Morning Musing: Mark 9:2-3

“After six days, Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain by themselves to be alone. He was transfigured in front of them, and his clothes became dazzling – extremely white as no launderer on earth could whiten them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Men have a reputation in this culture. Okay, that’s a setup for a political and cultural fight which is not what we’re going to have this morning. Let’s try that again: One of the stereotypes men carry in this culture (and most cultures, honestly, because this is a human trait) is that we don’t like to quit when we’re behind. Perhaps to put that another way: We don’t know when to quit. Admitting we’re lost when driving is a perfect example. The stereotypical man doesn’t look at a map and insists he knows right where he is even when he’s hopelessly lost. And heaven forbid he stops and asks for directions. Well, sometimes what is true about men on the road, is true about all of us when we read the Scriptures. There are places and stories that are hard to understand. Let’s talk about one of them this morning.

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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 6:45

“Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the charges critics like to level at the Scriptures is that they are so riddled with contradictions that they can’t possibly be trusted to convey anything resembling the truth. In most cases this charge is fairly easy to dispatch. Occasionally, though, a thoughtful reading seems to suggest that some of these critics have a point. After all, when there are multiple versions of the same stories – as happens fairly frequently in the Gospels – and the versions seem to be contradictory at so many different points, what are we supposed to do with that? This morning we’re going to start talking about one of Jesus’ most famous miracles: walking on water. Before we get into the details of the event itself, let’s talk about why we think this really happened.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 4:10-12

“When he was alone, those around him with the Twelve asked him about the parables. He answered them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those outside, everything comes in parables so that “they may indeed look, and yet not perceive; they may indeed listen, and yet not understand; otherwise they might turn back and be forgiven.”‘” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of my favorite speakers likes to joke that he has the spiritual gift of sarcasm. I always appreciate this line because I’m pretty sure that’s one of my spiritual gifts as well. Sarcasm, technically defined, is the use of irony to mock or convey contempt (thank you, Google). Irony is when you say one thing but mean the opposite. Mocking we understand. Contempt is anything that conveys the idea you think something or someone is stupid. In other words, sarcasm is saying something, but meaning the opposite, in order to express your disdain for some idea or person. Why talk about all of this? Because Jesus here is quoting His Dad’s sarcasm. Wait…God is sarcastic? Let’s talk about it.

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Digging in Deeper: Zechariah 13:3

“If a man still prophesies, his father and his mother who bore him will say to him, ‘You cannot remain alive because you have spoken a lie in the name of the Lord.’ When he prophesies, his father and his mother who bore him will pierce him through.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

How tolerant are you when your children do something wrong? I guess it depends on what kind and how severe of a wrong it is. It also depends on how much of a perfectionist you are and how tired you are and how willing you are to bear with the process of addressing the wrong at the moment. It probably also depends on how old they are and how much intention was involved in their doing it. In other words, it just depends. Okay, let me change the question just a bit and ask it again: How tolerant are you when your children sin? That question may sound similar, but it’s different and its answer matters a whole lot more.

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