Archive for July, 2008

Jesus Came for the Sick

July 31, 2008 Leave a comment

Verses 16-17 are a classic statement of Jesus’ perspective on how Christians should interact with other people.

  1. It is easy to question another person’s freedom.
  2. This is especially easy for religious, devout people to do.
  3. I do this myself.
  4. I relate easily to the Pharisees’ perspective.
  5. Am I jealous of non-Christians’ freedoms to do as they wish?
  6. It is reasonable to acknowledge that Christians do have significant restrictions on what they may and may not do.
  7. It is extremely important to remember 1 Corinthians 5:12-13.
  8. Limit judgment calls to people within the church.
  9. This will limit negative coverage about Christians by non-Christians in the secular press.
  10. More importantly, it will help devout believers within the church to focus upon matters that must be debated within the church.
  11. Is it possible to transfer Jesus’ acceptance of “sinners” to the contemporary, evangelical church?
  12. Are there certain “unforgivable” sins, even among non-Christians?  Although this is a difficult perspective to support theologically, given Jesus’ words here in Mark, in a practical sense this is how many contemporary Christians translate their beliefs into practice.
  13. Which Christians spend time with today’s “sinners” and are criticized for it?
  14. Tony Campolo would count himself among this number.
  15. What can I do to honor Jesus in my many relationships?
  16. Look at other people as created in the image of God and act accordingly.
Categories: bible, mark

The Danger of Proof

July 29, 2008 Leave a comment

Isn’t verse 12 introducing a dangerous precedent?

Charlatans can create the illusion of miracles.

How do we strike a healthy balance between the reality that God moves within human history and the danger of trusting our senses to draw spiritual conclusions, dear Reader?

Categories: bible, mark

Mark 2:5

July 29, 2008 Leave a comment

I’m as desperate, spiritually, as the paralytic.

So are you, dear Reader, unless you have Jesus Christ in your heart.

Categories: bible, mark

Key Verse: Mark 2:17

July 27, 2008 Leave a comment

The verse that stands out to me the most in this chapter is v. 17.

  1. Jesus consistently responded to his critics. He didn’t ignore them, and didn’t take them lightly, no matter their intentions.
  2. How often do I bury my head in the sand and try to ignore unjust criticism? This is not what Jesus did.
  3. Jesus replies directly to his critics, not through an intermediary.
  4. It is wise to “go to the source” when confronting adversaries. Unelss, of course, I’m really in the wrong and they’re right! Then it’s best to admit my wrong perspective ASAP.
  5. People go to the doctor when they’re sick, not when they’re feeling well.
  6. In today’s positive culture, there is an attempt to make going to the doctor and dentist feel more like upkeep and maintenance of a quality car. However, and I don’t know a statistic for this, I sense that most visits to the doctor today are for illness and not for staying well.
  7. Jesus says, “I did not come to call the righteous.” This sounds a bit sarcastic to me. He is taking the point-of-view of his accusers, and speaking as though he agrees with their self-assessment.
  8. The scribes of the Pharisees questioned Jesus’ company.
  9. The scribes assumed that the Pharisees were right.
  10. How often do we assume, blindly, that the people we work for are pure in motive?
  11. Actually, in my experience it is more likely that a pure leader’s character will be unjustly questioned.
  12. But it’s true that there are times that we follow the crowd and our leaders blindly.
  13. According to a framework by Jonathan Zittrain, in his book The Future of the Internet–And How to Stop It, there is a significant difference between discoveries that fit neatly within the existing organizational structures and culture and those qualitatively-new ideas that change our old ways of doing things.
  14. Jesus was facing this conflict with the religious leaders of his day.
  15. Jesus’ teaching was true but unexpected.
  16. Jesus’ teaching was not compatible with the Pharisees’ scribes’ belief structure.
  17. Nicholas Wolterstorff, in his book Reason Within the Bounds of Religion, addresses this issue from a philosophical point of view.
  18. It is human nature to see what we expect to see.
  19. It is common human experience that we create organizational structures to fit what we believe to be true.
  20. Even people who claim to be driven by evidence are swayed by emotional responses and personal experience.
  21. Lack of bias is an impossible condition to achieve.
  22. This seems fatalistic. Why bother following logic and evidence if we’re bound by our personal experiences and biases?
  23. Notice that in verse 15, Mark writes, “…many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him.”
  24. The key is to examine how established strucutres and relationships benefit me in ways that are independent of my faith.
  25. Then, I must observe people outside the system as well as within the system to seek truth.
  26. Sometimes the crowd is right, like on Palm Sunday.
  27. Sometimes the crowd is wrong, like on Good Friday.
  28. God often uses people perceived by the religious establishment as unworthy to bring about his purposes.
  29. What contemporary groups am I biased against because they don’t fit with my expectations?
  30. How will I learn God’s truth from them?
  31. I pray, Lord, that you’ll send people into my life who keep me on your track of Truth, not the popular trail. Not even the popular Christian trail, unless it’s Your Truth!
Categories: bible, mark

