Leviticus 22:17-23:44, Mark 9:30-10:12, Psalms 44:1-8, Proverbs 10:19
Today is the 28th day of February. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian. It is great to be here with you is as we close down, right, the second month of the year. So, two months in, we have established a rhythm, we are on a journey as a community and it is a joy to be coming to you today from the holy city of Jerusalem. And we spent we spent the day yesterday in and around Jerusalem and the exhaustion of it and the crush of it, as well as the tremendous excitement of it and we’ll talk about that when we get a little bit further into our time together today but first let’s go to the Scriptures, that’s what we’ve come here to do. We’re reading from the New International Version this week. Leviticus chapter 22 verse 17 through 23 verse 44 today.
Okay. So, as we we’re kind of moving through the law while reading the Gospels at the same time we are indeed provided with some unique perspectives because we’re doing it this way. So, for the last several days in book of Leviticus we’ve been reading all kinds of interesting things that kind of boil down to clean and unclean, blemished or unblemished, spotted or spotless, right? So, God’s saying, you know, I want my priests to not be defiled in any way, to not be deformed in any way. I want the sacrificial system to be the best of the best, unblemished. You’re not supposed to give second best, third, fourth, fifth, anything substandard to God whatsoever. So, what God is putting in place in this culture is that He is holy, and He will set his people apart to be holy unto Him and that this will be lived out in every conceivable way, in everything that they do they will be reminded of this. So, a set apart people, an exclusive chosen people. Over time as we continue our journey through the year and watch this people form and then be in the Promised Land and then all of their struggles, we’ll find that they wanted to hold onto the identity of being exclusive while eventually being anything but, which will eventually bring exile and downfall. Zoom forward into the time of the Gospels in the first century, we still have the rules we saw this exclusive concept, but exclusivity means that some are excluded including being excluded from God’s presence, right? So, we go back to unblemished, spotless, without any deformity and then we pause, and we think about precisely who is it that Jesus is ministering to. So, we have God giving these laws and then we have God coming to live this out before our eyes in person, in the person of Jesus and where does he go? He goes to the blemished, He goes to the unclean, He goes to the deformed, He goes to the oppressed, and that speaks volumes because in effect here have God in the flesh among His chosen people making the deformed and spotted and blemished people whole. And that friends, that is the kingdom of God in action and that is what we’re supposed to be doing every day of our lives. And Jesus sums this up from our reading in the book of Mark today. “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last and the servant of all.” He is in effect saying the world system is absolutely backward to the way that the kingdom of God works. And we spend, you know, so much of our time trying to defend what it is that we think we know and fight everybody else over what they are or are not doing. Are they saying enough Jesus’s in their songs? Do they have enough bumper sticker fish on their cars? And on and on we could go. And we’re like searching out for the falseness in everybody else but we just somehow are blinded to our own and we lose sight of the fact that if we want to be in the kingdom then we have to be servants and we have to keep our eyes on our own lives instead of everybody else’s lives. And this played out in the gospel of Mark today too when the disciples came to Jesus and they’re like, “teacher, we saw someone try to do what you’re doing, we saw somebody doing what we are supposed to be doing. They were throwing out demons in your name and they’re not part of our group. So, we told them to knock it off.” What was God’s response to that then in the person of Jesus. Jesus said, “don’t stop him. Whoever is not against us is for us to.” So, Jesus didn’t run around pointing out people’s blemishes and uncleanness and spots. He came to make them whole. So, can you not see how easily we as Christians can be stereotyped because we have mastered pointing out people’s blemishes and faults and uncleanness and we thrive at trying to theologically prove a point. Are we this thick that we can’t see that we are only being Pharisees in the moment? So, let’s go ahead and get two heaping teaspoons of that and stir it into our cup today,
