Revisiting Mark

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paradox3

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Looking for a spiritual practice? Interested exploring Mark's gospel?

Please join me for another look at Mark. Starting tomorrow, I will be reading a chapter per day and posting my thoughts. From each chapter, I will select a verse or a phrase which jumps out at me. Sometimes it will be a verse which resonates with me; sometimes it will be one which troubles or confuses me. Or perhaps it might be little known, weird or unusual.

This is the approach I took with the recent Matthew thread. I enjoyed doing it very much and I enjoyed our discussion. You are welcome to comment on the verse I choose for reflection each day. I usually post a very brief summary of the chapter, just to give the verse some context. I am not necessarily trying to "cover" the whole chapter or explore all of the material. But you are welcome to discuss any other aspect of the chapter which interests you.

Now for some guidelines. Please stay on topic. Stick to the chapter of the day.

If you wish to refer to another book of the bible or a different chapter of Mark, please explain why you are doing this. If you would like to post a joke or musical offering, please do so as long as it is in good taste. If you post a video of a sermon, please explain why you want us to watch it.

This is a lot of "pleases", I know, but I am well aware of how study threads have gone off the rails in the past. I intend to make judicious use of the Report button and request moderator assistance with any posts I find to be off topic. To name the elephant in the room, any posts which are too obscure to be reasonably understood will be considered off-topic. Please just stick to the topic and all will be well.

See you tomorrow, I hope!
P3/ paradox3
 

paradox3

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Mark 1

Like any good storyteller, this gospel writer grabs our attention from the beginning and starts to develop his main character. Mark 1 moves quickly through a number of events.

John the Baptist is in the wilderness, calling for repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People from the whole Judean countryside and all of Jerusalem come for baptism in the Jordan River. "But One more powerful is coming," John says, "who will baptize not with water but with the Holy Spirit."

Jesus, too, is baptized by John. The heavens open and the Spirit descends on Him like a dove. The voice of God comes from heaven and expresses great delight in Jesus. The Spirit drives Jesus into the wilderness where he spends 40 days being tempted by Satan. Angels minister to his needs.

John is imprisoned and Jesus goes to Galilee to begin preaching. He calls four fishermen as his first disciples and they follow him immediately.

They go to Capernaum. Jesus teaches in the synagogue and the people are amazed. A man with an unclean spirit calls out to Jesus to leave them alone. But Jesus summons out the unclean spirit.

Jesus and the four disciples enter the home of Simon and Andrew, where they find Simon's mother-in-law very ill. Jesus heals her and she rises to serve them. When evening arrives, the whole town gathers by the door as the sick and demon-possessed seek healing. Jesus heals many who were sick with various diseases and drives out demons. Jesus does not permit the demons to speak, because they know him.

The next morning, Jesus gets up early and finds a deserted place to pray. The others search for him and they head out on their mission.

Jesus cleanses a leper and instructs him to tell no one. But the man announces it publicly and the people keep coming to Jesus from everywhere.

For reflection today:

Then Jesus got up very early in the morning when it was still very dark, departed, and went out to a deserted place, and there he spent time in prayer. Mark 1: 35 NET
 

paradox3

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In Mark 1, we learn a lot about Jesus.

He is a spiritual descendant of John the Baptist. The Holy Spirit has landed on him and he has God's favor. He has been tempted by Satan and cared for by angels. This is no ordinary person!

He is a strong leader, an impressive teacher and a miraculous healer.

And he spends time in prayer.
 

Luce NDs

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A healed man forbidden by Light to be proud of what he can't understand of a fatal disease? How many that have gotten over their injuries toss it around as they were totally responsible for their own healthy being.

I seems to degrade the unknown and uncertain factors ... yet some pious stoic sorts state there is no unknown ... they know it all!

It is easy to dissuade ... such determinants generally but specifically they remain stoned and hard to the core ... unlike MOL eh boies!