Outline of Mark 2

July 27, 2008 Leave a comment
  1. Jesus Heals the Paralytic
    • Friends Break Through the Roof
    • Jesus Forgives the Sick Man’s Sins
    • Pharisees Grumble Internally
    • Jesus Demonstrates His Divinity
  2. Jesus Guilty by Association
    • Invites Levi (Matthew) to Follow Him
    • Eats with “Sinners and Tax Collectors”
  3. Jesus Breaks All the Rules
    • His Followers Don’t Fast
    • Reply: Patches and Wineskins
    • His Followers Pick Heads of Grain on the Sabbath
    • Reply: 1 Samuel 21:2-6.

Note: Special thanks to Joe Burns for the information about creating outlines in HTML at this link.

Categories: bible, mark, outline

Outline of Mark 1:16-45

July 26, 2008 Leave a comment

I. Fishers of Men
II. Authoritative Teaching in the Synagogue
III. Word Gets Out
IV. Miraculous Healings
V. Jesus, Morning Introvert
VI. A Miraculous Healing & Word Gets Out, Again & Unwanted

Categories: bible, mark, outline

I Must Become Less

July 25, 2008 Leave a comment

In Mark 1:14-15, we read briefly about how Jesus’ public ministry didn’t begin until after John was imprisoned.

In John 3:26-30, this story is filled out in John the Baptist’s own words.

Do I get out of the way for Jesus?  Or do I create distractions in my desire to be in the spotlight?

Categories: bible, mark

Jesus’ Temptation

July 24, 2008 Leave a comment

We get very little detail about Jesus’ temptation in Mark.  Although, now that I think of it, the three things that are listed in other gospels wouldn’t take 40 days, either.

What happened during this time?  Why 40 days?  Why put Jesus through this time of private temptation?  And how did it enter the public record of the gospels?  To whom and when did Jesus tell his story?

Categories: bible, mark

Jesus’ Baptism

July 23, 2008 Leave a comment

How fascinating, in verse 9, that John baptizes Jesus.

Why?  Jesus had no need to repent or be reborn.

Was the purpose of Jesus’ baptism different than that of yours or mine, dear Reader?

It is my understanding that, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, Christians take on the holiness of Jesus in the Father’s eyes.  Therefore, when God says, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” in verse 11, this compliment can be applied to believers everywhere.

That is incredibly encouraging.

Categories: bible, mark

John the Baptist’s Clothes and Diet

July 21, 2008 Leave a comment

In verse 6, Mark describes John’s clothing:

and standard diet:
Why does this matter?  Was the point that readers would know John the Baptist because he looked so odd and acted so differently?  Or is there something deeper and theological about this description?
Jesus and his ministry is superior in quality to John’s.  John himself points out that his purpose is to emphasize peoples’ sins and need for Jesus.
So why didn’t Jesus appear in a way that was more odd?  He seems to have fit right into societal norms, so that the religious leaders even questioned his spiritual health.
Categories: bible, mark
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