Unbelief hindered the disciples from exorcising a dumb and deaf spirit – Mark 9:14-29.
When Peter, James, and John saw the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mount, the rest of the disciples were ministering nearby. But whenever they ministered when Jesus was absent, they quickly found themselves in trouble. And this time, as soon as the crowd saw him returning from the mountain, they flocked to him for healing and deliverance.
Continue reading STUMPED BY UNBELIEF
The Transfiguration was the confirmation of his status as the Messiah, and of the necessity for Jesus to suffer before receiving glory – Mark 9:2-13.
In Mark, the event known as the “Transfiguration” begins with the clause, “after six days.” This is not just a temporal reference, but also a link to the preceding story in which Peter acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah. In response, he explained the true meaning of discipleship. To follow him, a man must “deny himself and take up his cross” just as the “Son of Man” did.
Continue reading TRANSFIGURATION
A blind man’s eyes were opened, and he was “saved” as Jesus continued “on the way” to Jerusalem – Mark 8:22-26.
The preceding three stories highlighted the spiritual blindness caused by unbelief, especially the inability to perceive what God was doing in Jesus, as well as recognize who he was. Next, he restored sight to another Israelite so he could begin to see clearly. And his blindness was removed by the savior’s touch, the “Son of David” and the Messiah of Israel.
Continue reading BLIND MAN SAVED
Mark highlights the unbelief behind the inability of both his opponents and the disciples to perceive exactly who Jesus was – Mark 8:1-21.
Despite all they had seen, the disciples remained dull of hearing and ran the risk of submitting to the same unbelief that characterized the opponents of Jesus, and especially the unbelief and hostility of the Pharisees. Regardless of his many miracles, they still could not comprehend who he was, the Messiah of Israel and the savior of the world.
Continue reading SPIRITUAL DULLNESS
Jesus undermined the religious rationale for dietary restrictions. With the Messiah’s arrival, old rituals lost their relevance – Mark 7:1-23.
Jerusalem was the center of the religious and political opposition to Jesus, and especially the Temple and priestly authorities. From this point forward in Mark, he experienced increasing conflict with the religious authorities, the Pharisees, scribes, and the representatives of the high priest. Not long after this next incident, certain opponents began to plot his demise.
Continue reading JESUS AND ADDED TRADITIONS
The feeding of 5,000 men was a spectacular witness to Israel, yet most Jews continued to reject Jesus as Israel’s Messiah – Mark 6:31-56.
The feeding of the five thousand is the only miracle story recorded in all four gospel accounts, which demonstrates its importance to the early church. In John’s gospel, it occurred near the Passover season. In Luke, only the twelve disciples participated in the distribution of bread and fish. Mark places the story after the account of the execution of John the Baptist – (Mark 6:31-44).
Continue reading MIRACULOUS WITNESS TO ISRAEL