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
To be a disciple means taking up the cross daily and following in Christ’s footsteps, even if doing so means death – Mark 6:7-30.
Jesus commissioned the twelve disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God throughout the region. And in Mark, their commissioning is followed by the execution of John the Baptist to prepare the reader for the rejection that will result from following Jesus. To walk in his footsteps, one must first count the cost to have any hope of seeing that journey through to the end.
Continue reading COST OF DISCIPLESHIP
Despite his miraculous deeds, his own hometown rejected his ministry and took offense at the humble origins of Jesus – Mark 6:1-6.
Jesus experienced growing conflict as he began to journey towards Jerusalem. In Galilee and Gentile territory, he had displayed his lordship over nature, demons, disease, and even death, and was met with enthusiastic crowds. But among his own people in Nazareth, he was met with unbelief, dishonor, and rejection, which became the prelude to John’s execution.
Continue reading REJECTED IN NAZARETH
Jesus healed two women, restoring both to a state of ritual purity – Mark 5:21-43.
Mark presents two stories about women in need of healing. The theme that links the two accounts is that of a woman in need of physical healing and restoration to a state of ritual purity. Both were “unclean” due to their physical condition; the first because of a flow of blood, and the second due to her recent death.
Continue reading TWO WOMEN RESTORED
Despite his tremendous miracle of calming a tempest on the Sea of Galilee, the disciples still did not recognize the Son of Man – Mark 4:35-41.
After teaching the multitude near Capernaum, Jesus set out to cross the Sea of Galilee. But a violent storm descended suddenly, frightening the disciples. Storms were common enough on that body of water, and several of the men were fishermen familiar with its moods. Thus, their great terror indicated that this was an especially severe storm.
Continue reading AUTHORITY OVER SEA AND STORM