Monday, October 17, 2005
The message
All of your hopes and dreams are finally coming true: the presence and influence of God are with us, close by. Now act on this great news!


I haven't had a chance yet to share what happened at Bible Study last time. It's been about 10 days now. We were unable to do it this past week as I was entertaining delegates from the Oklahoma United Methodist conference Wednesday evening.

But the Wednesday previous we at La Roca continued our study in Mark. The same six were in attendance, plus one more, Diane.We covered the prologue again, because I wanted to focus some more on what Jesus says the good news is. We talked about just how important dialogue and direct speech are in the Bible. First words are particularly important in revealing character traits. The only direct speech of John in Mark occurs in 1:7-8. All John does is point to Jesus.

We talked about how in contrast to the other Gospels, Jesus doesn't say a whole lot in Mark. There's very little teaching to be found in Mark. Mark is interested in action. For Mark, being a disciple is less about listening to the teaching of Jesus and more about imitating the acts of the Suffering Servant. Actions speak louder than words, after all.

So when Jesus says anything, so much more his first words, we perk up our ears and listen.

The kingdom of God is near - this is the message of Jesus. So clear. So simple. So overwhelmingly wonderful, amazing, incredible good news. God is close by. We talk about how Jesus' message is not "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." It's not "Hey everybody, I'm the the Son of God, so believe in me." No, its that God is near, now let yourself be interrupted by it. Because this was Jesus' message, it now becomes our message.

We wonder if this is the message that we proclaim. And we wonder just how different things might be if this truly was the message we as the Church carried out into the world.

And then we moved onto the calling of the fishermen in verses 16-20. We talk about this call that is personally tailored to these fishermen. Jesus comes to where they work. They will now be fishers of people. This is our introduction to characters who play crucial roles in the rest of the New Testament story - Andrew, Peter, James and John. This is the beginning of their adventure.

And so we talk about how Jesus called each of us. The words "pursued" and "rescued" are expressed with reminiscing wonder by two women in the group. "I was looking up from the bottom when He shined His light on me," says Larry.

I'm finding I have every bit as much to learn from this group as I have to teach.

posted by Peter at 11:13 PM
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