self begins with living life for the betterment of others. This concept is outlined in detail in the book of Ephesians. Jesus – God incarnate – came to earth for the betterment of others. This is where true fulfillment is derived, counter to what intuition may tell you.
Daily Demonstration: To love someone sacrificially is to love in such a way that puts one’s self on the back burner. This selfless way of life benefits not only the person you are serving but also the world as a whole. Jesus’ love for us was so sacrificial that he went to the cross and suffered immensely for the betterment of all of humanity. How can you love someone sacrificially today? Ask God to give you the eyes to see it and the boldness to step into it.
Daily Reflection: The story of Hosea and Gomer parallels the relationship between God and his people. It may come as a shock, but God comes to Hosea, a prophet in the northern kingdom of Israel, and asks him to marry a prostitute. Why would God make such a request? God is about to teach the nation a valuable lesson. Like God, Hosea is married to an unfaithful wife. This wife may make mistakes along the way, but ultimately, God’s grace remains, and he, as Hosea will do, returns to his chosen wife. Think of it this way: although the bride of Christ – the church – was unfaithful, the groom – Jesus – stepped into the natural realm to redeem his bride. Jesus’ character is that of courage, forgiveness, and commitment.
Daily Demonstration: Reflect on some of the most intimate aspects of your life today. Are there areas where your commitment is lacking? Perhaps in your family? Friendships? What about God, himself? Today may be a great day to look to Jesus as your first love and accept his hand in forgiveness. Regardless of your situation, give thanks to God today that he would love us despite the shortcomings of our intuitions.
Mark 12:35-40 Son of David
Daily Reflection: Mark 12:35 takes an exciting turn in this portion of the book of Mark. The narrative moves from Jesus being questioned to Jesus now doing all the asking. In this setting, Jesus looks to the teachers and Pharisees of the day and asks them, “whose son is the Messiah.” The punchline to this joke is that the answer to the question was standing right in front of them! In quoting Psalm 110, Jesus points to the Godly nature of this son, while the reference to David points to the human nature of this son. The Messiah is fully God and fully man – the Messiah was standing right in front of them. Thus, Jesus takes this opportunity to warn the teachers. If they can’t understand what they see with their eyes, how are they to understand the Father?
Daily Demonstration: This episode in the book of Mark provides insight into a crucial aspect of Jesus’ character. Jesus is committed to his people coming to the revelation of him on their own. All of the signs are there, but people must have skin in the game – loyalty is theirs to declare. Analyze the people in your world. How many of them have all the signs in front of them, but have not taken a step? Consider sparking a conversation. Consider also serving them in some way. Looking to Jesus as the model, do not rebuke, but instead love generously and compassionately.
Daily Reflection: Sometimes, good things can be used for selfish purposes. Mark 12:41-44 provides us with an example of this phenomenon. As Jesus sat in the temple, he watched as many wealthy people came by and presented their offerings. One-by-one, he saw many wealthy people give to the cause – in the presence of a multitude of people, for all to see. Then, along comes a widow with next to nothing. At the offering box, she placed as much as she could – very little – which happened to be the majority of her earnings. Jesus, amazed by her faith, celebrated her sacrifice. To Jesus, generosity is less about portion and more about the posture and sincerity of one’s heart.
Daily Demonstration: Jesus is quick to celebrate those who exercise faith in selfless love. His ability to encourage those who rarely are encouraged is inspiring. So inspiring, in fact, that it is worth demonstrating as a follower of Christ. Take time to look around at the ordinary parts of life today. Encourage those around you for the sacrifices they make. Look for people like single moms, hardworking co-workers, widows, unappreciated employees, or perhaps even members of your own family! Go and be like Jesus today.
Mark 13:1-8 Wars and Rumors of Wars
Daily Reflection: Mark 13 takes place on Mount of Olives, where Jesus proceeds to give what scholars refer to as the “Olivet Discourse.” In this teaching, Jesus addresses questions regarding the end times and the signs that will precede it. In the beginning stages of this teaching, Jesus warns of nations in conflict and natural disasters popping up all around the world. Even so, Jesus sits on the Mount of Olives, the very place he will return – see Zechariah 14 – calmly knowing that the end is nothing to fear because it will be the beginning of eternity with his family.