You may mark my words as a smear against alternate facts ... to put the old script in modern terms of strings and chords! Onus are responsibilities for self and the other ... amber or golden floes? Prepare for the false & dippy ...
 

unsafe

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Then Jesus got up very early in the morning when it was still very dark, departed, and went out to a deserted place, and there he spent time in prayer. Mark 1: 35 NET


I say ----Jesus prayed to His Father a lot --

What does prayer means to us today ?--

Jesus mostly prayed by himself in a private area to His Father ----Why do you think Jesus did this ?-----

Jesus also prayed a lot of times very early in the morning --any ideas on why He picked this time to pray? -----
 

Redbaron

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From the opening post:
To name the elephant in the room, any posts which are too obscure to be reasonably understood will be considered off-topic. Please just stick to the topic and all will be well.
We would ask for clarity in posting, as this is a study thread, rather than a literary endeavor. As expressive and powerful as poetic language may be, in this thread, as in all threads in the WC2 Book Study Forum, it is out of place.
Thank you for your cooperation.
 

paradox3

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I say ----Jesus prayed to His Father a lot --

What does prayer means to us today ?--

Jesus mostly prayed by himself in a private area to His Father ----Why do you think Jesus did this ?-----

Jesus also prayed a lot of times very early in the morning --any ideas on why He picked this time to pray? -----
Some really excellent questions here. Jesus did seem to pray a lot and I find it interesting that Mark gets this established so quickly. I suspect Jesus prayed privately because his prayers were personal ones & prayer would nurture His relationship with God.

Over the years, I have heard people question why Jesus would need to pray at all if he were one of the Trinity. This doesn't trouble me . . . I understand it to be the human nature of Jesus doing the praying.

Early morning might have been the only time of day He could get away from the crowds and from his disciples. In today's lesson, Simon and his companions go searching for Jesus while He is still actively praying.
 

Mendalla

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Mark 1 kind of races along at a breakneck pace. John the Baptist, time in desert, call apostles, first healings, beginning to preach in Galilee. It's like a movie that uses a bunch of jump cuts through a series of establishing shots. And it is effective in this context.

35 is interesting because it is a break in the action. Jesus is taking advantage of a quiet moment to regroup, maybe. When the others rise, he is pumped to leave Capernaum and go further afield. It would be interesting to know what he prayed.

To speak to @unsafe , praying in the morning here seems to be preparation, getting energy and a plan for what comes next as he moves beyond Capernaum. Which seems to be behind a lot of these moments of prayer. That's how I read it, at least.

I find the John the Baptist story interesting. If you look back at Matt 3, you get basically the same thing (not surprising since Mark came first and was a source for Matthew), but with a vicious rant against the Jewish leadership and more flesh on the bones in general. This is one case where Mark's more barebones approach may actually be superior, keeping the focus on the message that Jesus is the "one who comes after" who will "baptize with the Spirit".
 

Redbaron

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In contrast to Matthew's and Luke's gospels, Mark rushes through Jesus' baptism and wilderness temptations. It's almost like Mark is trying to tell the story in one breath. Jesus is pictured as rushing everywhere, doing things at a breakneck pace. In the midst of all that, he rises in the early morning to go off by himself and pray.
Morning prayer is like coffee for the Spirit. In the time before the demands come around (they do come looking for him!) he is able to sort things out, to remember his mission, to not get so caught up in the 'what' he is doing that he forgets the 'why' he is doing it. Prayer helps remind us of a reality beyond us.
 

paradox3

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Although this story is not in the context of observing Sabbath, I wonder if it reflects God's need for rest that we hear about in Genesis?

Was just discussing Genesis 1 yesterday with folks from church. We were doing bible study by Zoom & it was surprisingly effective.
 

