Pastor's Ponderings: Meandering through Mark 3:7-12 bible study (September 26, 2023)
Updated: Oct 4
Blessings and Peace be with you in the Name, and by the Power, of our Lord Jesus Christ!
I am so thankful for your joining me in these short daily studies of the Gospel of Mark. I have intentionally kept them short enough so that ten or fifteen minutes is plenty for a first read. I encourage you to take the time to consider how each of these passages that we are studying speaks to your heart for what it means to be a follower of the only Begotten Son of God. Today we will talk about the term "son of God " and how it fits into "demons", or those who are convinced that they are possessed with "demons" and how they respond to the presence of Jesus and His healings.
Today, please keep the United States Government in your prayers as they work to prevent a shutdown which will ultimately affect the lives of government employees, contractors, National Parks, and even the safety of our nation when the military loses its pay. Whether we support more stringent spending, or moving forward in spite of the cost, we all know that creating a national crisis of confidence is not good for our nation, its citizens, or her place in the world. Please pray too for Georgia who suffered a seizure on her way home on her school bus yesterday. Continue prayers for John, Sarah, and Barrett as John works to balance his emotional life, and the family seeks to help him build a more stable sense for himself.
In our bible study passage for today in Mark chapter 3, we find Jesus leaving the synagogue and heading out to the shore of Galilee. He has not fled the synagogue, or escaped for fear, but because He has so much more to teach and do before He heads to Jerusalem and the Cross. However once Jesus moves out to the shoreline of Galilee, He is faced with the new reality that people have already heard of His presence, and the miracles which he has been doing as He has healed those who have come to Him. This is really an amazing time for Jesus. People are literally coming from near and from very far to him, many have journeys of days and weeks to arrive and find Jesus. Many came from 100 miles away in Jerusalem. Others came from Idumaea, and the area of Edom between Palestine and Arabia. They came from the east side of Jordan, and from Phoenicia, a foreign nation where the cities of Tyre and Sidon are northwest of Galilee. These varied peoples came in masses, crowding to see Jesus, rushing on Him to touch Him, or seeking to have Him touch them for healing. Huge groups of people like this can, and often do, become aggressive to achieve their goal of getting to Jesus. He has his disciples prepare a boat a short distance away offshore, so that he can move to safety if His life is endangered. It is a picture which we have witnessed at world class soccer matches, or rock concerts, where people are sometimes crushed as others move over them to get to the event. In the midst of these masses of people, Jesus is faced with another issue.
When Jesus heals those who are "possessed" he is called the son of God. Whether we believe that these people were possessed by demons is not the issue here. Yes, we certainly can say that there may seem to be people who are so enmeshed in evil that for all practical purposes they live as though it is demons moving their every choice. Or perhaps you are one who believes that evil is a presence seeking to invade the lives of people. Whatever the case - at their healing they speak the words identifying Jesus as "son of God". This phrase has a long-standing presence in the Old Testament. The angels are named the sons of God. (Genesis 6:2) Job 1:6, indicating the angels came as the sons of God to present themselves to the LORD. The nation of Israel is called the son of God. God called His son out of Egypt. (Hosea 2:1) God says that Israel is His son, my first born. (Exodus 4:22)
The king of the nation is also named the son of God. (II Samuel 7) in which God promises the king, "I will be his father, and he will be my son". In the intertestamental books, those written but not considered canon, (i.e., the books widely accepted as authoritatively presenting God's Word and Will for His children) the good man is the son of God. So, we see in Mark that people are widely familiar with speaking this claim on a person's life, a person who is especially close to God. In the New Testament Paul names Timothy as his son, or in I Peter 5:13 Peter calls Mark his son. So why does Jesus so sternly forbid the speaking of this phrase / name for Him?
Jesus reason for strictly forbidding the speaking of this phrase is that His knowledge that He is the Messiah of God is very different from the idea the people have about that future king of their nation. In the new messianic king, all the enemies of the people would be militarily defeated, and the nation itself would prosper greatly. Jesus instead saw His Messiahship as the greatest opportunity for service, of sacrifice, of Love, on His way to the Cross. If word got out that the Messiah had arrived, it would have meant chaos and pretty much the end of His ministry of teaching and healing. Those in power would have immediately sought to "take Him out". Jesus needed time to help people understand that they needed to see the Messiah as God's gift of love for all people. What on the surface might seem simple, was for Christ a complicated journey of balance and confrontation, sharing God's Truth of the Love given in the fullness of God's Grace for all people.
Next week we will study Mark on Monday and Tuesday, and on Thursday I will introduce the study of Ezra in the Old Testament.
In the Love of Christ, Pastor Kim Taylor