Where Have I been?

For those who have been following along, I just wanted to say that I should be continuing with Mark in a couple weeks. I have been teaching this session and have been actually been reading a lot more than my 1 chapter a day preparing for class. See you soon.

Have a great day,
Doug.

Published in: on March 24, 2007 at 2:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mark 7

Mark 7, the chapter starts with the Pharisees questioning Jesus as to why the disciples were breaking the traditions of the elders by eating without washing their hands.  Jesus then teaches that it is not what you eat that condemns you but what comes out of your heart.  A gentile woman comes to Jesus and asks him to remove the demon from her daughter.  Jesus refers to the woman as a dog yet the woman’s faith is unmoved and Jesus grants her request.  Jesus then goes to Tyre and heals a deaf mute.

This is another chapter packed full of great teachings.  The whole issue with the eating of food with out washing the hands, apparently along with many other issues, was about the Pharisees holding their traditions above the intent of God’s laws.  WoW, does this problem still exist today?  YES!! 

I am so impressed with the Gentile woman who has such a great faith in Jesus. 

Have a great day,

Doug.

Published in: on March 13, 2007 at 12:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mark 6

Mark 6, Jesus comes to his hometown and is teaching in the synagogue and it is like they are suspicious of him because they knew him as a child.  Jesus states that a prophet is not without honor except in his home town and with his family.  Jesus calls the 12 and sends them out two by two and instructs them to take nothing with them for their journey, not even a change of clothes.  They are given power over demons and the power to heal the sick.  The story of the beheading of John the baptizer is told.  Then Jesus tries to take the disciples to an isolated place for some rest, but the crowd followed them and they feed the 5,000 men plus women and children with the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.  Jesus then sends the disciples across the water and he retreats to the mountain to pray.   The disciples were paddling against a head wind and made little progress through out the night.  Jesus was walking on the water across to the other side when the disciples saw him and were afraid.  Jesus got into the boat with them and the wind stopped and they then proceeded to the other side.

Wow, this chapter is packed with good stuff.  I especially like the reliance on God that the apostles had.  If we go somewhere to stay the weekend, we take a truck load of stuff.  They were to take nothing for their journey except for a staff.  What awesome faith.  I don’t have this faith.  As I go through my daily life, I don’t generally have the trust in God to dismiss all the distractions and be about his work. 

Have a great day,
Doug.

Published in: on March 8, 2007 at 10:15 am  Leave a Comment  

Mark 5

Mark 5, Jesus crosses the sea to Gerasenes and met a man who lived in the graveyard and had a legion of unclean sprits in him.  The spirits acknowledged that Jesus was the son of God and ask him not to run them out of the country and ask if they could go into a herd of pigs that was near by.  Jesus gave them permission and once they entered the pigs the whole herd runs off a cliff into the sea and drowns.  Jesus crosses the sea again and there is a crowd that gathers around him including Jairus, a leader in the Synagogue, who’s daughter was near death and he ask Jesus to come heal her.  The girl dies before Jesus gets there and Jesus brings her back to life.

I have so many questions about unclean spirits and demons possession.  Do they exist today?  It sure seems that some people are so evil that they are demon possessed.

On of my favorite humorous events of the bible is recorded in this chapter.  Jesus has a mob that is following him and the way it is described it is as crowded as a New York City sidewalk at rush hour.  People are touching him from all sides.  The lady who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years comes up behind him to touch him because of her awesome faith she believed that if she could just touch him that she would be healed, which actually happened.  Jesus sensing the power transfer asks “who touched me?”  The disciples had to have been thinking, is he joking?  Anyway, I think that the disciples reaction and facial expressions had to have been a hoot.

Have a great day,
Doug.          

Published in: on March 5, 2007 at 7:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Mark 4

Mark 4, Jesus is in a boat and the crowd is on the land as he begins teaching them in parables.  He starts with the parable of the sower after which the disciples ask him to explain what it means.  After more parable teaching, Jesus and those in the boat with him set off for the other side and a storm arose and Jesus stopped the storm by saying Peace! Be Still!  The disciples were amazed at his power.

As I grow older I am amazed at the ingeniousness of parables as teaching tools.  To me parables are like onions (or Shrek) in that they have layers.  As a child, parables have a basic meaning that you can understand.  As you grow in your faith and knowledge you keep getting additional lessons that are deeper in their meanings.

Today we are under a tornado watch.  The weather is very threatening.  If the Messiah were here he could speak it away.  WOW!  That is real power. 

Have a great day,

Doug.

