Mark: Day 11

Two Kingdoms

by

Today's Text: Mark 10:1-52, Isaiah 51:17, 1 Peter 4:13

Text: Mark 10:1-52, Isaiah 51:17, 1 Peter 4:13

I’ll never forget the day Larry broke his neck. Wedged between cardboard boxes and covered in bubble wrap, my beloved rocking horse sat in the corner of a moving truck that would take him to my family’s new house, states away.

My dad dreamed up Larry shortly after I was born. He carefully calculated each detail, making sure it was short enough for my little-girl stature, wide enough to fill the empty corner of my bedroom, and colorful enough to make me cheer with delight. His creation was the perfect combination of mint green, pastel yellow, flowered harness, rope hair, and toddler joy.

But one sharp turn and a loud “crack!” later, Larry toppled into the truck’s side, breaking in two. I can only imagine the nightmares the poor truck driver probably still has after coming between a little girl and her rocking horse.

As I’ve become more aware of brokenness, I’ve realized it doesn’t always make a loud “crack!” As people fractured since the Fall, do we even notice the cracks? It’s easier to classify some things as broken: adultery, sickness, murder. But I’m slow to remember their opposites—marriage, wellness, friendship—are cracked too. Even our best is broken.

C.S. Lewis reminds us that even our joy is broken:

“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink
and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us,
like an ignorant child who wants to go on making
mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what
is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are
far too easily pleased.”

Far too easily pleased. Friends, this doesn’t mean we’re low-maintenance children of God. Rather, we are refusing to believe God is the supreme good.

In Mark 10, the crowds are asking Jesus questions about the Kingdom of God, each one revealing their half-heartedness; they want His approval on matters of divorce, salvation, and money. God never approves brokenness, but He does send someone to heal it. How easily we forget this truth. Even our memories are cracked!

We are adulterers; He remains committed to us.
We want possessions; He calls us His.
We are broken; He is whole.

The crowd asks pointed questions as they pick up the earthly, broken pieces to see where they belong in the big puzzle of the Kingdom of God. In each of His responses, we see Jesus point to God’s divine creation (v. 6), joining together (v. 9), covenant promise (v. 39), and sacred union (v. 39). Jesus mends even the brokenness we cannot see.

Although Larry’s neck is now held together by Super Glue®, I love him the same way I did right after the final coat of paint was finished and I could behold my dad’s complete and perfect work.

Despite our false notions and obvious cracks, Jesus looks at us the same way, remembering His Father’s creation and perfect union. “Come, follow me,” He says (v. 21). Like the healed blind man who can now see, may we follow Him on the road to His Kingdom. Amen.

Wake yourself, wake yourself up!
Stand up, Jerusalem,
you who have drunk the cup of His fury
from the hand of the Lord;
you who have drunk the goblet to the dregs—
the cup that causes people to stagger.
Isaiah 51:17

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  • Much needed today. It’s so amazing what God can tell you through someone else’s words, even though you have no idea what is going on in their life, no idea that those few sentences were exactly what they needed to hear, to get back on track to God’s grace. God is so good.

  • Rebecca Faires

    Thank you for these words, Kaitlin.

  • As I sit here struggling with the cracks I can see – the pride, the arrogance, the selfishness – I am in awe to think of all this as well as all of the cracks that I don’t even notice that He still forgives. Mend me, Lord.

  • Kasey Summers

    Infinite joy. Love that. So so true.

  • Rosebergamot

    Daily I need reminded of his goodness and my lack of. Thank you.

  • Caroline C.

    Found this explanation online:
    Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
    51:17-23 God calls upon his people to mind the things that belong to their everlasting peace. Jerusalem had provoked God, and was made to taste the bitter fruits. Those who should have been her comforters, were their own tormentors. They have no patience by which to keep possession of their own souls, nor any confidence in God’s promise, by which to keep possession of its comfort. Thou art drunken, not as formerly, with the intoxicating cup of Babylon’s idolatries, but with the cup of affliction. Know, then, the cause of God’s people may for a time seem as lost, but God will protect it, by convincing the conscience, or confounding the projects, of those that strive against it. The oppressors required souls to be subjected to them, that every man should believe and worship as they would have them. But all they could gain by violence was, that people were brought to outward hypocritical conformity, for consciences cannot be forced.

