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  • Writer's pictureRev. Kim Taylor

Pastor's Ponderings: Meandering through Mark 8:1-13 bible study (February 26, 2024)

February 26, 2024:  Monday morning Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark 8:1-13

Today give thanks to God for warm temps and sprinkles of rain with mostly clouded skies.  What a wonderful gift God's creation is for us all.  Today I am going to move into the Bible Study quickly.  I am hoping to cover 8:1-10 and more if there is time and space for that today.  Please remember that this coming Sunday is Gospel Music Sunday, and we also have a carry-in meal after church service.  The theme of the meal this coming week is "food".  There are also mid-week services on Wednesdays at Noon.  The services are about 40 minutes long and will make it possible for you to get back to work or other appointments in the afternoon on time.  In April Gospel Music Sunday will be on the 14th so that our group has an opportunity to practice, since their normal rehearsal would be on Easter Sunday.  On Easter, worship will be at 10AM, and will be preceded by the Easter carry-in brunch.  Beverages will be provided, so bring your brunch items for eating at 8:30AM.  We no longer have cooking facilities, other than plenty of outlets for slow cookers, or electric fry pans.  We can keep your food warm in the food warmer in the kitchen.

A picture of an open bible with a notepad and pen with the words Meet us online for our virtual bible study
Meet us online for our virtual bible study

The feeding of the 4000 in Mark eight is a familiar story.  This miracle of Christ's this time, uses the food belonging to the disciples.  First of all, we come to understand quickly that Christ is very passionate about these people who have spent the day listening.  It is here that once again we see the very generous love which Christ has for these people who have spent the day. and it is even more amazing because this is not Israel.  This story takes place in the area of the Decapolis.  We might know this area by another name.  It is the Gerasene community, where the cemetery demoniac was healed.  So, those who gathered were, in all likelihood, Gentiles.  Perhaps they came because of that healing, and the witness of the healed man who had been running naked through the burial site, whose strength made it impossible for people to restrain him.  That man had the strength of Legion, so his radical change and his words about Jesus would draw some people to Christ.  The other part of this passage is the challenge that Jesus issues to the disciples.  They say that they have nowhere near enough to feed this number of people, and where would they get it anyway?  This location is in the desert.  There are few growing foods in this area, and any other ready supply of food would take hours to procure, if it was even available.  The language gives us some clues about this lesson and learning with which Jesus challenged the disciples.  The word for the basket in which the disciples carried their food was Kophinos, which was a small side shoulder bag not as large as a backpack.  However, when the left-over loaves and fish are collected, they are placed in baskets named sphuris.  This is a very large basket.  This is the word used for the basked in which Paul was let down over a wall.  It was big enough to hold a man!  It is an amazing example for the disciples, and us, about the bounty of God's blessings when we are compassionate with how we use our time, talent, and resources in the Kingdom work to which we are all called.  This is also a sign of the success of Christ's ministry and presence outside the borders of Israel.  It is the Gospel of Luke who makes this point of Christ's success outside of His own homeland. 

Mark 8:11-13 - In this passage we find the Pharisees looking for some sign that Jesus really was the Messiah.  They expected that if He could divide the Sea of Galilee in two, they would all know for certain about this man.  Ironic, isn't it?   He has just fed 4000 people across the border in the area of Decapolis.  The issue for the Pharisees was that they would never go there to talk to the people, to do so would make them unclean by Jewish "law".  They would not have even been willing to speak to a Samaritan or a person from the Decapolis.  However, that means they would rarely find themselves in those circumstances.  Of course, to never find such a person who could meet the measure of a really huge miracle, helped to keep them connected to the people of Israel who were looking for, but never finding any example of one of those major miracles of power.  The Jews looked for major miracles because they had been taught that was the only way to identify this new King.  Jesus says that no such sign will be given to these people.  The other inference is that if Jesus' miracles were not great enough to convince the religious authorities. He was only an itinerant troublemaker. Often Christ's teaching and healings were faced with being named heretic, so fear of being excluded from their communities kept His own people away.  Jesus' own people could not see who he was.  They are the blind spiritually.  They were unable to claim Him as Messiah, and only came close on the day that we call Palm Sunday in the Church Year, and all of that was likely part of the group mentality that often still happens.  But in reality, the glory and power of God is around us at every turn in our lives, the mountains' beauty, in the nature of this planet, The oceans of water, the abundance of edible plants, and so much more.  The God of all creation loves each of us helping us to meet Him through faith in His Son Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

I will be back with you tomorrow morning as we continue on in Mark 8.

With love in Christ, Pastor Kim

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