Living By the Book, July 2-July 6

Jesus again is on full display. I love the Gospels! Dig in!

Monday, July 2

Scripture: Mark 6:45-52

[45] Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. [46] And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. [47] And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. [48] And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, [49] but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, [50] for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” [51] And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, [52] for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened. (ESV)

Scripture Reading Skill: Things that are related. When a writer connects different events, people or things in a passage of Scripture, he does it on purpose. When looking for things that are related, look from the general to the specific. How does the writer narrow his focus? Look for questions and answers. What questions are answered directly by the writer or by people in the passage? Finally cause and effect is important. One thing causes another. One event makes another happen.

  1. What is the cause and what is the effect? This may be the most important part of this passage. Hint: Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go across the sea.
  2. How long did Jesus wait until he came to them? (Fourth watch of the night)
  3. Why did he wait so long?

Tuesday, July 3

Scripture: Mark 6:53-56

[53] When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. [54] And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him [55] and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. [56] And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. (ESV)

Scripture Reading Skill: Things that are emphasized. Emphasis is a great clue as to what the writer (and thus, God) is trying to accomplish. Look for how much space a topic receives. Is there a stated purpose in the text? The order of things suggests importance. Lesser to greater and greater to lesser give insight into what the writer is trying to communicate.

This is a fairly straightforward text. What is emphasized here? What does this tell you about Jesus?

Wednesday, July 4

Scripture: Mark 7:1-13

[1] Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, [2] they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. [3] (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders, [4] and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) [5] And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” [6] And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; [7] in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ [8] You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” [9] And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! [10] For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ [11] But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)—[12] then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, [13] thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” (ESV)

Scripture Reading Skill: Things that are repeated. Look for terms, phrases, clauses that are repeated. Look for characters who show up more than once. What incidents or circumstances do you see happen more than once? Are there patterns? Do you see the OT quote (repeated) in the NT?

  1. What key word is repeated? Hint: tradition.
  2. What does this one repetition tell you about the passage? What is the point Jesus is trying to make? Notice how the entire event is wound around the idea of tradition.

Thursday, July 5

Scripture: Mark 7:14-23

[14] And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: [15] There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” [17] And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. [18] And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, [19] since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) [20] And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. [21] For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, [22] coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. [23] All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (ESV)

Scripture Reading Skill: Things that are alike and unlike. Look for similes: comparisons using like or as. Look for metaphors (one thing used to represent another). Conjunctions become turning points (specifically “but”) in a text. Finally look for irony–using words to convey a meaning opposite from a word’s original meaning.

This entire passage can only be understood in light of the previous section. Jesus is refuting the Pharisees focus on traditionalism at the expense of the heart of the law. The Pharisees were all about what went in them, not what came out of their mouths. Here Jesus speaks ironically–the passage is full of irony. He’s angry with the Pharisees. He speaks of eating and pooping–no lie!

What does this say about the human heart? What is Jesus’ point? Don’t miss this!

Friday, July 6

Scripture: Mark 6:24-30

[24] And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. [25] But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. [26] Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. [27] And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” [28] But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” [29] And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” [30] And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone. (ESV)

Scripture Reading Skill: Remote context. Look at the previous two sections of Scripture. In 7:1-13, Jesus rejects the Pharisees for being gripped by tradition. In 7:14-23, he explains himself. In this passage he heals a Gentile’s daughter. Jesus’ words seem harsh, but in light of the previous passages, he is gracious to this Gentile woman. What does he see in her that he didn’t see in the Pharisees?