  • I think CS Lewis’ statement- we are far too easily pleased, could be paraphrased to state -we settle for so much less than What God wants for us. His plans for us are so much greater than we can even imagine if we would just give Him total control! Lord please help me not to settle! Amen

    • Brittany lou

      I love the way you said this. Thank you!!! So true so often we grow so impatient we just do it all on our own. And because of that we have missed out on so much I’m sure.

  • Jennifer W.

    That bite of C.S. Lewis is enough to chew on all day! Thank you!

  • Love the statement “even our best is broken” we can never be whole without God in our lives. Even when we try to do things perfectly we still fall short, but we are sinners from the start. I am so grateful that God comes and fills our cracks and that He doesn’t love us any less because of them rather His love shines stronger because of them.

  • Valanne

    “Even our best is broken” How true, and to ever think otherwise is to have taken my eyes off the one that was truly broken so that I might live. May I NEVER forget this.

  • Shannon H

    Oh Lord, I Do believe…help my unbelief!

  • Laura Loewen

    It is truly amazing that even though I have enough “cracks” to go around for all of humanity, God still calls me his. He still loves me, still pursues me, and remains faithful, always. I love that God’s love is one of constant see and grace. It does not waver based on what I do. Which is really good news for someone like me, as I
    consistently fall. Praise God! He’s loving and ever, ever faithful.

  • That C.S. Lewis quote has me wanting more. Does anyone know which of his books it is from?

  • “Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you!” Mark 10:49b. The blind man knew what he needed and he called out to Jesus and Jesus heard his cries. It takes courage to move in His direction but if we want a life filled with His presence we must STAND up and be brave enough to GO!

    • SusieT

      …and even when we, like blind Bartimaeus, can not see clearly the way before us.

  • Churchmouse

    Sometimes I have such high-faluting thoughts about myself. I think I’ve got it pretty well together : I haven’t committed any major sins. My bank account is sufficient. I tithe. I go to church. I’m pleasant, generally. Then I read the Scriptures today and I am convicted that I have, once again, become too comfortable with my image. Underneath the social media entries, I am a hot mess, broken and needy. Praise God for His Word which demands honesty! Praise God for His desire for intimacy that makes me squirm. Praise God that He doesn’t tolerate pat answers and political or religious correctness. Praise God that He knows me in my innermost being and loves me still! Praise God that He makes me uncomfortable so that He might use me for His glorious purpose and in that I find true joy and satisfaction. So grateful that God in His Word and Kaitlin in her devotion have shouted “Wake up!” to me this morning. Complacency has no place in His Kingdom.

    • DAH

      Amen & amen

    • candacejo

      So much more He is offering us…Himself…if we will take the time to breathe Him in. Our strength in weakness and brokenness is found at His feet and THEN we can be used for His glory! Thank you for the honesty in your words ♥

    • Rhonda

      Aaahhh…exactly what I needed to hear…Amen! Continually lifting you and your family to Him, Churchmouse.

    • Rosebergamot

      Amen.

    • Juliet

      Love this! “Complacency has no place in the Kingdom”. It was indeed a wake up call

  • Patticake

    Beautifully said Crystal. May we never lose sight of our Redeemer’s great love & mercy towards us. Praying for all my SRT sisters to be building His Kingdom today.

  • Crystal B

    Even as believers we sometimes live like we don’t know God, like we don’t know His awesome power, His omnipotence, His omnipresence. I could go on. We forget who HE TRULY IS and as such who WE REALLY ARE. Thankfully the Lord knows we are but broken vessels and He loves us in spite of. Help us today Lord as we desire to live with a kingdom mindset. Help us today to truly ‘follow you’, to live as you lived, to love as you love and overcome as you overcame. Help us to be about our father’s business. In Jesus name. Amen.

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