Friday 29 January 2016

Bible Book:

“King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known.” (v. 14)

Mark 6:14-29 Friday 29 January 2016

Psalm: Psalm 23


Here in the middle of stories illustrating Jesus' growing publicprofile is the account of the bloody and seemingly senseless end ofJohn the Baptist's life.

So why does Mark's Gospel tell us this story, and in suchdetail? Mark's Gospel is notorious for the pace at which it moves.It omits any mention of Jesus' birth or early life. Yet in thisshortest Gospel there is this pause for an extended description ofthe events leading to John's murder, and the muddle of vengeance,manipulation and the caprice and weakness of a despot whichaccomplished it.

It's not unlikely that Mark's readers were scared andpersecuted. Mark's Gospel is thought to have been written in aperiod of violence and hostility towards Christians in the middleof the 1st century.

There's always a danger in religious life of associating thepresence and work of God in the world only with what is positiveand peaceful and good. Mark's Gospel was written in the light ofwhat has already been seen the cross and resurrection of Jesus -that even in apparent failure, weakness, defeat, even where Godseems most absent, love's redeeming work is done.

Mark's Gospel issues a twofold invitation: to face squarely thereality of violence, tragedy and resistance to God in the world;and at the same time, to trust in the creative power of God thatcannot be defeated, even when a violent world does its worst - alight that no darkness can finally extinguish.

To Ponder

  • How have you dealt with God's apparent absence in your ownexperience?
  • What helps you to trust that God is present and at work in theworld's darkness and violence?
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