Sunday, June 27, 2021

Mission Grounded in Rejection

Below is a rough translation and some preliminary comments regarding Mark 6:1-13, the Revised Common Lectionary gospel lesson for the 7th Sunday after Pentecost, Year B. As usual, your comments are welcomed. 

This reading is comprised of two stories – the rejection of Jesus in his hometown (vv.1-6) and the sending of the twelve (vv. 7-13). Mark connects them in vv.6-7, by having Jesus leave his hometown and go around teaching to the surrounding villages, then sending the twelve to go out as well. I find it best to consider each story in its own right, then to consider them as a couplet. Interestingly, the second story – of the twelve’s mission – actually concludes in 6:30-31: The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught.He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” Like Jesus, the disciple were doing and teaching. Like Jesus, they needed a deserted place to get away from the crowds and for restoration. And, in my mind, that is the point of this whole pericope – those who follow Jesus are invited to be like Jesus, by participating in the Reign of God at hand. 

At the bottom of this post is a Prayer of Thanksgiving and Prayers of the People that one might use for communion litany. Blessings.

Καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἐκεῖθεν, καὶ ἔρχεται εἰς τὴν πατρίδα αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἀκολουθοῦσιν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ. 
And he left there, and is entering into his hometown, and his disciples are following him. 
ἐξῆλθεν: AAI 3s, ἐξέρχομαι, 1) to go or come forth of  1a) with mention of the place out of which one goes, or the  point from which he departs
ἔρχεται: PMI 3s, , ἐξέρχομαι, 1) to go or come forth of  1a) with mention of the place out of which one goes, or the  point from which he departs
ἀκολουθοῦσιν: PAI 3p, ἀκολουθέω, 1) to follow one who precedes, join him as his attendant,  accompany him  2) to join one as a disciple, become or be his disciple
1. “And he left there” is a reference to Jairus’ house, where Jesus has just raised a 12 year old girl to life. Within that story, he had healed a woman who had been suffering for 12 years. In the next story, he will send out the 12. 

