Tag Archives: Authority

The Red Thread – Impact on the Heart

Mark 10
Jesus is questioned by the Pharisees about divorce. It’s a law but even then it’s controversial. Jesus responds with v5 “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” and then lays out God’s original plan for marriage from Genesis. Then the scene changes drastically to talk of the hearts of children and the kingdom of God.

Once again this book of Mark seems to follow a unique diary-like style of writing. The first entry is the very adult issue of divorce…and it’s relationship to hearts. This was not one of the “Big 10” laws the Pharisees were asking about. It sure doesn’t fit with the words Jesus quotes from Genesis about the condition God set for the marriage relationship in v7…be united and the promise in v8…’the two will become one flesh.’ That’s the point, it wasn’t about legality of divorce at all it was about the impact on the heart.

It was the flawed reality of those hearts Jesus was addressing that makes the next entry such a dramatic contrast to the impact on the heart of a child.
• Some hearts have had years to develop their own sense of importance in the world around them. A child’s heart has not yet learned the importance of himself in the world.
• Some hearts have learned to value independence from others. A child’s heart still knows he’s dependent on others.
• Some hearts only respond to what they trust of authority. A child’s heart can more readily know the authority of those he trusts.
• Some hearts look for convenient loopholes in kingdom requirements. A child’s heart accepts God’s requirements to enter the kingdom.

The Authority of Humility

Mark 6:7b Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. 7 Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. 8 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

Need is a two sided coin. In fact if you look at Jesus’s own beatitudes [Matthew 5] you find need is the coin of the realm for blessing. As I struggled to organize my thoughts for today’s post I was surprised to discover just how important need was for both the village people and the disciples in this story.

Jesus sent his disciples to enter a town equipped with only the barest of essentials to preach repentance to the needy. The disciples had been given the power they needed. Authority was only one side of the coin. The other side of the coin was humiliy. It’s much harder to tell someone they’re in need from a position of power. Jesus gave his disciples the authority of humility to enter a village and “meet a need with a need” so both those who spoke and those who heard could be blessed.

Red Thread Story 1 – Visible and Invisible

Mark 2: The Red Thread Stories – Story 1
2 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, 5 “Son, your sins are forgiven…
…and he [Jesus] said to them, 8 Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralysed man, Your sins are forgiven, or to say, Get up, take your mat and walk? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. So he said to the man, 11 I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home…

I’ve been reading Mark in a “red letter” version of the Bible. Mark seems to be more a journalist than a philosopher. He documents these events about Jesus with concise information. That made me wonder if there’s a connection to be made with that “red” thread throughout the chapter. I think it’s going to be evidence of the power of Jesus over both the visible and the invisible.

Story One: Jesus speaks to forgive the sins of the paralyzed man knowing the cultural belief is that sin is responsible for his condition. The Pharisees reaction hasn’t escaped him. They consider the words he’s spoken as blasphemy. The man’s condition is visible for all to see but the first word Jesus speaks address only the invisible sin. Jesus speaks again to prove his authority over the invisible with words that reveal visible power and visible results; pick up your mat and go home.

Watch this space for Story 2.