Proper 9 Mark 6.1-13
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Jesus left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded.
They said, "Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him.
Then Jesus said to them, "Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house." And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.
Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.
He said to them, "Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them."
So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The message of the story is probably that there are many obstacles to faith, including familiarity and perhaps jealousy?
What is the reason for Luke to change the timing of the rejection at Nazareth? It is a bit earlier in Jesus' ministry in Luke's gospel.
In the work of the disciples there is no mention of conversion. They cured many with anointing, but what of conversion?
In the timeline the disciples are sent out in Mk 6.13 and return in Mk 6.30 before the first feeding. The only thing between the sending out and the return is the story of John Baptizer and Herod.
Placing the story of the death of John Baptizer here is interesting. If Mark is a purposeful narrator, then is there a reason that he frames the account of the Baptist?
I think you could be correct on the message of the story.
I think it is possible that this is not the same story as that found in Luke, but that this is a second return to Nazareth. In my opinion, there are too many differences for this to be the same story.
Apparently physical healing does not require conversion, but one would think that it would at least make someone consider the thought afterwards. But how many times have people made promises to God while praying for Him to heal a loved one, and then when the loved one becomes okay, the promises are forgotten?
I have read that some believe Mark placed the story here because Jesus' popularity was growing at an even more rapid pace since the twelve were now going out in different directions to perform more healings (v. 13) and Mark was showing that even though He was so popular He, like John the Baptist, would be facing a violent death. It also shows a contrast between the people of Nazareth thinking lowly of Jesus and King Herod thinking highly enough of Him to be worried.
Thanks for posting these Richard. Are these supposed to be more literary analyses or lectio divina exercises?
Mark's Gospel, more than the others, emphasizes physical healing. Jesus speaks less and heals more. Given the Mark was the earliest Gospel, it's possible the tradition had less theological elaboration on his life and words; also possible that Mark's community just emphasized that.
Mark's Gospel relies on intercalation, a fancy way of saying he sandwiches stories so they comment on one another. I agree with ambrithill that this might be a foreshadowing of Jesus' death. These stories might also be about why different people reject Jesus. The people in Jesus' hometown reject him out of envy for his prestige (according to Malina's The New Testament World). Herod is more confused. He sees something holy here but his situation - his family - his baggage make it so he must kill John. I've always felt sorry for Herod, who to me represents everyone who sees something special in the Gospel but is afraid to leave their life behind and step into God's arms. I see Herod as one of the "sheep without a shepherd" in the feeding of the crowd scene right after the Herod story. To me the feeding story is a sigh of relief after the frustration of Jesus being rejected in Nazareth and the sorrow of John's death.
I really like the image of the disciples on their journey relying totally on God for food and shelter every night. They didn't know whether or not God would provide them with food. In my time in Nepal I've seen how much Americans take things for granted that people here don't have, such as 24/7 electricity and sanitary water. We forget that God provides what we need, not just our paycheck.
These discussions can take any direction. My approach is critical, but I would enjoy and benefit from other approaches, including devotional.
Please do not think from my posts and comments that everyone need to apply source criticism and have a working knowledge of Greek. The more different perspectives the better for me.
From your comments, do you think that we are discussion a literary arrangement of the narrative, or the historical chronology as it happened.
The foreshadowing of Jesus death in the placement of the account of John the Baptizer - is that a literary technique or the divine hand in ordering historical events?
My perspective is that we are dealing with a literary composition.
I think it is either/or.
The question is how much of the narrative and dialogue happened as Mark relates and how much is a factual reporting.
How much reflects Marks presentation of his understanding and theology, and how much is straight recording of the events and the words. The latter might allow for Mark to provide editing and control over what is included and what is omitted.
Above in #4, ambrithill has suggested that Luke did not move the Nazareth rejection, but that Jesus visited Nazareth twice. Mark and Matthew chose to report the second visit and Luke chose to report the first visit.
John chose to report neither.
I notice that in trying to determine how Mark wrote his Gospel you do not include guidance by the Holy Spirit. How much, if any, do you feel the Holy Spirit was responsible for the way that Mark wrote?
I do not know how to measure the role of the Holy Spirit in the composition of the writings of scripture. My assumption though is that if the Holy Spirit guided the writings in the NT, there would be more consistency in the narratives and in the dialogues.
We can add the Holy Spirit, but again I do not know how to evaluate that as a source.
Do you think that GMark was a literary composition with the arrangement and dialogue created by the narrator, likely selecting from received tradition, that it is a historical account with the arrangment inline with the historical events, that it is a writing given from the inspiration by the Holy Spirit.
If it is a writing inspired from the Holy Spirit, does that suggest that the evangelist had no first hand knowledge of the events or did not use received tradition?
I'm not sure that question is answerable. But I don't think it's conflicting to say that Mark was guided by the Holy Spirit in the specific context of his community. I remember learning that Mark wrote his Gospel for a persecuted community that needed encouragement in the form of a Gospel emphasizing Jesus' suffering and humanity. Realizing that Jesus suffered as a human would help believers (then and now) see suffering as part of the path of Christ. To me Mark emphasizes Jesus' human traits more than Matthew and Luke and far more than John.
