Bible reading for Feb 12: Genesis 45; Mark 15.
"And Israel said, 'It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.'" (Gen 45:28)
At long last, Jacob's family is reconciled and reunited! What goes a long way in bringing families together is the spirit of forgiveness that Joseph demonstrated: "And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life." (45:5) "God sent me..." He does not want them to feel afraid or to try to assign blame among themselves! This ability to forgive came from Joseph's godly perspective that God was working in all things to preserve their lives. The Apostle Paul wrote, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Rom 8:28) My take-away: in dealing with problem people or situations, whether in my family or elsewhere, do I really believe that God is at work to do good for us and to bring glory to his name?
"And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take." (Mark 15:24)
The Gospel writers, Mark included, do not dwell on the actual details of the crucifixion of Jesus. The language is terse: staurousin auton, "they crucified him." In Mark's day most people knew what that involved, and it was not often talked or written about. Long before the Romans, the Assyrians practiced impalement, for example, of the leading citizens of conquered cities. But the offenders died too quickly, and the Romans devised a way to prolong the suffering and dying. In the rest of Mark's account, we get a picture of the hatred and brutality involved -- the scourging, mocking, spitting, and beatings which took place. The last stage was to die in agony, naked or near-naked, beside a public road -- so that people would take warning from your death -- with your last possessions being gambled for at your crucified feet. But the testimony of the centurion standing guard over the scene, echoed what the Apostle Peter said (in 8:29), when he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!" (15:39)
Image above: on a piece of stone pavement near where Jesus was tried by Pilate, the Roman soldiers had scratched the outline for a game called, "kill the king". It may be dated later than the first century AD, however. My photo from 1997.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. A PDF copy is available here.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.