Eating With Sinners (Mark 2:13-17)

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Gospel of Mark Title

We’ve already talked about how Mark is introducing Jesus as the one answer to all the important questions in the world. If you recall, we said that the audience he is writing to are a group of persecuted, Roman Christians who aren’t looking for deep theology, long dissertations or genealogies, or a lot of teaching sections – they want proof that Jesus is who He says He is, has the Power they need Him to, and is the One and Only way to be saved.

They were in a pantheistic culture, surrounded by stories of gods of every sort and kind, so there was no need for another fable or religion to go alongside the rest. The claims of the missionaries that had gone through Rome was that Jesus wasn’t one of many gods, but was the Son of the One, True God, same in worth and power as God. They taught the Trinity – that Jesus was begotten from the Father and had sent the Holy Spirit to empower them to righteous living. They taught that Jesus said there was only one choice. He made an exclusive claim to be the only Saviour and the only One who should be worshiped. This would mean abandoning their other gods and religious activities and meetings, and joining a small group of people who were being persecuted because of their radical beliefs.

Authority and Opposition

And so Mark writes to them binocularly – with two lenses, two themes – one focused on the claims and power of Jesus Christ as He demonstrates His authority through teaching and miracles. The other lens is the reaction of the people around him, especially the religious experts, political power players and the wealthy elite — and they all hated Jesus.

Mark 2 gives us two great reasons why these people hated him so much – First, because He claimed to BE GOD, and second because of His relationships with “unclean”, despised outsiders.   Read the rest of this entry »

Jesus’ Compassion for the Hurting (Mark 1:29-34, 40-45)

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Gospel of Mark Title

I celebrated a milestone. On Thursday, August 8th, 2013 I was officially 13,000 days old. That’s 1857 weeks and one day. Or 427 months. Or 35.6 years.

I’ve learned a lot in my 30s. It has truly been the most productive and spiritually challenging decade of my life – so far. But I’ve learned something else about being past the midway mark of my 30s – my body is not what it used to be. It’s not as easy to recover from things as it was when I was in my 20s. I’m not alone though… did you know the average age for retirement from the NHL is 28 years old? Gordie Howe made it the longest at 51 years old, but most players don’t play into their 30s, and I think I know why.

I’m no athlete, but I know that every now and again some part of my body decides it’s going to hurt – for basically no reason. My knees will hurt, or my elbow will hurt, or something else, and I’ll think, “That’s never happened before… what’s that all about?” I used to be able to go outside in the winter, in Edmonton, with nothing but shorts and a t-shirt, I now find myself looking for my extra-thick socks and driving with gloves on.

I used to just jump in and start playing sports, but now I have to make sure I stretch before or I won’t be able to walk for a week. I talk to my dad about it a while ago – he’s 56 – and he tells me that it doesn’t get any better from here on in. Actually, he seems to take some sort of perverse pleasure in telling me about all the horrible things I can look forward to.

Jesus’ Heart for the Sick

On the topic of health, today we are going to talk about the healing ministry of Jesus as we read about a couple of His miracles. What I want to zone in on today is Jesus’ attitude towards the sick and what it teaches us. We looked before at the big question, “If Jesus can heal anyone from anything, then why do people get sick?”, but now I want us to look at Jesus’ heart for those who are suffering. Read the rest of this entry »