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  • Writer's pictureRev. Kim Taylor

Pastor's Ponderings: Meandering through Mark 7:31-37 bible study (February 20, 2024)

February 20, 2024:  Tuesday morning Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark 7:31-37

Blessings and Peace to you all on this beautiful late February Day.  I am going to keep the study fairly short today, covering only a few verses in chapter 7 of Mark.  I am home suffering with the viral sinus infection that has been moving through our family and through our children's school too.  I am not sleeping well at night, so after about six days of little sleep, I am pretty worn out, and trying to work from home, and to catch a few extended naps.  I would appreciate your prayers for this whole virus thing to get over, so that I can get back to my regular office time, and so that I feel a lot better during worship times as well.

a colorful picture stating a welcome. My Home is your home
Welcome! My home is your home!

Today I will begin with a question.  Have you ever traveled to a new community, only to find that the people there were especially friendly and hospitable?  We had a trip like that to Houston, TX in 1976.  I really wasn't expecting much from the people in Texas.  Maybe those of us from up North have a bit too high an opinion of ourselves and our own area's hospitality,  but we were amazed at the warmth and caring of nearly everyone we met, from our visit to an historic battle ship moored at a seafood restaurant, to the NASA tour, to the little shop named "Mi Casa es su Casa" (My House is your house) where we purchased our onyx chess set, to Galveston were we loaded our cooler with fresh caught shrimp to take home with us to Michigan.  We had a wonderful time and found the warmth of the people of Texas a wonderful, unexpected gift.  I hope that this, in some small way gets us to thinking about Christ's journey into what had been Phoenicia/Roman territory, and how all of it ended up, which we are going to learn about in our passage for today.

In our passage today, Jesus and the disciples leave Tyre, and pass through Sidon on their way back to the territory of Galilee and Israel. It is an interesting journey because Jesus is ultimately heading south to get to Galilee, but instead turns north and heads to Sidon.  It would seem that His GPS may be a bit out of kilter.  However, there is a good reason for this journey, which now appears to have been about eight months long.  So, while Galilee and Jerusalem are heating up waiting for this upstart of a teacher and healer to come back, Jesus and His disciples have an extended opportunity to spend time in a rather peaceful non-threatening setting.  It was a good time for long talks with those who would be responsible for the new Church with which Christ would gift the world, and for how to deal with all of the challenges which lay ahead for them.  In fact, Peter's first acknowledgement that Jesus is the Christ of God, comes during this period, and doesn't show up in Mark until 8:27-29.  So here we are.  Some really important understandings about Jesus needed to have an opportunity to be revealed in a time and place where upheaval wasn't around every corner of the day.  The calm and peace must have been an amazing break from all of the tensions that were building at home.

When Jesus arrives in the area of Galilee and the Decapolis (scholars do not seem to know what these ten cities were, and cannot name them yet), he is encountered by a group of people who bring to Him the man who is deaf and who has some major kind of speech impediment.  Jesus receives this man with kindness and a sense of consideration for his circumstance.  Jesus takes him aside to receive the gift of healing that is going to be his, doing it in private, out of the sight of the people.  The motions of Christ in this healing seem a bit strange, but remember He is healing a man who may not understand right away what is happening to him.  The saliva that Jesus uses in this healing is a part of what this man would know.  Saliva was considered too often to be a powerful change agent for healing.  Acting demonstrably, Jesus proceeds to heal the man.  Please take special note of how Jesus did not consider this man as just another special case for healing but recognized the man's individuality as the healing process unfolded.  When the healing was completed, Jesus implored the man to not share what had happened.  How does that happen when the healed person is no longer deaf or speech impaired?  Needless to say, the news spread around the area again, and people said that Jesus had done all things well.  This saying is reminiscent of creation itself, and God's seeing that it was all good.  Jesus was making a new creation with the healing of the souls of people, so that they too might once again be exactly as God had created them to be through the merit of the Savior.  In the very same way, you and I are new creations through Jesus Christ too.  Jesus came to restore the order which had been broken by sin in the Garden of Eden.  In each of our lives, we are now the restored order of creation through the Savior.

This week I will be taking Thursday and Friday off for Rodeo Break with my children.  There will be no Thursday Bible study on Ezra this week.  Please remember that we are in the season of Lent, which means that we have noon worship available at Church, and of course, our Sunday worship at 10AM.

In Christ's Love, Pastor Kim

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