Mark 3 – Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit’

I had begun to post my notes on Mark 3 and had written about verses 1-12, hit save and my site went down and it was lost. 🙁 Oh well, here are my thoughts on verses 13 and on …
Mark 3:13 – I wonder how Jesus was able to get away with out the crowds. In verses 7-12, they were threatening to crush him and here he’s on a mountain with the 12. Was it just because climbing the mountain was too much trouble to see Jesus?
Mark 3:20 – Back home again and the crowd returns and they cannot even eat because of it.
Mark 3:29-30 – The long debated ‘blasphemy against the Holy Spirit’. For a teaching with such dire consequences (no possible forgiveness), it certainly is clouded by mystery. I have to admit, I’m not at all sure what it means, which is frankly a bit scary. I have a notion that it’s denying Jesus or something like that, but I honestly dunno. I wonder if there’s a clue in it being included here with the accusations that Jesus was working for Satan, but I’m not sure what to make of it. Any insights?
Mark 3:31-35 – Jesus draws a bold line of distinction here saying that his loyalty is no longer to his family but to the people of God. I wonder what it felt like for Mary and his brothers to hear this.

15 Years

15 years seems like a long time.
When I was 10, it seemed like an eternity. Next year seemed like a lifetime away.
Today it seems like both forever and an instant.
15 years ago today this amazing woman did the most inexplicable thing. She married me.
It seems like only yesterday that I was falling in love with her, and yet I can’t remember a time that she wasn’t right beside me.
These days, I frequently don’t feel like much of a catch. I’m becoming grumpy & irritable all to often.
Yet for some reason she still loves me. And when I come home in a foul mood and I see her smile at me – it’s OK after all.
If grace can be summed up in human action, this is it, that a woman such as this would love one such as me.
Thanks for 15 years honey, here’s to many more.

Weathermen Are Easy Targets

Forecast for this morning:
Snow between 3 AM and 8 AM, accumulation of around an inch, a little more to the south.
I sit here on the northern side of Columbus at 1PM and it’s still snowing like mad. There was already 2″ when I left the house at 7:30 AM, looks like almost 4″ now.

Mark 2 – Through the Roof

Mark 2:1 – I wonder what the conversation was like when he came home. “Mom, you should have seen the crowds …”
Mark 2:4 – Is Mark saying that they lowered the paralytic through the roof in Jesus’ house? I bet Jesus had to answer to Mary on that one. “Young man, you’re going to clean this up.” I wonder if Jesus repaired the roof?
Think about this scene for a minute. Jesus is preaching and some dust begins to fall from the ceiling. Then some larger chunks. Pretty soon, daylight breaks through. He probably kept preaching for a while, but at some point, Jesus probably stopped and just watched them. I bet it took some time, and there was a fair amount of time where folks were just staring at them, cutting a hole in Jesus’ roof.
All eyes on them, yet the kept digging. No wonder Jesus was amazed at them.
Mark 2:9-12 – I wonder, was he able to walk once Jesus pronounced his sins forgiven, or not until he actually told him to walk? Jesus seems to equate the two, so I suspect that he could have gotten up, he just didn’t make the connection. I wonder if he was lying there thinking “Sins forgiven? That’s nice and all, but I came here so I could walk!”
Mark 2:18-20 – It seems that Jesus here is calling his time with the disciples like the wedding itself. A celebrations, a party,. No fasting during the party, it would be out of place. But once the wedding is completed, then the business of married life begins. Then there is joy and pain, laughter and sorrow, celebration and fasting.
Mark 2:23-24 – I have this picture in my mind of Jesus and the disciples walking through a field with the Pharisees scurrying around them, waiting for them to do something wrong and then going “See! See! They screwed up! Ha! I caught ’em! I caught ’em!”

Quote: What is Faith?

Phillip Yancy from his book Prayer, Does It Make Any Difference?:

If I spend enough time with God, I will inevitably begin to look at the world with a point of view that more resembles God’s own. What is faith, after all, but believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse?

This resonates with me as I saw so clearly in my study of Luke how Jesus perspective was on a completely different plane than the disciples. Over and over, he taught them things that went straight over their head. it wasn’t until the cross, and more importantly the resurrection, that their thinking began to align with his.
The reality, I think, for all of us is that it won’t be until we meet him in heaven and we can look back at our lives will we see how it all made sense. Then we will see what God has seen all along. Faith means trusting that God’s view is clear & right, even when it makes no sense to me.
Hat tip: Thinklings

Total Choice Hosting = Good

About a year and a half ago, I choose a new host for my blog, Total Choice Hosting. At the time I signed up, I was going to get 850 MB of disk space and 20 GB of traffic per month. Well almost immediately, they upgraded the plan to 1,200 MB storage and 40 GB transfer for the same $5 per month.
In January of last year, they upgraded the plans again, providing twice daily backups on all servers. Same $5 per month.
Last week, they announced yet another upgrade. My same $5 per month now gets me 2,400 MB of storage and 80 GB of transfer. I love TCH.