καὶ γενομένου σαββάτου ἤρξατο διδάσκειν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ: καὶ πολλοὶ 
ἀκούοντες ἐξεπλήσσοντο λέγοντες, Πόθεν τούτῳ ταῦτα, καὶ τίς  σοφία  
δοθεῖσα τούτῳ καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις τοι αῦται διὰ τῶν χειρῶν αὐτοῦ γινόμεναι; 
And Sabbath having come he began to teach in the synagogue; and hearing many were incensed saying, “Where these things and this wisdom which has been given to him and the powerful deeds which are happening through his hands?  
γενομένου: AMPart gsn, γίνομαι, 1) to become, i.e. to come into existence, begin to be, receive being  2) to become, i.e. to come to pass, happen
ἤρξατο : AMI 3s, ἄρχω, 1) to be chief, to lead, to rule
διδάσκειν : PAInf, διδάσκω, 1) to teach 
ἀκούοντες : PAPart npm, ἀκούω, 1) to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, not deaf  2) to hear 
ἐξεπλήσσοντο: IPI 3p ἐκπλήσσω, amazedto be exceedingly struck in mind 
λέγοντες: PAPart npm, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak 
δοθεῖσα: APPart nfs, δίδωμι, 1) to give  2) to give something to someone  2a) of one's own accord to give one something, to his advantage 
γινόμεναι:  PAPart afp, γίνομαι, 1) to become, i.e. to come into existence, begin to be, receive being  2) to become, i.e. to come to pass, happen
1. There is something about the crowd’s actions in vv.2-3 that evoke a reaction from Jesus in v.4. It causes me to wonder what the implications of the verb ἐκπλήσσω might be. Most translations say that the crowd was “amazed” (NIV) or “astonished” (KJV, ESV), or “astounded (NRSV) at what they were hearing. Mark uses ἐξεπλήσσοντο four other times. Here are the NRSV translations: 
Mk.1:22 - They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Mk. 7:37 - They were astounded beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’
Mk. 10:26 - They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’
Mk.11:18 - And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching.
2. Is ἐκπλήσσωa good thing? Does it have negative connotations? Or, is it a neutral term in itself, taking its shade of meaning from its context? I lean toward the latter and am hearing it negatively here because Mark immediately says that the people were ‘scandalized’ by what Jesus said. The word is comprised of the prefix  ἐκ, meaning ‘out’ and the root πλήσσω, meaning ‘to strike.’ While being ‘struck out of one’s mind’ is one way to put it, hence ‘astounded,’ it can also mean this, according to’s lexicon:  to strike out, expel by a blow, drive out or away; to cast off by a blow, to drive out; commonly, to strike one out of self-possession, to strike with panic, shock.
3. If the home crowd is incensed, the questions that follow can take on a challenging, not inquiring tone, like, “What the hell is he saying? How does he come to be able to do these things? Isn’t he that carpenter kid of Mary’s?” etc. 
4. Michael Turton, citing Donahue and Harrington, points out that the reference to the powerful deeds done ‘through his hands’ sounds complimentary until one sees that Jesus is called a ‘craftsman’ (or ‘carpenter’) in the next sentence, a reference to one who works with one’s hands. See Turton’s commentary.
οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν  τέκτων,  υἱὸς τῆς Μαρίας καὶ ἀδελφὸς Ἰακώβου καὶ 
Ἰωσῆτος καὶ Ἰούδα καὶ Σίμωνος; καὶ οὐκ εἰσὶν αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ ὧδε πρὸς 
ἡμᾶς; καὶ ἐσκανδαλίζοντο ἐν αὐτῷ. 
Is this not the craftsman, the son of Mary and brother of James and Justus and Judah and Simon?  And are not his sisters here with us?  And they were scandalized in him.
ἐστιν (2x): PAI 3s, εἰμί, 1) to be, to exist, to happen, to be present 
εἰσὶν: PAI 3p, εἰμί, 1) to be, to exist, to happen, to be present 
ἐσκανδαλίζοντο: IPI 3p, σκανδαλίζω, 1) to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which  another may trip and fall, metaph. to offend
1. There is quite a bit of family information here that shows above all else that these really are Jesus’ own people who know him and his family well. 
2. The ‘son of Mary’ phrase, however, could be loaded. Perhaps Joseph is dead and one does not speak of the dead. Some have suggested that ‘son of Mary,’ instead of ‘son of Joseph and Mary,’ is a jab at the dubious story Jesus’ surrounding Jesus’ birth. Mark never mentions that story, so I find this unconvincing. The interpretive challenge of translating the crowd’s words is to try to capture the meaning and tone, which requires some speculation. 
3. We have met Jesus’ family already in Mark’s story. Mark 3:21 says, “When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, ‘He has gone out of his mind.’” Then, in 3:31, “Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him.” 
4. I think “craftsman” captures the comparison to the deeds happening “through his hands” in v.2. 

καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς  Ἰησοῦς ὅτι Οὐκ ἔστιν προφήτης ἄτιμος εἰ μὴ ἐν τῇ 
πατρίδι αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν τοῖς συγγενεῦσιν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ. 
And Jesus was saying to them, “No prophet is without honor except among his hometown and among his relatives and among his house.”  
ἔλεγεν: IAI 3s, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak 
ἔστιν: PAI 3s, εἰμί, 1) to be, to exist, to happen, to be present 
1. While I typically translate ἐνas ‘in,’ it seems that ‘among’ fits better here. 
2. The idea that a prophet has no honor in the hometown or among one’s own people is not a quote from the OT. Most commentators say it seems to be a proverbial expression that has its origins elsewhere. What does Jesus mean by saying it? (Or, if you will, what does Mark mean by having Jesus say it?) It is a backhanded way of identifying Jesus as a prophet? Is it a forehanded way of aligning these folks with the long history of those who rejected the prophets? 
3. Mark does not mention the name of the town in this story. Mark identifies Jesus as being from Nazareth in 1:9. Then, he says in 2:1 that when Jesus returned to Capernaum it was reported that he was at home. [Incidentally, Matthew 4:12-13 says, “Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee.He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the lake, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali,” followed by Matthew’s characteristic display that this move fulfilled what was written in the OT.]  

