Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Mark 6:14-29 (updated for 2015)
2 Samuel 11:26 - 12:13a // Psalm 51:1-12
John 6:35, 41-51
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
χειρων (from χειρ, meaning "hand", 6:2,5) Jesus does not just preach to people, he touches their lives. Even the disciples who go out proclaiming Christ use oil, suggesting they too touched people! The church is a mouth-house of the word, indeed, but proclamation is not separate from getting our hands dirty!
A trifecta of words Mark words uses to show just how bad it was for Jesus:
εσκανδαλιζοντο (from σκανδαλιζω, meaning, "to take offense", 6:3): The word comes into English as scandalized; the world was scandalized by the teachings of Jesus! Our goal is not to make the teachings of Jesus inoffensive to the world!
ελεγεν (imperfect of λεγω, 6:4) Jesus is repeatedly saying he has no honor! The imperfect tense means on-going action; Jesus did not say once, but continually was telling them he had no honor.
εθαυμαζεν...απιστιαν (amaze (θαυμαζω) and unbelief (απιστια), 6:6); In spite of the fact that the crowd is amazed at Jesus' teaching, they still are reluctant to believe.
In short, the environment in which Jesus sends out his disciples is one where
- Jesus teaching is offense, in spite of wisdom (σοφια, 6:2) and miracles!
- Jesus repeatedly acknowledges the difficulty he is facing
- Jesus is not recognized as Lord and Savior
εδυνατο...δυναμιν (both from the word power/ability, ie, dynamite; as a plural noun meaning miracles, 6:5) The word for "able" as in "able to cure them" is "dyna-mai" which in noun form is "dynamis," or power comes from. For those preaching the 2nd Corinthians Text, this is the same power that Paul talks about.
μαρτυριον (witness, 6:11) The testimony we are to offer is not necessary against them; the Greek is ambigious. It could actually be as witness to or for them. Regardless, we are not supposed to exhaust our resources fighting those who do not accept Jesus.
εθεραπευον (from θεραπευω, to heal, 6.5 and 6.13) I wrote about this word in a previous blog post:
Basically, Jesus turns the Bible upside-down by actually doing the service toward people, something that did not happen in the Old Testament. Furthermore, he sends out his people into the world to serve (therapy) the world!
Thursday, June 25, 2015
συνηχθη (aorist passive from of συναγω, meaning "gather", 5:21). This verb has a clear English cognate: Synagogue, where folks were gathered. In this case we have two synagogues -- the unofficial gathering (συνηχθη) around Jesus and the synagogue (συναγωγος). Mark lets us know that the real power is in the gathering around Jesus.
σωθη (aorist passive subjunctive of σωζω, meaning "save"; 5:23). In American Christianity, the word save almost always connotes a future state, often hell, from which one is "saved." In this case, the word σωθη is best translated "heal", as it can in Greek. A few points here:
- In the Bible, saving and healing are neither distant linguistically nor conceptually.
- Salvation grows out of faith. In both stories, faith is needed. In the second story, Jesus supplies the faith when we have lost it.
- Salvation is necessary for living. It proceeds it grammatically vs 23 and in our lives!
- Salvation brings new life. In both stories, Jesus salvation brings NEW life.
- Salvation does not simply come from the spoken word. In the later case, Jesus speaks and the girl arises. But in the first case, simply the touch of Jesus heals the woman. Jesus is the incarnate word -- when we think about how to heal people, it it not only our words, but also our touch.
- Saving is also for this life; I do not mean to juxtapose the importance of ultimate salvation against earthly in-breakings of the Kingdom of God. They are related. We can embrace the work of our savior in this life time. The NET Bible writes, "This should not be understood as an expression for full salvation in the immediate context; it refers only to the woman’s healing." Again, there is a real discomfort among Christians about talking about the work of Jesus Christ outside of life after death.
To put it another way, I am becoming more convinced that when people show up at church on a Sunday, they are dying. One could argue, they are already dead. They need to be saved, that is, encounter the living Christ and hear his word, in order to live.
