Our church is taking part in a study called the Amazing Race, and as a church we are reading through the New Testament together until the end of the year. I thought I’d post my thoughts on the days readings, and I’d love to hear what you have to say. If you don’t attend SCC, I’d still love to invite you to read with us, and weigh in with what you are learning as well.
Today we read Mark 10:32-12:37.
In the verses we read today, we have the story of Jesus heading up into Jerusalem for a showdown with the religious and political leaders. It’s this really amazing mix of stories, as Jesus is facing off with people of power. You see Him working amazing miracles, like healing the blind man Bartimaeus, and weird miracles, like cursing the fig tree. Mixed in with it are these battles of words and authority with the religious leaders in Jerusalem.
Anytime we read the Bible, we not only need to take time to understand each individual story, but we need to ask questions like “Why did Mark put these stories in? Why did he put these stories in the order he did?” We know that God inspired him, and ultimately God is the author. At the same time, Mark is trying to tell a story. Why this order, this way?
With the stories of the miracles, Mark is proving to us how much authority and power Jesus has. You’ve probably noticed as we’ve read through Mark, how many times he includes those words when we talks about Jesus; “authority” and “power”. It’s on purpose. He wants us to understand that Jesus is in charge, that He can do whatever He wants whenever He wants.
Then, you look at the debates with the religious leaders. These people want to kill Jesus. Jesus knows it. Why doesn’t He just make one of them wither like the fig tree? No, I’m serious. Why doesn’t He simply do some miracle that wipes out a couple of the mouthier, more annoying Pharisees? That would settle the whole issue. No one would mess with Him then at all.
Or would they?
Jesus knows us. He created us to be free. Anything that forces itself on us can not stand long term. God has made us to follow Him, hard wired us to choose to love Him, built into us a desire for true freedom that only He can give us. We have to choose Him. He could force us to obey, but He is more interested in us choosing to love and worship Him. That is where freedom begins in our lives. That is why Jesus won’t destroy one of the Pharisees. He could. They are a creation of His, just like the fig tree. But He doesn’t.
He values our choice, He wants us to be free in a way we rarely know.
He loves us.
He loves you.
So, He talks. He listens. He heals. He gives hope. He warns. He upsets tables and systems of power. He whispers. He holds children and blesses them. He puts up with our selfish requests to sit on His right hand and left hand. He yells. All so that we can hear Him, choose to trust Him, and seek forgiveness from Him.
All so we can be free.
Where is Jesus trying to get our attention today? What is He calling us to? Are we listening?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.