Monday, October 18, 2021

Mark 10:46-52

This passage occurs in both the Revised Common Lectionary Year B and the Narrative Lectionary Year B.  (Most recently Oct 24, 2021.)

Note on Reformation Day and this passage

This passage will sometimes occur on the same Sunday as Reformation Day, a day when Lutheran churches and others often use John 8 ((here is my commentary on this passage) .  Even when not on Reformation Day, it might make a very good text for a 2-3 series on the Reformation.  You have a man crying out for mercy (Luther's search); a religious crowd opposed to him (sinful self and world); a display of Jesus compassion; Jesus' Word giving life; Proclamation that faith saves; lastly, new life in following Christ.
To review:
Salvation, even new creation, by faith alone
The mercy of Christ
The sinfulness of the world, even in religious matters
The redeeming Word

Or John 8, with landmines of antisemitism.  You make the call...

Words I found interesting

οδος ("road" or "way", from οδος, vs. 46)  This word has layers of meanings.  It is one of those words that can simply mean "path for travel" but more abstractly "way"."  Early Christians were called followers of "The Way."  In Mark 8, 9, and 10, Jesus has been on the way.  This journey in Mark is about spiritual blindness and sight.  It begins with a blind man needing healing; the stories display how the disciples are blind to Jesus power; it ends with blind Bartimeaus receiving sight.  It points toward the reality that any talk about spiritual journey without struggle, sin and setback is nonsense!

Βαρτιμαιος ("Son of honor", 46) We don't know many names of those cured by Jesus, but this one has a name -- Son of honor.  In this case, the son of honor is banished by the crowd, mocked and insulted.  Perhaps this is foreshadowing of Jesus, the true son of Honor, being mocked by the crowd.  Furthermore, it is ironic that James and John, the sons of Zebedee, ask for power and get the cross.  This man calls out for mercy and gets resurrection.  "Afflict the comforted and comfort the afflicted"

εκπορευομενου ("go out", 46)  Jesus is heading out of town, but a call for mercy changes his plans.  When is the last time a call for mercy changed your plans?  Jesus seems always to find time for compassion.

ελεησον ("mercy", from ελεεω, 48)  A key feature of Martin Luther's journey was the search for mercy.  It certainly is what Christ has come to bring.  Is this what people hunger for today?  

κραζον ("cry", 48)  Also worth noting is that the man is crying (κραζον) out.  The verb is transliterated "crazied."  Also, the verb is in the imperfect tense, indicating this is an on-going action.  Mark is painting a vivid picture here of suffering and lament.

στας ("stand", 49)  For the first and only time in Mark's Gospel, Jesus stands still.  He takes a pause from the journey on the road to have compassion on this man.  The story pivots on Jesus' action here (you could even do a need chaistic structure within the story with this as the fulcrum).  It is worth remembering about this story and really the whole Reformation, that Jesus' love and compassion are at the center.

θαρσει ("take courage", 49)  This word can also mean "be audacious."  Christ is calling us to follow him, over and against the cries of the world.

εγειρε ("raise" or "resurrect", 49)  Jesus has been proclaiming his eventual resurrection.  Now the resurrection is happening -- the kingdom of God unfolding in our midst.  What makes it possible?  The voice of Jesus -- the word of God. 

αποβαλων (participle of απο-βαλλω, 50)  The man has to throw something away -- to take something off -- in order to follow Jesus.  What must we give up to follow Jesus?  There is a risk in following our Lord; a willingness to get it wrong!  This is something I am thinking about a lot as a middle aged man.  We get so comfortable and set in our ways, that we lose sight of the fact that Jesus calls us again and again to follow him, even when this means getting it wrong and taking risks.

ιματον ("garment", 50)  The word ιματον will come up again the rest of Mark's Gospel.  The people will again take off their cloaks/coats for Jesus in his triumphal entry/Palm procession (next chapter); then they will put a pretend garment on Jesus to mock him; and they will cast lots for his garment.  You could say that Blind Bartimeaus is the first one to celebrate Palm Sunday :-)

αναπηδησας ("jump up", 50)  The man jumps up.  Mark, again, is creating is a vivid scene full of motion.  What is fascinating to consider is that man who jumps up and is walking is still blind.  Faith may lead to sight, but sometimes we are called simply to move...Ie, part of the journey of faith may not have as much a sight as we would like.  I reflect on Luther's own journey...and the journey of myself and others...where sometimes we sense God calling us but we don't yet see the light!

σεσωκεν ("save", from σωζω 52)  This word refers to both "earthly" salvation as well as heavenly.  Explosive term.  It can meal heal, but also save.  But basic point here:  Salvation is not simply about the afterlife, but life in Christ, which is everlasting.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Excellent. Lots to work with as I prepare to teach this text tomorrow.