Jesus the Divine
Articles


So we have the Gospel of Mark for
beginners, this is lesson number two entitled, Jesus the Divine. And we’re
actually getting into the text. Let me do just a little bit of review here from
what we talked about last time. We said the last time, that the text of Mark is
divided into three main sections, very easy to diagram: chapter 1 verses 1 to 13,
the introduction of Jesus as the divine Messiah; chapter 1, verse 14 all the way to
chapter 8, verse 26, Jesus proves His divinity through His teachings and
miracles; and then section 3 is chapter 8 verse 27 to 16 verse 20, Jesus proves His
divinity through His death, burial, and resurrection. So a very simple division
of the book of Mark. Simple, straightforward book, whose only purpose
is to present Jesus as the Divine Son of God, and then present you with a decision
based on this truth. A very evangelistic type of book, the book of Mark. Alright, so
let’s begin with the introduction of Jesus, Himself, chapter 1, verse 1, “The
beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.” Boy, Mark doesn’t mince
any words, does he? Gets right to the point in verse number one. It’s like
the statement of a premise, he starts with his premise, this is the premise and
now I’m going to kind of go ahead and prove the premise. So let’s keep reading
verse 2 and 3 it says, “As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold I send my
messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the
wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” Here you
have the link with the Old Testament, but notice, unlike Matthew, it’s very short.
Matthew has passage after passage after passage, showing Jesus
was spoken of in the Old Testament. Mark, one verse.
This Jesus, he says, is the Messiah predicted by the Jewish prophets of old
or spoken by the Jewish prophets of old. He comes from and He comes through this
particular people. These verses help the readers kind of get a
historical and cultural fix on who and where this Jesus comes from.
Imagine, two verses, we state the premise: Jesus the Divine Son of God, verse two
and three; He comes from – the Jewish prophets have spoken of Him, He’s the
fulfillment of their prophecy. In the Old Testament the prophets were the
ones who preached and spoke of Him to prepare the way and also to prepare the
people for His eventual coming. Keep reading, verse 4 to 5 says, “John the Baptist
appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the
forgiveness of sins and all of the country of Judea was going out to him,
and all the people of Jerusalem and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan
River, confessing their sins. John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a
leather belt around his waist and his diet was locusts and wild honey.” Mark
links these Old Testament prophets to a character in their own generation, a
person they may have heard of. The people reading this, back in those days, may have
heard of John the Baptist. What Mark is doing here, he’s saying, the
prophets said that before the Messiah would come there would be a forerunner, a
person who would come before him to announce that the arrival of the Messiah
was imminent. So Mark says that this prophecy was fulfilled when John the
Baptist arrived on the scene and began to preach. He dressed like the
desert prophets of old, he lived and worked from the desert, he preached a
message of repentance and preparation for the coming of the Messiah. Verse 7
and 8, “And he was preaching and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier
than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong
His sandals. I baptize you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
And so he’s saying, John baptized with water those who repented, those who heard
his message and through water baptism or through the water baptism of John, God
transferred forgiveness. Theologically here, Mark is saying that
God offered forgiveness to all who received John’s baptism. Snd the
idea was that if they came to John and his baptism, they were getting ready, they
believed the message that the kingdom was imminent and they were getting ready
for it by doing this act. Now, somebody may say, well, but Jesus didn’t
die yet, how are their sins forgiven? Well, we use this
expression, the sins were sent forward, their sins were sent –
were they atoned for yet? Well, no. Jesus didn’t die, but through faith they
understood that their sins were, kind of, moving forward until the day
when Jesus would ultimately die for them. Mark also says that when Jesus would
come, He would transfer other blessings, not just the forgiveness of sins, but
other blessings, but He would transfer them, not through water, but through the
Holy Spirit. So forgiveness and the Holy Spirit was received through water
baptism, we know that, Acts 23:8 right, but the power to overcome sin in Romans
chapter eight, verse 13, or the power to do miracles in Acts chapter 19, verse 6,
or the power to minister, First corinthians 2:11, or the power to
resurrect and live eternally, Romans 8:11. All of these things are transferred to
us through the Holy Spirit, not through water baptism. Mark is really making a distinction here. He says, yeah, John
came, John did a good thing. John was explaining to get ready for the
Messiah, people were being baptized with water and that, of course, signified their
faith, their sins were forgiven, but there was much more to come. The things that
I’ve just mentioned and the things to come would be transferred through the
Holy Spirit, not through the water baptism. Jesus immerses or baptizes
with the Holy Spirit. How does He do that? Well, He does that by preaching the word
to us. We’re immersed in His word, John 6:63 and how else does He give
us the spirit? Well, He sends Him to dwell within us, Acts 2:38. He seals us,
guarantees us, with the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 1:13. I’m not reading those
passages, I’m merely referring to them. I just want to stay in Mark. As far as
Mark is concerned, just one verse, but what he says in that verse is
quite significant. Later on when people look back, they see that what he’s saying
is quite significant. Now we go to verse 9 and 10 it says, “In those days
Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, was baptized by John in the Jordan.
