Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Puzzling Parables (Matthew 26:57-Mark 9:13)

I'm a little confused about some of the parables in this section. I always thought the parables were used to help Jesus' followers better understand what he was trying to say but after reading this section, it doesn't seem like that was the case.

Mark 9-12

When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that,

"they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!"

Why would Jesus not want make it easier for those he spoke to to understand what he was saying?

In Mark 4:34 It also says that when Jesus was alone with his disciples he explained his parables. I just don't get why he would explain them to his disciples but not the thousands of people who came to hang on to every word he had to say.

And I've never understood the story in Mark 7 about the faith of the Syrophoenician woman. Here is is:

Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence a secret. In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

"First let the children eat all they want," he told her, "for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."

"Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."

then he told her, "For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter."

She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

I wish someone would make it clear to me exaclty what this means, I have a few guesses as to what it means but nothing I'm 100% sure about.

Few other comments about this section:
1. Jesus was a rock star! they couldn't get enought of him

2. There were a lot of demon possessed people brought to Jesus. I wonder why I haven't seen a lot of that during my lifetime if it was so prevalently recorded back then? not that I want to see a lot of it, but I have a feeling it has to do with Satan being pretty sneaky.

3. I liked how Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs I think that is a good rule of thumb when doing missions work there is strength in numbers and it can be so hard when it's just one person.

4. There is a lot of repeat between Matthew and Mark and I'm sure Luke and John have repeats as well. I wonder why God thought it was necessary to have 4 different versions of the same story. Probably for validity.

Anyway, that's it for today. Lot's of questions, not a lot of answers. Feel free to leave a post if you can help me with some answers.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Matthew 17-26:56

"Then all the disciples deserted him and fled." Matthew 26:56

I had never noticed this verse before. It was like a punch in the gut when I read it. Not calling the disciples wimps or anything but getting a glimp of human nature.

In Matthew 24 it talks about the end of the age and in verses 9-13 say "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, BUT HE WHO STANDS FIRM TO THE END WILL BE SAVED.

I pray that I will stand firm to the end and that my love will grow warm again.

Scary stuff but I need to know........ more than anything else in this world right now... I need to know.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Matthew 1-16

Matthew 28
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of king Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him. When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.

I knew King Herod was not happy about it but I never thought about how the rest of Jerusalem felt. Interesting...........

Just finished Matthew 2
Never realized how many dreams God used to communicate the Magi and Joseph. I wonder if God would ever use a dream to talk to me.

Disciples in order of mention:
Simon (called Peter)

Beatitudes Matthew 5 ......good stuff

Matthew 7:12
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 16:25
For whever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

Matthew 13:14
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people's heart has becomed calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts, and turn,
and I would heal them.

Lord, help me to see what you see and hear what you hear. Open my eyes and ears to your truth.

It's about time!

Okay so I know this looks bad. I grew up a preachers kid, went to a Christian College and have attended church 99% of Sundays my entire life. Granted none of those things gives me a free pass into heaven just so we're clear. In my 27 years on this planet I have read A LOT of books. I love to read and to my embarrassment, the Bible is not one I can claim to have read cover to cover. I started this year on a journey to read the Bible in 90 days and I felt really blessed and loved that my awesome Pastor decided to encourage me on my journey by being a reading buddy. Of course I knew my perfectionist "do it or lose it" personality would come into play sooner or later and well it's been 90 days and I'm just starting the New Testament. I have to say I'm proud and mad at myself at the same time. I'm proud that I haven't given up completely and yet frustrated that I could not force myself to keep up with the schedule. But here's the deal, I'm not giving up and I'm going to read the New Testament and if I stick with the schedule I should finish in 21 days. 3 weeks, I can do it and I want to do it. This reading is stirring my soul in ways that haven't been stirred in a while. God is trying to get to me and I fear that if I don't pay attention this time, it might be the last that he tries to reach me on a deeper level. I have to admit that many times I feel like a surface Christian, I love God, I feel so stinkin' blessed that he decided to plop me in this world where he did and I know that if I died today I would go to heaven but I'm definitely feeling like it's not enough. I feel like I'm letting my dad down in a big way that he wants to see me do something great and make him proud and I'm working at a gas station. Sorry bad analogy but it's what came to mind. So today is day one of a three week journey. I'm reading Matthew 1-16 today and I will be posting each day to keep me accountable. If you want to join me in my reading or if you just want your own guide for reading the Bible in 90 days go to