EPISODE 19: It’s not the seed, it’s the soil

The parable is a familiar teaching tool for rabbis, who understand that even the smallest child remembers a story better than a fact. Facts are flat, disconnected things. But stories have depth, relevance, and the ability to connect with the senses and remain in the memory.

Mark 4:1 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. 2 He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. Continue reading “EPISODE 19: It’s not the seed, it’s the soil”

EPISODE 18: The family redefined

Mark 3:31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” 33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. 34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

There is no doubt that Jesus loves his earthly family. From the cross, Christ will look down upon his mother and commit her care to his beloved friend, John the apostle. Years later, James, Jesus’ half-brother, will lead the church in Jerusalem.

Family matters to Jesus, so much that he extends that deep circle of intimacy from those who are blood-related to those who will be blood-bought. Continue reading “EPISODE 18: The family redefined”

EPISODE 17: Jesus’ Sanity and Spirituality Challenged

Mark 3:20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” 22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”

Jesus’ family is planning an intervention. Enough is enough. They have come to take him home so that he might recover from his madness.

The religious authorities who have come down from the capital city are not as kind in their diagnosis. They acknowledge the miracles, but attribute them to Satan, who—they surmise—must have possessed this carpenter-turned-exorcist. Continue reading “EPISODE 17: Jesus’ Sanity and Spirituality Challenged”

EPISODE 16: Jesus commissions Twelve

Mark 3:13 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons.

The “God Save Us” prayers of humanity are answered in Jesus, who begins building an army of liberators who will crush these spiritual enemies after his ultimate victory on a cross Continue reading “EPISODE 16: Jesus commissions Twelve”

EPISODE 15: Demonic realities

Mark 3:7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. 8 When they heard all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. 9 Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. 10 For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him.

The crowds grow even larger and now come from as far away Continue reading “EPISODE 15: Demonic realities”