ελεγεν (imperfect of λεγω, meaning "say", 5:28) The woman is repeatedly saying to herself -- not once -- that if she touches him, she will be healed.
μαστιγος ("whip" or "illness", 5:29) The word for "disease" here comes from the word for whip; as in Jesus was whipped.
εξ αυτου ("of him", 5:30). Here I beg to differ with the translation, "The power went out from him." The Greek here does not say this. It reads "The from him (εξ αυτου) power went him." The positioning of "of him" means that it modifies the noun (power) not the verb (going-out). The translators are lumping this preposition in with the verb and missing the connection between Jesus and the power. Furthermore, this "of/from him" (εξ αυτου) is kind of interesting...the power that arises from him? Again, the preposition εκ/εξ can describe all sorts of relationships that encompass movement from/out of/originating in. The power originating in him? The power arising out of him? The power belonging to him? Regardless, the power is connected to Jesus, not simply in the air!
"Get up". In vss 41 and 42, two words are used to describe the young girl getting up: either εγειρω in vs. 41 or ανεστη in vs. 42. Both are words used for resurrection in the New Testament; the reaction, εκστασει (if you sound it out in English, ecstasy!), is that of the women at the tomb in Mark 16.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
When it comes to preaching this text, it could be interesting to end the sermon with the same question: "Who then is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?" We preachers tend to tie our sermons off with pretty bows and end with "amen" or some Pauline phrase, but Mark's Gospel gives us a variety of texts where the lack of conclusion opens us up to the possibility of what God is doing in the "storms" of the world and in our lives.
Rob's response to Jim's post:
In Jim's post, he put something in parenthesis that I wanted to unpack. He wrote, "The Greek for awake is actually 'arose'." Indeed, the word here is εγειρω, which also means raised up or even resurrected. Once again, a subtle foreshadowing of the unfolding mystery in Mark's Gospel. In this passage of Jesus calming the storm, the word μεγας (mega, meaning big) shows up three times: a BIG storm; a BIG calm and a BIG fear. When Jesus power is revealed, it brings both calm and fear, an ironic, if not dialectical combination of emotions. Perhaps the bigger the demonstration, the bigger the fear! This also points to the resurrection in Mark's Gospel, when the full revelation of Jesus power is accompanied by great calm in the tomb but also also fear in the first witnesses (φοβεω, Mark 16.8).
One other little grammar point on fear:
Cognate Accusative: This fancy term is when the verb and object both are from the same word, like "I rode a ride." It is considered bad English, but is quite common in Hebrew and in NT Greek. In this case, Mark says they "feared a big fear" (εφοβηθησαν φοβον) The weird conjugation of an aorist passive 3rd person plural makes this tough to see. But it is really simple: They feared a big fear!
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
I suggest three possible directions for a sermon:
1) Reflection on church growth and how a congregation can open themselves to this
2) Reflection on daily dying and rising and what growth looks like in a Lutheran context
3) Reflection on Christ as the mustard seed
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
1) Jesus Baptism
The basic point we wanted to get across to kids was that Jesus was baptized. We had some coloring sheets, mazes and a YouTube video we showed. I give this an A/A- for effectiveness.
I was anticipating 10 kids and 30 showed up so I had to divide them into groups. It was great to have parental help.
2) Following Jesus
This picture here shows one of a three groups that did this. We ended up with a sheet 100 feet long that made a great children's sermon!
The other thing we did was have kids color in a big poster that said "Come Follow Me." This was a great filler of time when the activities went to quick/slow.
I give this an A+
3) Forgiveness of sins
4) Adoption as child of God
This was great overall and the picture I have here is absurdly cute.
5) Baptism as Body of Christ; Communion of Saints
I think the craft was super cool. But it proved too hard for many kids. I think had I had a smaller crowd, I could have worked with the kids more; it was not at the "give them the supplies and model and let them figure it out" kind of thing.
There would be a way to simplify this in terms of multiple hearts; as it was, kids used lots of tape to make something that looked a bit like what I intended.