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Mark 8 – You HAVE to Get This!

So In Mark 6 Jesus fed the multitudes with five loaves and two fish.  There were twelve baskets leftover.  In Mark 7, they panic when Jesus walks by their boat (on the water) during a storm.  Mark says that they clearly haven’t learned the lesson from the bread.  Apparently the Apostles are supposed to be learning to put their faith in God and quit paying so much attention to the obstacles.  In Mark 8 Jesus decides to give them another chance to get the lesson and he now feeds four thousand with seven loaves and a few fish and has seven baskets left over.

So after a quick argument with the Pharisees Jesus and the Apostles get on a boat and they realize that the Apostles forget to bring lunch and there is only a single loaf of bread.  As Jesus begins teaching the about how they need to be different from the Pharisees and Herod, he uses leaven as an illustration.

At this point, some Apostle says to another, “What’s he talking about with this leaven of the Pharisees

BREAD? BREAD? You think I am worried there isn’t enough BREAD!?!?

stuff?”  Somebody replies, “I think he is upset we forgot the bread.  I mean, how can this many of us eat with only one loaf of bread?”

At this moment Jesus’ head explodes.  I can’t even imagine what went through his head in that moment.  He cannot fathom that the Apostles are failing to learn the lesson of the bread.  So now we review:

Jesus:  Remember when I fed five thousand with five loaves?  How much was leftover?

Apostles:  Twelve baskets.  (This is one thousand people per loaf)

Jesus: Remember when I fed four thousand with seven loaves?  How much leftover?

Apostles: Seven baskets.  (This is only 571 people per loaf.)

Jesus: If I wanted us to eat, don’t you think I could come up with something out of that one loaf?  I mean, on my worst day that’s enough to feed 571 people so that should cover the dozen or so of us.

Jesus knows that he is eventually going to leave this group of men and women to trust that God will provide for them no matter what their eyes tell them.  They must learn to trust God to overcome any obstacles.  As it stands, all they see is obstacles.

Perhaps thats why, immediately after Peter professes his belief that Jesus is the Messiah, that Jesus tells them that he will be taken to Jerusalem and killed and resurrected on the third day.  Of course, Peter only sees the obstacle in this.  Jesus, however, tells Peter that he is thinking only of human concerns and not the things of God.  

One of the hardest things for me to do is to see things God’s way and not my way.  I always want plenty of time to plan, to count the cost, to trust in my own ability to overcome what obstacles are ahead of me.  And there is value to that, even in scripture.  But there is something to be said for trusting always that God will help me overcome whatever obstacles are placed before me.

Like the Apostles, I desperately need to learn the lesson of the loaves if I am going to be a part of growing his Kingdom and doing his work in the world.  I need to trust in his power and not mine.  I need to put my confidence in God ahead of my fear of whatever the world puts in front of me.

 

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2013 in Mark

 

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Luke 9 – What is the Kingdom of Peace? (Luke 9 is LONG)

Luke 9

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

What does proclaiming the Kingdom have to do with driving our all demons, curing diseases, and healing the sick?

The bringing of the Kingdom is to bring peace to wherever you go. When the church enters a place, how can it go about bringing the peace of the Kingdom of God? How do you bring about this peace where you are?

This almost seems like an internship for the apostles. It’s as if Jesus is telling them to give this Kingdom thing a try and see how they do with it. They come back and all it says is that they reported to Jesus what they had done. Thanks for leaving the emotion out of that Luke!

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

Jesus tells them to give the hoard of people something to eat as if it isn’t any big deal. Their response is “we only have…” Did they just forget who sent them out for their first Kingdom internship?! The text points out that there are about five thousand men there. I was taught growing up that this was because the women weren’t important enough in society to count (don’t get mad at me…get mad at teachers who guess at stuff). What really seems to be going on here is that this is a count of how many fighting men they had there to crown a new king and go overthrow Rome and establish the Davidic Throne.

Peter’s Confession of Christ

It is easy to read a lot into this conversation but I want to advise stepping back a minute. I don’t think Peter when he confessed that Jesus was God’s Messiah that he really knew what all that entailed. There were numerous would be messiahs who came and went. Jesus seems to be trying to figure out where his supporters stand before starting to redefine their understanding of the Messiah. The question Jesus is asking is not “Do you think I’m the second person of the trinity?” What Jesus is asking is more like, “What does the public think of me?” – They think you could be a good senator or a good congressman. “What do you think?” – We think you could go all the way. You could be the next president and we’re willing to go down this road with you!

They have said that they will follow him down this Messiah road but he warns them about what that actually means. This will take a huge commitment. While grace is free…Christ calls us to a certain level of discipleship that takes huge commitment. A book that I highly recommend on this subject is “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

The Transfiguration

I’m honestly not ever sure what to do with the transfiguration passages. Moses and Elijah speak to Jesus about his departure. Are they informing him? Clarifying some things about it for him? Giving him comfort in these events to come? I do love that the word “departure” is the same word for “exodus” which I am pretty sure Luke put there purposefully to remind us that Jesus is fulfilling what Israel should have done properly the first time.

While they talk about departure, Peter wants to keep them all there. This is another sign that they don’t get who Jesus really is and what his Messiahship is really about. He hasn’t come to stay. God, in His divine wisdom, tells Peter to shut up and listen. “This is my Son” coupled with the disappearing of Moses and Elijah is a beautiful picture of what is important now. Moses no longer matters. Elijah no longer matters. Jesus, God’s Son, is the one who is with them now, be quiet and listen.

The Healing of a Boy With an Evil Spirit

Could the disciples not drive out the evil spirit because they people only had faith in Jesus and not faith in the coming of the Kingdom?

Who Will Be the Greatest?

I might have dressed up as Jesus once...

Jesus tells them again what his Messiahship means…and an argument breaks out over who will be the greatest. He then says to take his example that is about to come and be the servant if you want to be the greatest. You’ve got to play this game to lose. How backwards does this sound? We live in a cutthroat society that says do everything you can to get ahead. Jesus wants to develop a culture counter to that…do everything you can to help the other guy get ahead. Become the least significant person and you will be welcomed.

Oh…and if someone is doing something to further the Kingdom, Don’t stop them! How far do we take that exchange? Has this ever been a problem in the church? Has the church ever become so focused on what the other areas of the church are doing that we’ve forgotten that they are people around us who are dying and going to hell? I’m honestly not sure where the balance is here…but I know that we need to not forget what it means to bring the Kingdom of peace.


Samaritan Opposition

Speaking of the Kingdom of peace…I love James and John’s response to the Samaritan Opposition! In their minds, Jesus is heading to Jerusalem to set up his kingdom and anyone who gets in the way should be crushed! I can only imagine how confusing Jesus must be to his followers at this point. We have the luxury of looking at the story knowing the end. Imagine what it would have been like to have been there.

There’s a strong word here that stuck out to me this time reading this passage. The word “Resolutely” is such a powerful descriptor of Jesus’ focus when it comes time to head to the cross. That hit me powerfully.

The Cost of Following Jesus

Again…do we ever stop to weigh the costs of following Jesus? Is the Kingdom greater than everything else?

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2012 in Bible Blog, Luke

 

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