καὶ οὐκ ἐδύνατο ἐκεῖ ποιῆσαι οὐδεμίαν δύναμιν, εἰ μὴ ὀλίγοις ἀρρώστοις 
ἐπιθεὶς τὰς χεῖρας ἐθεράπευσεν: 
And he was not able to do any powerful deeds there, except laying on hands he healed a few sick folk.  
ἐδύνατο: IMI 3s, δύναμαι, 1) to be able, have power whether by virtue of one's own ability and  resources, or of a state of mind, or through favorable  circumstances, or by permission of law or custom 
ποιῆσαι: AAInf, ποιέω, 1) to make  1a) with the names of things made, to produce, construct,  form, fashion, etc.
ἐπιθεὶς: AAPart nsm, ἐπιτίθημι, 1) in the active voice  1a) to put or lay upon
ἐθεράπευσεν: AAI 3s, θεραπεύω, 1) to serve, do service  2) to heal, cure, restore to health 
1. This sentence literally reads ‘not able to do no powerful deeds,’ but the double negative does not equal a positive in Greek. 
2. I’ve always thought this was an interesting observation – he couldn’t do anything, you know, except heal a few sick folk. But, other than that, he couldn’t do anything! 

καὶ ἐθαύμαζεν διὰ τὴν ἀπιστίαν αὐτῶν. Καὶ περιῆγεν τὰς κώμας κύκλῳ 
And he was amazed at their unbelief.  And he was going around the surrounding villages teaching.
ἐθαύμαζεν: IAI 3s, θαυμάζω, 1) to wonder, wonder at, marvel  2) to be wondered at, to be had in admiration
περιῆγεν: IAI 3s, περιάγω, 1) to lead around, to lead about with one's self  2) to go about, walk about 
διδάσκων: PAPart nsm, διδάσκω, 1) to teach  1a) to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them,  deliver didactic discourses 
1. Now, it’s Jesus’ turn to be amazed at them. θαυμάζω is a different term from ἐκπλήσσω in v.2.
2. The implication is that the crowd’s reaction in vv.2-3 was a reaction of unbelief, which, however proverbial, is amazing in itself. 
3. I use the word “surrounding” because the adjective κύκλῳ carries the meaning of going in circles. Added to that is the prefix περι from “going around” (περιῆγεν), which also means ‘around.’ I think having ‘around’ then ‘surrounding’ picks up on this redundancy of ‘round’ words. The point of the redundancy seems to be that Jesus is not teaching or sending the twelve in villages around his own town, but not in his own town. 

καὶ προσκαλεῖται τοὺς δώδεκα, καὶ ἤρξατο αὐτοὺς ἀποστέλλειν δύο δύο, 
καὶ ἐδίδου αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τῶν πνευμάτων τῶν ἀκαθάρτων: 
And he calls to the twelve, and began to send them two by two, and gave to them authority of the unclean spirits;
προσκαλεῖται: PMI 3s, προσκαλέομαι, 1) to call to  2) to call to one's self  3) to bid to come to one's self 
ἤρξατο: AMI 3s, ἄρχω, 1) to be chief, to lead, to rule
ἀποστέλλειν: PAInf, ἀποστέλλω, 1) to order (one) to go to a place appointed  2) to send away, dismiss
ἐδίδου: IAI 3s, δίδωμι, 1) to give  2) to give something to someone  2a) of one's own accord to give one something, to his advantage
1. Jesus sends the disciples to go out and take authority over the unclean spirits, to be amazing, to embody and to participate in the reign of God at hand. See my comments under “My Babble” below for more. 

καὶ παρήγγειλεν αὐτοῖς ἵνα μηδὲν αἴρωσιν εἰς ὁδὸν εἰ μὴῥάβδον μόνον, μὴ 
ἄρτον, μὴ πήραν, μὴ εἰς τὴν ζώνην χαλκόν, 
And charged them, that they would take up nothing onto the way except a staff only, not bread, not a bag not money in the belt, 
παρήγγειλεν: AAI 3s, παραγγέλλω, 1) to transmit a message along from one to another, to declare, announce  2) to command, order, charge 
αἴρωσιν: PASubj 3p, αἴρω, 1) to raise up, elevate, lift up  1a) to raise from the ground, take up: stones  1b) to raise upwards, elevate, lift up: the hand  
1. The verb παραγγέλλω (charged) is interesting. The root αγγέλλω is the stem of a lot of ‘proclamation’-type words, including ἄγγελος(angel) and εὐαγγέλιον(evangelism). 

ἀλλὰ ὑποδεδεμένους σανδάλια καὶ μὴ ἐνδύσησθε δύο χιτῶνας. 
but binding sandals and not wearing two tunics. 
ὑποδεδεμένους: PerfMPart apm, to bind or tie under with ὑπό (a) in middle to bind under one's feet, put on shoes (this specific meaning occurs only in Mar 6:9. Eph 6:15)
ἐνδύσησθε: AMSubj 2p, ἐνδύω, 1) to sink into (clothing), put on, clothe one's self
1. So far, we do not know what, exactly, Jesus is calling the twelve to do. We know how they were organized, empowered, simplified, and dressed. 

