15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:15-17)
This is the challenge I have in my life: where can I be found? Since moving from a place I lived for 20 years, I’ve had to rebuild those places and I can honestly say it’s hard on me.
Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:46-47)
The way of Jesus is to hear the cry of the margins. The disciples were on a mission with Jesus and had a schedule to keep. Jesus hears the cry of a blind man and stops to help.
Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. (Mark 8:34)
My personal prayer as I walk through this very difficult passage in the Gospel of Mark:
I am finding the Spirit calling me to walk a little more intentionally through the Gospel of Mark right now, so I have suspended my Daily Office reading for a season to see what the Lord wants to say to me in this gospel, which happens to be my favorite of the four.
Mark 7 is a powerful statement on legalism and prejudice.
As I read through the Gospel of Mark again, the story of the friends carrying their paralyzed buddy to Jesus (Mark 2:1-12) continues to challenge me. They have the faith to get him to Jesus. The paralytic himself doesn’t have that faith. The others have that faith and carry him to the One who can answer.
Mark 3:20–22 (NIV): 20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “[He is out of his mind].”
22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
When the religious leaders realize they can’t control or stop Jesus, and he has the true authority, all they have left is manipulation.
Those who are in power but without authority can only control by manipulation, fear, or false narratives. Be aware.
Mark 2:22 (NIV): And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”
What Jesus is doing can’t be fitted in to the existing ways of thinking and living. If people try to do that they’ll have the worst of both worlds. At the time, this meant that Jesus’ powerful kingdom-ministry couldn’t be fitted into the ways of thinking that his fellow first-century Galileans already had. They needed to think differently, to think bigger, to get new wineskins for the new wine he had to offer. Most people are threatened by that kind of challenge. (NT Wright, Mark for Everyone)
Reading for today:
Psalm 6, 12, 94
2 Cor. 1:8-22
The closer Jesus gets to the work of the cross, the more the spiritual leaders press to trap Jesus. They sense their power base fading and they are desperate. Read more
Our perpetual struggle is blindness. Not physical blindness. Mental or spiritual blindness. From claims of conspiracy theories to fake news, we don’t like hearing what is counter to what we hold dear. And here is some news that isn’t fake: it is like this all the time. Everywhere. Read more
“To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.” — Karl Barth Read more