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  • Writer's pictureRev. Kim Taylor

Pastor's Ponderings: Meandering through Mark 8:14-21 bible study (February 27, 2024)

February 27, 2024:  Tuesday morning Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark 8:14-21

Blessings and Peace be with you today in the Name, and by the Power, of God's Grace in Jesus Christ.

Today please offer prayers that there will indeed be a meaningful cease-fire between Israel and the Gaza Strip, and that all hostages will be released to return home.  That includes all of the prisoners that Israel holds too.  This insanity between these peoples has been the cause of incredible destruction and death.  Instead of this whole area being the Holy Land, it has become an unholy place filled with hatred and chaos.  As we look at our study for today, we can, perhaps, come to see that there is a loss of understanding about the nature of one another's religions.  Both Judaism and the Moslem faith cry out for peace and harmony, but the understanding of the other seems to be too difficult for either side to grasp, especially when overwhelming self-concern becomes the overarching way of thinking for both communities.

A mobile smart phone with earbuds, a bible, and a cup of coffee with the words Online Bible Study
Online Bible Study

Mark 8:14-21 – Remembering that Jesus has just, once again, fed thousands of people with a miracle of concern and generosity for those gathered who needed food.  As we get into today's passage, we discover that the disciples, it would appear. are faced with worrying about where their next meal will come from.  All the time that they are expressing their concern Jesus is attempting to get them to understand about the issues which they will all face with the Romans and the Pharisees.  It is not a harsh warning to the disciples from Jesus, after all these are the grown men (and perhaps some women) that Jesus has called in love to be His own leaders into the future of the Church.  According to Mark these people who Jesus loves, are often kind of blank in remembering what is really important rather than complaining about being hungry during their boat crossing of Galilee.  I can see Jesus shaking His head as he, once again, tries to help them understand the importance of focusing on what is coming for them, though at this point in Mark Jesus is not yet ready to reveal how His end will come.  Though He may be frustrated, He will choose instead to, once again, try to get them to think about more important things than being hungry.  In this passage there is this chasm between Divine thought, and the human self-concern.  Though both will ultimately blend together, at this point, the disciples seem unable to move in the direction of how they will serve others in the future when Christ is gone.  (The word leaven here holds a deeper meaning as well.  It is that bit of sourdough, which is stored, and then later can be combined with the dough for baking, and it will cause the new bread to rise.  Because leaven can spoil, it is viewed by the Jews as evil and unclean.  So, the meaning of leaven used to describe the other religious leaders and Herod, is meant to indicate the evil that resides in their lives.  They could indeed be "bread" to feed the world, but they are way too self-concerned.)

There may well be a reason for Jesus to talk about the Pharisees and Herod as being similarly evil.  Both are caught up in their drive to maintain their positions and power.  They both are expecting the coming Messiah to yield great power to overcome their worldly enemies, and to hold their places of authority.  Here Jesus is trying to get the disciples to see that when they come to see Him as the Anointed One of God, they should not get caught up in the temptation of acquiring that power for themselves!  We all know in today's world those clergy who are so determined to become the highest leaders of the faith, or pastor of the largest congregation, or the place with the best programs and performance attraction, instead of being filled only, and this is everything, with the joy of the Savior, and the hope which he means the clergy to bring to the world.  We have all seen too much of the other side of this.  All too often that clergy move every 3 or 4 years is just one more part of that ascending the latter of success, when real success is simply contained in the proclamation of God's Gospel for the world.  This is what Jesus wants the disciples to know, but instead they are hungry to feed their bellies.  We all need to remember that the Bread of Life always comes from God, who provides for, and fills the greatest needs in life with His Love through Jesus Christ.  With God's gift of faith in Christ in our lives, we can face any challenge that life throws at us and find strength in our Lord Jesus Christ to know comfort and peace.

With the Love of Christ, Pastor Kim

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