Daily Demonstration: When you think of the end times, how do you feel? It’s not crazy to think that it could be scary. Jesus, however, modeled that there is no reason to fear the end when you’re in the family of God. Why? Because our hope is anchored in eternity alongside our king. Take time to examine the realities of the end of the age. Ask God to give you peace and a fresh perspective on the new beginnings it will present.
Daily Reflection: Deeper in the Olivet Discourse, Jesus exposes his disciples to the hardships that they will face in the end times. Most notably, Jesus proclaims that people will hate them “because of [Jesus], but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13). Jesus not only teaches this concept in word but walks this very concept out in the coming days. Over the next few days, Jesus himself is exposed to hatred and acts of shame, yet continues to stand firm. This is the character of Jesus – he is consistent with his word and demonstrates the truths he teaches his people.
Daily Demonstration: Life is filled with trials, pain, and hatred. As much as we’d all like for it to go away, it won’t be eradicated entirely until Jesus’ return that we see the kingdom of God fully restored on the earth. Until then, God’s people will face suffering – but suffering that we can stand firm in because of the example of Jesus. What might it look like to stand firm in Jesus, no matter what the circumstance?
Daily Reflection: Perhaps one of the more alarming aspects of Jesus’ Olivet Discourse is his mention of the tribulation that will occur in the end times. Although the realization of such a frightening event on a global scale can be overwhelming, it is essential to remember what Jesus mentions in verse 20, “but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.” In other words, if not for God’s intervention, the consequences of such an event are dire for everyone. For those whose loyalties lie with King Jesus, however, the outcome looks different. Why? King Jesus is our deliverer, our provider, and he stays faithful to his promises. Thus, while the tribulation may seem terrifying, God’s people do not have to fear because King Jesus will fight on our behalf.
Daily Demonstration: Have you ever considered the implications of Jesus being your provider and deliverer? True to his character, these are attributes that Jesus never steps away from. In the end, they will result in saving grace to provide eternity for his family. But what do his deliverance and provision look like for you today? For your family? Jesus is the same today and tomorrow – ask for a vision of his character and be ready for an incredible experience!
Daily Reflection: Being a follower of Christ is not a “get out suffering free” card. In truth, life has a way of dealing out trial whether we are looking for it or not. Numerous times in the Old Testament, including Daniel 11, we are exposed to the reality of this suffering. Often, it can quickly seem as though there may be no hope. Fortunately, this is not – and never will be – the case. Despite even the worst of circumstances in Daniel 11, the desolation of the temple, there was still hope for the future. This is a hope in which Jesus lived his life. He knew what was ahead of him – suffering as we will never know. Yet, he stuck to the course laid out before him, and persevered, nonetheless.
Daily Demonstration: Have you ever been in a circumstance in which you felt hopeless? Are you in a hopeless season now? Take heart! Our hope is not anchored in anything in this world, but it is instead anchored in eternity – the destination in which Jesus had his eyes set with all of his people in mind. Do your best to set your mind on eternity today and confidently progress through suffering. Ask Jesus to provide perspective for you, as he is the hope for all God’s people.
Daily Reflection: After reading Mark 13:21-23, two essential questions should be posed: 1) why would false messiahs be so eager to perform signs and wonders, and 2) why was Jesus – the true Messiah – more hesitant to perform signs and wonders on various occasions? Intuition would say that the true Messiah would outperform all false messiahs and make it clear that he is the one true Son of God. Well, unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Why? Because Jesus’ character is genuine, authentic, and unwavering. He desires a relationship with his people that is not coerced but instead developed with pure love and compassion. On the other hand, false messiahs want a multitude of followers, not for good purposes, but for their own gain. Thus, false messiahs may seem attractive, but it is the authentic nature of Jesus Christ – the true Messiah – that leads to an eternal relationship.
Daily Demonstration: Jesus’ care for his people is so deep that he desires to develop a lasting, genuine relationship – not a surface-level, unhealthy one. The mere thought of a false prophet using signs and wonders to coerce his family away from him is sickening to his core. Yet, as we learn from this discourse, these false messiahs will face troubled times, and justice will be served on behalf of the kingdom of God. It may be hard in the moment, but always remember, the deeper you are in relationship with Jesus now, the easier it will be to see false messiahs in the future. How can you deepen your relationship with Jesus today and seek justice on behalf of the kingdom?
