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  • Writer's pictureRev. Kim Taylor

Pastor's Ponderings: Meandering through Mark 9:9-13 bible study (April 15, 2024)

April 15, 2024:  Monday Morning Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark 9:9-13

Good morning, and continuing Easter Blessings!

This has been a difficult week. I suspect that you have had similar ones in your life too. I must say that over the years that I have served at American, my ministry has not usually been difficult and emotionally tough as I have been blessed to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord of All Things. This past week we had a parent of members become one of God's triumphant Saints. She was an integral part of this family's daily life, and though she had health issues for many years, whenever she came to worship, she always lit up the "room" where she was with a gracious smile and kind words. Other members to whom my family and the entire congregation have become close have a situation that has no closure for them at this time. Their family member hiked into the desert and has not come back since she left. Search teams of people, dogs, and by air have been unable to find her, and family is consumed with placing posters around the city, at grocery stores, homeless encampments, and other places where she may have shown up after her disappearance. We have surrounded them with love and prayers, with members searching too. We give thanks for Martha's gentle passing to be with the Lord, and pray for her family, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to know God's love and hope through Christ's Easter Resurrection and promise for all who believe. We pray for Katie's family in this time of uncertainty and any possible closure. May the God of all things surround Katie and them with His comfort and Love as we continue to pray for Katie's safety with hope in our Lord.

a formal looking open book with the words Gospel Mark
Gospel of Mark

Thanks for joining me today in our continuing study of Mark. Today we come to the aftereffects of being on the Mount of Transfigurations, and then returning back to what the disciples believe will be a massive change. We must remember that even though Jesus has been talking to the disciples about what is coming for him, they heard on the Mount that Jesus was coming with power and might. This nearly matched the historic beliefs about the Messiah coming to restore the promised land to its own fullness of power and rule over the kingdoms of their world. But they have also heard that the Messiah must suffer and die. (and be resurrected, which they do not understand) So what they have heard on the Mount is at the same time, exciting, and difficult. If they tell anyone, which Jesus has commanded them not to do, and that includes the other disciples, it will create difficulties which will cause people to try to force Christ into situations which could cause such fear and upheaval that Christ might never be able to take that journey to the cross.  What the disciples know is that before that major event is to take place that Elijah must return, and Jesus makes it clear to them that he has already returned, and in fact, has just done so on the Mount. The three who were with Jesus were looking for Elijah's return to stand in the midst of the community of Jews, to prophecy, and lead the people, but in reality, his return was for the benefit of Jesus. Rabbinic tradition taught the Jews that when Elijah came, he would precede the Messiah by three days, speaking to the world day one from the mountains of Israel lamenting the desolation of the land, after which he would cry "Peace Comes to the World". On the second day Elijah would cry out "Good Comes to the World". On the third day Elijah would cry out "Jeshuah (that is salvation) comes to the world". He would come to settle and restore all things from family issues, to national conflicts, to the restoration of right worship.  He would bring those wrongfully sent away, and send away those who had wrongfully stayed, removing them from Israel once and for all. Jesus tries to clarify the return of Elijah saying that he has already come, and the people have been unresponsive to him, and in fact they killed him. We don't have to think very long to remember who was the one to whom the people flocked for the repentance of sin, and who then was imprisoned and murdered on a sexual temptation of the king.  Yes, Jesus was talking about John the Baptist. If you are saying right now, "that's not fair”, he came disguised as a different person", then we all ought to know that we should expect something similar to happen when the Savior returns.  How will we know, and what should we do? We should be working every day to live by the Great Commandment. Loving God more than anything else, and to love one another as we love ourselves, and at the same time realizing that is our thanksgiving to God for the gift of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ! The disciples wanted only to believe what was known about the Messiah by faulty religious teaching and their own desire to have things the way that they were comfortable with them, and because of that, what Christ told them and what they had seen on the Mount were beyond their understanding. My question is, are we living as Christians today, and doing what the disciples did? We should never be surprised that God has done a brand-new thing for the world through His Only Begotten Son, the Light of the world. He has been raised from the dead, and has defeated our last enemy, death! No wonder you and I say on Easter, "Christ has Risen! He has Risen Indeed!

In Christ, Pastor Kim

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