Currently, our pastor is doing a study on the Gospel of Mark. And I’m even doing my homework to reading ahead, thinking about studying, seeing if I come to the same conclusions that she will for the Sunday sermon.

Lemme try and summarize…. (any errors, my fault)

Mark 4:35-41

Jesus preaches a big sermon, lots of people, sure to be emotionally exhausting…then deals with a sea storm (after which the Apostles actually ask the right question for once, “who is this man?”)…then, immediately goes to work again in chapter 5.

Mark 5:1-20

My pre-reading, the thing I thought of most, was the incredibly difficult mission Jesus gave the demon possessed man after he was healed. Go back home. Go back to the people you have frightened, hurt, damaged, go back to where you were your worst. Go back to where they don’t like you, and they have very good reasons for not liking you. This guy wanted to follow Jesus, but instead, Jesus told him to go back home.

I also found it curious that the demons asked Jesus for a favor, and Jesus granted it. (There you are, just being a pig-farmer, and all the sudden your entire livelihood goes plunging into the lake.)

Our Pastor started with “we’ve heard these stories all our lives. Be the guy in the graveyard today.”  The guy who is violent, incoherent, loud. The guy that is threefold helpless, “not even…anyone…anymore”.  The guy that Jesus, a Jew, should really consider an outcast, the guy that is a Gentile, living near pigs, living near dead bodies, pro’lly has bleeding & oozing wounds. Jesus went to him. Jesus should have been tired out (see Mark 4). But we will not tire God out. We are never too far away from God.

Coda… when Jesus comes back through that area, Mark 7:31 and Mark 8:9… the people wanted to see Jesus. The guy in the graveyard, was the first Gentile missionary.

Mark 5:21-43

We have four stories of near death that are interrupted by Jesus. Sea-sick sailors. Insane insomniac. Chronically hemorrhaging woman, hiding in the crowd. Desperate father fleeing his daughter’s death. They have lots of details, lots of characters. They are woven together, and need to be interrupted together.  We might want to ask, why these were healed and not others. These stories answer “who?”. Who is Jesus? Who does he help? (everyone, male/female, rich/poor, children/adults, Jew/Gentile, physically/mentally/socially ill… everyone)  Who is Jesus with? (Friends, family, fans, foes…sometimes takes his “special” disciples of Peter, Andrew, John …remember, they might need extra help, considering later they can’t even stay awake while Jesus goes off to pray.) Who is watching, and how do they respond?

Mark 6:1-13

Had Joseph died, or was a bit of disrespect implying Jesus was illegitimate?  When He was rejected,  and people didn’t want to listen to him, Jesus shook it off. It is difficult to respect people enough to not require them to respond.

Mark 6:45-56

…previously, Jesus had just fed 5000 (men…plus women & children). FINALLY, a king that could answer the people’s needs and feed them. This is not what Jesus wanted, first, get the Disciples out of there, deal with them later, do NOT let them get caught up in the moment. Next, go off to pray alone. Get clarity of what is the next, right thing to do. (proclaim the message -chp 4, heal the sick – chp 5, face arrest – coming up). Pray to get the courage to do the next right thing. What is our Next Right Thing, it isn’t determined by friends, family, crowds…determined when we pray alone with God, we find clarity, courage, patience.

Mark 7:1-23

…previously, all who touched Jesus were healed. The Serious-Religious don’t start with “thank you” or “Praise God for Good”…the serious-religious start with, “you’re not following the rules.”  (Mark makes a point of describing the cleansing ritual, because by this time the Church had incorporated enough Gentiles that they didn’t know the Jewish background. Mark also points out that Jesus answers “how Jewish do you need to be” to the early Church. Not really that much, don’t need to obey Sabbath -Mark 2:23, Mark 3:1-6, don’t need to follow ritual cleansing – Mark 7, don’t need to follow kosher laws or be circumcised – Act.)

She explained in a story about her daughter, some thirty years ago, when she was ~three. Her daughter said “I hatedGod.” (Great, I’ve lost her already). OK sweetie, tell me about that. “Because when we go to God’s House I have to wear a dress, and I hate wearing a dress.” OK, can you tell me about that. Because when you wear a dress, the wind goes where it shouldn’t. So, our pastor made a deal, and let her daughter wear special Sunday sweat-pants, and when asked about it, replied don’t want daughter losing the main point of God because of some clothes. Don’t let the unimportant, get in the way of what’s important.

Pro’lly though, the best part for me…last week MrCuddles didn’t want to go to Bible class, so he stayed with me, in the front row, and was pretty quiet during the sermon. Later that day, I see that he had been taking notes during the sermon.







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