We are in the Christ Stream learning more about Jesus’ earthly ministry as we read from the International Standard Version this week.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Jesus, you expel what is wicked, you raise up deceased children, you feed hungry, YOU are everything that is needed. Thank you for being everything that we need too. And help us to share the great news about you. Amen.
My Heavens! There’s so much to learn from Jesus – so many ways to be like Jesus – so many reasons to do like Jesus.
5 – The reading today begins with the most eerie and grotesque of settings. This is demon possession at its worst that can be witnessed in the Bible. The ultimate point is to demonstrate for us that Christ in us enables even us to remedy these horrid problems. Jesus does this openly because he wants us to exercise this gift globally. He cleanses this man of countless demons and does so in front of the disciples. THIS is teaching, and Jesus does so perfectly. His style is very straightforward, remedial (it seeks a solution, not a fancy show), and transformational. The man was a wild-wolf and worse. And when Jesus is finished the man is following Jesus, grateful to him, and he is an evangelist. What a marvel.
Jesus next does a double deed of healing a 12-year old girl and a woman who was ill with internal bleeding for 12 years. Mathew, Mark and Luke all tell the sequencing of this story identically. He’s called to heal the young girl, he is intercepted by the older girl (heals her), then he proceeds to go and heal/raise up the young girl to life again. The most endearing thing that anyone can give as a gift and a blessing is to give a family their young child back. The deepest pain a heart can pilgrimage through is the death of their child. How do YOU think this family felt about Jesus come sunset on this day – the day that they got their daughter back. The whole world would feel exactly the same way about Jesus provided they could just meet Him.
6 – His visit to Nazareth had several reasons. The Bible records him passing through here about a year prior. One thing that can be noted is that prophets do not exactly receive a hero’s welcome in their hometowns. (Shepherding types do, but not prophetic types). If they people do this to Jesus, they’ll do this to anyone. Do not be surprised. A prophet is supposed to have an itinerant/mobile life anyway. Also the protracted list of Jesus’ family of origin is listed. It’s an intriguing thought that Jesus was the eldest son of a family of at least nine. He had five brothers, at least two sisters, more likely about four sisters. Some branches of Christendom like to tell themselves that Mary was the “Virgin Mary” forever. That Song/Solomon 4:12 is about Mary – a “fountain sealed”. Well, read Mark 6:3 and realize that Joseph and Mary parented a fruitful family.
~When he sent out the 12 disciples, he told them to go empty-handed basically. With no back-up (meaning no backpack too!) this would make them determined to connect with people. The gospel requires connection or it is not spread.
~John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin and Herod had him killed. Herod set it up so that it looked like he was trapped and needed to kill John do that he could continue feigning that he was a man of is word. Yea right. Herod worked it like a politician. How does this sit with Jesus? Now we do not find Jesus suspending his ministry and starting a “prophets’ rights” coalition. No. Nothing distracts Him from His ministry. But notice how Jesus later treats Herod one or two dozen months later in Jerusalem: Luke 23:9. Jesus won’t say a word to him. Yer’pretty bad off when God won’t even talk to you!
~The reading ends today with a display of Jesus’ mastery over the matter of food; specifically the quantity of food. Jesus effortless feeds 5,000 men. There were wives. There were children. He probably fed 25,000 total that day. Only the men are numbered in the process because a ready count of able-bodied men was always noted for these are biblical times and an enemy could arrive at any time and a census of the men needed to be known. The others were significant too but that is just the reality of the day: number the men.