Saturday, June 2, 2018

Year 8, Day 153: Mark 6

Theological Commentary: Click Here

Mark 6 contains several big name Gospel stories.  We get the feeding of the 5,000.  We get Jesus walking on water.  We get Jesus’ rejection in His hometown.  We get the sending out of the disciples on their own mission.  Of course, we also get the death of John the Baptizer.

Instead of going story by story, I’m going to spend the time today looking at the big picture.  We start with the rejection of Jesus.  People in Nazareth, where Jesus was raised, have trouble seeing Jesus for who He is.  All they can see is the young boy that grew up among them.  There’s a lesson here.  Our past can hinder our mission.  How we behaved – even decades ago – can make it hard for people to see God within us.  That’s just human nature, and it affects Jesus just as much as anyone else.

From the big picture perspective, though, look how Jesus responds!  Jesus sends out the twelve. When Jesus’ ministry in an area is hindered, Jesus sends out people who won’t necessarily be hindered.  As Jesus goes into the surrounding villages, he lets His disciples do the talking, the working, and the discipling.  This is a tactical move on Jesus’ behalf.

Continue to look at the big picture.  The other thing going on in this chapter is the arrest and death of John the Baptizer.  John’s primary mission was to call people into repentance and then point them to Jesus as a means of their salvation.  If you look at what the Bible says that Jesus’ disciples did, they called people to repentance and then pointed to Jesus.  When Jesus sends the disciples out, He’s thinking big picture.  Someone is going to need to take John’s place in the declaration of our need for repentance.

This brings us to the last two stories.  Jesus miraculously feeds the multitude and then walks on water.  Although both of these stories have incredible depth in what they can teach us, continue to look at them from the big picture.  Jesus has just sent His disciples out to do mission and from other Gospel accounts we hear that they were reasonably successful.  In these stories, though, they stumble.  They don’t think Jesus can miraculously feed the crowd.  They don’t believe it is Jesus when they see someone walking on water.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d have logically made those same two errors.  I’m not discrediting the disciples, I’m simply reminding myself that they are human like me.

What’s neat about these stories is that in the big picture, Jesus knows their weaknesses.  Jesus knows that they aren’t perfect.  He knows that their eyes and brains are struggling to see the world through the lens of faith.  Yet, Jesus still sent them out!  Jesus still uses them to proclaim God’s message.  Jesus still uses them to distribute the bread and fish.  The big picture of this whole chapter is how God continues to work when human failings make their presence known.