Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Mark, Day 2 Readings

Helping Women & Seeing Jesus' True Identity  

Today's first reading is a great example of one of Mark's techniques in telling Jesus' story -- he records two related stories happening at the same time.  Here, a man comes to Jesus asking for him to heal his very sick young daughter.  While going with him, Jesus interacts with a crowd which includes a woman with years of menstrual bleeding, who reaches out to touch Jesus' cloak seeking healing.  Jesus speaks with her (and heals her), before continuing to the young girl's house (even after hearing that the girl had died).  Jesus brings the young girl back to life.  (Many people call this a "sandwich" story -- where Mark places one story in the middle of another story.)

In some ways, this overlapping of two stories heightens the urgency of Jesus' mission and ministry.  He has so much to do that he is often pulled in many directions at the same time.  (It also is a dramatic technique that is frequently used in editing TV shows and movies.)  However, these incidents are also important because they demonstrate one radical nature of Jesus' ministry -- he cared about women and girls; they were worth his time and his attention.  Even in a culture that didn't much care about sick women or little girls, Jesus did -- powerfully demonstrating that everyone has value.

Read Mark 5:21-43  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

The second reading is the heart of Mark's presentation of Jesus' true identity.  Here, before Jesus begins his final days in Jerusalem, there are some meaningful moments with the disciples.  They are asked who he is -- and Peter proclaims him to be the messiah.  Three disciples witness Jesus meeting with Elijah and Moses, while receiving God's stamp of authority (similar to the blessing at Jesus' baptism).  And they struggle to understand what awaits Jesus and his followers in trying to live out their faith in the days ahead -- difficulties that Jesus tries to explain and which are evident in the exorcism of the boy.

Read Mark 8:27-9:29  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

Reading the Bible in Its Entirety

If you are planning to read the Bible in its entirety, you should read Mark 5-7 today.