Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Zechariah 12:10 1
10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

img198Background 2

Zechariah is the author of the Book of Zechariah, the eleventh of the Twelve Minor Prophets. He was a prophet of the two-tribe Kingdom of Judah, and like Ezekiel was of priestly extraction. He describes himself (Zechariah 1:1) as “the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo.” In Ezra 5:1 and 6:14 he is called “the son of Iddo,” who was properly his grandfather. His prophetical career began in the second year of Darius, king of Persia (B.C. 520), about sixteen years after the return of the first company from their Babylonian exile. He was contemporary with Haggai (Ezra 5:1).

The prophecies of Zechariah are considered suitable to all people because their purpose were to renounce the sins which would bring God’s judgments against them, and to encourage those that feared God, with assurances of the mercy God had in store for his church, and especially of the coming of the Messiah, and the setting up his kingdom in the world.

Biblical Truths 3

The Holy Spirit is gracious and merciful, and is the Author of all grace or holiness. He, also, is the Spirit of supplications (our humble and sincere appeal to God who has the power to grant a request), and shows men their ignorance, want, guilt, misery, and danger. As the future time unfolds, the Jews will know who the crucified Jesus was; then they will look by faith to Him, and mourn with the deepest sorrow, not only in public, but in private, even each one separately. There is a holy mourning, the effect of the pouring out of the Spirit; a mourning for sin, which quickens faith in Christ, and qualifies for joy in God. This mourning is a fruit of the Spirit of grace, a proof of a work of grace in the soul, and of the Spirit of supplications. It is fulfilled in all who sorrow for sin and pursue God; they look to Christ crucified, and mourn for Him. Looking by faith upon the cross of Christ will cause us to mourn for our sins.

Items for Discussion

  • How would you define grace, especially God’s grace?
  • Why is God’s grace so amazing?
  • What would you say is the interconnection between grace and prayer?
  • Why should people morn and grieve about Christ’s death?
  • How do the sins of history help us realize God’s never ending grace?
  • To pray is to appeal to God for mercy and to do it with humility-How does Christ’s sacrifice and example help us to connect with our God?

 

Mark 8:27-30
27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” 28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” 29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” 30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

Background

Most agree that Mark was the first person to write a Gospel. Both Matthew and Luke seem to use it. Mark perhaps completed it in the year 65 (A.D.), soon after Peter’s death. Mark wanted to show that Jesus was the ‘Son of God’. So he emphasises how the crowds and the disciples were very often astonished at Jesus’ actions. At the same time, Mark shows that Jesus was really human. He was ‘the carpenter’ (6:3). He became tired and he became asleep (4:38). He had human feelings. He felt sad (6:34), and he was angry at wrong ideas and actions (3:5; 11:15-17).

There are details that are only in Mark’s Gospel. They give us the idea that someone had been an eye-witness. In the account of the storm on the lake, ‘there were other boats with him’. Jesus was ‘in the back of the boat with his head on a cushion’ (4:35, 38). The groups of people were sitting on the ‘green’ grass (6:39). On the road to Jerusalem, Jesus was walking ‘ahead of them’ (10:32). Jesus ‘took the children into his arms’ (10:16). The blind man ‘threw off his coat’ (10:50). Additionally, Mark records some of the actual Aramaic words that Jesus used. Mark shows how the crowds, the disciples and Jesus’ own family did not understand Jesus. The religious leaders opposed him. Most people had the wrong idea about what the Messiah should be like.

Christians were suffering for their faith when Mark wrote his Gospel. He showed them that Jesus suffered. He suffered in the plan of God and he made the Scriptures come true. Mark uses the word ‘immediately’ very many times. He wants to emphasise the power of Jesus, whose command always brought a quick result (1:20, 42; 2:12; 5:42). His style of writing leads one to believe that Mark could not wait to tell everyone about the death and resurrection of Jesus. Mark knew that these two events were ‘good news’ for everyone. When Jesus suffered, it made it possible for God to save people. ‘The Son of Man did not come for people to serve him. Instead, he came to serve other people. He came to give his life as the price to make many people free’ (10:45).

Bible Truth 4

Verse 27: Caesarea Philippi was in the north, near the source of the River Jordan. Philip, who was the ruler of that area, had built the city. It had the name Caesarea ‘Philippi’. Caesarea Philippi was a city that was full of temples to the Greek gods, and to the nature god, Pan. The disciples were ‘on the way’ to Jerusalem with Jesus. Jesus described himself as the Way to God (John 14:6). People described early Christians as those who belonged to the Way (Acts 9:2; 19:23).

Verse 28: The opinions that Jesus was John the Baptist or Elijah are the same as those in 6:14. The opinion that he was ‘one of the prophets’ rather than ‘like’ one of the prophets (6:14) is different. It referred to a prophet who had come back to life.

Verse 29: Jesus emphasized the word ‘you’. It was not enough for the disciples to know what other people thought. They must decide for themselves. The disciples had asked, ‘Who is this?’ (4:41). Jesus had spoken about the fact that they did not understand (8:17-21). But now Peter spoke for all the disciples. He made the bold statement, ‘You are the Christ.’ This incident comes in the middle of Mark’s Gospel. The first chapters record the works and words of Jesus as he invited people into God’s kingdom. From the time at Caesarea Philippi, Jesus taught that he must suffer. He explained what it means to be a disciple. And he began his journey to Jerusalem.

Verse 30: ‘Christ’ is the Greek word for the Hebrew word ‘Messiah’. The Jews were expecting a Messiah who would defeat their enemies. This person would lead an army against the Romans and he would gain political freedom for them. Jesus did not want the disciples to encourage that belief. So he did not want them to say that he was the Messiah. The crowds might then stop Jesus from training his disciples. The disciples had to learn the true nature of the Messiah’s work first.

Items for Discussion

  • What is a prophet?
  • How can we measure the credentials of a prophet; in other words, how do we know if they are a true prophet or just someone claiming to be one?
  • Many are called prophets, including Christ. How is Christ different from all of the rest?
  • What traits and events in Christ’s life would separate Him from the list of prophets and give Him the title of Messiah?
  • How did Jesus create “surprising moments of grace” for those around Him?
  • How does Jesus still do that today?

Discussion Challenge

  • Our belief in Christ is a very personal thing, a conclusion that we must come to ourselves. What is the role of the Church in this process?
Share