Reading Schedule and Intro
Today’s Bible Reading is Mark 4-6
Wednesday, Feb. 15: Mark 7-10
Thursday, Feb. 16: Mark 11-13
Friday, Feb. 17: Mark 14-16
Next week we will go back to Numbers and spend four week completing Numbers and Deuteronomy, and thus the entire Torah, or Law of Moses. Don’t bail out! You may not realize it yet, but Numbers and Deuteronomy are two of the most exciting books in the whole Bible.
The overall year’s plan is here.
My commentaries are sometimes long. The Bible is the priority. Read it first, and my commentaries are carefully sectioned so you can find the passage you may want help on. Please use the comment section of my blog if I missed something or you have something to add!
Just as we saw in Matthew, once the scribes insulted the Holy Spirit, everything begins to come in parables. The purpose is clearly given. Jesus is specifically hiding the Word of God in the parables so that only those to whom God revealed the truth would really hear.
The first of the parables, as in Matthew, so in Mark, is the parable of the sower, which Jesus goes on to explain to the disciples.
Mark 4:21-25: The Revealed Light
To me, the key sentence in this passage is the command, "Be careful what you listen to." You can be a careful student, to whom God will add wisdom, or you can be a careless student, and God will let you wind down into false doctrines and silly ideas.
Mark 4:26-29: The Growing Seed
This is a favorite parable of mine. Even farmers don’t understand all the growth process. We plant, and we prepare, but then we let nature do its work. Finally, we see the result of nature’s work, and we reap.
So are things spiritually. We can try to do God’s work for him, but we are mistaken to do so. We can speak the word, and then we must let the word work as it is prone to do. Once the results of the word working in a person are seen, then we can reap, leading them into the kingdom of God.
Mark 4:30-32: Parable of the Mustard Tree
This is a real picture of what’s happened with the Gospel over the centuries whether we like the results or not. Christianity has grown into a great tree, and all sorts of the birds of the air have nested under its branches, some good, some not so good.
There may be better interpretations of that parable, but this one has certainly proven true in history.
Mark 4:33-34: Everything in Parables
After the insulting of the Holy Spirit by the scribes, Jesus is unyielding. Everything comes by parables.
Mark 4:35-41: Jesus Stills the Waters
The apostles are still just beginning to get a taste of who Jesus is … and of what faith is.
Mark 5:1-20: Jesus Confronts Legion
This is a strange story by any modern standards.
I think it’s to be noted that Jesus initiated this. He was already telling the demons to come out of the man. The demons had not yet obeyed Jesus, instead the man ran to Jesus and confronted him. Only as Jesus continued, even demanding the demons’ names, did they obey, asking to go into the pigs.
They went into the pigs, and all the pigs died, but the man was left healthy. I’m not sure what to make of this other than that God cares about man more than he does about animals, a verification that the Laws of Moses have application for us as spiritual followers of Jesus, not as rules about animals and food.
Jesus also doesn’t let the newly saved man follow him, but he sends him to the Decapolis to proclaim how he had been delivered.
The story of Jairus and the woman with the flow of blood are tied together in all the Gospels.
Notice that Jesus notices when someone touched him in faith and was healed. He felt the power go out of him. So despite being in a crowd, he asked, "Who touched me?" When the lady confessed, Jesus didn’t worry about his own unclean status or the status of anyone else that woman might have touched. He simply told her that her faith had saved her and sent her home. He’s ignoring the rules about uncleanness we were reading in Leviticus last week in order to do this.
That is because Jesus, the giver of the Law, already knew the fullness of the Law. He wanted spiritual uncleanness avoided, and this woman was not spiritually unclean. In fact, she became spiritually clean when she touched Jesus.
Then Jesus heals Jairus’ daughter. He did not allow anyone to come except Peter, James, and John. I think this is because he wanted only men of faith with him.
He tells the mourning crowd that the little girl is really just asleep, which I think is an effort to keep word from spreading that he’s raising the dead. He then raises the girl and give strict orders to Jairus not to tell anyone.
Mark 6:1-6: Unbelief in Jesus’ Hometown
Jesus returns to his hometown, and they are full of unbelief. Jesus even marvels at their unbelief, and he can’t do many miracles there because of it.
This, of course hearkens back to the healing of Jairus’ daughter where Jesus allowed only Peter, James, and John to come along. Perhaps he was keeping the faithless away.
Mark 6:7-13: Sending the Twelve
Matthew spends most of a chapter on this sending (Matt. 10), while Mark spends just a few verses. The apostles are empowered to go and do the same mighty works that Jesus could do.
Mark 6:14-32: John the Baptist Beheaded
The beheading of John the Baptist is an evil story, and I don’t need to retell it. You just read it.
I think Jesus was saddened when he heard of it, and that is why he pulled away to a lonely place with his apostles.
Mark 6:33-44: Feeding the Five Thousand
Jesus attempt to get to a secluded place was a failure. Jesus, however, was not irritated. Instead he felt compassion, seeing all these sheep with no one to shepherd them. So he taught them until they were ready to faint from hunger.
You know the story from there. The apostles wanted to send him home, but Jesus found five loaves and two fish and fed the entire crowd, complete with twelve baskets of leftovers.
Mark 6:45-50: Jesus Walks on Water
After that Jesus sent the crowds away, and he had the apostles go before him to the other side of the lake. He was going to go in the mountain and pray, and then probably walk around the lake and meet them at Genneserat, which was a walk that would have been no problem for travelers like Jesus and his men.
Jesus, however, opted for the shortcut across the lake, which frightened the apostles to no end. He announced who he was, got in the boat, and the storm ended.
They were astonished, but Mark points out that their astonishment is a fault. They had just seen Jesus feed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish. Why would they be surprised?
The answer he gives is that their hearts were hardened. Their hearts, for the most part, would stay hardened until the resurrection.
Mark 6:53-56: Ministry as Before
There’s no rest for the weary, they say. Once it was heard that Jesus was at Genneserat, crowds began to come for healing, and Jesus, continuing his compassion, healed them all.