Monday morning Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark 4:33-41
Grace and Peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I hope that your weekend over Thanksgiving was special for you and your family and/or friends. Here at our home, we hosted our family and their friends, 18 in total. I am the official turkey person at our home, so I was up at 4AM to prepare, stuff, and get the turkey ready to be in the oven no later 5:45AM. It turned out to be one of the best turkeys which any of us have ever had. I think that the majority of the praise for that goes to God and the farmers who raised the turkey that we used. I really did nothing extraordinary at all, except give it an extra hour and thirty minutes longer to cook than the directions called for.
If you remember, I was to get my immunizations last week. I went in first thing last Monday morning to get my flu and covid shots. I was hoping to be feeling OK Tuesday morning to do the next portion of our study on Mark, which I did instead on Wednesday.
I have a family prayer request today. My brother Rick and his wife Connie are in need of prayers for healing and freedom from chronic pain. Please also pray for Holly who after a long intestinal illness has now tested positive for covid and developed pneumonia. Pray for healing and light symptoms for her.
(Now, a note about why this study is so late getting to your inbox. It is a bit abbreviated because of a malfunction of my computer when I hit send. Not only was it NOT sent last Monday, but it cut off a portion of the study. I found out this week that it had not really gone out, and had somehow gotten shifted to my draft documents, but only a part of it was saved there.)
In verses 33 and 34, we have some words from Mark about how Jesus approached his preaching and teaching. He always made certain that he used stories/parables to address and offer theological clarity to all who heard Him speak. He spoke in ways that people could really understand, where their minds were able to clearly comprehend the point, or at least be challenged with the simplicity of the parable to understand it in greater depth, which could help them arrive at the important facts of their relationship with God's Reign and Kingdom Work. Every really good preacher and teacher in the Church speaks in a way that helps people start where they are in their thinking, and pulls, or pushes them to see with greater clarity the whole point of the passages to which the teaching and preaching are speaking. Often it is simple examples, for Jesus that meant often speaking about planting and harvesting in the agrarian culture in which He found Himself. I remember on a Sunday many years ago choosing to bring an example of what it means to allow Christ to be our Head, Master, and King, and also how hard it could be to allow that to happen. I had a good friend who had a tandem bicycle. I brought it in to the church in Ann Arbor, set it up in the Altar area next to the pulpit, and used it as the primary example of the Gospel reading for the day about allowing Christ to always be in the lead in our lives. I also explained how difficult it was for me to be the rider who sat in the rear pedaling along, and leaning on the guide of the one in the front who was steering the bike and making decisions about direction. In Ann Arbor, there were many bike riders just like here in Tucson. The point was clear, because often we are accustomed to being the ones in the lead, and not the ones in the back. It is not always easy, and sometimes it is just plain difficult to allow Jesus to always lead our lives. With practice we can all get better at it though. One of the things which strikes us about the need for Jesus to take the disciples aside to explain the parables to them, is that we have to wonder how it was that they were unable to comprehend such clear points that were revealed by these stories. Perhaps it was the intent of Christ that their minds were did not clearly understand, giving Him an opportunity to speak to them privately in greater detail, adding in many more theological constructs which they would most certainly need after His crucifixion. Or... perhaps these men and women who followed Jesus had little experience learning in settings where the speaker used stories to convey an important Truth. At any rate, we must know that another important learning here for us is that Jesus was most patient. This is key to how we reach out to others with the Truths of God which Christ revealed. Everyone starts where they are, and if there is little skill for this in their lives, patience is key to their understanding and growing into greater comprehension.
Thank you so much for your patience with this missing section. It is now the first week of Advent in the new church year. I invite you to join Melody and Me this coming Sunday for a cake reception after church celebrating our 52nd wedding anniversary. God Bless you and keep you every day.
In Christ, Pastor Kim