Monday, January 18, 2010


Mark 1-3

Mark 1:1 is "the beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God."  It starts with the story of John the Baptist, who provided "the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'" (Is 40:3)  Many came to John and were baptized, but he claimed to be preparing the way for one greater, "the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie."  Jesus came and was baptized, and he saw "the Spirit descending on him like a dove" and a voice said "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."  Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, where he was tempted by Satan for forty days.

Jesus began his ministry in Galilee, proclaiming the good news that "the kingdom of God is near."  He called disciples Simon and Andrew, telling them that he would "make you fishers of men."  Next, he called James and John, the sons of Zebedee.  In Capernaum, he went in to the synagogue and began to teach "as one who had authority" on the Sabbath.  He cast out an evil spirit, and news spread quickly about him.  They went to the home of Simon and Andrew and Jesus healed their mother.  People gathered around the house and he "healed many who had various diseases.  And then he travled through Galilee, preaching and healing.  He healed a leper and told him not to tell, but he did and because of that, "Jesus could no longer enter a town openly."

In chapter two, the story of Jesus' ministry continues with the healing of a paralytic.  The "teachers of the law" were appalled that he told the paralytic that "your sins are forgiven," but Jesus said to him, "take your mat and go home."  The next one he called was Levi, the son of Alphaeus.  While eating dinner at Levi's house, he was asked about sitting with "tax collectors and 'sinners'" and he responded that "it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick."  When asked about eating on the Sabbath, he gives the first foreshadowing of the crucifixion ("the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast").  When asked about his disciplies picking heads of grain on the Sabbath, he replies that "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath," and refers to himself, for the first time, as the Son of Man.

Chapter three opens with another healing.  Great crowds began to gather around him.  He went on to a mountainside "and called to him those he wanted," and appointed twelve that he designated as apostles that he could send out to preach and drive out demons.  As another crowd gathered at a meal, the teachers of the law accused him of being possessed by Beelzebub, but he asks, "how can Satan drive out Satan?  If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand."  Later, discussing his mother and brothers, he says that "whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."

Thoughts, questions, issues
  • The book of Mark is generally considered to be the earliest of the four gospels.  Both Matthew and Luke are assumed to have had access to Mark, which explains the synoptic nature of the first three gospels.  The name Mark is traditionally associated with John Mark, a follower of Peter.  Because of this, Mark is sometimes thought of as representing Peter's point of view.
  • Forty days is the same time that God made it rain to flood the earth.  (Gen 7)
  • All three of the synoptic gospels have the story of Jesus' temptation in the desert, but Mark just lists the bare fact while Matthew and Luke each have specific details about the temptations.
  • Did he call twelve because of the twelve tribes of Israel?
  • The twelve:
    • Simon (whom he called Peter)
    • James (Son of thunder)
    • John (Son of thunder)
    • Andrew
    • Philip
    • Bartholomew
    • Matthew
    • Thomas
    • James, son of Alphaeus
    • Thaddeus
    • Simon the Zealot
    • Judas Iscariot
  • The most common name that Jesus used for himself is "Son of Man."  This is a reference to Daniel 7:13-14 - "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.  He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." 
  • This is one of the reasons that the contention of some modernists that Jesus never claimed to be any more than a man falls flat.
  • It is also one of the reasons (not the only reason, or even the main reason) that Isaac Newton said that he would be willing to rest the entire historicity of the New Testament on the book of Daniel.
  • It was also the reason that many skeptics believed for a long time that the book of Daniel was a Christian forgery dated to the 3rd century, until many fragments found at Qumran confirmed the textual integrity.

Proverbs 13:13-25

Wise man vs. fools.  Righteous vs. wicked.  Discipline and correction.

I really don't know what else to do with this book.

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