Monday, February 11, 2008

Lenten Devotional: Day Five, Monday Feb. 11th "Stand Up for God"

Gospel Reading: Mark 1-3
Devotional Emphasis: Mark 3:35 “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

The Gospel of Mark begins Jesus’ life and ministry on the fast track. There is no birth account and Jesus’ trials in the wilderness are abbreviated. There is no genealogy like we find in Matthew and Luke and no elaborate introduction to Jesus like we have in John. It takes Mark no time to get into the famous and infamous Jesus. In chapter one of Mark we see Jesus’ fame spreading after he casts out a demonic spirit the synagogue of Capernaum. Jesus then heals lots of people causing the word to get out.

As you might image, as Jesus’ popularity rises, so do the jealousy of other religious folks who cannot do what Jesus is doing. Beginning in chapter two Jesus is questioned on several accounts by the religious types. They question his telling the paralytic that his sins are forgiven; they get upset that Jesus would eat with tax collectors and sinners. They get upset that he does not make his disciples fast and that he heals people on the Sabbath. At the end of chapter three, they even accuse him of being Beelzebub, who was the prince of the demons. Jesus had become quite the rebel in the first three chapter of Mark, but it makes me wonder what has happened to this image of Jesus today.

At the end of this section, Jesus’ family comes by probably because they are embarrassed by what Jesus has been doing. When Jesus is told his mother and brothers are there to get him, he responds by saying everyone who does the will of God is my mother, brother, and sister. Following Jesus sometimes leads us to “stand out” in a crowd and sometimes will bring us into opposition with others, but this is what it means to stand with Jesus in doing God’s will. I don’t mean we are supposed make fools of ourselves, but we are called to take the right stand against injustices we see around us. That is how I see Jesus doing God’s will.

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