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Archive for July, 2008

Jesus Came for the Sick

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.
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Categories: bible, mark

The Danger of Proof

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

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

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

  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

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

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
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