Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hearts Rent

Mark 1:10 - And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove.

I read about Mark's Gospel, how it didn't begin with the birth of Jesus. No manger scene, no shepherds or wise men bearing gifts. Mark just chose to expound on a prophetic word of the Lord's arrival. He began with John the Baptist and his proclamation that there would be a voice crying in the wilderness to make straight the path of the Lord.

I've mentioned before that we all live in the wilderness that was spoken of. There are many voices like John's that cry out to us. A few people in my life were crying out, even if they didn't know it, even when it annoyed me. They were preparing the way of the LORD! They were saying:
*We are nothing without God. (John 15:5
*He is all we need. (Lamentations 3:24)
*In Him is where we should put our faith and trust. (Hebrews 12:2)
*In Him we can have hope.  (1Timothy 4:10)
*The world offers nothing. (1John 2:16)
*Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13)

So Mark describes Jesus' baptism. Jesus requests it; John does it. And the scripture that stands out, according to the article I read, is Mark 1:10 above. The words, a statement. Pure and simple. Except for the meaning of one word...parting, or opened. (Depending on which Bible version) 

I had to research this because King James, New King James and other versions say opened or parting. There's no punch to those words...unless you look up the biblical meaning in this context. The New International Version and American Standard and no doubt others use the actual biblical definition: to rend, divide, to divide by rending, break, cleave, split, a violent separation ...He saw the heavens being rent forcefully. It was a powerful splitting of the heavens, not some soft and gentle opening. This was the power of the Holy Spirit being poured out on Jesus before His earthly ministry was birthed. 

I think of another time when the visual of rending or tearing was mentioned. It was when Jesus' life ended. When He breathed His last, God tore the veil, the curtain in the temple that separated the people from the presence of God. Only the High Priest could enter then. But...Jesus took care of that separation by bearing all our sins to the cross and nailing them there on His body. Jesus, our Great High Priest, the only way to the Father. We go through Him. Not by ourselves, not by any earthly man but by Him alone. 

I mentioned the other day that I cannot view Christmas completely separate from the rest of Jesus' life. He was born to die, for us. And today He is alive because of His resurrection. He was for a moment separated from His Father at His death, but reconciled. This can happen to us. If we receive Christ, call on His name, allow our old natures to die that we might be made alive in Christ, we will be reconciled with God the Father. Our sins keep us from God, heaven and eternal life. When Christ is allowed access to our lives that same power that tore open the heavens and rent that veil will come into our lives. I know this. Many others do also.

Jesus teaches in His Word all we need to know. His birth was for a sad but glorious end, just for us, for the multitudes of people before and after us, that we might have eternal life in Christ. In Christ. Not in anyone else, not in ourselves. In Christ alone. All our faith, hope and trust should be in Him. 

When we come to Christ our minds and hearts go through a rending also. They are torn open. It's as if all the lies we've learned through life have escaped and truth enters in and leads us in the way everlasting.

Joel 2:12-13 - “Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.

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