10καὶ ἔλεγεναὐτοῖς, Οπου ἐὰν εἰσέλθητε εἰς οἰκίαν, ἐκεῖ μένετε ἕως ἂν 
ἐξέλθητε ἐκεῖθεν. 
And he was saying to them, “Wherever you would enter into a house, there remain until you would leave there.
ἔλεγεν: IAI 3s, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak 
εἰσέλθητε: AASubj 2p, εἰσέρχομαι, 1) to go out or come in: to enter  1a) of men or animals, as into a house or a city
μένετε: PAImpv 2p, μένω, 1) to remain, abide  1a) in reference to place  1a1) to sojourn, tarry  1a2) not to depart  
ἐξέλθητε: AASubj 2p,εξέρχομαι, 1) to go or come forth of  1a) with mention of the place out of which one goes, or the  point from which he departs

11 καὶ ὃς ἂν τόπος μὴ δέξηται ὑμᾶς μηδὲ ἀκούσωσιν ὑμῶν, ἐκπορευόμενοι ἐκεῖθεν ἐκτινάξατε τὸν χοῦν τὸν ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν ὑμῶν εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς.
And whatever place might not receive you or might not listen to you, leaving there shake the bottom dust of your feet into a witness to them. 
δέξηται: AMSubj 3s, δέχομαι, 1) to take with the hand  1a) to take hold of, take up, 2b) to receive or grant access to 
ἀκούσωσιν: AASubj 3p, ἀκούω, 1) to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, not deaf  
ἐκπορευόμενοι: PMPart npm, ἐκπορεύομαι, 1) to go forth, go out, depart
ἐκτινάξατε: AAImpv 2p, ἐκτινάσσω, 1) to shake off so that something adhering shall fall
1. The pronoun, “them” (αὐτοῖς) in the last phrase is in the dative case, which is usually translated ‘to’ or ‘with’ something. Almost every translation goes with ‘against,’ which is possible, but which is usually set off with a separate preposition. 
2. I think translating the εἰς as “to” or “against” is an interpretive issue, and not strictly a translation issue, which goes to the heart of what Jesus is telling the twelve to do. If Jesus were intending “against,” the instruction sounds like a demonstrative way of saying, ‘You reject me, I’ll reject you.” But that seems contrary to how Jesus typically operates. If this were a way of providing a testimony ‘to’ them, it would fit the spirit of not taking anything along for the journey. The twelve are not being sent out to benefit or exploit. They go out with authority over unclean spirits and receptive to hospitality. If there is no offer of hospitality, they demonstrate that they are not there to take anything – not even the dust – that is not freely given.
3. The two older translations that I consult along the way – Young’s Literal Translation of 1862 and the King James Version of 1611, have an addition to this verse: “verily I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom or Gomorrah in a day of judgment than for that city.” 
4. So, continuing the thought of v.9, n.1, the twelve have been empowered with authority over unclean spirits, they’ve been instructed on what to wear, what not to depend on, and how to be a guest to both the hospitable and inhospitable. They have not been told anything specific to say. But, as the next verse suggests, they do say something. 

 12 Καὶ ἐξελθόντες ἐκήρυξαν ἵνα μετανοῶσιν, 
And having gone out they preached in order that they might repent, 
ἐξελθόντες: AAPart npm, ἐξέρχομαι, 1) to go or come forth of  1a) with mention of the place out of which one goes, or the  point from which he departs
ἐκήρυξαν: AAI 3p, κηρύσσω, 1) to be a herald, to officiate as a herald  1a) to proclaim after the manner of a herald
μετανοῶσιν: PASubj 3p, μετανοέω, 1) to change one's mind, i.e. to repent  2) to change one's mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence  of one's past sins
1. Given Mark’s penchant for using pronouns without clear antecedents, some translations make this “that all might repent.” The noun is implied in the 3rdperson voicing of the verb “repent.” 
2. The verb, μετανοέω, literally means “change of mind.” This is the second and last time the verbal form of this word is used in Mark’s gospel, the first being Jesus’ words of 1:15, following the arrest of John. Mark also uses the nominal form, μετάνοια twice: In 1:4 with reference to John the Baptist; and 2:17, where Jesus says, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” 

