Wednesday 13 January 2016

Bible Book:

“You are the Son of God!” (v. 11)

Mark 3:7-12 Wednesday 13 January 2016

Psalm: Psalm 9:1-10


Jesus' ministry is clearly growing and his reputation spreadingfar and wide. Despite the lack of telephone, internet, TV or radioit seems that in a short space of time people from across thecountry have not only heard about Jesus but also taken the time andenergy to travel to see and hear him for themselves. People fromJudea and Jerusalem travelled to listen to John the Baptist (Mark1:5) but we're told that the reach of Jesus' ministry hasextended much further, with people from most of the surroundingJewish populations beyond Judea travelling to Galilee to see whatall the fuss was about.

Jesus could have headed to the lake to escape the attentions andincreasing animosity of the religious and political authorities inthe town, or it could have been because of the sheer number ofpeople who were flocking to see him. Whatever the reason it wassafer to take to a boat and preach from a distance rather than riskbeing swept up in an unpredictable crowd.

Large numbers of people are talking about what Jesus is sayingand doing, and so it seems odd for Jesus to say to anyone that theyshould not say who he was when some declare him to be the Son ofGod (verse 11). This is a theme that is repeatedly seen throughoutMark's Gospel and is sometimes known as the "messianic secret".Jesus asks for his identity to be kept secret at various points ofhealing (eg Mark 1:34) or when the disciples claim tounderstand who he is (eg Mark8:30; 9:9). He even asks some of those he has healedto say nothing about it (eg Mark1:44; 5:43; 7:36) although unsurprisingly he is oftenignored as it's hard to keep quiet when your life has completelychanged.

It may be that Jesus knew that the full understanding of hisministry and who he was would not be understood without the eventsof his crucifixion and resurrection. The repeated command tosecrecy is also used by the Gospel repeatedly to underline to thoselistening to or reading this account who Jesus was and that theywere in on this great secret from the beginning.

To Ponder

  • What would it take to make you travel across the country,without the aid of modern public transport, to listen to acharismatic figure that you'd never seen but only heard about?
  • A belief in demons and "unclean spirits" (v. 11) was widespreadat the time of this Gospel account and was the explanation for manyillnesses, particularly mental illness and epilepsy. How good areyouand/or the Church at supporting people with illnesses that arehard to understand or explain today?
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