Wake Up!

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Isa. 54:1-10(11-17); Gal. 4:21-31; Mark 8:11-26

After the feeding of the multitude….yeast becomes the topic of the day.  The disciples jumped in the boat to head to the other side.  And they forgot to bring but one loaf.  Jesus cautions them, saying they should beware of the yeast of the Pharisees.

They misunderstand: “It is because we have no bread?” Jesus retorts with some harsh words for the disciples, “Do you still not perceive or understand?  Are your hearts hardened?”

Jesus is making it clear that even the disciples’ hearts are hardened.  Although it is unclear exactly what his issue is, there is a clear line being drawn between the disciples’ need and their insufficient resources.

Mystery abounds today.  As I have mentioned before, the real joy of Mark is that as the gospel continues, there is more and more intrigue – more and more mystery – more and more secrecy, that is both let out to some, but deepened for others.

What is becoming clear is that the ways of the Old Testament are being reversed, challenged, and reinterpreted.  Our reading in Galatians also bears this out.  The entire letter, in fact, is an explanation of how the Old Testament just didn’t measure up and how God was doing a new thing.

What that new thing is, in Mark, we don’t know yet.   But what is certain is that this new and different thing that God is doing includes a much larger band of followers than before.  This is a God who is not only interested in right teaching, and right following, but in the hungry, the oppressed, and somehow the truth of the gospel hinges on the actual physical care of those around us.

God wants us to wake up.  God wants scripture to actually impact our daily walk and transform the way we live.  This is what it means to pray “on earth as it is in heaven.”

Is this starting to smell like the “social gospel” that many of the so-called “Christian conservatives” want to rail?  Well, it may not be the only thing scripture doles out, but we get a heavy dose of the social gospel from the gospel writers.  It is radical and untapped grace.  It may frighten some.  Well, so be it.  It’s there.  Scripture is clear.   Don’t be one who closes their eyes to the parts of scripture they don’t agree with, especially NT scripture – instead embrace the entirety of scripture with me and be confounded by the mystery of God.

-Matt

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