Holy Spirit, we invite You. As we meditate on these things and consider these things we realize that what we are railing against is our own fears our own security…insecurities our own uncleanness our own blemishes and if we can divert that and pay attention somebody else’s faults and blemishes then we do not have to deal with our own. And yet, You’re not gonna let that happen, not if we’re gonna stick to the Scriptures and walk our way through every day. You’re gonna keep coming after things in us until they’re not in us anymore because their poison to us. They are not how Your kingdom works. And yet we are claiming Your kingdom. And, so, we have to and we will have to continue to repent, which fundamentally means we have to change, we have to change the way they we’re looking at things, and the first thing that we do is surrender to You. All we need is to walk with You and to see our brothers and sisters in this world as You do and understand that we are one, that we are in this together and we’re getting nowhere trying to destroy each other. Come Holy Spirit bring life into us we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Okay. So here in Israel the rains are a blessing from God. And, so, we have been getting overwhelmingly blessed. Yeah, so yesterday was an early morning, the earliest morning of the journey and we have to do this so that we can kind of get in line to go up on the Temple Mount. And we did exactly that, we got up early like we were told and got on the buses and everything and got in line in and got a good shower. And it rained and rained, and we went on the Temple Mount and when you’re going up, you can see the Western Wall or the Wailing Wall as it’s sometimes called and there was nobody there. I’ve never seen it that way in my life. There was no one there at all. And I’m sure that happens often, but it was the first time I’ve ever see no one there at all. And then got up on Temple Mount and, yeah, it rained on us, and we moved through and pressed on and saw what we needed to see. And, you know, you’re standing up there and realizing the temple of God was there and we haven’t gotten to the construction of the first or second Temple yet in our reading as we’re moving through this year but, you know, like, this is it. Man, the presence of God was here, the Holy of Holies was here. It’s a profound thing to realize and you realize that you are in the center of it all in terms of biblical importance, the center of it all. So, we spent some time and we didn’t skimp. We moved through and got off the Temple Mount and went down below into the archaeological park that surrounds the area including the southern steps which is really the birthplace of the church and certainly a place that Jesus would’ve frequented. And, so, we pointed that out and let that kind of sink in. And, of course, we’re trying to document, take pictures, and remember, there’s just so much on a journey like this that it’s hard if not impossible to absorb everything. And, so, you know, photographs and journaling and this is kind of activity helps with that for processing later. So, we spent some time there and got wet and then we got back onto the buses and headed toward Bethany, biblical Bethany, which is where Lazarus’s tomb is, which Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lived, a place where Jesus often stayed, would stay in Bethany on the Mount of olives and then go back down across the Kedron Valley to the temple complex. So, we just kind of pointed that out. There’s not a lot of ruins. It’s an active city but the tomb of Lazarus still there. And, so, we did contemplate the resurrection of Lazarus and Jesus words, “that which has died will live even though it has died” and tried to apply that to our own lives. What has died and can’t it be resurrected? And isn’t that one of the, if not the most important aspect of our faith, that that which has died can live even though it has died. And the clouds lifted, and the sky was blue. It was a little chilly, but the sky was blue. And, so, that was nice. We fought the rain all day. And after visiting Bethany then we went to Bethlehem where Jesus was born and this might sound like it’s all nice and easy but the logistics of these places even though they are very, very near each other are challenging because checkpoints and walls and fences and just moving around and on top of that a very congested major world city that we’re in. So, we did get to Bethany and had some lunch and in the weather was good. It wasn’t raining on us. We went in and visited a friend who has a shop in in Bethlehem and he’s an antiquities dealer and a reputable one and his grandfather was heavily responsible for the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and bringing them to light. And, so, we get to hear that story and it’s always a fascinating story and one of the original jars that were found out it Qumran near the Dead Sea, it’s there in the shop. So, you can kind of see that. Just spent some time before moving to the church of the Nativity. And there were plenty of fellow brothers and sisters from all over the world there and the line was quite aggressive to go down into the grotto where Jesus was born, where the star is placed over the spot believed to be the birthplace of Jesus. And it has been believed to be the spot for a long time. So, pilgrims have been coming for 1700 years to this place and we just took part in that grand and long tradition before then making our way back into Jerusalem for the end of the day. And that takes a little while, just getting through the traffic and checkpoints and all this. So, that was day one in and around Jerusalem. And thank you for your continued prayers moving around the weather. And we’ll see how the day goes because there are more blessings in the forecast for today. So, thank you for continuing to pray over safety, technology, logistics, health, stamina. I mean, getting out in the rain and it’s a little cold and kinda getting damp is, you know, it’s easy enough to catch a cold or start feeling poorly. So, thank you for your prayers.
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And that’s it for today and that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.