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February 16, 2018

Devotion



            The terms “secret sin” or “private sin” are a misnomer, and the belief that these “varieties” of sin do not affect anyone outside of the sinner is completely false. The Bible makes it very clear, both in explicit statements and life demonstrations that sin, all sin, has a penalty that someone must pay. As Mark details the events of that Passover evening, Jesus specifically says that the cup represented His blood that would be poured out for many. The implications of that statement are unmistakable. Jesus, The Passover Lamb, was about to surrender His perfect, sinless body to death, so that His blood would be presented to the Father as an atoning sacrifice for sin, since “without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22).”

            The agony of that death can then be seen in the prayer of Jesus in the garden. “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death,” and that grief was not the fear of death, but the awareness that the only thing that could lead to his death was the sin of man being thrust on him. At that very moment, the wrath of God against sin was focused completely on Jesus and nothing but his righteous blood could satisfy that wrath.

            As you go through today’s assigned reading, take special note of the fact that sin always has a consequence. Then, take time to reflect on your life. Ask the Spirit to illuminate any sin that may be lurking in your heart, and from a heart that is truly repentant, confess that sin. Lastly, appeal to the marvelous grace of God and His ability to forgive you of your sin and cleanse you of all your unrighteousness.  


Isaiah 65-66; Mark 14 (CSB)


Isaiah 65

1 “I was sought by those who did not ask; I was found by those who did not seek me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’ to a nation that did not call on my name. 2 I spread out my hands all day long to a rebellious people who walk in the path that is not good, following their own thoughts. 3 These people continually anger me to my face, sacrificing in gardens, burning incense on bricks, 4 sitting among the graves, spending nights in secret places, eating the meat of pigs, and putting polluted broth in their bowls. 5 They say, ‘Keep to yourself, don’t come near me, for I am too holy for you!’ These practices are smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all day long. 6 Look, it is written in front of me: I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will repay them fully 7 for your iniquities and the iniquities of your fathers together,” says the Lord. “Because they burned incense on the mountains and reproached me on the hills, I will reward them fully for their former deeds.” 8 The Lord says this: “As the new wine is found in a bunch of grapes, and one says, ‘Don’t destroy it, for there’s some good in it,’ so I will act because of my servants and not destroy them all. 9 I will produce descendants from Jacob, and heirs to my mountains from Judah; my chosen ones will possess it, and my servants will dwell there. 10 Sharon will be a pasture for flocks, and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down, for my people who have sought me. 11 But you who abandon the Lord, who forget my holy mountain, who prepare a table for Fortune and fill bowls of mixed wine for Destiny, 12 I will destine you for the sword, and all of you will kneel down to be slaughtered, because I called and you did not answer, I spoke and you did not hear; you did what was evil in my sight and chose what I did not delight in.” 13 Therefore, this is what the Lord God says: “My servants will eat, but you will be hungry; my servants will drink, but you will be thirsty; my servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame. 14 My servants will shout for joy from a glad heart, but you will cry out from an anguished heart, and you will lament out of a broken spirit. 15 You will leave your name behind as a curse for my chosen ones, and the Lord God will kill you; but he will give his servants another name. 16 Whoever asks for a blessing in the land will ask for a blessing by the God of truth, and whoever swears in the land will swear by the God of truth. For the former troubles will be forgotten and hidden from my sight. 17 “For I will create a new heaven and a new earth; the past events will not be remembered or come to mind. 18 Then be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I will create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight. 19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people. The sound of weeping and crying will no longer be heard in her. 20 In her, a nursing infant will no longer live only a few days, or an old man not live out his days. Indeed, the one who dies at a hundred years old will be mourned as a young man, and the one who misses a hundred years will be considered cursed. 21 People will build houses and live in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 They will not build and others live in them; they will not plant and others eat. For my people’s lives will be like the lifetime of a tree. My chosen ones will fully enjoy the work of their hands. 23 They will not labor without success or bear children destined for disaster, for they will be a people blessed by the Lord along with their descendants. 24 Even before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like cattle, but the serpent’s food will be dust! They will not do what is evil or destroy on my entire holy mountain,” says the Lord.



