These two scripture segments from Mark 6 sum up the heart of Jesus’ ministry—teaching and healing. Other fascinating action items fill chapter 6, and they all serve as supporting evidence for the importance of today’s revelation.
A careful reading of the first three Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke—exposes the reality that Jesus’ teaching and healing lead to his crucifixion. The inevitability of Jesus’ death is less about divine justice—dying for our sins—and more about human brokenness. If sin is a synonym for brokenness and the brokenness of people is manifest through fear and greed, then listening to what Jesus tells us is a real threat. Imagine the occupants of gilded towers on 5th Avenue in New York City hearing it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. (See Mark 10:25.) Imagine Wall Street tycoons being told not to store up treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy (See Matthew 6:19.) Imagine the banking barons learning they should not loan money with interest. (See Luke 6:35.) No wonder the people with power had Jesus killed!
The society Jesus describes is a place where everyone has enough and no one has too much, a place where the sick and infirm are restored to wholeness regardless of ability to pay, a world where hard work is rewarded with fair pay. The society Jesus describes can come into being, but it will require confessing the truth about ourselves. We don’t really want to share our abundance, and we fear those who suggest we do. No wonder Jesus was killed. And for that reason Jesus died for our sins.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the living of these days, for the living of these days. (UMH, no. 577)
David was God’s anointed king over Israel. He believed God desired a house, a Temple worthy of God. But God wanted David to understand that only God can build things that truly last. Thus, God promised to construct a dynasty from David’s family. From this line will eventually come the ultimate King, the Messiah, who will rule God’s people forever. The Messiah will complete God’s work of uniting all people as children of God, and the author of Ephesians declares that this has happened through Christ. All God’s people—Jew and Gentile—are now part of a holy, spiritual temple. In Mark, Jesus shows that part of being a great king is showing compassion. He puts aside his own desires to help those in need of guidance and healing.
• Read 2 Samuel 7:1-14a. Do you prefer stability or flexibility? What are the advantages of each?
• Read Psalm 89:20-37. What has been your experience with organizations or churches that are leader-dependent?
• Read Ephesians 2:11-22. When have you found yourself employing binary thinking: black and white with no shades of gray? How has that limited your focus?
• Read Mark 6:30-34, 53-56. When have you had an experience of illness or accident that left you isolated from community? How did that increase your awareness of others in that situation as you moved to health?
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