Daily Reflection: Daniel 7 is one of the most beautifully prophetic passages in all of scripture. In this vision, Daniel sees four beasts rise from the ocean – all of whom represent human kingdoms with destruction in mind. God himself comes with the “Son of Man” who defeats the human kingdoms, occupies the throne next to YHWH, and inaugurates the kingdom of God. In this way, the Son of Man is given all authority to lead the kingdom of God and all of the people within it. In Jesus’ claim to be the “Son of Man,” he is stating his kingship over his people and declaring them set free from the bondage set in motion by sin and death.
Daily Demonstration: The recognition of Jesus as king is a pivotal reality in one’s walk with Christ. Seated at the right hand of the Father, Jesus rules over all creation with eternity in mind. Jesus has all authority, and even shares that authority for the advancement of the Great Commission. Today, take time to honor Jesus in his kingship and thank him for his loving-kindness. Work toward shifting to your view of Jesus as your king – how does this mindset change the way you approach him?
Daily Reflection: Mark 13:24-27 is a callback to the Ancient of Days scene in Daniel 7. Remember the four beasts, God coming amid the thrones, the Son of Man defeating the final beast, and taking his place next to the Father? In this teaching, Jesus is proclaiming that he is the Son of Man – the one who will defeat the final beast and take his place next to the Ancient of Days. What does this mean for God’s family? It means that King Jesus will reign over his people for all of eternity. The kingdom of God will come to its fullest expression, and Jesus will lead the way. This is the hope of the end times.
Daily Demonstration: It would be pretty scary to think of the end times without a righteous king ruling over creation. Fortunately, our king will rule over the kingdom for all of eternity. What do you think it will be like to be under the rule of Jesus? Think about his ministry. Was he harsh and restricting? Was he caring, compassionate, and empathetic? Imagine how amazing the New Heaven and the New Earth will be!
Daily Reflection: Jesus revisits the fig tree analogy he uses earlier in Mark 11 toward the end of his discourse on the Mount of Olives. This time, the analogy is used as a parable to depict the fall of the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus tells his disciples that this is an event they will witness – and it will certainly be a scary one. Regardless, the end of the analogy is an essential piece of the puzzle. Jesus tells his disciples, “heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” In other words, his disciples will see things, but never will they see King Jesus and his kingdom fall away. Jesus’ character is confident and firm at the moment. Even in what could feel like the end, his loving-kindness provides a way, yet again.
Daily Demonstration: Have you experienced a time when it felt as though everything was crumbling around you? Maybe it seems like you’re falling apart, your family is in shambles, your friendships are suffering, and even your work is no longer rewarding. It’s okay – everyone faces these seasons. How is one to keep a healthy perspective in such a time? Jesus exemplifies such a strategy in this discourse. Remember, the things of the world will crumble – quite literally someday. But Jesus, however, will never fall away. This is why Jesus is your cornerstone, a firm foundation. How does it change tough situations in your life knowing this truth? How can you share it with others?
Daily Reflection: Mark 13:32-37 is the conclusion of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus’ teaching on the realities of the end times. In this final segment, Jesus focuses on two main items: 1) when it will occur and 2) what God’s people should do in the meantime. Interestingly, the answer to both of these questions is simple. First, the hour is unknown to all, including the Son (which, by the way, is an affirmation of his humanity). Second, God’s people are to faithfully stay on mission as they await the second coming of the Lord. In other words, it could happen any day, any time, so God’s people are to treat every day with a missional focus. Fortunately, true to his character, Jesus has left his people with assigned tasks to carry out as the end approaches.
Daily Demonstration: The question, then, becomes: what is your assignment? Jesus perfectly modeled a life of imaging the Father, staying in line with his perfect will. Now, we, as his people, can confidently follow him on mission. Today, ask Jesus to reveal or affirm the assignment he has given you. Is it at home? Is it at your workplace? You’ll be surprised to find out how much influence you have. Remember, don’t fall asleep – spiritually speaking, of course.