In Ukraine I finished my personal study on the book of Mark. Here are some of the highlights.
(1:17-20) || Look at the caliber of people Jesus recruited for disciples. Working class on practically all of them! What does that say about his leadership style? He wasn't looking for someone qualified with plenty of references. He was looking for a simple block of clay that He could mold however he wanted to.
(2:13-17) || I love the fact that "many" "sinners" were having dinner with Jesus. And they were comfortable around Him. And He was comfortable around them! We can learn a lot about ministry if we can only figure out how make people "comfortable" around us while not being "in the world". I would have loved to have been at this party!
(4:30-34) || Jesus tells the Parable of the Mustard Seed to a large crowd, but doesn't explain what the parable means until the disciples are alone with Him. Why would he have not explained that to the entire crowd?
(5:1-20) || The "Legion" demon-posession story always fascinates me. What jumped out to me this time was 2 things: 1) v15-17... when the townspeople saw the demon-posessed person healed and dressed neatly, they FREAKED OUT and kicked Jesus out of town. 2) v18-19... man formerly known as "Legion" wants to travel with Jesus, who told him no. Instead, the man ends up shariong his story with 10 cities worth of people. Another great example of God telling you "no", or waiting for God's timing.
(6:1-6) || The Hometown Prophet story always hit close to home (since I serve in the church I grew up in). If I understand right, Jesus could not do many miracles because people's faith in Him was small. Why could He not just do something outrageous to prove to them that He really was God! Is "faith" really required, like physically required, for Jesus to do miracles? Could He heal someone that did not believe?
(6:22) || Does it disgust anyone else that Herod has his step-daughter performing as a "stripper" at his birthday party? Call me crazy...
(6:51-52) || The disciples just saw a crazy miracle of Jesus feeding 5,000 people, yet v52 "they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened." What don't you understand? How can you have a hardened heart after seeing that?
(7:6-13) || Anyone who ever says that God doesn't care about "traditions" needs to read v9 "you have a fine way of setting aside the comands of God in order to observe your own traditions!"
(7:33) || Jesus heals a deaf mute by spitting on his tongue and sticking his fingers into his ears. Did He physically have to do this or is he putting on a show?
(9:29) || Jesus says (of a demon): "This kind can come out only by prayer." - Question: how many kinds are there? What are other ways, other than prayer, to get a demon out?
(10:17-22) || "One thing you lack". I have read it, many times lately, about this whole idea of sell everything and give it to the poor (v21). Jesus said to this man, who already knew the commandments, that he basically lacked faith? Is wealth to be given away so that we can strengthen our faith?
(11:12-19) || Jesus clears the temple - yet another reliving of my fear of tables.
(12:36) || Jesus says that King David speaks "by the Holy Spirit" in Psalm 110. I thought that the Holy Spirit didn't come to earth until Pentecost... what's he doing down here during Old Testament times. (For the record, my "theology" knowledge on the Holy Spirit is at best weak._
(13:37) || I pay no attention to the end of the world stuff. Jesus says "Watch"! Maybe I should pay more attention.
(15:37-39) || The physical attributes of Jesus at His death was so unique that his mind was changed, and he was led to say "surely this man was the Son of God." Mark says that the centurion was led to make that statement because he "heard [Jesus'] cry and saw how [Jesus] died." All this time I thought the centurion made that statement because of the temple curtain.
(15:43) || Joseph of Arimathea, whose tomb Jesus was buried in, is described as a man "waiting for the Kingdom of God." I hope to be worthy of those words as well.
Next up, a break from the Gospels (I've done Matthew and Mark recently). I'll have Colossians posted soon.