By the time we reach chapter four, Jesus has established himself, called his helpers, the Apostles, publicity and popularity are very high. Also there is the under current from the Jewish religious leaders. Now that Jesus has a firmly established following from all over the various regions, he begins to bring to light what His mission is all about. It is like the all night healings and miracles are a foundation for which He can now explain His goal.
The parable of the Sower has been preached, taught allegorically and misinterpreted. The fact that it is a parable lends itself to having only one true meaning. Every aspect or detail of a parable does not have to be explained or spiritualized. The Gospel is effective, there is nothing wrong with what is being sown, just problems with where it lands. The various places the seed lands reflects the various conditions of mans heart. Everyone can believe but not everyone will believe.
The Parables were intentional; those outside of “seeking faith” wouldn’t get the meaning – having said that the disciples rarely understood what was said except Jesus tell them plainly.
Through most of the reading this last week; we have a continual moving or relocating by Jesus. It seems that they are either in a boat going someplace or encountering the crowds and demonized people.
In chapter five, the demoniac of the Gerasene; the towns people were not afraid of the demonized man, but they are both upset and afraid of Jesus for turning the man back into a man. Their interests seem more about the pigs than for a man put right. The demons had to ask for permission before they could leave the man. With the side show gone, they beg Jesus to leave.
The woman who touched Jesus’ garment and Him feeling the virtue/power leave Him made me think of the movie the Green Mile, and how healing really took a lot of out Jesus. It is interesting that often we are busy trying to get to the next place – whether that is work or church, that we can miss ministry altogether. The raising of Jarius’ daughter, the widow Nain’s son and Lazarus from the tomb, reveal the truth of Jesus having power over death.
In chapter 6 we find that sometimes you just can’t go home. Jesus’ family were not captured by all the miracles he was doing. The hometown folks couldn’t move past “the Jesus being a carpenter son.” I remember a time when I went home and visited my home church that I saw people I never expected to be in church, in church. I think that this must be what happened in Nazareth – people not able to move past what the knew about Jesus and see who He was as the Son of God.
Finally after watching Jesus wear himself out with ministry; Jesus empowers the disciples, 2X2 to have authority over demons and ability to heal. They preached the same message “repent” the same message of John the Baptist – which has now landed him in Herod Antipas’ jail.
There is the sad story of Herodias [wife of Phillip the tetrarch] and John. John’s problem was not Herod but one similar to Ahab and Jezebel. In both cases, the men forfeited manhood by being wimps to their wives.
After the 2X2 ministry, Jesus drew the disciples alone for a time of respite and rest. I find this to be one of the failings within the church towards the clergy and laity; never a time of rest from ministry – are the demands constant and insistent. If I could I would advocate some sort of sabbatical rest for ministers who serve in one place for 5 yrs. Teams rotate people on and off, deacons can too, so should lead clergy be afforded the same opportunity.
The feeding of 5000, and the feeding of 4000. Why two alike events? It appears that Jesus used two separate times of “feeding” to drive home the point of the miracles. The disciples were dull in understanding; the second time [chapter 8] is similar; yet still many differences. The disciples failed to remember the previous feeding. Jesus is the one that has concern for the people, he immediately dismisses the possibility of sending the people away. Different word used for the baskets, seven baskets left over. Even the disciples continue to discuss – having no bread, Jesus is trying to get the disciples to think and ponder the true significance of the miracles. Jesus is trying to convey it isn’t what you don’t have that makes the difference, but what you have, given to the Father will be enough for whatever needs to be done. Rather than look at our own lack, look for the Lord’s provision. It is rather sad that they and we today look to Jesus for cures and provisions to alleviate our own discomfort.
Each time the Jewish leaders come around, it is not for the good, but for the controversy to what Jesus is doing. Traditions have entrenched the Jewish religion – gone is the reason they adopted the practices in the first place. [kind of sounds like churches today]. Jesus condemns the religious leaders for their use of their own traditions to dishonor their parents; Using religion for gain. In Chapter 8, we have Peter’s confession. It is interesting that many of the men named as possible idenitity of Jesus are dead guys. This holds that there was some element of believing in reincarnation – look back at Herod in Chapter 6 where they think Jesus is John come back to life.We all know the “Thou art the Christ;” and how Peter blew it by telling Jesus that He wouldn’t die. The disciples were mere men like we, yet we must be careful not to riducule them for their lack of faith – we are the same today. Jesus at the statement begins to inform of what Being the Christ will mean – peter is rebuked because he wanted a different Messiah. Jesus also plainly reveals what it will mean to be a disciple of Jesus – death. If you want to live in this Life [world] you will die; but if you want to live in My world you must die so you can live.
See ya next week!