Jesus is incredible! He shines in every passage this week. Enjoy Him as you learn to take his word in. Remember the goal: for you to get into the word and getting the word into you.
Monday, June 25
Scripture: Mark 5:21-43
 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea.  Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet  and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.”  And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him.  And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years,  and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.  She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment.  For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.”  And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.  And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?”  And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’”  And he looked around to see who had done it.  But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth.  And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”  While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”  But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”  And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James.  They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly.  And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.”  And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was.  Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”  And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement.  And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. (ESV)
Scripture Reading Skill: Historical Context. There are 3 kinds of context: historical, immediate, and remote. In this story, we are looking at the historical context. A good resource for this is biblestudytools.com. Also a good Bible dictionary is a great resource. For today, I’ll provide questions and answers to help you get at the historical context.
Questions to answer:
- What sea did they cross? Galilee
- What was the function of the synagogue in Jesus’ day? Synagogues were the center of local religious meetings, education and community interaction. They were in every town and where everyone met. To be a ruler of a synagogue was a significant honor.
- What does it mean, in light of #2, that the ruler of the synagogue fell at Jesus’ feet? What would this have demonstrated to the community? Now, do you see how historical details add to the understanding of the text!
- What did this discharge of blood signify? That this woman was unclean. And being unclean she couldn’t touch anyone or be in a crowd like this. This historical fact shows her despair. All of a sudden you see two despairing people: a morally upstanding ruler and an unclean judge. This also explains why the woman was trembling with fear–she, an unclean woman, had touched a rabbi.
- What is the significance of being a woman and touching Jesus? Women were considered equivalent to dogs in Jesus’ culture. Jesus didn’t view them that way, and involved them in his ministry.
Tuesday, June 26
Scripture: Mark 6:1-6
 He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.  And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands?  Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.  And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.”  And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them.  And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching. (ESV)
Scripture Reading Skill: Historical context
Questions to answer:
- What was Jesus’ hometown? Nazareth.
- Knowing what you know about the synagogue, what is the significance of Jesus being in the synagogue? They must’ve thought he had the potential of being a synagogue leader or ruler. He was an effective teacher.
- Why did they take offense at him? Because synagogue leaders were well-educated folks and often members of a higher class. Jesus was the son of a carpenter and a teenage girl.
- What is the significance of Jesus going into the villages? The elite in town (in the synagogues) missed the work of God because they wouldn’t believe. He went to the obscure in the villages who, more than likely, didn’t have their own synagogue.
Hint: Jesus didn’t need a synagogue to teach–he wanted an open, willing heart.
Wednesday, June 27
Scripture: Mark 6:7-13
 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.  He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.  And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there.  And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”  So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent.  And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them. (ESV)
Scripture Reading Skill: Immediate context. This is what is happening in the chapter/paragraph you’re reading. Don’t get too spiritual too fast. Look for everyday details in the passage.
Spend 3 minutes making as many observations as you can about this passage. Every detail. Don’t leave anything out. Here are some examples: (don’t peek…do your own!)
- He called them.
- He sent them out two by two.
- He sent the disciples.
- He gave them authority.
- Their authority was specifically over unclean spirits.
- He charged them.
- He charged them–meaning he was in charge of them.
- He told them to only take the bare minimum. (Historical context would ask what the function of these things was he told them not to take.)
- Can’t help myself…shake off my dust must be explored to see what its historical significance is. You could make a 100 more observations about this passage. I’m not kidding!
Thursday, June 28
Scripture: Mark 6:14-29
 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.”  But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.”  But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”  For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her.  For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”  And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not,  for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.  But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee.  For when Herodias’s daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.”  And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.”  And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.”  And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”  And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her.  And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison  and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother.  When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. (ESV)
Scripture Reading Skill: Remote context. Remote context answers what happened before and after. And this text gives you a clue that you need to look at what preceded it. “When King Herod heard of it.” You must figure out what “it” is.
“It” is the sending out of the disciples. It’s interesting that Jesus’ fame spread more when he sent others out in his name than it did when he only healed. He “deputized” these disciples and his fame began to spread. (He still works this way today!).
But your big question is where does the story of John the Baptist’s beheading fit into the overall picture of Mark. Why is it included here? That’s what remote context is about. Look back over the last few sections. Look ahead at what’s coming next. Why here?
Hint: It occurs here almost parenthetically because Herod is connected with John the Baptist’s death. However, we begin to see an alternating pattern of acceptance and rejection. Jesus is rejected in the synagogue, accepted in the village. Also, John the Baptist’s death foreshadows Jesus’ own death. Jesus knew that. This must have been sobering. This makes what he did next so unbelievable. That’s for tomorrow.
Friday, June 29
Scripture: Mark 6:30-44
 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught.  And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.  And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.  Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.  When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.  And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late.  Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”  But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?”  And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.”  Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass.  So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties.  And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all.  And they all ate and were satisfied.  And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish.  And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. (ESV)
Scripture Reading Skill: Remote context. One question related to remote context. In light of what has happened to John the Baptist, if you’re Jesus what would you have been tempted to do? What did Jesus do instead?
Hint: Jesus had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. He, the Good Shepherd, could not quit being the Good Shepherd even if it mean his life.