In This Issue
"DO NOT BE AFRAID, ONLY BELIEVE"
In Mark 5:21-43, Mark records the first instance of Jesus' raising someone from the dead. On His way to work that miracle, He was involved in another miracle, which, Lord willing, we will look at in another study. But for now, let us read the part that pertains to the restoring of life to a young girl who had died.
"Now when Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered to Him; and He was by the sea. And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, 'My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.' So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him... While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue's house who said, 'Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?' As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, 'Do not be afraid; only believe.' And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly. When He came in, He said to them 'Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.' And they laughed Him to scorn. But when He had put them all out, He took the father and mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying. Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, 'Talitha, cumi,' which is translated, 'Little girl, I say to you, arise.' Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement. But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat." (Mark 5:21-24, 35-43).
Some have understandably been confused by Jesus' statement: "The child is not dead, but sleeping." Jairus' friends apparently took Jesus' words at face value. They ridiculed Him for not realizing she was dead. Jesus, of course, knew she had died, but He also knew what others did not know -- that her death was only temporary. It was in that sense that He referred to her as sleeping. And then He awakened her.
Let us note a couple more things about this event. Note Jairus' faith. Matthew 9:18 shows that even after his daughter had died, Jairus believed Jesus could raise her from the dead.
Also note that Jesus accepted Jairus' worship. Godly men and angels refuse to be worshiped because they are not Divine, Acts 10:25-26; Rev. 19:10. On numerous occasions, Jesus allowed men to worship Him. We necessarily conclude that Jesus was indeed Divine. See Matt. 8:2; 14:33; 15:25; 28:9, etc.
--Clarence R. Johnson
WOULD JESUS CLEANSE THE TEMPLE AGAIN?
On the Monday before Jesus' crucifixion he entered in to "the temple of God" (Matt. 21:12) where he found sacrificial animals for sale. He then physically ejected the buyers, sellers and moneychangers and threw their possessions to the floor. This second cleansing of the temple was preceded by a similar action three years earlier, prompted by his zeal for the Lord's house (John 2:13-18).
What was it that so outraged the Lord? The answer is clear-it was their perversion of God's purpose for the temple. That temple was designed to be "a house of prayer" (Isa. 56:7). But by turning it into "a house of merchandise" (John 2:16) they, in effect, made it "a den of robbers" (Matt. 21:13)! And God himself was their victim (Jer. 7:8-11).
The buying and selling and moneychanging was not wrong in itself, but the temple was not the place to do it. They failed "to make a separation between the sanctuary and the profane [common] place" (Ezek. 42:20). But Jesus would not even allow anyone to carry a container through the temple (Mark 11:16). Their usage of the temple was convenient, and even helpful in providing for worship, but it was wrong!
In like manner, more and more congregations today are profaning the current 'house of God, which is the church' (1 Tim. 3:15), that spiritual temple which must not be desecrated (1 Cor. 3:18). We speak not of what someone might do in the meeting-house, but of a perversion of the church's rightful purpose and work.
The church is to carry on with the unfinished work of Christ (John 14:12). His mission was to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), and that must be our mission, too (John 17:18). We are a special people called for a special purpose (1 Pet. 2:9-10), a spiritual house commanded to do spiritual work (vs. 5). And just as Jesus carried out his mission in three ways-preaching, teaching and healing (Matt. 9:35), so all church work must likewise he limited to evangelism, edification (including worship), and benevolence. The church is authorized to work in no other areas. But these are enough.
Our preachers need to dust off those sermons of yesteryear that are not used much nowadays and teach with renewed fervor about the authority of the Scriptures and their application to the church's work. And elders need to firmly insist to a sometimes uninformed membership that the church has no business dabbling in the secular pursuits of politics or playrooms. The Spirit-anointed work of Jesus (Luke 4:18-19) is also that which was given to the church (Rom. 12:6-8). And we must not be diverted from our task.
There is a biblical distinction between the action of Christian individuals and that of the church, itself (1 Tim. 5:16). This is because there is a difference between what is Cod's and what is the government's (Matt. 22:21) or an individual's. Everything ultimately belongs to God, but he chooses to give to us (Acts 14:17, Jas. 1:17). Ananias' money was "his own" until he gave it back to the Lord (Acts 5:4). Such failure to distinguish between the secular and the sacred caused the Corinthians to pervert the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 11:20-22, 34).
