Saturday, December 10, 2016

Mark: belief and what "Christ" means

Mark 8:22-38
In this, Jesus heals a blind man near Bethsaida.  Then he asks his disciples who they think he is. Peter says that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God.  Jesus praises him.  Then he tells them that he is going to suffer, die on a cross, and rise again in three days.  Peter rebukes him, and then Jesus calls him Satan and reiterates that the Christ is called to die for the sins of the his people and that his followers must also be willing to die.

When Jesus heals the blind man near Bethsaida, it's weird because he has to do it twice.  Commentators speculate that this is because Bethsaida is one of the towns that Jesus denounced as having no faith.  If he had preached to Sodom and Gomorrah, they would have repented faster than Bethsaida.  But just because Jesus or his disciples shake the dust off of their feet at a town does not mean that they give up on individuals in that town.  This man came to Jesus, and he healed his blindness partially.  The man could see people as trees walking.  Then Jesus healed him the rest of the way, and he could see clearly.  It makes me wonder if Jesus was testing his faith much like he tested that Syro-Phoenecian woman from the previous episode.

Next, he gives his disciples the ultimate test.  Who do people say he is?  Many say he was a good prophet, Elijah reincarnate, or even a good preacher.  Who do the duh-sciples say he is?  Impulsive Peter blurts out what everyone is thinking, which is why everyone loves him.  Jesus is the Christ, God the Son, sent to earth to save his people.  In Matthew, Jesus praises what he says and says that the church is built on the rock.  Jesus renames Simon "Peter", which means "rock".  Jesus did not say that the church was built on Peter, but on what Peter said.  The church is made of people who believe that Jesus is Christ.

But that is not the focus of Mark.  Mark focuses on who Jesus is and what that means.  That is why he skips Jesus's praise and goes to Jesus saying that he will die on a cross and then be raised from the dead three days later.  This did not agree with what his followers thought Messiah meant.  The Messiah would free Israel from Roman occupation and make them independent again.  But Jesus had in mind the real problem, the sin of all humanity.  People cannot pay for their sins, and even in an independent Israel, they are still going to die.  And God made both Jews and non-Jews in his image.  Jesus came to die for the sins of his chosen church made of people from all nations.

And that is why on this last week before Christmas break, I'm singing music mixed with both Christmas and crucifixion songs.  I still did not tell people my logic behind picking my music this year, since talking doesn't come easily to me, but I still followed a theme and at least got to talk about it here.  I'll continue more in the new year.

No comments:

Post a Comment