Mendalla

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One interesting thing is how quickly Mark jumps in with the healing and casting out of unclean spirits. This, it seems to me, goes back to his "thesis statement" in Mark 1:1, "The beginning of the good news[a] of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." (NRSV, which is what I shall be using throughout). The healing is part of the Good News, but it clearly also speaks to the "Son of God" part, esp. when the unclean spirit recognizes him before being exorcised, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”
 

Lastpointe

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Then Jesus got up very early in the morning, when it was still very dark


i wonder why the repetition. Obviously very early in the morning is dark. It feels like he is emphasizing the fact it is dark

is that because we are later to be told Jesus is the light? Or is it a comment in that being unusual

my limited understanding of Jewish practice leaves me wondering if praying in the dark is unusual?

mark has already told us Jesus has spent 40 days alone in the wilderness. One assumes praying rather than survival training. Or is that 40 days his survival training. And does his need to leave and go to a quiet place to pray reflect that early practice

are we to behave like that. Pray early in the morning, in the dark, alone?
 

unsafe

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My view on Jesus praying early morning

The Only way for humans to communicate with God is through prayer ----- Jesus was humans as well as divine

For me praying in the early morning is important as it is a time before my day starts and all the noise of the world is at its low point in my mind -----my concentration is on the prayer and My Father in Heaven -----This strengthens my personal relationship with My Father in Heaven ------and it seemed important for Jesus so how much more important is it for us to follow what Jesus practiced -----

Jesus had many after Him and much on His plate through out the day -----early morning was a time for Jesus mind to be at peace and a time to keep in touch with His Father to continue doing His will ----

That is just how I see it -----
 

paradox3

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Morning is my preferred time for any sort of spiritual activity or practice. I always do my walking in the a.m. hours.

Maybe it is no co-incidence most of us attend church on Sunday mornings.

For these bible studies on WC2, I almost always do my first daily post right after getting up. I look over the next day's chapter in the evening, usually selecting my verse for reflection then. In the morning, when my mind is clearest, I am ready to start discussing it.
 

paradox3

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mark has already told us Jesus has spent 40 days alone in the wilderness. One assumes praying rather than survival training. Or is that 40 days his survival training. And does his need to leave and go to a quiet place to pray reflect that early practice
It might also speak to the continuous nature of praying. After 40 days in the wilderness, Jesus is in no less need of prayer.
 

Mendalla

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The 40 days is prep for the whole mission, daily prayer is prep for what is coming that day. If one believes Jesus is the second person of the Trinity, I suppose the morning prayer is a "Team meeting". ;)

Anyone else find it interesting that Mark just left it at "he spent 40 days in the wilderness being tempted" and Matthew decided to flesh it out? Mark's seems too brief so I am thinking some kind of more detailed version must have been going around already, just wondering why one gives an executive summary and the other gives the full report.
 

paradox3

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At this early point in Jesus' mission or career, I wonder what He might have been praying for. Guidance for the day, definitely.

Patience for dealing with the crowds? Wisdom to teach the people and lead the first four disciples? Discernment in selecting the others?

Did He miss his family, maybe? Was he praying for them, too? Was he giving thanks for the angels who had tended him in those 40 days? We can only speculate of course.

Maybe Jesus just sat quietly in the presence of God and listened for God's voice. This, too, is prayer.
 

paradox3

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Anyone else find it interesting that Mark just left it at "he spent 40 days in the wilderness being tempted" and Matthew decided to flesh it out? Mark's seems too brief so I am thinking some kind of more detailed version must have been going around already, just wondering why one gives an executive summary and the other gives the full report.
Yes, the varying details are interesting.

The synoptic gospels agree that it was the Spirit which called Jesus into the wilderness. I have always found this to be a fascinating aspect of the story.
 

paradox3

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In Mark 1, there is very little dialogue attributed to Jesus and it is all relatively straightforward. Tomorrow, when we get to Mark 2, the gospel writer will have Jesus speaking more enigmatically. (Stay tuned!) Here are some snippets from the first chapter of Mark.

v.15: "Repent and believe the gospel."

v. 17: "Follow me and I will turn you into fishers of people."

v. 25: "Silence! Come out of him!" (to the unclean spirit)

v. 38 "Let us go elsewhere into the surrounding villages, so that I can preach there too."

v. 44 "See that you do not say anything to anyone." (to the leper)
 
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