Immediately coming up out of the water he saw the heavens opening up and the
Spirit, like a dove, descending upon Him.” The question is, why was Jesus
baptized? In Matthew chapter 3, verses 13 to 15, in Matthew it says, or Jesus is
saying, “It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” So John the Baptist
had to baptize all of those who were preparing for the kingdom of God and
separate them from their sins. Jesus comes along and He’s baptized.
Why is He baptized? Jesus is making His entry on the world scene,
in order to establish His kingdom. His baptism was in connection with the kingdom, not to separate Him from sin, he had no
sin, but rather His separation from His family, His separation from the world, His
separation ready to do the work of God and to pursue His ministry. His
baptism signifies the beginning of His public ministry and the end of His
private life. His baptism legitimizes and blesses every one of John’s baptisms,
as well. Because John is promising when the Messiah comes he’s going to baptized
with the spirit. What happens? The Messiah does come, the Messiah is
baptized like a good Jew, but then there is the witness of the Spirit about
Jesus’s baptism, which then confirms everything that Mark was – or that John
was saying would happen in the future when the Messiah would come. Verse 11,
“And a voice came out of the heavens, you are my beloved Son, in You I am well
pleased.” John pointed to Jesus as the one who was spoken of. The
one who was to come. Now the Godhead, itself, bears witness to this. All of the
Godhead is represented here – the father speaks, he calls the Son beloved, because
of who He is and what He will do and how it will affect others. The Son is
incarnate, meaning He is visible as a Jewish man. And the Holy Spirit appears
as a dove. It’s the only time in the Bible that all three appear and are
manifested at the same time and in the same place. Very unique moment, the
baptism of Jesus. And why wouldn’t it be? I mean, He’s stepping forward,
this is His introduction. You go to a show and they introduced, this is
the star of the show, the band is playing, lots of fanfare, the lights are flashing,
right? The big introduction. Well, this is a pretty big introduction,
the Godhead is present in visible form. Verse 12 and 13, and by the way, this, if you’re wondering what kind of study is this? This is a
textual study of Mark, line by line, verse by verse. I’m going to cover every single
verse until the end, that’s why I’m reading all of them and we’re kind of
moving through it. And that’s why I’m saying to you, read ahead.
It’s not a long book, you’ll be familiar with the material. So verse 12 to 13 it says,
“Immediately the spirit impelled Him to go into the wilderness. And He was in the
wilderness 40 days, being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts,
and the angels were ministering to Him.” The temptation of Jesus in the desert,
Matthew chapter 4, verse 1, tells us that Jesus was led by the spirit into the
desert 40 days 40 nights, in order to be tempted by the devil. And in Luke chapter
4, verse 1-2, Luke says that He was continually tempted while there for 40
days and 40 nights. It’s not like He was kind of hanging around for 40 days
and 40 nights, and then on the last day Satan shows up. No. He was
continually tested, for the 40 days and the 40 nights. We get a
glimpse here, a glimpse of part of what He experienced. We have a
record of the temptations, but the full impact came as Satan continued to tempt
Him as time wore on. They talk about the wild beasts, the wild beasts
could be the evil spirits. We have to understand the word “tempt” means many
things. It can mean – in the way that it’s written – it can mean to test or
to examine. To tempt doesn’t only mean to seduce. The word in the
Greek does not just mean to seduce someone, because when you’re seducing
someone, what are you doing? You are going, you are – what’s the word I’m
looking for, you are locking in, if you wish, to some evil in that person and
trying to get them to compromise themselves. Seduction, a temptation, some
evil within the person, lust or greed, or whatever. This is not what is happening to Jesus. He’s without sin, he has no sin,
there’s nothing in Him to appeal to. Jesus is being examined, that’s the
test. He’s being – when you go to school, you’re having a test.
