March 28, 2015.
Daily Reading: Mark 3-4.
Background: Mark 1-2.
Concepts and Connections.
1. Antagonists to Christ: We see a couple of different antagonists to Christ in this chapter, one that is expected and another that might not be as obvious. The first is the opposition of the Pharisees, who were just waiting for Jesus to do something so that they could get mad/accuse Him. It seems that He is willing to give them what they want, knowing what they were waiting on Him to do and He does it. He gives them what they want, explaining first why it would not be wrong to heal on the Sabbath, and immediately they take counsel about how to destroy HIm. The second antagonist that we find in this chapter is actually the family of Christ. In verse 21 we see that they come to try to seize Him, making an excuse to the people for what He had been teaching, saying that He had a daemon. How discouraging it must have been to have your own family against you, not believing your message. But even this did not stop Jesus from teaching the truth. Take note of His determination and loyalty to His mission and calling, using it as encouragement when we seem to be fighting against us. Press on to do the will of the Lord. His will be done.
2. Followers of Christ: In opposition to the antagonists revealed in this chapter, we also find those who follow Jesus and abide in His teachings. Great crowds had begun to follow Him, even though He was making precautions to contain some of His fame. He continues to teach the crowds and preform miracles, revealing His nature to the crowds. Amongst the people, Jesus chooses 12 disciples to be apostles, a closer discipling group that He would spend a lot of time with over the next few years, giving the spread of the gospel into their hands. It seems to typically be the plan of God to leave the spreading of His message in the hand of men (see II Corinthians 4:7).
3. Blasphemy: There is a interesting teaching of Jesus laid out in this chapter that is a bit hard to understand. Jesus teaches that there is an eternal sin, and that is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. It would seem that this is a specific teaching to those who were witnessing the power of the Holy Spirit, as blasphemy (though it is not specified) is seen as forgivable (Paul was forgiven) in I Timothy 1:12-17. The Pharisees were denying the miracles of Christ, saying that He cast them out with the power of the devil. But Jesus points out that any house that is divided against itself will fall. But they would not accept that the power of Christ was from God. When they said the power came from the devil, they were blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, for they were not willing to accept the truth.
1. Parables: In this chapter we are introduced to several parables that Jesus taught, as well as the purpose for parables. Isaiah 6:9-10 is quoted as the reason that Jesus taught in parables, so that people with willing hearts would hear and understand, but those who did not have willing hearts could not understand, though they heard the parable. The parable of the sower is up first, speaking specifically of the different types of hearts that the gospel would fall on, each having a different reaction. Some didn’t take root at all, others took root for a while and then fell away, and finally there were good hearts that received the words of life and produced good fruit (see Matthew 13 for further information). The second parable is the lamp that is not hidden under a basket, showing that as disciples of Christ, we should show His glory to the world and not hide the good news. The last two parables, the growing seed and the mustard seed, tell us how spiritual growth is matured by God (see I Corinthians 3) and the impact that a small faith will have when fully grown.
2. “Have you still no faith?”: It is somewhat amazing that the people that spent so much time with Jesus, hearing His teachings and seeing the miracles that He did, could be so surprised that the lands and the seas obeyed His voice. However, as humans, we have a tendency to compartmentalizing things and not seeing the bigger picture. This is what they people had done. They saw Jesus doing miracles, but they had never see Him control nature. He calms the winds and seas here, and showed the power and glory of the Son given from the Father. Christ asks a tough question here to His disciples: “Have you still no faith?” They had missed the big picture. Jesus was the Son of God. Let us not miss the big picture. Let us not miss Jesus.
Tomorrow’s Reading: I Corinthians 12-13.
All praise to the Almighty.