Tuesday, August 16, 2011

These Signs Will Follow... - August 16th, 2011

And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
Mark 16:17-20

History and Context:
The Gospel of Mark was written between 60 and 70 AD by John Mark, a companion of Peter and of Paul. Tradition has him writing the Gospel when he is in Rome with Peter, putting down the apostle Peter's version of the story. John Mark is shown in Acts as a companion of Paul and Barnabas; he is also mentioned in Colossians as being a real comfort to Paul in prison and in 1 Peter as being like a son to Peter. The Gospel seems to be a starting point for both Matthew and for Luke as much of the material is similar, but Mark focuses less on the teachings of Jesus and more on the actions. It shows Christ in action.

The Text:
This comes directly after Jesus' commission for His disciples to "preach the Gospel to every creature". He says that they will perform these signs in His name. To do something in the name of somebody is to do something in the authority of that person. In Matthew's account of the same commision we see Jesus saying that "all authority in heaven and in earth" has been given to Him (Matthew 28:18). It is in this authority that we have been sent out to preach the Gospel, make disciples, and also to perform these signs. In verse 20 we see that the purpose of the signs was to confirm the Word that was being preached. The disciples went out, preached the Word, and God confirmed it with signs and wonders.

The Challenge:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever! (Hebrews 13:8) If this is how He worked through His disciples then, it is how He wants to work through us now. So the question is, why isn't it happening? There may be numerous answers to this question when we do a full Bible study, but already, in this passage, we have one prerequisite which is often not being followed today. We must first go out and preach! The point of the signs and wonders is to confirm the Word that is being preached. This means if we don't preach the Word, signs and wonders won't come. So the challenge is to get out and preach the Word. Seek out opportunities. Then seek out opportunities for God to confirm it with signs and wonders. If someone is sick, be bold and pray for them. Pray for miracles in the finances of your friends and families. Seek out the spiritual gifts in your life and ministry. God is faithful to confirm His Word when we are faithful to preach it!

The Prayer:
Lord, I am going out today looking for opportunities to preach your Word. Lead me and direct me to the right people and the right situation. Confirm your Word by doing miracles in the lives of those I am preaching to. In Jesus' name, Amen!

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