Jesus was being tested, He was being examined, concerning sin.
Jesus, God’s Son, could not fail in being able to resist sin, but He had to
experience the suffering that goes along with the test. He was tested and examined
like we are, Hebrews 4, verse 15. There was a physical test. Forty days and forty
nights in the desert, there’s the hunger and the weakness, the loneliness, the
beasts. Then there’s the moral test, confrontation with Satan. Someone
says, well, if Jesus couldn’t fail, why the test? Perfectly good question. The test is
to prepare Jesus to be our high priest, Hebrews 4 verse 14 to 16, to be our
intermediary by virtue of His experience. Jesus could be the perfect
representative for man by virtue of His sinlessness. He could also be the perfect
sacrifice and then by virtue of His experience, He could perfectly sympathize with men’s problems. The Lord understands what it’s like to be weak and hungry and tired and then face an exam, a test, a
temptation, a moral dilemma. He understands that. In verse 13b, it says,
– the physical test, sorry – there we go, God ministers to Him after
the testing is over. I didn’t read that. They provide food. He really suffered
physically. He needed the food and the angels are there. He suffered emotionally
and spiritually and He required the company of other beings who understood
His ordeal. He doesn’t have any apostles yet, no disciples. His family
doesn’t get it. He’s all by Himself, so the angels are there to comfort Him. A
couple of things, Jesus’s temptation offers a couple of good lessons
for us in our Christian walk. The first one is, be careful. Be careful
when you get to a peak, spiritually. We’re especially vulnerable after a spiritual
or physical or emotional peak. For example, Jesus’s baptism was a peak, was a
high point in the beginning of His ministry. And pride would be a danger.
We are also vulnerable when we’re in the valleys, we’re
sick, tired, suffering. Jesus had fasted for 40 days. Discouragement can be a
danger. You overcome some temptation or some trial or you’ve
worked hard in serving or ministry, and you’re wrapping it
up and it’s been a great success. Right at that moment you’re usually vulnerable.
At that moment, top of the world, that’s a very, very dangerous moment.
But then again, down in the valley, you’re tired, you’re vulnerable
to discouragement, to sorrow, to quitting. Also, when tested, we need to immediately
rely on God and His Word for help and safety. Don’t trust your own
wisdom. Jesus does provide a way of escape. Jesus does provide a way to deal
with the temptation, with the test. A lot of people think that the only way that
Jesus will deal with a test that you’re facing is by removing the test.
Like if you’re sick, the only way you think He’s going to deal
with it is that He’s going to make you better. Or if you’re lonely, the only way
that He’s going to deal with that is find you somebody so that you’re not
lonely anymore. Well, yeah, that is a solution, but that’s not the only
solution. Sometimes He’s able to help, well He’s always able, but sometimes what
He’ll do is enable you to be lonely without being discouraged, without being
in despair; or if you’re ill, the illness persists, but somehow you have the
strength to bear with it. Also, be prepared. Jesus was prepared for
His ministry, through trial and testing. And so are we. Don’t get mad,
don’t be impatient, discouraged, let the test work on you in order to help you
become perfected. It’s necessary to go through trials to show our faith. It’s very
hard to witness for your faith when you’re on top of the mountain.
It’s usually when you’re down in the valley that your best witness for your
faith, and actually it’s when you’re in the valley that other people are
impressed by your faith. When you’ve got it all, your kids are healthy,
everyone’s happy, got a great marriage, money in the bank, your
car’s functioning properly, you know what I’m saying. There’s no witness there.
