Saturday, January 23, 2010


Mark 4-6

In chapter four, Mark begins with Jesus preaching at the shore, and he shares with his listeners the parable of the sower.  Later, he expounds on the meaning of the parable for his disciples.  He then relates the parable of the lamp on a stand instead of "under a bowl or a bed."   Also the parable of the seed, and the parable of the mustard seed.  After those parables, he tells of the crossing of the Galilee, with Jesus asleep in the stern as a storm rose up.  His disciples woke him, and he rebuked the storm, and then the disciples - "do you still have no faith?"

Chapter five begin on the other side of the lake in the region of the Gerasenes/Gadarenes.  There, the met a man possessed by demons.  Jesus asks his name, and the demon replies "Legion, for we are many."  Jesus sent the demons out of the man and into a herd of pigs nearby, and the pigs "rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned."  The man wanted to go with them but Jesus instructed the man to go home to his family and "tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." 

Jesus and his disciples crossed again to the other side of the lake and a large crowd gathered.  Jairus, one of the synagogue rulers fell at his geet and pleaded with him to heal his dying daughter.  As they were walking to Jairus' house, a woman "who had been subject to bleeding for 12 years" reached out and touched his cloak and was healed.  Jesus "realized that power had gone out from him" and turned and asked who had touched him.  When the woman told him, he told her that her faith had healed her. 

When they reached Jairus' house, they were told that his daughter had died, but Jesus said that she was asleep.  He "put them all out" and then took the girl's hand and told her to rise.  And she did.  He told them not to let anyone know, and to feed her.

In chapter six, Jesus returns to Nazareth, where he taught in the synagogue.  But the people there knew him and "he could not do any miracles there," other than some healings.  And then he sent out the 12 apostles to preach repentance.  They drove out demons and performed healings in his name.

John the Baptist, meanwhile is imprisoned by Herod at the request of Herodias, Herod's brother Philip's wife whom he had married.  John had told Herod that marrying his brothers wife was a sin.  At a party, Herod offered anything she wanted to Herodias' daughter and she said that she wanted the head of John the Baptist on a platter.  So Herod had had him executed.

Jesus preached on a mountainside to 5,000 and fed them from five loaves of bread and two fish.  Then he sent the disciples on ahead while he prayed.  He then walked across the water to where they were struggling against the wind, and after boarding the boat, calmed the wind.

Thoughts, questions, issues
  • The most striking thing about the Gospel of Mark, at least at this particular time reading it, is how plain it us.  Straightforward, brief, unornamented, this is the Joe Friday "just the facts" version of the story.
  • In chapter 4, verses 12-14, Jesus quotes Is 6:9-10, in saying that he teaches in parables so that the listeners "may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'"  I do not understand this.  I've tried to understand it, and failed.  Interestingly, just before Christmas, about four-five weeks ago, Gordon Hugenberger spent about five minutes on Is 6:9-10, and I sort of get his point.  But I do not understand it at all coming from Jesus.

    The part that most perplexes me is "otherwise they might turn and be forgiven."  The King James Version puts it "lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."  In Isaiah's case, God had decided to punish Israel, and the messages were getting more obscure to try to force them to listen harder and work at understanding God.  At least, that's my understanding of Gordon's message on that passage.  But when Jesus echoes it, I do not understand.  Wasn't his teaching meant to, well, teach?  The "otherwise," the "lest," that I don't understand.
  • One of my favorite paintings, stolen in 1990 from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, is from Mark chapter 4.

  • This section shares some of his teaching but is largely focused on healings.
  • There are several miracles in this short section, too.  The calming of the storm, the feeding of the 5,000, the healings, walking on water.

Proverbs 14:1-18

There's a verse in this section that is different than much of what surrounds it.

4  Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.

I like it, and it carries a lot of wisdom in it.  It's different in that it is neither praising nor condemning human behaviors or characterics.

No comments:

Post a Comment