Morning Musing: Mark 7:33-35

“So he took him away from the crowd in private. After putting his fingers in the man’s ears and spitting, he touched his tongue. Looking up to heaven, he sighed deeply and said to him ‘Ephphatha!’ (that is, ‘Be opened!’). Immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was loosened, and he began to speak clearly.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the most famous quotes from the world of science fiction comes from Arthur C. Clarke, author of, among many other things, 2001: A Space Odyssey. He said this: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” The idea here is that when we don’t understand how something works, we eventually just use magic as our explanation. Today we have generally been taught to think in technological terms, but if really pressed, most of us don’t have any earthly idea how most of the pieces of technology that have become so fundamentally integral to our daily lives work. They might as well be magic boxes. We just don’t say or even think that because, technology. This technological presupposition leaves us thinking critically when we read about some of the miracles Jesus performed. This miracle is a particularly good example. Let’s talk about one of the stranger miracles Jesus performed.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 6:47-48

“Well into the night, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and he was alone on the land. He saw them straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Very early in the morning he came toward them walking on the sea and wanted to pass by them.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever tried to clarify something for someone, but your clarification itself was so unclear to them that it just prompted more questions? Occasionally when I’m helping one of our older boys with their homework, I’ll try to explain something in terms that are beyond what they’re ready to understand. The result is that rather than making their lives easier, I wind up confusing them more. In those times it is usually mom who comes to the rescue. She knows just how to put things in a way they’ll understand. What we see here is a little like that. Jesus was revealing Himself in a significant way to the disciples so that they would understand Him better. Unlike me, though, His messaging was on point. Still, like the disciples, we sometimes struggle to grasp what He was saying for the details fogging up the picture. Let’s talk through some of those together.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 6:38, 41

“He asked them, ‘How many loaves do you have? Go and see.’ When they found out they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’ . . . He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke the loaves. He kept giving them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever had to stretch something scarce to make it last further and longer than it looked like it would be able to do? I was cleaning out a container of cream cheese the other day. It looked at first like there was only going to be enough for half of a bagel. I managed to scrape and spread to make it cover both sides. Managing this feat really didn’t matter very much beyond convenience as I had another container of it unopened and sitting on the counter next to me, but it was a small win. Sometimes the things we have to make last are more significant than a bagel topping. You may have had to do it so that everyone in your family could eat or so that all the bills could somehow get paid…or both. The story of the feeding of the 5,000 is about a whole lot more than just this, but it does offer us some hope that in Christ, what we think is insufficient can prove to be more than enough.

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Morning Musing: Mark 6:35-37

“When it grew late, his disciples approached him and said, ‘This place is deserted, and it is already late. Send them away so that they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages to buy themselves something to eat.’ ‘You give them something to eat,’ he responded. They said to him, ‘Should we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever had company stay too late? If you’ve been there, you know exactly how that goes. You invite some friends over for an afternoon visit. They arrive and everything goes swimmingly. Then the hour starts getting on toward dinner and you hadn’t planned on their being there for that and therefore have nothing prepared. But they just won’t leave. They just keep talking. One more story. One more story. Then your stomach starts rumbling loudly because you’re hungry and they joke about it being time for dinner. But they won’t leave. So you start fixing dinner…and they keep talking. You tried to be subtle, but they wouldn’t take the hint. You just want to pull your hair out! Well, after Jesus had spent a whole day teaching another huge crowd that had shown up uninvited and taken the time the disciples were going to have with Jesus for themselves, they wanted the guests to go home. Jesus had other ideas.

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Morning Musings: Isaiah 7:14

“Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: See, the virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Sometimes, the same scene, viewed through two different lenses, can look very different. You’ve perhaps heard or even witnessed something like this before. You see a man push an old woman down in the middle of the street. What should we think? If that’s all we know, then he’s a scoundrel. If, however, he is doing it to get her out of the way of an oncoming car, he’s a hero. What we see here in Isaiah is subject to the same sort of interpretive conundrum.

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