13 καὶ δαιμόνια πολλὰ ἐξέβαλλον, καὶ ἤλειφον ἐλαίῳ πολλοὺς ἀρρώστους 
καὶ ἐθεράπευον.
and were casting out many demons, and were anointing with oil many sick folk and were curing them. 
ἐξέβαλλον: IAI 3p, ἐκβάλλω, 1) to cast out, drive out, to send out  1a) with notion of violence  1a1) to drive out
ἤλειφον: IAI 3p, ἀλείφω, 1) to anoint
ἐθεράπευον: IAI 3p, θεραπεύω, 1) to serve, do service  2) to heal, cure, restore to health
1. It seems to me that this is what Mark envisions the followers of Jesus to be doing. (I think whoever added the longer ending to Mark’s gospel has this in mind as what the disciples did after the resurrection, however embellished they described it.) 

My Babble:
For the interpreter, this week’s lexicon has two stories, each of which has meaning in its own right. Then, as a couplet, they show that when Jesus is rejected among his own folk, the twelve are empowered to go and bear the message, as well as to cast out demons and to heal. This rejection-leading-to-new-ministry is the same pattern of 1:14-15 when Jesus began his ministry after the arrest of John. (I would argue that this is part of the resurrection motif of Mark, but that is a larger topic for another day.)  

Another issue that arises here is that if the message of repentance is a change of mind, what does it call one to change from and change to
First, I will address what I believe Mark sees one changing to
My guess is that the most popular answer to this question would be to say it is a call to believe in Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior. That would certainly be an appropriate response if one has Romans 10:9-10 in mind, for example. However, in Mark’s gospel there are reasons for approaching the question differently. One of those reasons is that when Jesus is preparing the twelve for this mission, he does not tell them to preach about him, and that is not what they preach about. Rather than preaching about Jesus, they preach with Jesus, one could say, that repentance is necessary. 
In my own reading of Mark, I think it is an incredibly important moment when Jesus sends the twelve out preaching repentance. It relates to my somewhat-developed opinion of the so-called ‘messianic secret’ in Mark. The phrase “messianic secret” attempts to name a motif that certainly is central to Mark’s gospel – the repetitive ‘don’t say anything’ moments right where we don’t expect them. For me, however, it is not so much a secret as a re-direction. By attempting over and over to make Jesus ‘the Messiah,’ people were missing the point of his message, which was that the Reign of God was present and that they all were invited to participate in it. As long as they had the Messiah to embody the reign, they were missing the participation part. To ‘follow’ is not to point to, observe, marvel, coronate, or even profess. It is more about joining along, taking up the message, indeed taking up the cross that is central to the message, and “believing” by living in the present reign of God. It is healing the sick, delivering those who are oppressed, etc. In other words, I don’t think the “messianic secret” is a literary device by Mark, but a theological point that Mark saw Jesus trying to re-direct his message away from himself and toward following-as-participating. 

So, yes, repentance can be reconciled with turning from something and turning to following Jesus as Lord and Savior, but for Mark the act of following is more participative than propositional, more ‘take nothing with you but …’ than ‘confess with your mouth and believe in your heart.’ 

Regarding the question of what one is to change from: One possibility is to interpret it vis-a-vis the Roman Empire – an interpretation that is warranted not only by the realities of 1stcentury Galilee, but because Mark himself brackets the story of the disciples’ journey with the ghastly story of King Herod killing John the Baptist who also preached repentance. (vv. 7-13 and 30-31 are the bread; vv. 14-29 is the meat of this Markan sandwich.) I find it a great development in my lifetime that the Roman Empire has moved from the background to the foreground of NT studies. That, however, is another huge topic for another day and one that is ably addressed by others far better than I.  

Liturgical Addition:

Prayer of Thanksgiving

God of life and love: You have created a world and it is good. From the crashing waters and gentle breezes of our earth, to the farthest reaches of unexplored multiverses, you have established a home of astonishing diversity. We are especially thankful today for our nation, as we celebrate the denunciation of tyranny and the declaration of freedom. 

ONE: We join our voices with saints from all ages and throughout all the earth, saying, 

ALL: Holy, holy, holy Lord! God of power and might. Heaven and earth are full of your glory! Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! 


