Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mark, Day 3 Readings

Faith's Challenges & Jesus' Authority  

Today's first reading is the pivot between the stories of healings, exorcisms, and teachings, and the Passion narrative of Jesus' final days.  While it involves teaching, it has a darker tone, as Jesus speaks about the cost of being a faithful disciples.  Sometimes, it requires leaving wealth, family, and status; sometimes, as it will for him, it requires a willingness to face punishment and death.

The rewards of this sacrificial faith are not what people generally expect, either.  Jesus warns James and John that their willingness to endure hard times will not provide them greater status in heaven -- ultimately, Jesus reminds them again, faith is not about social status.  Instead -- and this is probably why Mark highlights another of Jesus' miracles at this point -- it is about healing.

Read Mark 10:17-52  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

The second reading presents the dramatic beginning of Jesus' final week on earth.  Having traveled throughout the surrounding area for his ministry, Jesus now finally arrives in the city of Jerusalem.  He travels to the Temple and immediately demonstrates his opposition to the religious powers that be by interrupting normal Temple operations -- accusing people of being more interested in money, than in faith and prayer.  This raises a question about Jesus' authority to make such a charge.  While Jesus does not directly answer that question from the chief priest -- probably knowing that the chief priest would not believe him -- there are other proofs of that Jesus does have such authority, including the curious cursing of the fig tree.

Read Mark 11:1-33  (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 8-10 today.