Mark 1 – The Beginning

Mark 1:6 – I wonder why Mark included this one sentence bio of the kind of guy John was. What was the significance at that time of his dress and diet? Did it signify something to them? To us, it just means he was pretty odd.
Mark 1:9-15 – It’s interesting that Mark glosses over these things, giving them only a passing mention. Forty days of fasting and temptation, God speaking directly to Jesus and John getting arrested. Not important, evidently, to the story Mark wanted to tell.
Mark 1:16-20 – I wonder if he called others who didn’t follow?
A lot happens in these 4 verses – disciples called, demons cast out, traveling to other towns, prayer time, a leper healed, 40 days of fasting and temptation. That covers a lot of ground, but only on the surface. It’s as if Mark is setting the stage of Jesus as teacher, traveling minister and healer so that he can tell the real story.

I’m Ready to Return

Now that I’m done with my study of Luke, I think I’m ready to come back to blogging again, on some level. Probably light stuff at first, because I’ve really been enjoying my Bible study. I want to keep that focus to my blogging.
This has probably been the most profitable study in a long time. I really felt like I learned new things about Jesus and saw Him in a new light, so I’m going to stay on with my gospel focus and start reading Mark.
Thanks for hanging in with me.

Luke 24

Luke 24:1-3 – A grueling day watching the Lord beaten and crucified followed by a long, sad Sabbath waiting to go anoint his body, then they find the tomb empty. How dejected they must have felt. After all they’d been through to find that someone had messed with Him on the Sabbath day.
Luke 24:8-9 – The plain language that Luke sues here to describe this event completely bypasses the emotions that they must have felt. They saw the empty tomb, they were told he’s alive, the went and told the eleven.
What was KNN (now Disciples Today) did a short file on the cross, unique in that it portrays the events through the eyes of Jesus. At the end of it, we see Mary (Magdalene I think) meet Jesus. She runs to the others, ecstatic. She runs with abandon, half falling forward, arms waving, screaming “HE’S ALIVE! HE’S ALIVE! HE’S ALIVE!” The scene captures the excitement they must have felt as the impossible reality of the resurrection became real. I remember chills going up my spine as I watched it and their joy became real to me.
Jesus had already transformed so much of their understanding of God, but this changed everything. The world would no longer be the same.
Luke 24:12 – “But Peter rose and ran …” The others dismissed it as “an idle tale”, but Peter ran. I wonder if the memory of his denial still stung and he ran, hoping against hope that what they said was true and he could make things right with he friend and Lord.
Luke 24:13-35 – This is the story of a slow realization, like the turning of a mighty ship. They were still on the same course they had been on, even though they knew that something was going on. They seemed to understand that the empty tomb meant something, but they didn’t know what, so they carried on. Jesus gives them a scriptural dope slap, but it isn’t until he is revealed to them that they turn course, literally, and return to Jerusalem.
It will take a few more of these meetings with the risen Jesus to complete their transformation so that they can then transform the world.
Luke 24:36-49 – He asks them to touch him, he eats in their presence to prove without a doubt that he was real and was there. And he tells them, listen, this is exactly what I was talking about all the time. It wasn’t a fluke, he wasn’t making the best of it, it was how it had to go. he knew it would and had told them so. And just wait, it gets better.
Luke 24:50-53 – The stage is set. Finally, they are ready. Now they understand. Soon, the world will be changed.

Luke 23

Luke 23:3 – I wonder if Pilate understood this in some other way than the obvious, Earthly King. Certainly Jesus was not an Earthly King, but would Pilate be asking that? I realize that I’ve been reading it that way, Pilate asking if Jesus is the Messiah. In actuality, he’s only trying to test the claims of the leaders. Does this guy really think he’s a king?
Luke 23:8 – Interesting that Pilate doesn’t seem to know of Jesus at all, but Herod does. Jesus was from Herod’s jurisdiction and was well known there, but evidently was not well known in Pilate’s.
Luke 23:34 – I thought about his statement of Jesus. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” It’s an outrageous statement, isn’t’ it? They’ve arrested him without cause, beaten him, ignored the pleas of authority to release him and sentenced him to death and hung him no a tree. And his first comment from the cross is forgiveness.
I think that forgiveness comes in part because of Jesus’ grace filled nature, but also because of the second half of that statement – “… for they know not what they do.”. Jesus’ perspective all along has been completely different from everyone around him. He can see through heaven’s eyes, they see through Earthly ones. From his perspective, he can understand theirs and see that from their limited perspective this all make perfect sense. This understanding helps grace come easy. They just don’t understand.
This understanding also gives us hope. We cannot see through heavenly eyes, though we try and get closer as we mature in Christ. Still, our eyes drift to Earthy ways. From our perspectives, many things seem important and natural which are not. Based on our limited understandings, we commit sins against one another in the name of Jesus – just as these men did against Jesus in the name of God. We divide over things that aren’t worth dividing over, we cast out and judge those who are doing their best just as we are.
And Jesus can see why we do. He understands that from our limited, Earthy perspective it all makes perfect sense. And he can say of us as well, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Luke 23:49 – I can imagine looking on wondering how it had all gone so wrong. I’d wonder what was I thinking following this carpenter? Three years of my life, lost. But it couldn’t be lost, it wasn’t lost. His love, his wisdom and his authority and understanding were unlike anything I’d seen. But now he’s gone. He’d predicted it, but it didn’t make sense then. I wish I’d have paid better attention, asked more questions. I must have missed something. Now what am I to do? Will they come for me too? Jesus always knew what to do next, but he’s not here. Are we to just go back to fishing?

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