Remember that Jesus' kingdom is "not of this world" (John 18:38) and must not be improperly entangled in "the affairs of this life" (2 Tim. 2:4). The church is a divine organism with a two-fold trust: to guard the truth (1 Tim. 3:15) and proclaim it to all men (Eph. 3:8-9). This was God's "eternal purpose' for the church (vs. 10-11) and we must not violate its glory (vs. 21). Let us not, therefore, rob God by profaning its mission.
If Jesus were here on earth today, would he cleanse his temple again?
--Gary Workman, The Sower, Russellville, AL
EMBALMING PRACTICES OF ANCIENT EGYPTIANS
National Geographic, Sept., `98, pg. 21 - "Seti I died in 1279 B.C., and the grave builders had just 70 days - while priests mummified his body - to ready the tomb to receive the pharaoh's remains."
National Geographic, Oct., `99, pg. 80 - "To prepare the deceased for the afterlife during pharaonic times, funerary workers removed most internal organs, then sterilized the body and dried it by packing it - inside and out - with natron salts. About 40 days later the body was wrapped in linen strips, placed in a series of wooden cases and an outer stone coffin, and laid in a crypt."
First, there seems to be a contradiction between these two statements. One seems to indicate that mummification took seventy days, while the other says it took forty days. Thus, it is not always the Bible against which contradictions may be claimed. In fact, this seems to be the sort of contradiction some would claim against the Bible: facts which seem to clash but do not necessarily do so. Yet, if people were to treat other literature like they treat the Bible, they would find many more contradictions. There is a prejudice against the Bible or too much readiness to condemn it as contradictory. On closer examination, one might be able to perceive several ways to resolve the apparent contradiction between the statements about mummification in the National Geographic issues. (1) The second account says "about 40 days" were the time required. (2) The first account does not actually say 70 days were required for mummification but to get the tomb ready. (c) The second account actually says the 40 days were how long the body was packed in natron salts before being wrapped.
Second, the Bible itself provides an explanation when it says that 40 days were required for embalming (mummification), and, then, 70 days were spent in mourning (Gen. 50:1-3). This is a confirmation of the historical accuracy of the Bible.
Third, it seems the Hebrews did not use coffins for burial, but the Egyptians did (see NG above; Gen. 50:26; Lk. 7:14).
Fourth, the Egyptians wept for Jacob 70 days (Gen. 50:3), while the Hebrews wept for Moses 30 days (Deut. 34:8).
--Gary P. Eubanks
HUMOR IN THE BIBLE
When I was a boy, my family lived close to a rather humorless, old fellow, with whom I and some of my friends had occasion to work during haying season. Like most high spirited youngsters, we joked a lot, and teased each other, and carried on with silliness. It was not uncommon for this dour gentleman to warn us that God didn't take to humor. "There is no humor in the Bible," he declared again and again. None of us had an answer to this proclamation, and so for a while we would restrain ourselves-until youthful exuberance swept over us and the silliness demon possessed us once more.
I'm not sure when it first dawned on me that since I am made in the image of God, and I have a sense of humor, He must have one, too. Seeing a giraffe at the zoo confirmed it! And visualizing the lazy man hinged to his bed like a door to its frame (Prov 26:14) still tickles my funny bone. Listening to Elijah gig the prophets of Baal showed me that sometimes the wit even has a bite to it.
Our Creator is not a sourpuss. And He doesn't begrudge us our bit of fun. But He won't allow it as a cover-up for malice. "Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, 'I was only joking" (Prov 26:18-19)!
--James W. Ward, Lost River church, Bowling Green, KY
Clarence R. Johnson
Phone: (717) 361-6212
30 Apple Avenue
Parking at 19 West Walnut Street
Phone: (717) 426-4537
Click here to see a map on Yahoo!
P.O. Box 463
Marietta, Pennsylvania 17547
Bible Classes 9:00 a.m.
Worship Service 10:00 a.m.
Evening Worship 6:00 p.m.
Bible Classes 7:00 p.m.
To Request Bible Correspondence Course, Send Email To:
Those who worship God must worship in Spirit and in Truth