Where’s the witness. No witness unless you say, thank you, God. It’s
when things are, when the roof caves in, and when there’s trouble,
that’s when people are paying attention to how you deal with that stuff. That’s
where your witness becomes powerful. And then, of course, remember, the Lord does
provide. He does provide for you during and after the trial, if you lean on Him.
Mark introduces Jesus in just a few verses and he establishes
Him as a divine being. He arrives, according to prophecy. At his baptism
there is a supernatural sign of His identity. In the desert He demonstrates
His power over sin, and then He receives ministry and communes with the angels.
Well, I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of evidence
pointing to this person being someone rather special. At this point there’s
no doubt in the readers mind as to the nature of Jesus and what Mark is saying
about Him. He said, in verse 1, remember I told you, Jesus the Divine Son of God. And
now he’s going to go about proving it. So now we’re going to move on to
Jesus’ divinity, proven through miracles and teachings. Jesus, Himself, will
establish His divine authority by announcing the time and the terms of
salvation. Imagine who’s got – who, other than God, has the right to determine when
and how people are going to be saved? Who, other than God, has the right to say to
people, this is how you go to heaven. This part of Mark, Jesus begins to do
that. Let’s keep on reading, Mark 1, “Now after John had been taken into
custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying,
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the
gospel.” Again, notice Mark, I mean, four or five words talking about John the
Baptist. He talked about John the Baptist and now it say, he’s in prison, and
he just keeps rolling along. It doesn’t spend any time, no details, no
details. So here, the key is, what’s he preaching? John preached, prepare, the
time is coming. Jesus preached, the time is now. That’s the difference in their
preaching. The term fulfilled equals – a cup is filled to the brim – and
so Jesus begins to preach, the time is now, after John the Baptist is arrested,
that’s the point that Mark is making. The core of his message was, now the kingdom
of God is at hand and salvation is at hand. And the response to Him and His
message at that time: belief, verse 15; repentance, verse 15; and then baptism,
John chapter 4, verse 1 and 2. That’s how people were responding to Jesus’ preaching.
They believed Him. They repented, because that was the message: the kingdom
is at hand, repent. And people were being baptized. Jesus carries on John the
Baptist’s ministry of baptizing believers. Today the message
is fuller, it has more details, but essentially it’s pretty much the same.
What do we say? Now is the time to be saved. And the response,
pretty much the same isn’t it, in 2016. People who hear the message, how do they
respond? They believe, Mark 16:16, they repent, Acts 2:37-38, they’re are baptized
in the name of Jesus, Acts 2:37-38. Hasn’t changed. We mentioned that young, that
young teenage boy, he was baptized this week, Mike Coghill baptized him this week, sometime. He did exactly the same thing that – Bud, how long you been a
Christian, 50 years 60 years, even more. I didn’t know you were that old, but
anyways. So 70 years ago this brother became a Christian. How
did he do it? Well, he believed, and he repented, he was baptized, and fast
forward 70 years, a young preteen out there, he wants to become a Christian. How
does he do it? Exactly the same way. Nothing has changed. Jesus
establishes His authority by announcing that salvation is possible, it is at hand.
And He also establishes what the proper response is going to be, this is what you
have to do, verses 16 to 20, “As he was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw
Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were
fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of
men.” Immediately they left their nets and they followed Him. Going on a little
further he saw James, the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were also in
the boat mending the nets. Immediately He called them and they left their father
Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and went away to follow Him.”
Remember, Mark is recording Peter’s recollections of his life with Jesus, and so here, he briefly describes his call, along
with his brother and other local fishermen who were called. It’s amazing, I
don’t want to spend too much time on this, but we mystify the calling
of all the apostles, I mean, they were neighbors. Some of them were His relative,
cousins. Well, who else would He call? people He knew. People who had
followed Him already for a time. There are different stages in the
call of Jesus. This wasn’t Peter’s first contact with the Lord. For example, this
is – I’m not going to read the passages, but i’ll give you the pattern.
So there’s a general call to discipleship, and an example of that is
in John 1:35-42. Here, the first contact with – Peter has his first contact
with Jesus while he and his brother were disciples of John the Baptist. So they
were disciples of John the Baptist first and then they heard about Jesus.
