Scripture Week 2

March 13 Psalm 22.22-31

March 14 Mark 5.1-20

March 15 Mark 5.21-43 focus 5.25-34

March 16 Mark Mark 6.1-29 focus 6.14-29

March 17 Mark 6.30-44

March 18 Mark 6.45-56 focus 6.45-52

March 19 John 2.13-22

Have you ever been distressed about an incident and talked it over with someone who reminds you to look at the bigger picture?  In the scriptures for this week, Mark uses symbolism to show how Jesus took on our sins and how his healing worked for individuals during his time.  As N. T. Wright cautions, in his book Mark for Everyone, we must look not only at the smaller scenes depicted in the healing of the demoniac, raising Jairus’s daughter from the dead, and the woman with chronic anemia who grasped Jesus’ robe in faith she would be cured.  Wright urges us to look at the relationship of the smaller accounts in these verses to the bigger picture and darker themes.

“…Behind the intense and intimate dramas of each story there lies a larger, and darker theme, to which Mark is repeatedly drawing our attention.  Jesus is on his way to confronting evil at its very heart.  He will meet Death itself, which threatens God’s whole creation, and defeat it in a way as unexpected as these two healings” (Wright 65).  

Wright says the healings were a sign that God’s Kingdom was breaking in.  Jesus and later his disciples, were symbolic of God’s renewed people, driving out evil before them, awakening old prophecies of the sick being healed as the Kingdom came.  He notes three things Jesus focused upon:  gathering support, providing as many people as possible a chance to repent or turn back to God, and preparing the way for his disciples to move forward after his death (70).

The author says “part of Christian discipleship is the spiritual sensitivity and discernment to know when there is an emergency, and what steps to take.  There have been many times…when the church’s task has been, like the Twelve, to go urgently around…warning people that the world is heading rapidly in the wrong direction, and doing things which show clearly that evil has been defeated through Jesus and can be defeated again today (70-71).

As we read about John the Baptist and Herod, who thought Jesus was The Baptist come back from the dead, we know that Jesus is the one who will defeat evil and death, but not before his own cruel and unjust death.  In the verses telling about the feeding of the five thousand and Jesus walking on water, we are seeing that even the people who are witnessing Jesus performing miracles are not understanding who he is and are not putting together the prophecies with what Jesus is doing and teaching.  N.T.  Wright points to the idea that while the very human Jesus rules the wind, water, and all of nature, he is also divine—and this is part of the mystery of God’s ways.  Jesus sees the big picture, as no one else can.  For example, when he drives the money changers out of the temple in Jerusalem, he refers to a three day period it would take him to raise up the temple if it was destroyed.  This alludes to Jesus’ resurrection from the dead after three days.  In John 2.22, the disciples remembered this after Christ was raised from the dead.  They believed the scripture and Jesus’ word.

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

You are the Alpha and the Omega.  You have the big picture, and yet we show such little faith.  Forgive us our shortsightedness, our impatience, and our desire to make ourselves all-knowing and powerful as only you are.  Give us wisdom and humility.  Give us patience and strength to resist temptation.  Give us contrite hearts and a desire to live in Christ today and every day.

Amen