A Day in the Life: Capernaum, Synagogues, and Jesus’ Authority – Part 1
Jesus begins His Sabbath day at the synagogue and spends time teaching there. Those hearing Him were “astonished” because His teaching was with authority. While teaching, a man who was demon possessed made himself known. The spirit cried out through the man calling Jesus the “Holy One of God,” and asking what He was going to do with them. Jesus silenced the spirit and cast it out. Those in the synagogue who witnessed everything were said to be “amazed” at the authority of His teaching and his authority over the demonic. Continue reading
Jesus Begins His Ministry and Calls Disciples
John the Baptizer is arrested by Herod. Jesus begins his ministry preaching, “The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news!” Jesus calls Simon (Peter), Andrew, James, and John as disciples. They immediately leave their jobs and families to follow Jesus. Continue reading
Jesus is Baptized and Tempted
The baptism and temptation scenes in Mark are brief for the theological significance packed into them. Jesus is baptized by John. When he rises out of the water, the heavens are opened, the spirit like a dove descends, and God speaks. Mark says “immediately” Jesus was driven into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. The passage ends with wild beasts and tending angels.
Over the past year I’ve been reading almost exclusively in the Gospels. I wanted to get, for myself, a clearer picture of who Jesus was and is, as presented by the Gospels, and to get a better feel for how the writers of the four gospels presented the Gospel in their narratives. I’ve been keeping notes on my own reading, but was also able to start participating in a Bible study group that is currently going through the Gospel of Mark. I’ve been meaning to put more of my notes down in blog form, and thought this was a good opportunity since I am now studying more formally with a group and keeping more formatted notes as a result.
I am using two commentaries to help me study the Gospel of Mark. They are N. T. Wright’s Mark For Everyone from The New Testament for Everyone series, and The Gospel according to Mark from The Pillar New Testament Commentary series by James R. Edwards, Jr. Below are my thoughts on Mark 1:1-8.
A couple of years ago, I adapted a prayer, entitled Bounty, from a book containing a collection of Puritan prayers called The Valley of Vision. I’ve used this prayer at our Thanksgiving celebrations with family and friends ever since. I thought I would share my adaptation for those of you who may enjoy using it at your Thanksgiving celebrations as well.
Over the past several weeks Relevant Magazine has posted three opinion pieces to their website written by Christians explaining why they believe and vote according to certain political principles. These pieces have all been interesting reads. I appreciate Relevant for giving each of these writers space to explain how Christianity has informed their political identities.
The first of the three posts was entitled The Rise of Christian Libertarians and was written by Caryn Dahlstrand Rivadeneira. The Republican viewpoint was entitled Why I Am a Christian Republican and was written by Matthew Lee Anderson. Why I Am a Christian Democrat was written by David Masciotra. I appreciate Relevant for publishing these op-eds because it is important for Christians to reflect on how their Faith informs their thoughts and actions in the day-to-day, but also in big thought issues like politics. Continue reading
I love the creation story from the Bible; Genesis 1 & 2, the introduction to John’s gospel. “In the Beginning…”
The biblical narratives are so poetic, so beautiful, so majestic. Whenever I come across how writers and artists have treated the story of creation in their works I’m always drawn back to the Bible. Two of my favorite depictions in literature of creation are C.S. Lewis’ and J.R.R. Tolkien’s. Each, in their epic tales (The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings), write the fictional universes as being created through singing and music; beautiful and fantastic imagery.
I’m not the only one who loves this imagery of creation through music. Page CXVI, a musical group created to breathe life into old hymns, draws it’s name from the page number Lewis’ description of the creation of Narnia is found in the book, The Magician’s Nephew; where Aslan sings the universe and everything in it into existence. A band I recently discovered and have fallen in love with (Gungor), also depicts the universe as being created through music. In the first song off of their latest album Ghosts Upon the Earth, the opening lyrics pour out, “Darkness hovering, grasping everything it sees. Void. Empty. Absent life and absent dream. Let there be (Light).” Lovely.
All of these stories and descriptions, writers and musicians, have inspired me to create a mash-up of sorts. I’ve taken God’s words, Lewis’ words, Tolkien’s words, and Gungor’s music and have attempted to combine them into something new(ish). Below, you will find words from Genesis 1 and John 1, words from the passages containing Tolkien’s creation of Middle Earth, and from Lewis’ creation of Narnia. Before you begin reading, scroll down to the bottom of this post and start the video, which will play Gungor’s song, “Let There Be.”