Jesus begins to teach them personally. First, as disciples, next stage, Jesus
calls Peter to a specific ministry, here in Mark 1:17. The verb “follow” means to
follow closely with a desire, to find or to make a search. At first he follows to
be edified and to be taught, now he invites Peter to search Him, to find out
who He really is. In searching and finding who Jesus is, meaning, he finds
out that Jesus is divine. Peter will become a Fisher of Men. Peter and the
others will want to tell others about Jesus’s divinity, and of course they did.
And then third stage, Jesus confirms the call. We read about this in Luke chapter
5. Jesus performs a miracle in Peter’s own boat and this elicits a confession of
faith in Jesus’s divinity, because Peter then calls him, Lord. Get away
from me Lord, I’m a sinner, I’m not worthy of you.
And now this time they don’t just leave their boats, they leave everything behind
to follow. It isn’t that Jesus is walking along, sees Peter for the very
first time and says, hey, you come follow. No. Peter followed John the
Baptist and heard the teaching and then John the Baptist points to
Jesus. Now he’s listening to Jesus, he sees them, he’s around, he
knows who He is. And then one day Jesus is, hey I need your
boat. I need to teach the people, come on let’s get in the boat. Okay, sure.
They go to the boat and He teaches the people. Then Jesus said, well, let’s
go get some fish. Then Peter says, oh we tried to fish all night,
didn’t work, we’re tired, it’s time to go home, but because you say so, he’s been listening to Jesus now, out of respect, and what happens, right? He catches this huge
catch a fish. Then all of a sudden, he starts putting together
everything that John the Baptist said. You know how it is, you have all the
information, then one day it all kind of snaps together and the light goes on.
Well in Peter’s boat, the miracle of the fish that he catches, all of a
sudden it all snaps together. Oh wait a minute, you’re the Messiah. Oh!
And you’re here in my boat. Oh Lord, I’m not worthy of you, please, I’m a
sinner. So what does Jesus say, it’s okay, I’ll make you a Fisher of men. So it’s
gradual, just like it’s gradual for us. We didn’t become Christians the first day
we heard the gospel, very rarely happens that way. Some people follow Jesus
because His teachings are good, others follow because they are followers and
Jesus is as good or a better leader than others, and then the apostles and all the
disciples, they follow Jesus because they’ve come to believe that He is the
Divine Son of God, who does have power. Now we begin the section where Jesus will demonstrate His divinity through a
series of teachings and miracles. Mark, in his style, he alternates between
these two aspects, in his narrative on Jesus’s life. We go to chapter, or
verse 21 and 22, where he lists a teaching first, he starts with the teaching,
he says, “They went into Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbath He entered
the synagogue and began to teach. They were amazed at His teaching; for He was
teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” His teaching
in the synagogue was basically what is contained in verse 15, the kingdom is now.
Always the same message. Mark records the reaction, they were amazed. It
means they were struck by the extraordinariness and the
unexpectedness of something. And this is always the effect of Jesus’s teaching to the people. In Matthew 7, in the Sermon on the Mount, and in John 7:46, the soldiers, they couldn’t arrest Him, because they were amazed. Why
didn’t you arrest this guy? Well, nobody ever spoke like Him, we were dumbfounded,
we couldn’t arrest this guy. So they were not amazed at His style or His delivery,
they were amazed at the content and that He taught with power of authority. In
other words, He knew what He was talking about. You have to understand, the
style of the rabbi’s, at the time, was to argue back and forth, quoting other
rabbis in order to make their point. There was a topic and one would say, well,
according to Rabbi Hillel – and then the other
rabbi said, yes, but Rabbi so and so, well, he said this, well another –
they were always referring to other people back and forth, right. But Jesus said,
on the question, is it really sinful to carry two sticks on the Sabbath. The
two rabbis would go back and forth, is it a sin to carry two sticks on the Sabbath,
is that really work or not? What does Jesus say?
