Hello friends! Today we read more of the gospel of mark containing some weird stories and some beloved stories. I like this version of the story of Jesus feeding the 4000 people the most because the disciples are snarky and believable. But I also like this version of the stories because it feels more "relationship" driven than Matthew's gospel. Jesus words to the disciples sound more natural and friendly, rather than professional and stiff. It's the Jesus I imagine when I think of him with his followers. What will stand out to you?
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What is different about Matthew's version of the stories and the ones found here?
What is confusing? What is comforting?
What does this teach me about Jesus?
- My Thoughts -
I've never really given much thought to the story of Jesus and the "legion" that goes into the pigs. In all of the OT I don't think there is a story as weird as this story. In fact, it's been interesting to me to see how often demons speak to Jesus or beg Jesus to not harm them. But the story of the 2000 pigs is interesting to me for a few reasons. First, what Jew would even herd pigs? For what purpose? Pigs have hooves and as such would be considered unclean to eat by the purity laws of Deuteronomy. Soooo, why pigs? But ok, ok, even still can we really blame the town for driving Jesus out and wanting nothing to do with him when he comes into town and drowns their entire livestock curing one man?
It's something worth considering is the collateral damage that the church (and we) can do in our efforts to do good by one person. Or, in my case with preaching, the damage that can be done trying to address one specific thing and masquerading it as "kingdom building work." I'm not saying that Jesus did something wrong here necessarily, but I also don't think the slaughter of 2,000 animals for the life of one person is exactly equal either. I don't know...what are your thoughts on this story? What is the point of its inclusion? How is this wild and weird story "Good news"?
Praying the Hymns
This hymn is pretty relevant for today as we are celebrating pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit went from being given to select leaders of the church to suddenly all people. The final verse of this hymn today addresses Pentecost and its gift. When you feel down and out don't forget that you've got the very breath of God in your lungs giving you life each time your chest rises and falls. With that very breath let us give praise now!
1 When Jesus came to Jordan to be baptized by John, he did not come for pardon but as the sinless one. He came to share repentance with all who mourn their sins, to speak the vital sentence with which good news begins.
2 He came to share temptation, our utmost woe and loss, for us and our salvation to die upon the cross. So when the dove descended on him, the Son of Man, the hidden years had ended, the age of grace began.
3 Come, Holy Spirit, aid us to keep the vows we make; this very day invade us, and every bondage break. Come, give our lives direction, the gift we covet most: to share the resurrection that leads to Pentecost.