|@February 5, 2024
|M’Cheyne Plan 2024
Genesis 38:27–30 (ESV) 28 And when she was in labor, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” 29 But as he drew back his hand, behold, his brother came out. And she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” Therefore his name was called Perez. 30 Afterward his brother came out with the scarlet thread on his hand, and his name was called Zerah.
Tamar was pregnant with twins by her father-in-law, Judah, through immorality. Thinking that the one whose hand came out first would be the first one born, the midwife put the scarlet thread on his hand. But, the boy’s hand drew back and his brother actually emerged first. The first one to be born, Perez—originally assumed to be second and not having the scarlet thread—was the line through which the Messiah would arrive. This and several other instances in Scripture show how Jesus’ coming defied worldly convention and expectation.
Mark 8:24–25 (ESV) 24 And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
The healing of the blind man at Bethsaida in Mark 8 is the only place in Scripture where Jesus performs a two-stage healing. Far be it from us to view this instance as Jesus weakened in His ability to heal. While we cannot know why it was performed this way, we should grasp the purposefulness of Jesus’s process, that the man needed to see the people as trees prior to his sight being completely restored.
Job 4:4–5 (ESV) 4 Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, and you have made firm the feeble knees. 5 But now it has come to you, and you are impatient; it touches you, and you are dismayed.
Eliphaz addresses Job on his lament and charges him with hypocrisy. Eliphaz tells Job that while he was adept in telling others how to deal with difficult circumstances, he was speechless in dealing with them himself. Whatever wisdom Eliphaz was trying to convey, his approach was cold and dispassionate. This was of no help to Job and neither would it be for any other. In this we should see how our guidance of others should be from heart that earnestly seeks their best, leading to a deeper relationship with the Lord.
Romans 8:18 (ESV) 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
We are to expect suffering in this life but also see how little these times compare to the glory to come. The call to follow Christ is the call to suffer. He suffered for us and our following of Him is a means to do the same. As one matures in their walk with the Lord and encounters the inevitable trials of a broken world, this reality becomes all the more salient. But through it all we are to look forward to the Day when everything will be made new, restored and redeemed that we may worship our King forever.
Carson on Mark 8
But there was more to come. Not only did Jesus insist that he himself was going to suffer and die and rise again, but he also insisted that each of his followers “must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (8:34). To a first-century ear, such language was shocking. “To take up your cross” did not mean putting up with a toothache, job loss, or personal disability…If it was your lot to pick up your cross, there was no hope for you. There was only an ignominious and excruciating death.
This is a wonderful word on just what it means to take up one’s cross and follow Jesus. It is no minor nuisance or twinge. It is a full death to self and surrender to Christ as Lord.
- J. I. Packer et. al, The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016)
- D. A. Carson, For the Love of God: Volumes 1 & 2 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2006; hosted on thegospelcoalition.org)
- Faithlife Study Bible (Lexham Press, 2016)
- Believer’s Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, 2016)
- CSB Study Bible Notes (Holman Bible Publishers, 2017)