Keeping On

Keeping On

A few Sundays ago I confessed that Mark isn’t my favorite Gospel but, the more time we spend in Mark, the more I find myself rediscovering what I like about it!  We’ve mentioned that Mark uses words sparingly and packs a lot into a small space.  In our reading for this Sunday, we continue to learn about the early days of Jesus’ ministry.  Our passage this week contains wonderful snippets about Jesus healing Simon’s mother-in-law, Jesus (again) silencing the demons who wanted to prattle on about Jesus’ identity and Jesus seeking out a place to pray when he needed respite from the crowds and the bustling activity.

We’ll spend some time exploring what’s come to be known as the Messianic Secret.  We’ll see that Jesus consistently tells not only unclean spirits, but also people, including his disciples, not to tell anyone what they’ve seen or heard in their encounters with Jesus.  Why on earth would Jesus do this?  How did this play a part in the unfolding of Jesus’ identify?  How did it help or hinder him in “keeping on” toward his mission?

I hope you’ll join us for online worship at 9:00 as we offer our praise and thanks to God, as we connect with God’s love, community and call and as we explore these issues together.  Please know that all are welcome to join the Wednesday Bible Study that reviews the scripture and sermon topic from the previous Sunday and reflects on the questions that are listed below.  If you’re interested in joining us from 11:30 to 12:30 on Wednesdays, please notify the church office or Pastor Lori and we’ll send you the Zoom link.  Drop-ins are welcome!  Looking forward to being together on Sunday!

Pastor Lori

Mark 1:29-39 (NRSV)

As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.

Questions to consider:

  1. What do you make of Jesus’ “secrecy” in Mark’s Gospel?  
  2. How have you experienced failure OR success as a distraction from your sense of purpose?  
  3. Who or what has “lifted you” up in your life?
  4. What does “lifting up” others look like in your life and context?

One Comment

    David DeBus

    What do you make of Jesus’ “secrecy” in Mark’s Gospel?

    I think that Jesus understood very well that Messianic expectations could turn into mob actions, bring down the wrath of the authorities, and be twisted in the understanding of the kind of Messiah he was–one that violated expectations.

    There were many messianic figures in the time of Jesus. I think he did not want to be painted by the same brush. He keeps his secret in Matthew too.

    By the way, I like and trust Mark more than the other gospels because a) it is earlier and b) it has that economy of rhetoric and diction and c) you have also noticed the “immediate” placing of one event after another–a suspenseful, connected narrative.

    In our day we have “anointed” people proclaiming all sorts of nonsense, and it still stirs the pot. It still brings in money and energy and Marjorie Taylor Greene.

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