I do believe Mark was a witness to at least some of the events, and of course many think he got information from Peter. I think that the reason the narratives and dialogues are different is because each writer was saying something different about Jesus while at the same time saying much of the same things. I think it is a supernatural occurrence of the Holy Spirit leading the writer but still allowing the writer's personality and knowledge come through. And supernaturally is the only way I can say how this was done.
I think that leaving out the Holy Spirit is one reason so many believers are skeptical of the different forms of criticism.
Let's include the Holy Spirit as a source of inspiration for the composition of Mark's gospel, but I will have to admit that I will be unable to discern what the Holy Spirit contributed or why the Holy Spirit makes changes between the gospel accounts.
My approach with the differences and similarities is to consider common sources and later redactions. ambrithill, perhaps you can help us consider the contribution of the Holy Spirit.
The following is from the Moody Handbook of Theology by Richard Enns:
Inspiration. Biblical inspiration can be defined as “God’s superintending human authors so that, using their own individual personalities, they composed and recorded without error His revelation to man in the words of the original autographs.” In contrasting revelation with inspiration it may be stated that revelation refers to the material whereas inspiration refers to the method. The word inspiration is taken from the Greek word theopneustos (meaning “God-breathed”) in 2 Timothy 3:16. Scripture is that which is “breathed-out by God.” The Scriptures are the product of the creative breath of God. “The ‘breath of God’ is in Scripture just the symbol of His almighty power, the bearer of His creative word." A parallel can be observed:
God, Formed the heavens, Psalm 33:6
by His breath Revealed the Scriptures, 2 Timothy 3:16
I think that probably describes the work of the Holy Spirit better than I could. And to me, if the originals are not without error then we should all be saying, "Houston, we have a problem."
Does this base faith on inerrant, but non extant, originals? Does this allow that there is error in our scriptures that we can read today?
Ambrithill, have you been following the news about the Higgs particle?
Sure there "can" be error in the Scriptures we read today and many would argue that there must be since different translations do not agreee with each other. However, I would also have to say that there is not one major doctrinal issue that any of these "errors" change, and I believe that is due to God keeping His Word pure and holy.
I have not heard about the Higgs particle.
Are the differences among the gospel accounts then a result of error, or are they a result of differences in the understanding or intended messages of the evangelists?
I think they are the result of different intended messages, and also the result of two people seeing the same event in different ways.
I did a quick look at the Higgs particle. It seems amazing to me how many times in the articles I read the words "may," "might," "could," etc. appear.
If the differences are original and then inerrant, how do you discern the inspiration of the Holy Spirit?
You teach math. Are you familiar with 5 sigma standard deviation?
I believe the Holy Spirit was guiding each author in the direction of their writing and the purpose of their writing. I do not fully understand how both the Holy Spirit and the author's own style were incorporated into one work, but since I consider that to be a supernatural thing that does not surpise me, nor bother me.
Standard deviation, yes. 5 sigma standard deviation, no. Remember, I teach middle school math.
5 Sigma is 5 standard deviations - 99.99994%. They proposed the null hypothesis - which might have been something like "the test data did not find the Higgs boson". They found that they had a .00006% chance that they are rejecting a null hypothesis that is in fact true.
More work is needed to confirm that the particle is precisely the Higgs boson and all that is predicted about the Higgs boson.
The words you pointed to - may, might, could, appear - are cautions that point more to the standards of precision that to any questions the reliability of the data and the significance of the discovery.
What they are looking at though is the make up of the universe, the state of things at the smallest fraction of a billionth of a second from the beginning.
And the possibility that they might get a glimpse into the state of things before the beginning.
> 14, 18
I think what the conversation is pointing to is that the definition of inspiration you gave doesn't explain how the human authors' individual idiosyncrasies or contexts influenced their presentation and understanding of Jesus. Are the differences between the Synoptics because God inspired them differently, or because of their unique perspectives as humans? If the former, then what about cases where different perspectives on Jesus are presented, e.g. Paul's new covenant and rejection of the old versus Matthew's "I have not come to abolish the law, but fulfill it"? If the latter, then to what extent can we say that a particular presentation of Jesus in any part of the Gospels is inspired and to what extent can we say it's an individual human's view that we can safely deviate from?
(Those are poorly phrased questions, but I hope you get the idea.)
It is so funny that you mentioned Mt "I have not come to abolish the law?" in the Sermon on the Mount. I was reading that this morning.
Beside verse 19, I have a handwritten note: "Is this verse written in opposition to the Pauline teaching?"
What I had considered is whether the Matthean community stood in opposition to the liberalization that Paul taught.
I think both Matthew and Paul are saying that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law. As Paul said, the law was a teacher to show us our need of a Redeemer and that Jesus is that Redeemer.
>25 I do believe the individual author's idiosyncracies and/or contexts influenced their writing and their style of writing, but that both were done under the supervision of the Holy Spirit. As I said earlier, I cannot explain how the Holy Spirit was able to allow both of these to happen, but since He is God I should not be able to explain everything He does.