Isaiah 66

1 This is what the Lord says: Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool. Where could you possibly build a house for me? And where would my resting place be? 2 My hand made all these things, and so they all came into being. This is the Lord’s declaration. I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at my word. 3 One person slaughters an ox, another kills a person; one person sacrifices a lamb, another breaks a dog’s neck; one person offers a grain offering, another offers pig’s blood; one person offers incense, another praises an idol— all these have chosen their ways and delight in their abhorrent practices. 4 So I will choose their punishment, and I will bring on them what they dread because I called and no one answered; I spoke and they did not listen; they did what was evil in my sight and chose what I did not delight in. 5 You who tremble at his word, hear the word of the Lord: “Your brothers who hate and exclude you for my name’s sake have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified so that we can see your joy!’ But they will be put to shame.” 6 A sound of uproar from the city! A voice from the temple— the voice of the Lord, paying back his enemies what they deserve! 7 Before Zion was in labor, she gave birth; before she was in pain, she delivered a boy. 8 Who has heard of such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day or a nation be delivered in an instant? Yet as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her sons. 9 “Will I bring a baby to the point of birth and not deliver it?” says the Lord; “or will I who deliver, close the womb?” says your God. 10 Be glad for Jerusalem and rejoice over her, all who love her. Rejoice greatly with her, all who mourn over her— 11 so that you may nurse and be satisfied from her comforting breast and drink deeply and delight yourselves from her glorious breasts. 12 For this is what the Lord says: I will make peace flow to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flood; you will nurse and be carried on her hip and bounced on her lap. 13 As a mother comforts her son, so I will comfort you, and you will be comforted in Jerusalem. 14 You will see, you will rejoice, and you will flourish like grass; then the Lord’s power will be revealed to his servants, but he will show his wrath against his enemies. 15 Look, the Lord will come with fire— his chariots are like the whirlwind— to execute his anger with fury and his rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For the Lord will execute judgment on all people with his fiery sword, and many will be slain by the Lord. 17 “Those who dedicate and purify themselves to enter the groves following their leader, eating meat from pigs, vermin, and rats, will perish together.” This is the Lord’s declaration. 18 “Knowing their works and their thoughts, I have come to gather all nations and languages; they will come and see my glory. 19 I will establish a sign among them, and I will send survivors from them to the nations—to Tarshish, Put, Lud (who are archers), Tubal, Javan, and the coasts and islands far away—who have not heard about me or seen my glory. And they will proclaim my glory among the nations. 20 They will bring all your brothers from all the nations as a gift to the Lord on horses and chariots, in litters, and on mules and camels, to my holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the Lord, “just as the Israelites bring an offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord. 21 I will also take some of them as priests and Levites,” says the Lord. 22 “For just as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, will remain before me”— this is the Lord’s declaration— “so your offspring and your name will remain. 23 All mankind will come to worship me from one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another,” says the Lord. 24 “As they leave, they will see the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me; for their worm will never die, their fire will never go out, and they will be a horror to all mankind.”



Mark 14 

1 It was two days before the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a cunning way to arrest Jesus and kill him. 2 “Not during the festival,” they said, “so that there won’t be a riot among the people.” 3 While he was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured it on his head. 4 But some were expressing indignation to one another: “Why has this perfume been wasted? 5 For this perfume might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they began to scold her. 6 Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a noble thing for me. 7 You always have the poor with you, and you can do what is good for them whenever you want, but you do not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body in advance for burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” 10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 And when they heard this, they were glad and promised to give him money. So he started looking for a good opportunity to betray him. 12 On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrifice the Passover lamb, his disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare the Passover so that you may eat it?” 13 So he sent two of his disciples and told them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Wherever he enters, tell the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” ’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.” 16 So the disciples went out, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover. 17 When evening came, he arrived with the Twelve. 18 While they were reclining and eating, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.” 19 They began to be distressed and to say to him one by one, “Surely not I?” 20 He said to them, “It is one of the Twelve—the one who is dipping bread in the bowl with me. 21 For the Son of Man will go just as it is written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for him if he had not been born.” 22 As they were eating, he took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” 23 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly I tell you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 26 After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27 Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will fall away, because it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered. 28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” 29 Peter told him, “Even if everyone falls away, I will not.” 30 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to him, “today, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31 But he kept insisting, “If I have to die with you, I will never deny you.” And they all said the same thing. 32 Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he told his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 He said to them, “I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake.” 35 He went a little farther, fell to the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father! All things are possible for you. Take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will.” 37 Then he came and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake one hour? 38 Stay awake and pray so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 Once again he went away and prayed, saying the same thing. 40 And again he came and found them sleeping, because they could not keep their eyes open. They did not know what to say to him. 41 Then he came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The time has come. See, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Get up; let’s go. See, my betrayer is near.” 43 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, suddenly arrived. With him was a mob, with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. 44 His betrayer had given them a signal. “The one I kiss,” he said, “he’s the one; arrest him and take him away under guard.” 45 So when he came, immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46 They took hold of him and arrested him. 47 One of those who stood by drew his sword, struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his ear. 48 Jesus said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs, as if I were a criminal, to capture me? 49 Every day I was among you, teaching in the temple, and you didn’t arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then they all deserted him and ran away. 51 Now a certain young man, wearing nothing but a linen cloth, was following him. They caught hold of him, 52 but he left the linen cloth behind and ran away naked. 53 They led Jesus away to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes assembled. 54 Peter followed him at a distance, right into the high priest’s courtyard. He was sitting with the servants, warming himself by the fire. 55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they could not find any. 56 For many were giving false testimony against him, and the testimonies did not agree. 57 Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, stating, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands, and in three days I will build another not made by hands.’ ” 59 Yet their testimony did not agree even on this. 60 Then the high priest stood up before them all and questioned Jesus, “Don’t you have an answer to what these men are testifying against you?” 61 But he kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest questioned him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 “I am,” said Jesus, “and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? 64 You have heard the blasphemy. What is your decision?” They all condemned him as deserving death. 65 Then some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to beat him, saying, “Prophesy!” The temple servants also took him and slapped him. 66 While Peter was in the courtyard below, one of the high priest’s maidservants came. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.” 68 But he denied it: “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about.” Then he went out to the entryway, and a rooster crowed. 69 When the maidservant saw him again, she began to tell those standing nearby, “This man is one of them.” 70 But again he denied it. After a little while those standing there said to Peter again, “You certainly are one of them, since you’re also a Galilean.” 71 Then he started to curse and swear, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” 72 Immediately a rooster crowed a second time, and Peter remembered when Jesus had spoken the word to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.