Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Mark 3

This Sunday Pastor Jason gave us a little "homework" for the next few weeks.  He asked us to practice reading scripture on a regular basis, and suggested starting with the book of Mark.  I like Mark, it's a good book, and he wanted us all to be reading the same thing, because he was going to be blogging about it on a daily basis.  

Daily scripture readings is surely not my strong point, so I decided to challenge myself to do this.  He simply wanted us to read a chapter a day, pick a favorite verse from that chapter, and then mediate on it for a few minutes.  He suggested this practice would not take more than 10 minutes.  For the first two days, I did well, I picked a verse and thought about it, went on my way feeling refreshed.  

Today, however, when I reached Mark 3 I got stuck.  I had TWO favorite verses and I couldn't pick on over the other.  I liked them for two very different reasons so I decided to present them here.  

In Mark 3 the Pharisees are watching Jesus and his actions on the Sabbath, and conspiring against him.  They even accuse him of being Satan.  In verse 3 Jesus questions the Pharisees if it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath, but the Pharisees were silent.  This is where my first favorite verse comes in: Mark 3:5 "He looked around at them with anger, he was grieved at their hardness of heart..." He goes on to heal the man with the withered hand which gives the Pharisees "real evidence" to conspire and destroy him.

"he was grieved at their hardness of heart" : I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that daily I am grieved by people's hardness of heart, probably more than one time a day.  There are things going on around the country and around the world, but even in my own city, in my own neighborhood I am confronted by people with hard hearts.  I never know how to react to these people, or what to do about the situation.  But here in Mark 3, Jesus chooses not to act against the Pharisees, but continue to good, despite their hardness of heart.  I hope with all that I have, that when I'm confronted with a hardened heart, I do not act out with anger, but do what is right and good.

My other "favorite verse" of the day is at the very end of the chapter.  Jesus' family has come to see him, asking for him among a crowd of people.  Mark doesn't actually tell us if he spoke with his family or not, but he asked the question "who are my mothers and brothers?" and in Mark 3:35 it says "Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother."

Here he is bringing his disciples and those who have gathered around him into his family, but he also brings us, (I hope) who strive to do God's will into his family as well.  What a wonderful feeling that is, to be part of the family of God, to be the brother, sister, and mother of Jesus.

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