After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
~ Mark 1:14—20
“After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.” Strange that these two things are together: John being put into prison and Jesus preaching the good news. John, Jesus’ cousin, came out of the desert wearing clothing made of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist. Continue reading When the Kingdom Is Hard to See→
The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”
They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”
Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
“Twelve,” they replied.
“And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
They answered, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
~ Mark 8:14-21
I love the book of Mark! I feel at home in the world it describes because the disciples don’t seem to see any better than I do. I find that reassuring. But, I’m not sure that most Christians are reassured by that. In fact, I was a little afraid to have people read the first two posts. They’re gonna think that I’m just not a real Christian, because if I were, I would see clearly. And when I say I’m a pastor they will probably think that I’m a liberal postmodern blind-leading-the-blind charlatan!
The picture of that man as he stood before Jesus—touched by the healer, obviously changed, but disappointed and still functionally blind—is a powerful image. I don’t know how long the period of “half-sight” was for the blind man. Perhaps only a few moments, for Jesus did touch the man again and give him full sight. But what if it had been a long time? What if it had lasted the rest of his life? Would he have taken his place among the villagers, learned to use his new “sight,” forgetting his disappointment; forgetting that he couldn’t see clearly? Would he have told and re-told the story of his healing? The townspeople would want to hear his story—his encounter with Jesus. Certainly, something had happened. The blind man hadn’t been able to see at all before. Even if he could only “half see” his life would be easier, richer, and fuller after.Continue reading The Blind Man Continued→
They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t go into the village.”
~ Mark 8:22-26
You are sitting listening to your friends talk excitedly. Jesus has walked into your town. You have heard the stories of what Jesus did in neighboring towns. In one he healed a deaf and dumb man. In another he healed a woman with a menstrual disorder—a nasty condition that no doctor could cure. And you have heard rumors that a little girl was brought back to life. “Certainly Jesus can heal you!” Continue reading The Blind Man→