Scraps (Mark 7:25-30)

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Jesus and the team head out from Galilee to Phoenicia, close to Tyre and Sidon. There a Gentile woman comes and asks him to heal her daughter but Jesus at first appears reluctant, he says that in the family, the children should eat first.  She responds by pointing out that even dogs get to wat… Continue reading Scraps (Mark 7:25-30)

Inside out – lessons from the digestive system (Mark 7:14-23)

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Perhaps one of the most helpful illustrations I’ve both seen used and used myself in pastoral conversations is this.  You take a glass and you fill it with water up to the brim and then set it on a table. Then you hit it so that water spills out. You ask those observing why the… Continue reading Inside out – lessons from the digestive system (Mark 7:14-23)

When worship becomes farce (Mark 7:1-8)

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Jesus receives a delegation from Jerusalem. It’s kind of like the rabbinic version of an OFSTED visit. The scribes and pharisees have come to see him, to check out what he is saying and doing, to test him and no doubt hoping to trap him. It looks like they are welcomed in and offered hospitality.… Continue reading When worship becomes farce (Mark 7:1-8)

Defiled (Mark 7)

Jesus is challenged about his disciples’ failure to observe the ritual/ceremonial laws of the Old Testament. Hand washing prior to meals was required not for hygiene reasons or to slow down a pandemic but to represent symbolically the need to be spiritually clean. Jesus’ response is that it isn’t the external things that matter. Their… Continue reading Defiled (Mark 7)

If I can just get close enough (Mark 5:21-43)

Perhaps one of the most moving accounts in the Gospels is the story of the woman who had suffered for many years with an illness that caused frequent discharge of blood. It’s wrapped around by the healing of Jairus’ daughter. This helps us to see a few things. First, we see Jesus’ willingness to be… Continue reading If I can just get close enough (Mark 5:21-43)

Who needs a doctor? (Mark 2:13-17)

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We now begin to see why sharp divisions were growing between Jesus and the Pharisees.  There was a clear line drawn between “us and them”. That line was between those who were considered to be faithful or at least trying to be faithful to YHWH by keeping Torah, by seeking to be pure, clean, hol… Continue reading Who needs a doctor? (Mark 2:13-17)

The transforming kingdom (Mark 1:16-2:13-17)

We now begin to see what it means for Jesus to preach about the Kingdom and call people to repentance with a series of examples. It means calling people to follow him and leave behind other priorities (1:16-20 and 2:13-17) It means calling evil spirits out of people.  Captives are set free (1:21-28) It means… Continue reading The transforming kingdom (Mark 1:16-2:13-17)

Jesus and the shamed woman

Yesterday, I wrote about how the woman with an issue of blood experiences shaming from powerful men. Today, I want to highlight how Jesus deals with her differently.  All the Gospel writers present her as creeping up quietly, nervously and sneaking a quick touch of her garment. Her aim seems to be to make some… Continue reading Jesus and the shamed woman

I want to be clean

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In the second of our series of videos based on “A last conversation” between Jesus and his disciples (John 13), we look at Peter’s initial refusal to have his feet washed. We talk about the sense of shame and guilt that feels like dirtiness and how Jesus offers deep and lasting cleansing.