The Gerasene Demoniac: Following context

Fri, 19/06/2009 - 11:17 -- James Oakley

This follows on from my previous post: The Gerasene Demoniac: Prior Context.

The story of the Gerasene demoniac is followed by the integrated accounts of the raising of Jairus's daughter to life, and the healing and cleansing of the woman with a long-standing haemorrhage. These two accounts appear to be unrelated to each other, although the fact that Mark has interwoven them tells us that he sees a connection. Mark always weaves stories together for a reason.

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Interpreting the parables

Tue, 09/06/2009 - 10:46 -- James Oakley

Mark 4:10-12 falls between the telling of the parable of the sower (Mark 4:1-9) and its explanation (Mark 4:13-20).

In these verses, Jesus explains why he used parables to teach. Parables act as a filter, because the amount gleaned varies according to whether the hearer wishes to put the teaching into practice or not. Merely listened to with disinterest, they will remain at arms length; however, the person who wishes to live out what Jesus teaches will understand them enough to do so.

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Parable of the sower: A bumper crop

Mon, 08/06/2009 - 10:45 -- James Oakley

The parable of the sower, whilst cautioning that the responses to the word will vary, is overall designed to encourage us to expect a good response.

I've noted before that the word for "seed" in Mark 4 is singular in verses 4, 5 and 7, but plural in verse 8. This is all the more striking when you consider that "seed" is a collective noun in Greek as much as in English, "seeds" is bad grammar. Seed may fall on the path. Seed may wither in shallow soil. Seed may be choked by weeds. But seeds will flourish.

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Jesus' Fathers house a house of trade

Wed, 11/03/2009 - 11:37 -- James Oakley

John 2:16 reads, "Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade."

In the parallel incident in Mark 11:15-19, Jesus says “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” He quotes Isaiah 56:7, but the cross references in my ESV point me to Jeremiah 7:11 for the latter half of that verse, “Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes?”

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Brambles and Gorse

Thu, 06/03/2008 - 13:36 -- James Oakley

Last week I was doing a bit of work in the garden, cutting back the ever-encroaching bramble and gorse bushes.

I found myself wondering why there are so many of the things in the garden. It’s a bit of a pain.

Not that it required much thought. Genesis 3:18 solves that one for me – they serve as a reminder of the fact that life in rebellion of God’s law is never a fulfilled / happy / pain-free one. God judges those who rebel against him.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?

Tue, 04/03/2008 - 15:19 -- James Oakley

A few of us spent a good hour, a few weeks back, reading and reflecting on Psalm 42-43.

We did talk about when Jesus might have prayed such a Psalm, and thought that Gethsemane was the kind of moment.

What we didn’t pick up

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