February 3, 2009

A Portrait of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, part 2

Continuing my summary of the Gospel of Mark (chapters 3 and 4):

3. The religious leaders became even more upset with Jesus, especially since he kept healing people on the Sabbath day. But he declared that it was right to do good on that day, because he was "Lord of the Sabbath." This made them mad enough to conspire to destroy him. However, they could not deny that Jesus really did miracles. He even freed people from demons, so they accused him of driving out evil spirits by the prince of evil. Therefore Jesus warned that whoever blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, and he showed them the error of their thoughts by telling them it is impossible for evil to cast out evil.
Jesus also went away to pray alone, and afterward he deliberately chose 12 men to be his students [disciples]. He also chose Judas Iscariot, who would betray him.

4. Everywhere Jesus went, he was always teaching and preaching. He often spoke in parables (stories that have a spiritual meaning). He told them of the sower who sowed some seed on bad soil, and some on good soil. The seed that fell on the bad soil did not last, while the seed on good soil produced fruit. Later he explained that these are different people who hear the Word of God. Some believe it but later fall away, while others continue in it with patient endurance and later produce the fruits of a transformed life. This was a warning for anyone who hears the gospel, since some hear without being saved.
On the same day, Jesus and his students were in a terrible storm on the sea. His students were surprised to find him asleep, so they woke him in fear. Jesus rebuked the wind and the sea, saying, "Peace! Be still!" (Mark 4:39). Everything calmed immediately, and he said, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?" (Mark 4:40). They were absolutely astonished at who this could be, since he commanded wind and sea, and they obeyed him!

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