Pastor's Ponderings: Meandering through Mark 3:22-27 bible study (October 16, 2023)
Updated: Oct 17
Dear friends in Christ, May the joy of God's Grace fill your life today and always.
It's good to be back from vacation. We had a wonderful time at a Hilton Golf Resort in Scottsdale. It's the first time that we have been to that resort, and while there we shared an evening meal out with dueling piano entertainment with about 50 other people who were going to spend time in presentations by Hilton the next day to become Hilton Grand Vacation members. We sat with folks from Savannah, GA, and Charleston, SC. Great folks to spend an evening with. In our absence, there were continuing prayer requests for Kandice whose cancer has appeared in a new location while the other tumors are shrinking, A disappointing time for Kandice and her family. She will hopefully be starting a new trial which Drs. are hopeful will succeed in doing a better job of reducing her cancer. Prayers for Nancy who fell in her home and is now recovering at home. Also pray for Della who may have contracted covid. Her 90th birthday is coming in the next several weeks. Pray, too, for our son James, who cut his foot shooting baskets in the back yard after dark on Friday. He had a Dr. visit Sunday during church, and is moving a bit better as of this morning. Pray also for Holly who is home caring for a sore throat.
Today, we are in the third chapter of the Gospel of Mark, verses 22-27 for our bible study. This passage helps us understand the way in which the religious leaders sought to discredit Jesus. It is interesting because they have been witnesses to the wonderful acts of healing that Jesus has been doing with the people, and in their hearts they must know that the preaching and teaching of Christ is the Truth of God for His children. Yet, they are prepared to move in the direction of the superstition, fear, and understanding of the day about the presence of evil and the satan. I know that Jesus speaks in terms using the word to describe the adversary of all of humankind. It is the evil that is present in God's creation which threatens to pull us away from Jesus, our Savior, and our Father in heaven. In Jesus time, all illness was thought to be the work of one's sin, and the evil one. No where in the Bible is there a reference to the incarnation of the "Devil". One might argue that by using the word satan for the adversary of all people, it could be interpolated to mean that the evil one has physical form. I usually give that way of seeing this little thought. It is obvious if God created good, (see the first chapter of Genesis) then He also is responsible for the balance of His creation, and moved to create evil as well, all so that His children would have the opportunity to have choice and freedom of the will to Choose the Light of Christ, or choose to turn to the evil that is always so present and tempting, ignoring God's offer of His amazing grace! Everyone, and I mean Everyone, is simultaneously a saint in Christ and sometimes chooses evil and sin instead. We are justified by Christ's acts of sacrifice for us all, and by Christ's gift of faith, we are able to accept His gift of life.
I suspect that in their blindness the officials were unable to experience the Light which Christ delivered to all of God's Creation. Few, including the Jews were able to understand the fullness and power of God's Love for them which Christ brought. Our Sunday's Gospel from Matthew was a parable that followed the history of God's relationship with His elect people. The parable of the marriage feast revealed just how far removed the original guests were. So much so that they ignored the call of the King to come to the Feast for the Bridegroom. The original guests were in such a bad place that others were invited to come from the varied places in which they lived. Today, we know the Church as the ones who responded to the charge to come and celebrate the King's Son, Jesus Christ. I don't mean to say that there are no problems in the Church today. After all, we are both saintly and sinful, but we are the ones who have answered the call to the Feast of Christ. God sent His Son to die for our sins because that sacrifice of Love was the only answer that could allow us to be in a right relationship with God. It is possible only because of the merit of the Son of God. In this passage from Matthew we come to know that the defeat of evil begins through Jesus Christ, and He is victorious in its defeat for the good of all of us.
In addition, we come to know that Jesus accepts the picture of human life as a struggle. This struggle is the sign that our Father in Heaven has come to be involved in the battle with evil which causes us all so much anguish in our lives. Today, that is really good for us to know! Christ was victorious. We are the ones who act like He wasn't. And so, by the power of Christ's Holy Spirit, the battle continues to be met every day on our behalf so that we might have life and live it in all of the abundance which God has always desired us to know. Jesus came in a time when disease ravaged people. He knew that, in a great part, the battle with evil was to be fought by bringing healing to thousands. If you are a believer today, like me, then we are together healed in the battle between the Good Grace of God and the evil which attempts to act like it still has a chance to find the victory. Today, doctors, clergy, and we ourselves continue to share in the battle of healing others. To lose that battle means death, but for we who come through Jesus to know the power of God's Grace, death becomes the gate to the new life which Christ has given us, instead of an end in eternal darkness and separation from God's presence and Grace.
Tomorrow we will continue in chapter three with verses 28-30, which contains the "unforgiveable sin". Is there one? We will talk more tomorrow.
In Christ's love for all that is right and good and just,
Pastor Kim Taylor.