And that is an extremely important verse in regards to those who believe that "anything goes" while remaining in a right relationship with God.
And one more point about the Higgs particle. While I certainly do not understand everything about it, it still leaves the question of the cause of the Higgs particle (even if everything that is said about it is true). Regardless of what science comes up with to try and discredit God, and the Higgs particle seems to try and do that, there is nothing other than God that can be the possible answer for the beginning of everything.
I do not understand the idea that science is coming up with things to discredit God. That is not the motivation. The motivation of science is to understand the workings of the universe. The Higgs particle is not trying to discredit God. The Higgs particle is just out there there adding mass to particles.
If you want, it is how God has put things to work.
I think it may be more accurate that to deny the discoveries and insights into creation made by science is to discredit the Creator.
I suppose I said that because of most of the articles called it the God particle, but your description may be more accurate.
Wikipedia on why it is called the God Particle:
Because of its role in producing a fundamental property of elementary particles, the Higgs boson has been referred to as the "God particle" in popular culture, although virtually all scientists regard this as a hyperbole.Robert
Good to have you join us Mr Durick.
I don't think most physicists are real happy with the terminology. I think it was a marketing idea, a sexy book title.
I've been watching for quite some time, but I mean not to intrude. That is I hope to say little here and learn more than opine.
This is a question I forgot to ask you. Why do you think the early church fathers thought Matthew was written first? Doesn't it make sense to think that those who were within a century of the writings would have a better idea of which order they were written in than people who are nearly 2000 years later? I understand the Q theory and all of that, but source criticism leaves out the possibility of the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit. Remember, Jesus told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would bring to remembrance what He had taught them.
This would be an excellent topic to discuss, as a separate topic. It should be informative and helpful on several levels.
It might be a better topic though for the Christianity group - to get wider participation.
The Q theory doesn't leave out the working of the Holy Spirit as I understand it. It just theorizes about a different order that the Holy Spirit worked in.
One reason for the Q theory is that (according to my professor) ancient texts, when edited, tended to be added to rather than made more concise. It makes less sense that Mark would work with Matthew and shorten it than vice versa. Think of how other stories about religious figures work: they expand, grow, get added to.
Second, my understanding was that Matthew was placed first and regarded first by ancients and medievals is that it was considered the teaching Gospel. It was seen as even catechetical due perhaps in part lengthy discourses and sermons. Early Christian communities emphasized it for liturgical use. Compare this to Mark which has fewer discourses/sermons. In fact Mark has often been ignored (at least in Catholicism) because people figured everything in it was in Matthew and Luke, so why read Mark? I'm glad we've now realized that Mark isn't just a collection of stuff in other gospels, but a work with its own emphasis and viewpoint on who Jesus is.
(Reference: Luke Timothy Johnson, The Writings of the New Testament: an Interpretation.)
I suppose I think that there did not necessarily have to be borrowing from anybody by anybody if the Holy Spirit was leading the process. I also wonder where the idea came from that ancient texts were added to and not made more concise. Under normal circumstances, I would think it would work the other way around.
If Mark borrowed from Matthew, he did not make the text more concise.
David deSilva - who is not an especially liberal scholar
"Ancient editorial practice appears to have been to select one principal source and work in material from other sources as appropriate and necessary, and moreover, to conflate large blocks of material. Mark (assuming Mark copied from Mt and Lk) is envisioned, however, as moving line by line through two sources, choosing a word or a phrase from one, then moving to the other for a word or phrase, weaving them together at such a close and confied level as no other ancient authro/editor is seen to have worked."
And I might add render better Greek into weaker Greek.
It is difficult to discuss the questions from a broad perspective, using generalities, unless you have looked at specifics, at the evidence.
I have looked at the evidence and found it wanting. I do not see the need for any copying per se. I guess I simply believe each man wrote as the Holy Spirit led him to write (while still allowing personality to show through) and since they were each telling about the same person there are bound to be similarities as well as differences.
If you join in the discussion of the Synoptic Problem in the Christianity group, you can point out which ways the evidence is lacking.
Or as the gospel readings come up here. We can discuss the evidence for or against source criticism in general or between specific theories of priority.
The evidence for guidance by the Holy Spirit is the Bible saying of Scripture itself that it is inspired. At least that is my understanding of inspiration.
I am responding to this in the Christianity group as well, however, I really do not like doing so because it looks like it is one more reason for non-believers to continue to disbelieve the Bible. John 14:26, as mentioned in the other thread, also implies guidance by the Holy Spirit, at least in my mind.
Let me rephrase what I said in 49. I think there is plenty of room for discussion between family members about things they don't agree on, but don't let the whole world get into the family's disagreements.
I think we can drop the subject in this topic, which is supposed to be about Mk 6.1-13.
I think one of the important parts of this passage is that it shows Jesus' family did not believe He was the Messiah. Taken in conjunction with the fact that at least part of them did become believers shows He truly was who He claimed to be. There is no way that a family member would ever agree that He was the Son of God unless they were sure that He was.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.