Jesus says, the Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath, boom, argument
closed. He brought a higher and deeper and truer insight and thus spoke with
power. So then, we go to another – Mark, the way he lays out his script,
the teaching, then he follows with miracles, verses 23 to 44. Not going to read all that, I don’t have time. The powerful teaching is now followed
by a demonstration of five powerful miracles: first the casting out of an
unclean spirit, now an unclean spirit is a demon, one without purity, the
spirit speaks, the man is controlled by the spirit, gives us insight into demons.
They have personality because we see the demon express itself, it
has intelligence, the demon knows about Jesus. It has power, because it possesses
the man. A demon has will, because he wanted something. Jesus refuses to
accept the testimony of the demon, because demons are unworthy to do – some
people say that, why wouldn’t Jesus let the demons talk, they’re saying He’s the
Lord, they say He’s Jesus. Because they’re not worthy to make that – they’re
not worthy to speak His name. That’s why he tells the demon, no,
be quiet. And also, if demons say who Jesus is, that confuses the
people. I mean people would be confused if the demons are talking about
Jesus. Well, now, I mean, wait a minute, is He good or bad? The demons are talking
about Him. So in this healing, where He casts out an unclean spirit of
the man, we’d noticed if we had the time to read it, He does this with just a command. No
incantations, no potions, no lights, no yelling, no manipulation, no bargaining. Do you really, really believe? He just said, come out of it, boom. That’s
the end of that. It’s like the military, right? Do generals yell? Four-star
generals don’t yell. Why? They have power and they know they have power. They
just say, this goes here, you go there. Corporals yell, they don’t have a lot of power. So the people are amazed. It’s the same reaction as the teaching,
they’re amazed because he teaches with power. They’re amazed because he defeats
the most vicious demons with just a command. Casting out spirits, just go
ahead here, he heals Peter’s mother-in-law, for example. Peter is a married
man, the woman is very sick. When He heals her, the Bible says, immediately she got
up and began serving them, meaning the healing was complete. We read about Him
healing all of the people that would come to Peter’s house, for example. A very
short description here, He just says all these people were coming and he was
healing them, of all kinds of diseases. Mark doesn’t even bother listing the
diseases. And then in the next section here, in verses 35 to 39, we see more
teaching and the confirmation of more miracles. The teaching to establish His
identity and requirements, the miracles to confirm His authority and power. He
teaches and people are going, wow, that’s really good. Then He does a miracle. Well,
why is the miracle there? Well, to confirm the teaching, to confirm the teaching. And
then, of course, in verse 40 to 45 He – let me go there – He heals the leper.
Leprosy was an incurable disease. It was physically debilitating in various
stages, where the skin and the body parts have sores, they dry up, and they
fall off. It was socially crippling as well. You weren’t allowed in the temple.
It was a total life of quarantine, it was hard to put it, you had to put your hand
over your mouth whenever you were in public and say, unclean, unclean,
nobody could come near you by mistake. This man comes to Jesus to be healed, had
great faith in Jesus’ power. And Jesus touches him, which wasn’t allowed. And the
man is healed. He heals his disease, but he also heals his
self-esteem, as well. Jesus tells him to have his healing confirmed and
certified by the priests first, without revealing how it happened. This was the
law, the priests would give permission to the person who is healed to go
back to Temple worship. In other words, it was your way of kind of getting a
certificate saying you’re healed. You can now go back to your ordinary life,
back to temple worship, back to normal social interactions, but if we read this
passage, you’d see the man was so excited that he couldn’t wait and he created a
stir among the public, to the extent that Jesus could no longer go into heavily
populated areas or else He’d be mobbed by people who wanted healing. So Jesus
has established Himself as one who speaks with authority and who
demonstrates power. The people are now coming to Him, to see Him, and to hear Him.
In the next sections that we’re going to cover, we’re going to see Jesus
continue this demonstration, but now what Mark is going to do is, he’s going to
begin recording the opposition. So far no opposition. They’re like, they’re
like a train, they’re just going down the track, teaching, healing,
everyone’s amazed, but next in our lesson, we’re going to see the
opposition starts to come. And we’ll see the conflict beginning to come about
as well. Okay, that’s our lesson for this time. Thank you very much for your attention.

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