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A Year Through the Gospels: Week 3

January 21, 2016

Darryl Sluka

A Year Through the Gospels: Week 3


This is the third week of my yearlong series A Year Through the Gospels.  In week one I explained that while reading through each gospel for the fist time this year I will share some of the things that stood out to me for the first time.  I shared my new thoughts on Matthew in weeks one and two, and I am now reading through Mark.  This week’s post will cover chapters 1-10.

Mark 3:7–10, 20–21

“Jesus departed with His disciples to the sea, and a large crowd followed from Galilee, Judea,Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and around Tyre and Sidon. The large crowd came to Him because they heard about everything He was doing. Then He told His disciples to have a small boat ready for Him, so the crowd would not crush Him. Since He had healed many, all who had diseases were pressing toward Him to touch Him….

Then He went home, and the crowd gathered again so that they were not even able to eat.When His family heard this, they set out to restrain Him, because they said, “He’s out of His mind.””

Jesus constantly poured Himself out for everyone, even to the point where His family thought He was doing too much.  His ministry was exhausting, uncomfortable, and inconvenient, since He always put the needs of others above His own.  He gave, and He gave, and He gave.  He had people following Him from the entire region; they went wherever He went- even to His home.  Jesus’ ministry was not easy; it was not neat; it was not scheduled around His comfort.  Jesus completely emptied Himself for those around Him, and then He filled Himself back up by going off on His own to pray and worship the Father.  Our ministries must follow the same pattern.  People require everything we have, and we need to be sure we pour out all we can.  We cannot be surprised or agitated when ministering gets overwhelming; we cannot cut people off because we became tired.  We must finish serving and loving, and then we need to go off on our own and get refilled by the Father.

Mark 6:30-31, 49-52 The 12 Apostles Return, 5,000 Are Fed, Jesus Walks on Water

“The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest a while.” For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat…. When they saw Him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they all saw Him and were terrified. Immediately He spoke with them and said, “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded, because they had not understood about the loaves. Instead, their hearts were hardened.”

The second half of chapter 6 covers a lot.  The Apostles return from preaching about Jesus to neighboring towns; Jesus feeds 5,000 people and walks on water; and more people are healed when they arrive at Gennesaret.  What drew my attention here was the Apostles.  Jesus sends them on a preaching tour in groups of two.  They went from town to town without carrying any supplies, and they preached a message that some people strongly opposed.  They returned from this difficult trip, and Jesus told them to go to a remote place to rest.  However, a large crowd followed them, and made it impossible for them to rest; they were not even able to eat!  So their would-be vacation was interrupted by a massive crowd, and then they got into a boat and battled the wind and the waves from a storm.  Jesus came to them by walking on the water, and they were astounded because they did not understand about the loaves, and their hearts were hardened.  Jesus walking on water astounded them because they did not understand about the loaves?  Jesus walking on water was not astounding in and of itself?  Did they completely miss both of these miracles- the feeding of the 5,000 and walking on water?  Or, did they miss the miracles’ testimony about who Jesus was?  Their hearts were hardened, and I imagine that was why they missed the miracles.  But why were their hearts hardened?  Could it be because of exhaustion and agitation?  They were not able to rest when they needed it.  The crowd demanded more from them than they had, and, then, the sea pummeled them.  If exhaustion and agitation caused their hearts to harden, then we must be extra careful to ensure that we do not allow the circumstances and demands of our ministry to get in the way of us recognizing and experiencing the works of God.  If the disciples missed the awe of Jesus feeding 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish and walking on water, then we can miss the things God accomplishes in our midst.  The effects of ministry are too weighty for us to disengage and become irritated because our comfort level decreased.

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