March 12, 2009

A Portrait of Jesus in the gospel of Mark, part 4

Here are chapters 7 and 8 of my short summary of the Gospel of Mark (simply click the tag at the bottom of the post to read the others or click here):

7. Jesus severely corrected the hypocrisy of many religious people, because they honored God with their lips, but their hearts were far from him. They were rejecting God's commandments for the teachings of men. He explained to them that it is not what enters, but what comes out of the heart and mouth that makes a person unclean. Jesus said that from people's hearts come "evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness." (Mark 7:21-22). He then cast out a demon from a non-Jewish woman's daughter, and blessed her for her great faith, because she believed that she could still find mercy at the Lord's table as a dog finds a crumb. Jesus also healed a man who could not hear or speak, so that he heard and spoke clearly.

8. With great compassion, Jesus fed another large crowd of more than 4,000 people, simply with seven loaves and a few small fish. Everyone ate to their satisfaction and found seven full baskets left over. Afterward he was deeply grieved when his enemies deceitfully asked him for a sign from heaven. Instead of giving it, he rebuked them for their willful unbelief and left in a boat. Then he warned his students about hypocrites and their ways, but his own students still had very little faith in him. When a blind man was brought to him, he fully restored the man's sight. Then they traveled on. Jesus asked his students, "who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ." (Mark 8:29). He charged them to keep it a secret, and told how he was going to be betrayed, suffer and die on a cross, then be raised again in three days. When Peter tried to correct him for this, Jesus rebuked Peter. He charged all his followers to also be willing to deny themselves and take up their crosses after him.

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