Highlights In Today's Reading:
Don't feel badly when your friends do not understand your love for Jesus. Look what happened to Jesus when He went to His hometown (6:1-6). The disciples begin their witness 2 x 2 (6:7-13; 30-31). The gruesome murder of John the Baptist (6:14-29). Jesus continues His ministry of miracles: feeding about 5,000 men (plus women and children) (6:32-44), walking on water (6:45-52), and healing (6:56). His enemies try to denounce His ministry in Chapter 7. See His answer (7:13). Jesus' diagnosis of the heart of man follows (7:14-23; see I Samuel 16:7).
Herod (Antipas — Son of Herod the great who ruled when Jesus was born — Matthew 2:1) feared John (the Baptist), knowing that he was a just (godly) man and an holy (man), and observed him (kept him safely) . . . and heard him gladly (Mark 6:20). But Herod Antipas like his father failed to prepare his life for the coming Messiah. Herod knew that John had said: Make straight the way of the Lord (John 1:23). He had called upon the people and Herod to repent of their sins and be baptized. Herod had to know that, when Jesus appeared at the Jordan to be baptized, John said to his disciples: Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (1:29). At that moment, most of John's followers left him and followed Jesus.
John recognized his subordinate mission and told his remaining disciples: He must increase, but I must decrease (3:30). Little did John realize how much he must decrease and that one of his admirers who heard him gladly soon would consent to murder him. This is a warning of how dangerous it is to put off turning from sin and the crowd of unbelievers and to receive Christ as Savior and Lord of our lives. Jesus said: No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24). It's a fact! Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation (II Corinthians 6:2) to receive Christ as Savior and LORD of your life. Tomorrow may never come. King Agrippa said to Paul: Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian (Acts 26:28). But almost soon becomes eternally lost.
Ease and honor could have been his if John had spoken with more diplomacy. However, he would rather relinquish life itself than to compromise his loyalty to God. John, like Moses, chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasure of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches . . . for he had respect unto recompence of the reward (Hebrews 11:25-26).
Thought for Today:
Keeping company with the wrong people can cost you years of life and ministry.
6:25 charger =b> a large dish ; 7:19 purging all meats =b> declaring all food ceremonially clean.
For Mark 7:6-7: See Isaiah 29:13. Mark 7:10: See Exodus 20:12; 21:17; Leviticus 20:9; Deuteronomy 5:16.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Miss Helayne Abrams • Radio Sri Lanka International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Ron Fausnaugh, Sr. • Assistant to the Executive Director of the IBRA in our Washington DC Branch: Terry Hall • Government Official: Rep. Rush Holt (NJ) • Country: Jordan (5 million) in southwestern Asia • Major languages: Arabic and English • Religious tolerance • 93% Muslim; 5% Christian • Prayer Suggestion: Delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psa. 37:4).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:34