 Prayers of the People 

Throughout your world, there are women, men, and children anxious about their daily bread, desperately seeking shelter and safety, longing for the joy of community and hope. We pray for victims of our crass dedication to violence, species that are imperiled by our exploitation, and those whose ability to dance their joy or love their lovers are threatened in the name of religion. We pray for those whose joys and concerns we carry within…. 

We pray for our nation, that we the people will be a community of hope, joy, and grace. 

We pray especially for a revival of love and sharing throughout our world, where enemies become friends, despair becomes hope, and competition becomes sharing.  



  1. Than you for your insights. I will continue to follow you blog.

  2. Thanks, Susan. I welcome your responses and dialogue whenever you feel it's appropriate.

  3. I have never heard the Messianic Secret explained in these terms. It's genius!! It fits very well with Jesus' rejection of the disciples kneeling before him. It's all about keeping your focus in the right place which is horizontal in nature - not vertical. Thanks for the insight.


    1. Amen to this. The Messianic Secret has always confused me, and the scholars' attempts to explain it never quite made sense to me. I really like what you say here.

  4. Thanks, Bill! At least now I can say that there is one bona fide scholar who doesn't think I'm crazy on this one.

  5. I'm no scholar, but I also found your thoughts on the Messianic Secret provocative - in a good way, shedding fresh light on each instance it arises in the story. Also wanted to comment on your remarks under v. 3, why Mark makes no mention of Joseph. I don't think Joseph is referred to in Mark at all, at any point - not even generically as an unnamed "father" of Jesus, nor even included in a plural use of "parents". The Pauline epistles (those generally thought to be authencically Pauline) do not mention Joseph, either; I have read that Joseph might be a later tradition than Paul's or Mark's time. Although the words "son of Mary" seem neutral, given the context of an irritated crowd speaking derisively, there could well be a hint of dubious parentage here.

  6. You sound pretty scholarly to me, Barry. Thanks for the insights. As Dave Clark, a friend of mine put it, regarding this text, "And there arose a gospel writer who knew not Joseph."

  7. Thanks for your insight. I'm following your blog now also.

  8. Great translating and wonderful thought provoking comments. I've been lurking for months and gleaned much. Thanks for sharing your hard work. I normally do a discussion/dialog sermon and the points raised here from the Greek always give us a good starting off place. I think you've hit Mark's theme dead on, that there is an equality in the kingdom, such that the messiah and his disciples are called to the same work, and are given the same power to do it. The messiah is not the ruler this kingdom, but the "foreman" of the work crew, setting the pace by word and example. What he does and can do, so can and so should we. Thanks again. Check in with you again next week.

  9. Just adding my thanks for your gloss on the "messianic secret." Rings so true, and is actually good counsel for us today!

  10. Coming back to your unpacking this passage again, 3 years later. Still fresh, and provocative. I always start the sermon pondering with your translations/explications. Thanks.

    1. Thanks. I've refreshed it a bit this year (which means I am going on and on more). It is such a fascinating text.
      Great to hear from you again.

  11. I appreciate your insights, especially regarding the Messianic Secret. I follow your blog weekly to assist me in sermon preparation.

  12. I really enjoyed your take on Mark. If you have not already, you might want to read Simply Jesus by N.T. Wright, who is opening my eyes and heart to the point I think you are making. Thank you for your insights and your grasp of the greek. I was an average greek student in seminary, so your skills are very helpful.

    1. Thanks, Dave. I had the honor of taking Greek for a year in college and fell in love with the process. I don't know if I was ever more than a middlin' student myself, I just have found that the longer and more consistently that I practice the skills we were taught, the richer the text becomes.
      Thanks again for your kind note. MD

  13. Just to add some more thoughts. There are issues of honor here too. Jesus doesn't honor his mum by running off on an itinerant, non-profit mission and claiming G-d told him too. He (or his dad) doesn't or didn't have an honourable occupation - manual craftsmen were of dubious and ambiguous status: who bought their products and what did they use them for? It's not a question we ask anymore. There might be some dishonour related to his birth too.
    The amazement etc is that such a dishonourable person (and the audience knows how it all ends, anyway) has G-d's favour (wisdom and healing abilities). That is what scandalises them much like Paul found people were scandalised by the cross. G-d works with and through the 'unclean' - it's the unclean spirits that the twelve have authority to exorcise.

    1. Thanks, Rick. I think framing this story within the honor/dishonor framework opens a lot of new possibilities.
      Thanks again. MD


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