Published in: on March 1, 2007 at 3:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mark 3

Mark 3, this chapter starts with Jesus entering the synagogue and there was a man there with a withered hand.  The Jews were watching him to “catch” him breaking the traditions of the Sabbath by healing the man on this day.  Jesus departed to the sea and a crowd so large follows him that he has to retreat into the sea a short distance to keep from getting crushed as everyone was pushing into him to touch him.  Jesus went upon the mountain and called the 12 Apostles.  He confronts that scribes that said that his power was from Satan.  He also stated that those who do the will of God is his brother, sister, and mother.

Yet again, the scribes appear to be waiting in the synagogue in ambush to catch him breaking their tradition of the Sabbath and were paying no attention to the fact that Jesus was performing a miracles right in front of there eyes.  John 9 the Pharisees were trying to get the blind man to testify against Jesus saying that he was a sinner.  This former blind man gives a great defense of the Messiah.  It is worth reading this account again to see someone that was blind now stands boldly before the church leaders to defend Jesus. 

Have a great day,
Doug.    

Published in: on February 28, 2007 at 3:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mark 2

Mark 2, Jesus goes to Capernaum and the crowds followed him.  Some believers lowered a paralyzed man through a hole they cut in the roof where Jesus was teaching so that he might be healed.  Jesus used the opportunity to show his authority and told the man to rise and walk that his sins were forgiven.  This flew all over the Pharisees because they knew he was claiming to be God, but they did not believe it.

 

Jesus disciples were accused of not fasting and plucking some grain from a field that they were walking through on the Sabbath.  Jesus called Levi and was also questioned as to why he was eating in Levi’s house with many tax collectors and sinners.

The thing with this chapter that needs much consideration today is the fact that the Pharisees were more concerned that Jesus healed on the Sabbath instead of the awesome miracle that Jesus had just head someone who had been blind since birth.  Jesus says at the end of the chapter that “The Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath; NRSV.  Do we have these problems today with our “traditions?”  I really think so.  Some traditions in the various denominations have been around so long you would really cause a great uproar if you tried to change them.  Traditions are not bad and even groups that try to get away from the old traditions end up settling into traditions of their own.  The thing to pay close attention to is when tradition keeping becomes more important that the spirit of the intent of the actions.  As I have been reading the gospels it seems that Jesus places as much or more emphasis on the heart than on the action.

Have a great day,
Doug. 

Published in: on February 27, 2007 at 11:31 am  Comments (1)  

Mark 1

Mark 1, the first chapter of Mark starts quickly by briefly telling about John the Baptist, Jesus baptism, his 40 days of fasting followed by the temptations from Satan.  Jesus called some of his Apostles and was going around proclaiming the Word of God and healing people.

One of the blessings of reading the Gospels and commenting on them in the manner that I have is to see more clearly than I ever how each of the authors of the story of Jesus tells the same story but emphasizes different things.  Each telling only strengthens your understanding of the will of God.

Preparing for NBS and reading 1 Kings about Elijah, I had never known that Elijah was a hairy man.  It seems that John the Baptist came not only in the spirit of Elijah but also had physical characteristics also.

Have a great day,
Doug.

Published in: on February 26, 2007 at 5:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

John 21

John 21, John ends his book by telling the story of Jesus meeting the disciples for a third time after his resurrection.  He meets them by the sea after they had been fishing all night and had caught nothing.  Jesus tells them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat and they caught 153 large fish.  Jesus had them a breakfast cooked of fish and eggs.  After breakfast he asked Peter three times if he loved him.  Peter responded three times yes and the Lord told him to feed my lambs, tend my sheep, and feed my sheep.  Jesus also prophesies Peter’s manner of death.  John ends saying that to tell of everything Jesus did would fill the world with books.

When Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him, I wonder if this had something to do with the fact that Peter denied Jesus three times before the rooster crowed?  Also, what is the three different instructions regarding the flock of God?  Feed my lambs or feed the young or new Christians?  Tend my sheep, govern the older Christians?  Feed my sheep, continue to instruct the older Christians? 

Why was Peter fishing without any clothes on? 

Have a great day,
Doug. 

Published in: on February 25, 2007 at 11:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

John 20

John 20, before sunlight on Sunday morning, the day after Jesus crucifixion, Mary Magdalene was at the tomb.  When she realized that the body of Jesus was gone she ran and told the apostles.  John and Peter ran to the tomb and went inside.  Mary sees Jesus in the garden and she goes and tells the others what he said to her.  Jesus appears behind locked doors in the apostles’ mist twice giving them instructions and the second time Thomas was there and believed once he saw Jesus hands and side.

Why was it important to let us know that John ran faster to the tomb than Peter?  Where were the soldiers at this time?  Being that Mary arrived before daylight it seems that they should have still been there.  And finally, what is the significance of the head covering being rolled up and placed separate from the linens covering the body?

Have a great day,
Doug.

Published in: on February 24, 2007 at 3:24 pm  Leave a Comment